Spider-Man: The Manga #24
Marvel Comics (January, 1999)
WRITER/ARTIST: Ryoichi Ikegami
TRANSLATION: Mutsumi Masuda
RETOUCH/PRODUCTION: Dano Ink Studios
COVER COLORS/SEPARATIONS: Bill Anderson
EDITOR: Dan Nakrosis
The secretary wasn’t just Takao’s friend, she was his girlfriend and wants him to come back to her. Using his spider-sense, Yu tracks down the Winter Woman and runs into Takao. He learns that the woman is subconsciously using her power through her heartbreak and is not intentionally responsible for the deaths around her. Takao decides that the humane thing would be to kill her, but when he’s found dead by his own blade Yu suits up as Spider-Man. Unable to kill her himself he’s forced to watch as she opts to kill herself to spare the pain to others.
What they got right: Ikegami is taking the theme of power and responsibility in a different direction from how it’s usually used and this story does so well enough, or at least this issue does at the end. The Winter Woman takes responsibility for her actions, subconscious or not, and it plays into Yu’s fears as Spider-Man of misusing his powers and causing misery as well.
What they got wrong: However, where Peter Parker decided to use his powers to help others Yu only seems to do so by force of the situation. His spider-sense allows her to track and see the results of the Winter Woman’s powers so he has to investigate out of a sense of…conscience I guess. He doesn’t put on the Spider-Man costume until the end and then it seems unnecessary since it doesn’t really change anything. He doesn’t even use the web-shooters to stop the woman’s suicide. For that matter he doesn’t do anything to save the lives of the driving couple or the drunk in the subway either.
What I think overall: I wonder if Winter Woman is supposed to be a mutant, as the X-Men manga was also being translated around this time and lasted about as long. I think it also went unfinished but not being into the X-Men that much I didn’t read it. As a superhero story it really doesn’t work. It still feels closer to Ikegami’s usual horror stories, and while there is a trace to horror in Peter’s life (even debuting in a horror comic) the superhero seems to be more and more of an afterthought as this series goes on. Maybe that’s why the series ended before the full manga could be translated, as Spider-Fans were maybe looking for an alternative take on Spider-Man and just got a horror comic where the hero dresses as Spider-Man now and then.