Spider-Man: The Manga #6
Marvel Comics (March, 1998)
WRITER/ARTIST: Ryoichi Ikegami
TRANSLATION: Mutsumi Masuda & C.B. Cebulski
RETOUCHING/PRODUCTION: Dan Nakrosis
COVER DESIGN: Jeffery Huang
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
To save Araki, Yu has chosen to become Spider-Man again. He learns that Araki’s father tried to kill Dr Inumaru to have sole credit on a new medicine culled from an herb in the south pacific. Tossed into a pit of giant lizards, Inumaru managed to survive, move like them, and eventually became able to become the Lizard when stressed. However, he has no control over the form and killed his own wife. Now he plans to throw Araki to the crocodiles at the zoo as revenge but Spider-Man manages to save him. Spider-Man attempts to get through to his friend when he goes into his lizard state but the fight sends Inumaru to the crocs just as he turns back. Araki’s father is please of course but Yu hopes his spider-sense can tell him who the real monster is next time.
What they got right: Sure, we saw what was coming with the revenge plot and Inumaru being the Lizard but this is an rather interesting take versus Dr. Connors in the main universe, a few similarities but also way different. The fight between the Japanese Spider-Man and Lizard are well done, and it does fit in with the horror/superhero merged genre Ikegami is going for.
What they got wrong: However, let’s talk about the Lizard’s origin. You had me until Inumaru starts moving like them so much he has, as he puts it, a “Darwinian change” into the Lizard. Stan Lee admitted that science was not his strong suit and I’m pretty sure even he couldn’t come up with an origin that unbelievable, at least not to the point of actual transformation. You couldn’t toss in a magic pool or some kind of radiation or something?
What I think overall: Dodgy science aside this was a good story and certainly a unique take, that only works because it’s characters through the lens of a different culture. This is a very Japanese take on Spider-Man and thus far a very curious one.