The first volume of My Hero Academia was amazing. It took a very western superhero approach, but did it with the Japanese style. And it did it well. Now that the ground floor has been laid it was time to see what Midoriya and his creator Kohei Horikoshi were truly made of. Because that’s the challenge with any story that has a great initial catalyst concept. Executing it to where you don’t rely on that cool concept the entire time. To be up front, there is a bit of reliance on Midoriya’s backstory of being the heir to All Might’s power. Until the second big arc that is. That arc is both great for Midoriya’s character, but then also for removing him slightly from All Might’s shadow.
The first half of the book is spent with Midoriya and the other students going through All Might’s first training class in which they’re broken off into teams and one side is the hero and the other side is the villain. Here we get to see the student’s powers and this plays into the second story. We also see Midoriya beat his rival who is still a little super villainous if you ask me. This could go the way of Xavier and Magneto or they could just be two heroes that never get along. I’m hoping for the former myself.
As for the second story, the students are brought to a very cool and interesting training facility only to be jumped by a legion of villains. There’s a lot going on at this point and all of it is worth reading yourself. There is a cliffhanger, but it’s rather different from a normal cliffhanger and I loved that. It leaves you wondering what will happen next and the clues dropped in this issue don’t look good for our heroes.
The first training scene took a bit longer to get through than I expected and wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped it would be. It’s fairly typical of the situation which was a shame. The second half though, really stepped up the character development and go over the fact that Midoriya was destroying himself when using his powers. There’s also a lot of supporting character development making this part of the volume really stand out. The first part played it a bit too safe in my opinion, but then it bounced back towards the end.
The art work is of course great. That’s the biggest difference to me about Japanese comics and American comics, you must have great art. Not that different styles can’t be represented, which is why are comics are so diverse and great, but you’re less likely to see bad art on a major title which is unfortunately something you’ll see every week on the American market. Overall the art is very strong and the storytelling is there to support the action and narrative.
I still really like this superhero story. It’s almost sad that I had to go to the Japanese market to find a superhero book to enjoy, but that’s the way it is. I’m not complaining. My Hero Academia continues to be a fresh take on the genre and something really entertaining for those willing to give it a chance.
Creator: Kohei Horikoshi Publisher: Viz/Shonen Jump Comics Price: $9.99 Release Date: 11/3/15 Format: TPB; Print/Digital