Comics : Spider-Man: The Manga #30

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spider-Man: The Manga Eighth Arc"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

This is the final part in the final arc. There's one single issue (#31) left to follow after this tale.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: The Manga #30
Mar 1999 : SM Title
Summary: The Evil Spider-Man
Arc: Part 6 of "Spider-Man: The Manga Eighth Arc"
Editor:  Dan Nakrosis
Writer/Artist:  Ryoichi Ikegami
Retouching and Production:  Dano Ink Studios
Translation:  Mutsumi Masuda
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Review

Yu finally professes his love to Yukiko and fights Mitsuo, as Spider-Man, "to the death". The consequences for all three of our characters are not very pretty. 'Nuff said.

In General...

If you have only read these issues bit by bit as they came out, now is the time to sit down and read all six of them at once. It won't take long and you'll find it rewarding. For all of the obvious melodrama, Ikegami has infused his three main characters with a complexity rarely seen in the Mackie era of needless guest-stars and "returning Sandman to evil ignoring all previous characterization" storylines.

You can see the tragedy coming a mile away what with Yukiko's fragility, Yu's compromises, and Mitsuo's thirst for power and revenge. Still, by the time an anguished Yukiko tells Yu, "If you want me, you'll have to pay me.", and Yu unsympathetically yells at a falling-to-his-death Mitsuo, "You're a fool! You idiot!!!!", the melodrama and predictability seem irrelevant because it all works, partly because of the reflections of Yu in the doppelganger aspects, partly because of the sweetness of the doomed romance but mostly because of the relentless characterization. I was once told (not that there aren't exceptions) that comedy occurs when a character changes and tragedy occurs when a character cannot. Certainly, all three of these people are stuck in their own visions of themselves and the tragedy results from their inability to perceive or change that. Even a character as hateful as Mitsuo earns our sympathy because we are allowed insight into his flaws.

As a sidelight to all this, the anti-pollution theme is hard-hitting and persuasive. The owners of Dai Nippon are never portrayed as anything other then greedy and selfish. In spite of all of Mitsuo's vicious and hurtful tactics, it is interesting that Ikegama emphasizes that this militant version of Spider-Man is admired by the people in a way that Yu never was. (And Yu is well aware of it, too.) Too bad the series is going to be shut down before we ever really see the consequences of this. Too bad it's being shut down right in the midst of its best stories.

Overall Rating...

Far from perfect, frequently dissonant, miles apart from Peter Parker. But regardless, meritous enough to earn a respectible four webs. You think maybe they're cancelling the wrong Spider-Man?