Comics : Spider-Man: The Manga #3
This review was first published on: 2004.
Here is Manga Spider-Man, written by Japanese, for Japanese. 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, and the first three part arc is wrapped up here.
Spider-Man: The Manga #3
Jan 1998 : SM Title
Arc: Part 3 of "Spider-Man: The Manga First Arc"
Yes, Electro is Rumi's missing brother (big surprise), given electric powers by a disgruntled electronics researcher. In their initial battle, Electro singes Spidey so severely that Yu is reluctant to face him again. But face him Spidey does and, in that battle, the electronics Professor is accidentally killed by his creation. Electro is devastated by this, since he knows now that he will always remain a live electric wire, never able to touch another human being without giving them a lethal shock. The fight takes another deadly turn and, in the end, Yu is left to wonder if his powers are more a curse than a blessing. He decides to hang up his Spidey garb for good. Or until the next story arc, anyway.
It's possible that the Manga adventures of Spidey are as untranslatable to our culture as the American adventures were to the Japanese... but I don't think so. It's just that, in this case, after a strong origin, it dissolves into a predictable and lackluster adventure. Yes, Manga makes the characters look like wide-eyed mantelpiece dolls but I prefer this artwork to someone like Steve Skroce. (At least Manga is a definite style with strong antecedants and traditions.) Yes, the art overwhelms the words so that looking is more important than reading. But those aren't the problems here. (I actually enjoy quite a bit of the conventions, such as the wonderful sound effects that are used onomatapoetically. "Gossip, gossip" for example, or "Shock!") Manga is just fine with me... unless tedious and obvious stories a part of the Manga tradition as well.
The story comes to a conclusion, which is worth a tiny little something extra, but still the overall effect is completely lost on me. Maybe it's cultural differences, but that isn't the point. By my standards, one measily web is what I'm offering.