Spider-Man: The Manga #21

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


This is the conclusion of a three-part story arc so stupid and offensive that I found it physically unpleasant to read. And it's not getting any better as we go.

Story Details

  Spider-Man: The Manga #21
Summary: Skyjacked
Arc: Part 3 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

With the landing controls shot out, the plane is forced to stay aloft. The hijacker declares that they will fly until they run out of fuel so that they will all die. Yu tries to help the girl who has been shot. The killer beats on him, trying to get him to stop, but Yu ignores the beating and continues to help. This gives a passenger who is a doctor courage to step up and take Yu's place. The girl is bleeding to death. Dozens of passengers suddenly step up and offer their blood for a transfusion, even though the doctor assures them it cannot be done under such circumstances. The ignored hijacker runs into the cockpit and shoots out the altitude controls, out of spite. Now, the plane can't gain altitude and will crash into a building. A number of angry passengers try to stop the madman and end up shot, including a newlywed bride and the father of a small boy. Yu does nothing.

Finally Yu steps up and asks the maniac for his gun. The lights conveniently go out so no one sees the ensuing sequence. The American fires several shots at Yu but the bullets bounce off his chest. (Bet you didn't know that Spider-Man was bullet-proof, did you? Only in the Manga, my friends, only in the Manga.) Only the killer sees this happen. Even now, Yu resists using his spider-powers. Finally, with the plane heading for a building, he has no choice. He changes to Spidey, climbs out on the wing and pushes the main flap down so that the plane can safely land. How does he change with no one seeing him? How does he get outside? How does he get back in? How does he change back to Yu with no one seeing him? How come in a crowded city he has enough time to do this before we hit the building that the plan was heading for? How come the plane can turn to land if it can't turn to avoid a building? Your guess is as good as mine - which is, probably not very good.

Even at this point, Yu has mixed emotions. When the maniac is taken away, Yu learns that his name is George Midoro and he is an American Vietnam War vet who spent four years there and was reassigned to a base in Japan. Today, Midoro flashed back and "started reliving it in his mind". That's all the explanation we get. Everyone who has survived the hijacking is estatic except for Yu. He is still traumatized by his switch to Spidey and he wonders what drives any man to do the crazy things he can do.

General Comments

You know you're in trouble when your villain is a Vietnam War veteran with flashbacks and that isn't even the worst part of the story. Forget about all the little absurdities that take place in this odd tale. Yu's actions alone annoyed me enough to lose interest. I can understand the fear Yu has that his powers will unwittingly bring about misery but how many people does one maniac have to shoot before our hero just reaches out with his spider-speed and takes the gun away from him... at the very least? And now we find out Yu is bullet-proof as well! I don't care how tormented his psyche is. This guy has no excuse. The spider should return and take his powers back from Yu, just on general principles.

To paraphrase our esteemed editor Jonathan Couper, "A bad book is one thing, and a book that doesn't succesfully cross cultures is another - but combine the two and you're really in trouble."

Overall Rating

Half a web. It's humiliating that Marvel should be involved in this stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if the delay in shipping was Marvel trying to see if they could get out of their contract. Shame on Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras for letting this stuff be produced. They should have pulled the plug on this series while it was merely childish and vaguely incomprehensible - before it became offensive and unpleasant.

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