It has taken dedication to keep up with Spider-Man: The Manga. Originally on a biweekly schedule, the series has disappeared for months at a time as it has gone through what I assume to be its death-throes. Halfway through this story of the evil Spidey, a drought of over two months occurred. Then two issues showed up together, on the same day. (Those two issues also showed up with the same cover, depicting artwork not found in the interior; issue #29's cover was more of a close-up but still the same illustration. Both covers offer the come-on to "Win this Joe Madeira artwork". Desperate times make for desperate measures though I would think, if they really wanted to sell copies, they would have tried a slogan like, "Not really Spider-Man but no Aunt May, no Gathering of Five, no Howard Mackie in any issue!" or "It isn't any less Spidey than Chapter One, people!")
Ah well, it's probably all moot now. After another wait of a few months, issue #30 finally appeared (and then #31 a week later) but the series is clearly on its last legs. (Marvel stopped soliciting for it in Previews magazine with issue #37.) So, how's it going out? With a bang or a whimper? Read on.
|Retouching and Production:||Dano Ink Studios|
There has been a terrible accident. A train has derailed resulting in hundreds of casualties, people badly in need of medical attention. One young man is dying. He has been brought to surgery but nothing can be done without blood transfusions. Unfortunately, the man has AB blood and there isn't enough on hand to help. But then, another young man steps forward and tells the doctors that he is also type AB. The doctors confirm it but have no time to check for any other peculiarities of the donor's blood. So Yu Kormori, the Amazing Manga Spider-Man donates his blood, rife with his spider-abilities, to the dying young man. There is a wonderful full-page illo of a dozen images of Spidey's masked face swirling in a fog above Yu's head that conveys this. In fact, the entire blood transfusion sequence is more compelling than anything that is going on these days in the regular Spider-books. But I digress.
Two days later an attractive young woman comes to visit Yu at home. She introduces herself as Yukiko Kitano, the sister of the man who received the transfusion. The patient is making a miraculous recovery, much to the surprise of his doctors. With all the people who died in the train wreck, Yukiko wants Yu to know that he saved her brothers' life and that her grateful brother would like to meet him. Yu is immediately smitten by Yukiko who reminds him of Rumi "who passed away". (Rumi passed away? When did that happen?)
Yu goes to visit Mitsuo in the hospital. The patient turns out to be a reckless young man who doesn't think twice about kicking three admiring girls out of his room, smoking in the hospital, and embarassing his sister by telling Yu in Yukiko's presence that "my sister told me you were handsome. I see it's true". Yu gets a bad feeling about his act of kindness.
Two days later (and only five days since the accident) Mitsuo is out of the hospital and driving around in a sleek-looking car. He offers Yu a ride, then tells him he borrowed the car from a girl-friend of his. "She's ugly but her family is loaded", Mitsuo says. "She wanted to give me a get-well present. It sounded good to me, so I took it. I kicked the girl out and took the car." Yu's expressions of sympathy for the girl don't faze Mitsuo at all.
Mitsuo drives to downtown Tokyo. He takes Yu to a bar where he picks up two girls. But out in the parking lot, four men wait for Mitsuo. They have been brought there by the girl who owns the car. The men knock Mitsuo down with a few punches, bloodying his nose and mouth. Then the young woman steps in, saying "I can't believe you took my car and picked up other girls!" A defiant Mitsuo spits blood on the hood of the car and says, "But I didn't want to drive a nice car like this with an ugly woman like you. It'd be a shame if I wasn't with a beautiful girl." The young woman throws her purse so that it strikes Mitsuo in the head and orders her thugs to "Beat him!!"
This is a novel story line that surprisingly Marvel U.S. has never used. That's got to be worth something. Like, four webs.
A sidenote here: The story is technically flawed. If a man has type AB blood (specifically AB+) they have the rarest of all blood types, but are the universal RECEIVER of blood. That means, they could get a transfusion from ANYBODY. If they had Type O, they would need another Type O person to give blood to them. But, there are usually plenty Type O individuals. -Mike Fichera