Comics : Spider-Man: The Manga #20
This review was first published on: 2004.
It took so long for Manga #20 and 21 to show up at my local shop that I wondered whether it was just me or if the series had been cancelled. It turned out it was just me but you wouldn't have been able to figure that out by the responses to the feelers I put out. No one had any idea whether this series still existed or not. They didn't much care.
Not a good sign.
This latest story is not a good sign, either. This is part two of a three-part arc featuring a random American sociopath.
Spider-Man: The Manga #20
Oct 1998 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Spider-Man: The Manga Sixth Arc"
Yu and his buddies just happen to stop at the same restaurant as the crazed motorcycle rider. The boys are apprehensive but the girls, who know nothing about the American, are talked into dancing with him. A policeman shows up, gun drawn, looking for the owner of the cycle but our Peter Fonda clone draws his own gun and blows the officer away. (Well, actually, he only wounds the policeman in the shoulder but it sure looks like he riddled him with bullets.) Pandemonium reigns in the restaurant. Our villain notices four more cops approaching from outside so he takes one of the girls as hostage, pointing his gun right at her forehead. He then decides to take the one girl and the boys as hostages and to escape in the boys' car. The police follow at a respectful distance but the bad guy still shoots at them on occasion, killing at least two trailing motorcycle cops. He tells the frightened boys that they "finally looked death in the eye". Yu sits tight and does nothing.
The cyclist instucts Araki to drive to Haneda Airport. Once they arrive, Araki makes an attempt to stop the maniac but he is shot in the shoulder for his troubles. Yu does nothing. All five hostages are forced to join the killer as he hijacks an airplane, a task he accomplishes easily. News reports that are piped onto the plane state that the hijacker's motive "appears to be spite" and our villain thinks, "That's right. I hate the Japanese". The girl hostage panics and makes a run for it. The bad guy guns her down. The plane tries to land at Osaka airport. The bad guy blasts away at the cockpit control panel (though this whole sequence is pretty unclear). Yu does nothing.
Just ask yourself. If you had been shot at and nearly killed by somebody, would you sit down and have drinks with them at a roadside bar? If you had super-powers, and had just seen a number of shooting attacks including two fatalities, would you just sit and watch? I don't care how worried you are about becoming a menace, surely you would have to act.
Maybe the Japanese can accept this behaviour in Yu, and maybe they can accept the idea of a former US marine "Hating Japanese" and deciding to obtain a Harley and go on a rampage. But just imagine if this comic was reversed, and featured a Japanese sickon running around America killing people because he "Hates the Americans". Would Marvel sell it? Hell no! So why have they got their name on this one.
Half a web, that's our rock-bottom rating. This comic book is offensive on so many levels.