Created by Tamon Ohta, Original Concept by Stan Lee and Bones
Vertical, 192 pp
Rating: Not Rated
The second volume of Tamon Ohta’s Heroman manga picks up where the first volume left off. Joey and Heroman continue to grow in power and fend off attacks from the Skrugg’s advanced guard, but will they have what it takes to protect Central City when the main invasion force arrives?
This volume brings the themes to the forefront, and asks the question, what makes a hero? The entire volume, including the two stories which are seemingly unrelated to the Skrugg plot, all deal with this idea and the concept of a hero and what it means to be one. It’s a question that young Joey and his rival, Will, wrestle with numerous times. Is it the power that Heroman has that makes Joey a hero? Is it the fiery passion to protect his friends? Is it physical strength? It’s really the central concept for the second volume of the series, and the answer that’s given seems to indicate that there’s a hero within all of us, just itching to get out. Then again maybe it’s that we’re all heroes in our own little ways, even if it’s not particularly flashy. It’s a pretty positive theme and it’s presented in a pretty positive way without every becoming sickly sweet, or feeling too forced. The translation, something that was an issue with the previous volume, sadly continues to be sub par with some incredibly stiff and awkward dialogue scattered throughout. Word is that this will be changing in later volumes, so there’s some light at the end of the tunnel in that regard.
Ohta’s art continues to be pretty solid though not quite amazing. The action scenes, something which felt a little bland in the first volume, seem a little more intense and interesting this time around. This is no doubt partly due to the inclusion of Joey and his allies taking part in them, instead of sitting on the sidelines and watching or barking orders like they had done in the first volume. The team dynamic, particularly between Joey and Heroman make for some interesting twists and visuals to the fights that weren’t there in the first volume. On the downside, the action scenes are still awfully cluttered with speed lines, sound effects, and other visual effects which sometimes obscure the visual action itself.
Heroman continues to carry on with that old school, saturday morning, superhero vibe without coming off as too cheesy or hokey. It’s straight forward and doesn’t attempt to feel edgy, or gritty. It is what it is, does what it does, and as result it continues to be a rather fun tale.
Heroman, Vol. 2 is available from Vertical Inc..