Comics : Spider-Man: The Manga #1

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spider-Man: The Manga First Arc"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

In his editorial at the back of issue #1, Tom Brevoort relates the tale of how Marvel tried to sell Spider-Man in Japan and how translating the American tales proved unsuccessful. Realizing that the culture gap required a whole new approach to the hero, Marvel hired Ryoichi Ikegami, later the creative force behind Mai, the Psychic Girl, to do a Manga version. The setting is Tokyo rather than New York. There is no Uncle Ben to teach the lesson of responsibility. Heck, Spider-Man isn't even Peter Parker! Now these stories are being translated into English and published bi-weekly, in black and white editions. The first story arc featured a battle with Electro.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: The Manga #1
Dec 1997 : SM Title
Summary: Origin Issue/Electro
Arc: Part 1 of "Spider-Man: The Manga First Arc"
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer/Artist:  Ryoichi Ikegami
Retouching and Production:  Dan Nakrosis
Translation:  C.B. Cebulski, Mutsumi Masuda
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Review

Yu Komori, a young bookwormish, unathletic student has stayed late at school the night before a big exam. He is working on a radioactivity experiment even though a departing teacher tells him, "This particular experiment may not even be on the test." (Yow! I hope not.) And, hey, guess what... a spider gets in the way of the radioactivity and bites Yu before expiring.

The next day at school, Yu feels feverish and disoriented and is sent home. (The exaggerated angles and facial expressions in the artwork are very effective in conveying Yu's distress.) On his way home, he is attacked by some bullies but they beat a hasty retreat after one of Yu's punches puts a dent in a steel girder at a construction site. The jarred girder loosens other beams above Yu. He escapes by leaping and clinging, spider-like, to a nearby wall.

At home, somehow understanding that he is now a super-hero, he begins to sew. "Ha ha, I'm not Superman but I made myself a costume." He designs web-shooters and tests them out. Soon after, his no-name Aunt arrives with a letter from his pen pal Rumi. The letter tells Yu that Rumi is coming to Tokyo where they can meet, face-to-face, for the first time.

The day that Yu goes to meet Rumi, a bank is attacked by Electro the Electric Man (who looks like Electro, the Electric Adolescent). Electro wipes out the guards and blasts open the bank vault. The crowd outside decides that Electro is a cyborg. (Why? Beats me.) Yu is among the crowd but does not rush off to go into action as Spidey. (No sense of responsibility, remember?) In the meantime, Electro escapes in a car.

Later, when Yu meets Rumi, she tells him she is there to get help to find her brother who went missing six months before. (Gee, I wonder who he is?) Yu promises to help.

Overall Rating...

Four webs for this first issue. It covers all the basics. Boy, radioactive spider, etc. Let's give it the benefit of the doubt.