Interesting things are afoot in this volume. You can feel the creators catching their breath after the intense buildup and payoff of the previous volume/story arc and so in many ways this volume is starting the process over. There is one spoiler I will address which… it is so small, but it is the lynchpin of the volume, so it needs to be discussed. You have been warned. King is a fraud. He is the guy that’s accidently taken credit for all of Saitama’s deeds before becoming a professional hero. While reading, you had to suspect that someone was getting the credit, but in a hilarious twist writer, One decided the same man would accidently be there five times. Now King is just trying to buy video games and not be recognized, but because of his moniker, he does stop some crimes by just being there. Until a robot programmed to kill him or collect data on him shows up.
No joke, though it is funny. Genos handles the robot while Saitama follows King back to his apartment and plays video games with him. There’s something funny about King as monsters continue to find and attack him no matter where he is. Saitama calls him out for being a fraud, but in a kind way. Then, instead of revealing it to the world, just asks him a simple question. The rest of the volume is spent building up a previously mentioned storyline, and it was okay. There could have been more pages given to this part of the story, but I am sure we will keep seeing this more and more as it looks to be the next big conflict of the story.
As I said in my previous review, One is talented when it comes to threading storylines. The real treat is you cannot tell which one he is going to pull to the forefront. Even know, I am not 100% sure the event above will be the central conflict. It could end up being secondary. What’s noticeable and welcomed with this volume is that while Saitama returns to some familiar habits from the early part of the series, One highlights his growth as a character with his conversation with King. It is also a prime example of why he is a fantastic hero character. Frankly put, there should be more characters and heroes like Saitama in comics.
Here is the part in which I gush about Yusuke Murata’s artwork. As I said in my last review, the latter half of the book, while still great, wasn’t as detailed as the big battle. It was a necessary break if you will. That small break has returned Murata to form in this volume because everything is beautiful and wonderfully detailed again. The simplest things just look incredible. One scene, in particular, is just a third of the page. It is one panel of a dead giant fucking bird laying on some buildings. It is detailed, beautiful and gives the city personality.
One-Punch Man is arguably the best manga produced this generation. It is shown time and time again that its story and art are on another level compared to the rest of manga out there. If you have yet to read One-Punch Man, this is not a bad place to start. You might be confused on some details mentioned, but overall the creative team offers a jumping on point for new readers that’s actually inviting.
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One-Punch Man vol. 8 Writer: One Artist: Yusuke Murata Publisher: Viz Media Price: $9.99 Format: TPB; Print/Digital