Responding to a fire at ATL (Advanced Technologies Laboratory), Marcus is inside performing a rescue of laboratory personnel when an experimental device that taps into stellar energies and harnesses the power of the stars explodes. The energies engulf him and he is in a coma as his body metabolizes the energies that grant him the powers of Titan.
Titan, who has just come to terms with the burdens of true heroism, is struggling to do his best to change this harsh, new world. But in order to do that he must first get past Think Tank and The Brain Trust!! Plus in the backup tale, Titan takes on the super man known as Legend!!
Well, if you thought that SPIDER-MAN was the premier “hard luck hero” who can never catch a break, either in his personal life or as a superhero, then wait until you get a load of TITAN, THE ULTRA MAN. After a brief recap of his origin, we see that our hero, in his civilian identity of Marcus, is in court, where his ex-wife is trying to deny him visitation with his children. She’s mad because he’s missed several of his last visitation appointments, because he was off doing superhero stuff as Titan, which he can’t tell anybody so instead it just looks like he’s being irresponsible. This is classic secret ID stuff, but his ex-wife really comes off like a she-devil here. She threatens to never let him see the children again. Unless there’s some more to this story, like he was abusive or cheated on her, none of which is implied here, that seems like an extreme position to take. Either way, the Judge orders them all to undergo family counseling, and the case is on hold for now.
Marcus switches into costume and, as Titan, goes on patrol of the city. We quickly learn that his superhero life isn’t much easier. He runs afoul of a local superhero group called The Liberators who think Titan doesn’t do enough to help his own city, instead going off to fight worldwide threats. They come off as childish, in my opinion, but it’s still a headache that Titan doesn’t need right now. Titan then has to stop a hostage situation at a local bank, easily dispatching of the corny supervillain called Gravestone, and rescuing the woman, who happens to be a science professor, who comes on strong to him.
Then, switching back to Marcus, he heads to the new Firestation that he’s been assigned to, and meets his new crewmates, only to be accused by an ex-crewmate of being responsible for getting his old crew killed. This happened during a big superhero/supervillain battle which took place in a previous comic from Advent, which I have not read yet. Finally, the next day, Ultra flies to the science lab that that professor he rescues works at, to let them study him, in hopes of better understanding his superpowers, how they work, and what their limits are. He meets the group of scientist who will be performing the studies, all the women seems to want Ultra. But then there’s an accident during the testing, including an explosion, and when the smoke clears all of the doctors have been mutated and/or have super powers, and immediately begin attacked Ultra.
So, yeah, that’s a lot of trouble to put a superhero through in just one issue.
That’s the main story. There’s also an 8-page backup story, where Ultra meets The Legend, a revered older hero. The Legend is under the mind control of a recently escaped supervillain, who makes him attack Ultra. So we get a big superhero brawl, until Ultra knocks some sense back into The Legend.
Divided rating here. First, the writing, by creator TONY KITTRELL, is pretty good. As I mentioned, references are made to some major events that happened in other comics, but never once did I feel like I needed to go read those other comics first in order to understand what was happening in this issue (although I do plan to do so now), through recaps and dialog we were given enough information here to get a complete story. There are a few little flaws I could point out, like inconsistences about Ultra’s status, he originally called himself “the first superhero,” but then we’re told that The Legend has been around for over 80 years. And when the various scientists gain superpowers, they immediately adopt codenames, as well, which seems unnatural. But still, I give the writing 4 STARS.
The art, by Austin Brooks, is not quite as good. It’s serviceable enough for the story, but could have been better. That gets 3 STARS.