Spider-Man: The Manga #19

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


It's Spider-Man, sort of. It's how the Japanese would do Spider-Man. I'm starting to be very grateful that Stan Lee isn't Japanese.

Story Details

  Spider-Man: The Manga #19
Summary: Biker Trouble
Arc: Part 1 of 'Spider-Man: The Manga Sixth Arc' (1-2-3)
Editor: Glenn Greenberg
Writer/Artist: Ryoichi Ikegami
Retouching and Production: Dan Nakrosis, Rob Kuzmiak
Translation: Mutsumi Masuda

Yu, still so frightened of his super abilities that he has vowed not to use them, takes a trip with his friends Araki and Kame on a hot summer day. Their destination is the beach but the streets are so paralyzed with traffic that the three perspiring boys can hardly stand it. Yu fantasizes about becoming Spider-Man and tossing all the other cars out of the way, but his fantasy turns sour as he imagines the devastation and death he would cause. This reminds the poor weenie that he must remain calm, no matter what. (And remain calm he will, in the face of such extreme violence, you'll wonder why you should care about this character at all.)

Finally, the boys get free of the city. They are driving the highway (and whining about how it looks like it will rain) when they are passed by an American on a motorcycle. The cyclist wears a vest and shades, looking like Peter Fonda's "Captain America" character in Easy Rider and he gives the boys a glance before he blows by them. Araki, at the wheel, takes it as a challenge and he floors it to do a little passing himself, but the American guns by them once again. It turns into a drag race, the two vehicles rushing along side by side, until the cyclist pulls out a pistol and fires wildly, shooting at the windshield, then shooting out one of the boys' tires. Araki gets the car under control but the motorcycle rides away.

The boys decide to not report the incident to the police since they took the car without Araki's father's permission and they don't have drivers' licences. The rain arrives and washes out their beach day. As Yu compares the reckless use of a gun to havng super-powers, Araki spots two girls getting wet in the rain and desperately in need of a ride. The girls accept the offer, then suggest they all stop for a bite to eat at a restaurant. On the way, they drive past several nasty auto accidents. The boys suspect these were caused by the motorcycle-riding American with the gun.

General Comments

Japan is quite a nationalistic culture. It is also a culture where public violence and crime is not at all tolerated. Yes, it is the ultimate home of organised crime, but public disorganised crime is not at all tolerated. It's hard to imagine that a Japanese person would not at least make an anonymous phone call to report a public shooting.

Overall Rating

This is not a promising start. Yu is becoming unlikable, and his actions incomprehensible. One web.

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