My Hero Academia Volume 1 by Hohei Horikoshi
So Viz has one hilarious send-up of the superhero genre in One-Punch Man. I was curious to see how the more mainstream and shonen take on the superhero genre would read. My Hero Academia seems to be gunning more for traditional western superhero genre, with the issue numbering rectangle on the top left of the cover just as you would expect from an American comic.
The set-up for My Hero Academia also reminded me of Tiger & Bunny a bit, in the way that super villains and superheroes are treated like an extension of celebrity culture. Over 80 percent of the world’s population has unusual abilities, or “quirks”. Like most shonen heroes, Izuku Midoriya is nothing special. He’s unusual in his ordinariness, as he is one of the few kids in his class at school who has no abilities. He’s picked on and bullied by the other kids in his class, but he’s determined to get into the hero training program somehow. Izuku has a fateful encounter with the superhero All Might, who looks like a slightly better proportioned Rob Liefeld character.
It turns out that after All Might uses his power, his muscles deflate and he becomes a skeletal creature who suffers from a variety of physical problems. He can only sustain his power for three hours a day before he reverts into his normal form. All Might decides that it is time to pass along his power to a new person, and he picks Izuku, after witnessing Izuku take on a super villain with nothing but the determination to save someone else. Izuku is a pretty typical shonen hero in his determination to become a hero, but his immediate reaction when he sees someone in danger is to sacrifice himself. Although Izuku might have All Might’s power as a legacy, he has no idea how to control it.
Ikuzu winds up going to hero training school along with his school bully, and meets some other kids who are also determined to be heroes. Izuku’s lack of control of his new powers causes him to perform heroic acts with just his fingertip, because the power is too much for him. There’s a lot of set-up and story packed into this first volume, so I’m actually interested to see what happens next once all the characters and background are established. Horikoshi switches between different styles of characture with ease, and the contrast between All Might’s heroic and ordinary form is funny. Ikuzu spends most of this volume looking either incredibly hopeful and enthusiastic or absolutely terrified. The action scenes were for the most part easy to follow, but some of the paneling was a bit cluttered at times, and I think occasionally the art suffered a bit from being shrunk down from the original magazine format it was serialized in. My Hero Academia was quirky enough to appeal to me, and I’m generally picky about shonen series. I’ll see if the next few volumes continue to hold up well.