Spider-Man: The Manga #29

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


This is part five of the last big arc in Spider-Man: The Manga. The story could have been wrapped up by now, but that's not how Japanese comic pacing works.

Story Details

  Spider-Man: The Manga #29
Summary: The Evil Spider-Man
Arc: Part 5 of 'Spider-Man: The Manga Eighth Arc' (1-2-3-4-5-6)
Editor: Dan Nakrosis
Writer/Artist: Ryoichi Ikegami
Retouching and Production: Dano Ink Studios
Translation: Mutsumi Masuda

At home, Yu regrets his decision. He wouldn't have let Mitsuo go if he had known about the injuries he had inflicted. Still, he has no wish to expose Mitsuo's identity to the police. He decides the police must catch Mitsuo on their own. "That's their job."

Out on a date, Yukiko tells Yu that Mitsuo has promised her ("right in front of our parent's grave") that he will give up crime. Yu believes that he can stop worrying about Mitsuo and focus on his love for Yukiko. But things are not that simple. One of the security guards dies of his injuries, making the thief a murderer. And Yu comes home to discover his room has been ransacked and his Spider-Man costume and web-shooters are gone.

Soon after, the newpapers declare that "Spider-Man declares war on pollution!!" The new wall-crawler focuses on the old enemies of Mitsuo's father, the Dai Nippon Iron Manufacturing Plant. He covers the tops of smokestacks and blocks sewage drains so the factories are backed up with their own sludge. He leaves banners on the smokestacks that say things like "We are better at destroying the enviroment than we are at making iron." and "We are an immoral company that is polluting nature but we don't regret a thing." While Dai Nippon presses charges and the police have formed "a special team in order to try and catch Spider-Man", many Toyko residents "are applauding Spider-Man's actions".

Later, Spider-Man unexpectedly shows up at a TV studio and gives an anti-pollution interview until he must flee the arriving police. Yu, watching the interview and insecure as ever, thinks, "He looks more like Spider-Man than I do. He's very dignified and respectable... Mitsuo Kitano is a genius... Spider-Man 2 has endeared himself to the people." But he wonders if it is all genuine or if Mitsuo has "some other secret reason for doing all this".

Yu goes to visit Mitsuo to talk about the new Spider-Man but Mitsuo manages to turn the topic of the conversation to his sister. He tells Yu that Yukiko has given up her job at the bar but is so certain that Yu could never care for a "dirty woman" like her that she is on the verge of going insane and is losing her will to live. Mitsuo manipulates Yu into confessing that he loves Yukiko and Yu soon realizes that Mitsuo, as Spider-Man, is manipulating the public as well. Realizing that Mitsuo is more interested in personal revenge against Dai Nippon than any real anti-pollution campaign, Yu fears that Mitsuo "may try to kill the president of Dai Nippon Iron." Donning a spare costume, Yu decides that "Spider-Man One can't avoid facing Spider-Man Two."

General Comments

Not everything rings true in this tale. At one stage, Yu thinks "I won't tell the police where to find Mitsuo, it's their job to find him." Heh, right, aiding and abetting a violent criminal. So much for responsibility. But this isn't Peter Parker, and we can't judge Yu by those standards.

Also, the public's fascination with Spider-Man is a little hard to fathom. Yes, Mitsuo is a master manipulator, but before his taking on the costume, Yu had done almost nothing to deserve public adoration, and Mitsuo performed a number of crimes. Hardly the basis for a sound reputation. That kind of incongruity abounds through every issue of the title's run, and is a permanent drag on the pleasure of reading it. But if you can forgive that, then there's some good stuff underneath.

Overall Rating

Yu's painful mix of violent action and then incomprehensible inaction is a permanent annoyance. But regardless, we do have an interesting story drawing to a challenging conclusion. Four webs.

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