One-Punch Man continues to be fucking brilliant. Depending on your genre preference, I don’t think there’s a better manga out there. In my last review, I mentioned that writer One was threading storylines and at that moment there were still a few options as to where the story could go. We get the answer to that question in this volume, but I think it’s more complex than it seems. To explain, I said that he was laying the groundwork for several storylines that would continue to play out over the course of the series, but now I may be wrong. I think that One might be threading all of these stories into one overall arc and that they’ll tie together in the near future.
Point in case the story picks up with Garo, the former top student of the old dude that’s always trying to recruit Saitama and Genos. He beats up and or kills everyone at the villain meeting and leaves to get stronger to face King. Who we know is a fraud that’s been living off of Saitama’s feats. Speaking of which they’re friends now and play video games against each other, though there’s no hint about King’s choice of either revealing himself or getting stronger.
The story then takes some time to introduce Tornado’s older sister who rules the B-Class as she comes to get Saitama to join her gang of heroes or to beat him up. You can imagine how this goes. Actually, you can’t because it’s way better and funnier than anything I imagined.
There’s plenty more to read and enjoy, but it’s clear that One is just getting started with this story arc. It doesn’t feel like typical shonen in that it’s drawn out to fill pages, but rather the story is just that damn big. The characters being introduced feel as if they have a purpose that’s yet to be revealed to us. One also manages to make you concerned about Genos, if you weren’t already. We’ll see how it turns out obviously, but he’s getting further and further from the character we first meet.
Not surprising, the artwork from Yusuke Murata continues to be something greater than fantastic. Whatever that is, he’s it. His work is incredible. He stays true to the style that manga is known for, but you can tell that he’s so talented that he could take on any style he wanted. In some ways, he reminds me of Jose Juan Ryp’s artwork in that it’s incredibly detailed and enjoyable because of the detail. Murata has an advantage of Ryp in that he’s a better visual storyteller and able to mix humor into his artwork.
The last thing I will say about this volume is that you get to learn what Genos and Saitama’s official hero names are… I won’t spoil it for you, but it is probably one of the best things in this volume.
If you’re not reading One-Punch Man, and you enjoy either A) comics, B) manga because you can’t just acknowledge that comics are comics, then you are missing out on the best superhero story being published at the moment. Marvel and DC wish they could produce something this fantastic and the kicker is that it’s a shared universe all within one series. It’s going to be a long wait until volume 10.
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One-Punch Man vol. 9 Writer: One Artist: Yusuke Murata Publisher: Viz Media Price: $9.99 Format: TPB; Print/Digital