Spider-Man: The Manga #12

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)


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 part three of the six-part "Mysterio/Fake Spider-Man" arc.

Story Details

  Spider-Man: The Manga #12
Summary: Mysterio
Arc: Part 3 of 'Spider-Man: The Manga Fourth Arc' (1-2-3-4-5-6)
Editor: Glenn Greenberg
Writer/Artist: Ryoichi Ikegami
Retouching and Production: Dan Nakrosis
Translation: Mutsumi Masuda

Again, Spider-Man attacks a lone woman, stealing her purse, but, in this case, he removes his mask and proves to be Yu. (Hey, I've got a slogan for this book! "The hero who could be Yu!" Sorry.) Rumi spots him unmasked and flees. Yu yells after her, "it's not me!" but, in spite of his protests, he turns into a giant spider with Yu's head, placed in the middle of a giant web. It's a dream, of course. Yu has dozed off. He awakes at eleven pm to learn that Rumi is still not home. Aunt tries to talk Yu into calling the police but he refuses. In the ensuing argument, Yu loses his cool and tosses his Aunt to the ground. At first he seems filled with remorse but then suddenly shouts, "You've never understood my feelings. You don't need to stick your nose into everything I do!" And he goes to the train station to search for Rumi.

While waiting, he re-thinks his decision to throw his costume into the river. "This Spider-Man imposter might never have appeared." The guilt builds as he waits for the last train of the night. If Rumi isn't on it, he doesn't know what he'll do... but she is. Racing to her, in his excitement, Yu accidentally bumps some cheap hood who takes exception. The hood gives him a sock in the jaw. Yu gets up to fight back but decides he dare not use his powers or else "I'd be no better than that fake Spider-Man". Rather than risk that, he allows himself to be beaten to a pulp by three men right in front of Rumi.

Later, Rumi reveals that she lost her notebook with photos of her mother and brother (both now dead). She retraced her steps for the whole day until she found it. To prevent this happening again, she has transferred the photos to her purse but, as Yu and Rumi walk through a park, the bogus Spider-Man swings down and robs her. "My precious photos are in that handbag!", Rumi cries, "I hate him! I want to kill him! That madman killed my brother!" Yu looks even more tortured by all this. (If that's possible.)

General Comments

After the interesting start of the first issue, the second issue and more notably this third issue have little to recommend them. Yes, they bring Rumi back into the picture and continue to demonstrate the mental anguish from which Yu suffers, but not much else is accomplished. The fight with his Aunt seems out of character even for a whacko like Yu. And the scene at the train station is ludicrous. Surely, Yu can figure out a way, without using his powers to injure, to avoid getting the snot beaten out of him by three lowlifes. The artwork, too, seems pedestrian in these issues, as if Ikegami was as uninterested in these plot threads as the reader. Only the two page dream of Yu as a spider is worth the look.

Overall Rating

Two webs, and sliding fast.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)