Spider-Man: The Manga #8
Marvel Comics (April, 1998)
WRITER/ARTIST: Mutsumi Masuda & C.B. Cebulski
RETOUCHING/PRODUCTION: Dan Nakrosis
COVER DESIGN: Jeffery Huang
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
The hit campaign on Spider-Man continues. Desperate to clear his name and stop the Kangaroo, Yu makes the same mistake Peter always makes and goes to work for the guy trying to destroy his alter ego, taking the job of getting pictures of Kangaroo and Spider-Man fighting. Using seed money to buy a motorcycle, Yu meets up with Araki and some others who also have motorcycles. They think he’s joining their race but he’s trying to find the Kangaroo. What they find instead is a city gone mad as they try to evacuate, not caring who gets hurt, including Araki and his lady friend, who needs to get to the hospital after a hit and run. Yu manages to get her through the panic to a hospital where he learns Kangaroo accidentally stole a vial of a dangerous bacteria. The publisher continues to put the blame on Spider-Man, who is now even more determined to capture the villain.
What they got right: What this part of the story lacks in superheroics, the result of anime pacing translated to a regular US comic, it makes up for in setting up the latest problem. Yu becomes a bit more proactive in trying to clear his name and stop Kangaroo.
What they got wrong: Look, I know this the Japanese take on Spider-Man and the unnamed (at least in the translation) Joho newspaper publisher is Ikegami’s take on J. Jonah Jameson but the analog is going a bit far. When Peter went to work for Jameson he wasn’t as hard core anti-Spidey as he would become. This publisher is going so hard against Japanese Spider-Man that even Jameson would tell him to tone it down. Yu even realizes how dumb it was to take the job with this guy once he has his motorcycle.
What I think overall: On it’s own this would not be the best comic to start on put as part of the story arc it works well. This is the problem with trying to fit the manga into a US style comic book and a digest, even of just an arc if not the multiple arcs in the untranslated one I have, would have been a better presentation. Marvel was releasing this weekly along with an X-Men manga and I can see why it didn’t have the chance to complete. They should have worked with Viz or something and did this right.