Comics : Spider-Man: The Manga #15

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spider-Man: The Manga Fourth Arc"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

It's the Japanese Spidey! It's a black-and-white five minute read for $2.99 U.S.! It's the longest storyline yet... showcasing the best and the worst of the series. Here's the conclusion of the six-part "Mysterio/Fake Spider-Man" arc.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: The Manga #15
Jul 1998 : SM Title
Summary: Mysterio
Arc: Part 6 of "Spider-Man: The Manga Fourth Arc"
Editor:  Glenn Greenberg
Writer/Artist:  Ryoichi Ikegami
Retouching and Production:  Dan Nakrosis, Rob Kuzmiak
Translation:  Mutsumi Masuda
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Review

It turns out that Yu's bruises are coming from his work as a stunt man. He has taken this job in order to earn the money necessary to pay for the blind child's operation. He meets a fellow stuntman named Kitagawa who tells him that "there are two kinds of people. Those who live their lives in the spotlight as stars and those who live in the background behind the stars." Yu comes to care for Kitagawa.

Five thousand dollars in hand, Spider-Man returns to the hospital to pay for the operation. However, the doctor informs him that the child was never in danger of losing his eyesight. He only had a small cut. "I wanted to test your humanity", he says. "I thought if you had any feeling in your heart, you wouldn't be able to live with yourself after making the boy lose his eyesight... But, you don't regret anything. You went out and committed another crime." Which is Mysterio's cue to enter.

All of this leads to another battle between the two with Spider-Man finally gaining the upper hand. With a powerful punch, Yu shatters Mysterio's "goldfish bowl" mask, revealing a Spider-Man mask underneath... proving Mysterio to be the Spidey imposter. Yu soon learns that Mysterio is, in reality, Mr. Kitagawa, who confesses that he started the whole charade because he was envious of Spider-Man's stardom. A troubled Yu decides "There's just no point in being a hero!"

In General...

After all the crazy to-and-fro of the past few issues, the pendulum swings back again, as the last issue wraps up the story satisfactorily. Sure, the identity of Mysterio is predictable and Yu is still too whiny to be very likable but the climactic battle on top of the subway is terrific stuff and the moment when Spider-Man shatters Mysterio's helmet to reveal a Spider-Man mask underneath is my favorite image in the entire Manga series to this point. Hmm... perhaps that's not saying a lot.

Overall Rating...

A competent finish, let's give it a slightly above-par 3.5. Overall, the arc earns three webs after swinging wildly between extremes.