One of the wackiest superhero mangas is back for more this week and its story is all about currying favor and falling in line. We take a look to see if the quality remains high.
One-Punch Man Vol. 9 (Viz Media)
So what’s it about? The Viz summary reads:
Garo, a man who admires monsters, attacks the Hero Association! But after pulverizing the heroes there, he just leaves. What the heck does this guy want?! Meanwhile, Class-B, Rank-1 Miss Blizzard visits Saitama at his apartment. Since he’s just a low-ranking hero, she thinks she can make him one of her subordinates, but as always, Saitama has other plans!
Why does this book matter?
The story progresses, One-Punch Man gets a superhero name, and a villain who specializes in killing heroes emerges. Sounds like a lot to chew on. Plus, Viz recently revealed at Anime Boston 2016 that a One-Punch Man dub is in the works so soon you’ll get these stories in a new format in the States.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Witness the origin of the Human Monster!
This volume offers up three major fights, each of which is unique in their own way tying into the story well. It appears writer One is building up the idea that rank matters to some and not others. It’s an interesting premise and it progresses through the action rather than any heavy exposition, but this is a manga after all so what would you expect? While One-Punch Man is trying to make those who wish to have him get in line bugger off the villain is attempting to show every one that’s in his way he doesn’t need anyone either. Both for different reasons, which helps bring focus to One-Punch Man’s indifference to everything.
The villain in this issue known as the Human Monster gets a proper origin which is a nice touch. The character smartly bookends the volume too with the opening showing off his humble beginnings and the end showing his rise.
The art by Yusuke Murata continues to be great, from the somewhat graphic damage Human Monster enacts on his foes, to the epic double page spreads of Speed-o’-Sound Sonic Sonic (catchy name). I’ve said this in previous reviews, but I’ll say it again, Murata has a keen sense of the dramatic with great inks and emotional facial expressions. The detail is appreciated and it gives the superheroes an American comic look and feel.
Can she see over those things?
It can’t be perfect can it?
The Saitama character, pictures on the cover, is rather sexualized in the book. The fact that she does little more than show weakness only enhances the sexist sort of vibe you get from the character. We’ll see if she develops further, but as is she’s flat.
This volume falls flat as far as humor is concerned. One-Punch Man gets a hero name from the powers that be and the joke doesn’t land. Really none do in this one, but that’s easy considering how few of them there are. No, most of this is action and characters postulating about rank.
Another action-packed volume with a clever bit of juxtaposed characters with similar outlooks on life. The idea of rank is explored and the message is quite zen.