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One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 Kindle & comiXology
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|Length: 200 pages||Age Level: 12 - 17||Grade Level: 7 - 12|
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What is it?
One-Punch Man is basically a "meta" story, often reflecting on tropes of the superhero genre and making fun of them in a smart way. In the first fight in the comics, a villain is stomping around town until our hero saves a girl from his clutches. The villain asks who is this man who interferes and One-Punch Man says.... drumroll please... "someone who is a hero for fun". The villain screams in outrage, that's now how a superhero backstory is supposed to work! He then goes into his own backstory, how he was created from the pollution of man and he's Earth's vaccine against the human race (which is probably the author's take on the backstory of Godzilla). The resulting fight is deflated, of course, with one punch. This is the central gag. The superhero genre, from comic books to movies, takes itself a little too seriously and it's time to take the whole genre down a peg.
No seriously, what is it?
One-Punch takes its premise and runs with it, asking the ultimate question of the superhero genre- what if your superhero is too powerful? Instead of trying to invent monsters or situations that can defeat One-Punch and resulting in increasingly complex layers of nonsense, the meat of the story is more often about how Saitama (that's the real name of One-Punch) is just bored and depressed by his new life. He yearns for a real challenge, he dreams of ultimate fights, but the moment a villain looks promising he defeats that villain with a move like "series of normal punches". It's a human story, about what would happen if you were to get everything you ever wanted, and would getting the things you want actually make you happy. Sure, there are plenty of tropes along the way. There's an evil organization, there's a robot doctor, there's an increasingly powerful group of villains- essentially setting up a lone of dominos that will all go down in "One Punch", and it's glorious to read.
If you're completely lost, if you "don't get it", that's okay. Maybe One-Punch isn't for you. But for legions of fans who grew up on Superman comics, and people who were caught up in the ultra-realism and grittiness of Batman and the Dark Knight comics and movie, this is a sorely needed refresher for the genre. Sometimes it's just the right time for a certain concept, and that's definitely the case here.
One-Punch is beautifully drawn, with a range of art styles employed to emphasize each situation. One-Punch Man himself is often drawn with a very simple egg-shaped head, to emphasize how disarming his presence can be. Villains and action scenes meanwhile, are often animated in excruciating detail, showing real dedication from the artist. The jokes are thick and excellent, and often accentuated by the art. In one example, Saitama is going about his daily life as a news report talks about the origins of the monsters and the government response, and the text goes blurry as he falls asleep from being bored and not caring about the backstory (again, fans of the genre will probably "get it"). And you should get this, today. Highly recommended to fans of anything to do with superheroes.
The action starts with a battle that - predictably - ends with one punch, before going back in time three years to a humorous escapade which ends up with the main character's first battle against a monster. See, each chapter is called "Punch 1" or "Punch 2," and each chapter ends with him hitting a monster or enemy and stopping it with one punch. It reminds me of my old days in karate, where we sparred under "Ikken Hissatsu" rules, meaning, "one punch, one kill." Of course, we'd do best two out of three, so there was a zombie angle.
For a manga with such humble origins, it has incredibly detailed artwork, most likely computer aided. I like how even the sound effects are redrawn in English. It's a very good, very funny manga that's a pleasure to read. The pages slip by very easily, reminiscent of One Piece. This is an excellent first issue, although the quality does seem to wax and wane. I'm going to read future volumes. The only question is whether I'll buy one every month or so, or buy every single one and try to power through them at $4.49 each on Kindle. Good. ****1/2
Step 2: Start to read OPM.
Step 3: Amazing art.
Step 4: Comedy gold.
Step 5: Realize it's so good.
Step 6: Badass characters.
Step 7: Cool story development.
Step 8: Intense action sequences.
Step 9: Tear through 10+ volumes faster than a crack addict.
Step 10: Review eagerly while awaiting next installment.
This is an amusing send up of action/Shounen manga, taking standard elements to their extremes and featuring a main character that has no equal and is so strong he’s bored. Outside of the over the top build up to fights completely described by the manga’s title, ridiculous amounts of emphasis are placed on odd things for comic effect both during the fights and when spotlighting One Punch Man’s past. His real worries are things like forgetting to do chores, side characters wear shirts labeling them generically (like one that reads “school child”), etc. The entire manga is built around how far absurdity can be pushed.
One Punch Man is a good parody, although I don’t know how much I could read before the humor gets stale. Fun first volume though.
Most recent customer reviews
Beautiful graphics. Excellent quality printing.