Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #29

Fair warning: I used to keep spoilers out of my Weekly Shonen Jump reviews: I'm not doing that anymore.  If you aren't caught up with the titles I usually talk about and are hyper-sensitive to spoilers, make sure you catch up before you read.

My Hero Academia has cemented its place as the flagship young series of the current WSJ lineup.  It was always sort of implicit that All Might didn't just figuratively pass on his power to Midoriya: he literally passed the power on, and in a complete sort of way.  Finally, it seems that the battle with All For One has sapped him of the last flickers of One For All.  The battle with All For One was something the series was obviously going to build towards, but how quickly it got there was pretty striking.  Horikoshi had no intention of making that a final showdown; instead, he treated it as a means of passing the torch and putting the weight of the series squarely on the shoulders of the Shigaraki-Midoriya generation of villains and heroes.

I can't say enough good things about what Horikoshi has done with this series over the past few months.  The ambush to kidnap Bakugo was probably his most intensely and consistently excellently rendered series of pages yet.  Getting to depict all of the life-or-death action in the dark forest brought out the best in Horikoshi's dramatic inking abilities.  Through all of it, his detailed lines never lost a step, and his layouts remained varied.

Wsj29_coverRescuing Bakugo proved to be a much shorter set of chapters, but therein lies quite a bit of what makes Horikoshi such a capable storyteller.  He is willing to front-end-load a lot of the drama and intrigue of a major plot arc so that simple but massively dramatic confrontations can take place in a way that allows his art to shine.  In other words, Horikoshi had an opportunity that I think many others would have taken to really stretch out and put a lot of time into the All Might vs. All For One confrontation; instead, he made it equally about the kids and the generations who came before, all by chipping away at these plot threads in the arcs leading up to this massive battle.  All Might has become so iconic for the series' readers that his final moments of heroism in his super muscle-y form carried as much weight for us as they did for the onlookers.  Something has been lost for this series, and the amount of pressure that is now on Midoriya will bring his saga to new heights.  The fact that others now know he carries One For All means that all that pressure will be coupled with (hopefully) a lot of invaluable support from his peers.  Seeing everybody rise to bear the hero torch of their generation makes this series an absolute must-read for fans of the hero genre of comics.

The crazy thing about reviewing Jump right now is that I want to spend ages on Academia for how outstanding this last arc has been.  It's not that often that you get to witness a story this early on reach such a critical moment in its existence.  Food Wars has taken a similar pivotal turn in that Erina has embraced her leadership role and is going to put the "divine tongue" to use in bettering the first-years.  While this is also a big deal for this series, it just doesn't feel as dramatic or important as the turn Academia has taken.  Some of this obviously owes to Food Wars' more levity-laden tone and the fact that the fate of restaurants in Japan is a markedly less dramatic end result compared to villains killing the shit out of a bunch of people.  At the same time, though, it points to the fact that Food Wars has really been dragging things out.  While Academia steadily foreshadowed things and then quickly crescendo'd to the series' biggest moment, Food Wars had a lot more heavy-handed foreshadowing and flashback use, and for a longer period of time.

Black Clover is also at a critical juncture, but it's all action.  This week's chapter was one of the more clever little fight sequences in awhile, as the Eye of the Midnight Sun goons continue to tear apart the Black Bulls.  We get to see the always-morphing Grey's true form, which was a great gag to end the chapter on; but, we also get to see Grey use her transformation powers in a really clever way.  Tabata continues to show he is unafraid to inject humor into dire situations, and goodness gracious is he good at putting together some brutal fight sequences.

Finally, in One Piece, as we all sort of figured, Big Mom's true nature is revealed.  As has been a theme from the very beginning of this series, the thing that separates the truly villainous figures from everyone else is their complete disloyalty and disrespect for the people who trust them.  It's a constant lesson that Oda teaches us over and over.  Each circumstance is so unique and strange in a way that only Oda could give us, though, so it never really gets old (or at least, it hasn't yet for me).  When an emperor of the sea has a sweet tooth and the power to straight-up consume someone's lifespan (not to mention her willingness to consume an entire section of her own capital), things are looking at least as scary as they were against Doffy, if not even more so.

[su_box title="Score: 5/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Weekly Shonen Jump #29
Writers: Various
Artists: Various
Publisher: Viz Media
Price: $0.99
Release Date: 6/20/16
Format: Anthology; Digital