Out now is the September 2008 issue of Shonen Jump, which features a prologue chapter for Ultimo, making its North American debut.
Ultimo is a collaboration between Stan Lee, writer of much of the Marvel universe of superheroes, and Hiroyuki Takei, creator of Shaman King. Here’s the story description, courtesy of the press release:
High above Farmless City, citizens are stunned by the sudden appearance of two floating figures. Are they human boys, monolithic robots, or something much more strange? As the battle ensues between them, destruction and devastation falls on the hapless city. One figure is Vice, and seems to be as evil as his name implies. The other is Ultimo, intent on trying to stop Vice from wreaking more havoc. But who are Vice and Ultimo really? Where did they come from? A new mystery begins with the fate of the world possibly hanging in the balance!
And the Stan Lee press release quote is exactly what you’d expect from the popular conception of Stan Lee:
“Wow! This is just what I’ve been waiting for!” says an excited Stan Lee. “For the very first time I’m able to create superheroes in the fantastic Japanese manga style thanks to my lucky partnership with the great Hiroyuki Takei. What a kick it’ll be to join Hiroyuki-san in offering brand new, action packed stories to an army of readers in both the Eastern and Western worlds!”
Apparently, Lee created an idea for Takei, who created characters, art, and “reworked the plot”. Everyone seems very excited to have been part of it — but I’m guessing it’s not going to seem very superhero-y to the American non-manga reader attracted by Lee’s name.