Spider-Man: The Manga #4
Marvel Comics (February, 1998)
WRITER/ARTIST: Ryoichi Ikegami
TRANSLATION: Mutsumi Masuda & C.B. Cebulski
RETOUCHING/PRODUCTION: Dan Nakrosis
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
A new storyline begins as a man is attacked by giant lizards in some jungle. Later he returns home to an overjoyed wife, but that wife is later killed by a lizard monster. The same monster attacks a pharmaceutical plant, destroying a new drug. The creator has his notes back home and they’re planning to start over, the owner blaming the “robot” on his competitors. Meanwhile, Yu is still upset about having to kill Rumiko’s brother, but his friend (wait, Yu actually has a friend?) Araki tries to get him over missing her by renting motorcycles. Araki’s dad works at the company that was attacked but he’s rooting for the lizard, and invites Yu to his house.
What they got right: If somehow you haven’t guessed (in which case you are off on your Spidey lore) this is the alternate origin for the Lizard. I haven’t read this in years but I have a feeling of what’s coming and based on the more horror-esque take Ikegami is taking it’s not a bad origin. I have no expectations of this being a proper adaptation given where it’s coming from so that’s how I’m running with this series. I noticed looking at the raw manga that they didn’t translate the sound effects for the scene where the man meets up with his wife and later she’s killed by the Lizard. There’s no dialog in either version but there are no sound effects in the Marvel translation and frankly I think it actually works for the creepy factor.
What they got wrong: It could just be me but this feels like a shorter version than the previous issues, like there are less pages. I didn’t do a count mind you, and the others felt shorter than normal. That’s what happens when you adapt a Japanese comic to an American layout. Manga is released a bit differently than a US comic, which is why manga in the US usually comes out in trade form. However, the story does seem to take a lot of time, which again can be blamed on the manga layout. There’s an odd moment where in one panel someone comes into the room and the next panel has the guy supposedly repeating the report of the Lizard attacking the factory. Meanwhile the scene where the man is attacked by the giant lizards takes a really long time in comparison to the layout.
What did I think overall: A fairly decent start to the story. We’ll see where it goes.