The most unheroic hero in the land continues in this week’s release of One-Punch Man. He basically just saved the planet, so how can the creators top that? Is it good?
One-Punch Man Vol 8 (Viz Media)
So what’s it about? The official Viz summary reads:
Class-S hero King is known as the strongest man on earth. Even monsters fear him. But when a mysterious organization sends an assassin after him, the shocking truth about King is revealed!
Why does this book matter?
This manga is written for the teen crowd, but as a 32 year old I can attest the humor isn’t too childish, the action is right up there with great manga, and the premise is solid. Basically this book is about honor and not being a braggart. In this world superheroes love their cred and pride themselves in their superhero ranking. Then there’s the protagonist known as One-Punch Man, who couldn’t care less. People see his uncaring as a sign he’s a true master, but he honestly doesn’t care. Wielding the power to punch anything and destroy it, he’s simultaneously one of the strongest and most modest superheroes in existence.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This gets old fast.
This volume breaks down to four stories with some additional extras in the back and three of these stories uses Genos quite heavily. Genos is One-Punch Man’s sidekick who’s attempting to learn from him, but after reading this volume you’d think Genos was the real hero. In the first story we learn King–the most powerful hero–is a fraud who likes video games and Genos ends up battling a major threat in his stead. In the second, One-Punch Man attempts to find a cat for a little girl and Genos ends up taking on a monster cat. In the third, Genos and One-Punch Man help a teacher’s school. Thankfully Genos is a robotic hero and his power ups and fighting skills are quite something to marvel at.
A common thread runs through all of these stories: the humor. The King story plays up the fear these heroes have and the addiction to being popular. One-Punch Man however, couldn’t care about his secret and ends up playing video games for much of the story. In the second we delve into the world of villains and it’s clear this is setting something up for a future volume. In the third, Genos and One-Punch Man hilariously focus on the food they’ll be paid in to protect the school.
As always the art is detailed and captures the superhero world well. The monster cat in particular is quite inventive, but scattered throughout there are plenty of super closeups and dramatic layouts to ogle.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The King story does drag on much too long which might be in part because too much time is spent watching this fearful wimp worry. Just when you think the story will kick into gear we get more of his groveling and fear which isn’t pleasant to read for too long. The creators make their point early, but linger too long on this story element.
Since there isn’t one long story, this volume feels a bit more like an anthology. Its strength has been developing One-Punch Man and getting him closer to the top of the hero heap. Instead, more time is spent on side adventures, which makes this volume feel less important.
The clever character names are a riot.
Is It Good?
This is a good volume, but not entirely a necessary one. The art is fantastic as always and there’s plenty of humor that works so in that regard this is a can’t miss volume, just don’t expect fireworks.