Monday Manga Review: One Punch-Man Vol. 1

one-punch-man-vol-1_cA manga series that packs quite the punch!

Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem—he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of superpowered boredom?

From the web to the printed page (and to the screen in an anime) One and Yusuke Murata‘s One Punch-Man definitely delivers a punch in this first volume. For a while now I’ve heard about this manga series and hadn’t taken a look, so it felt like a smart idea to dive into the first volume for a “Manga Monday” review.

I honestly knew very little going in other than it stars a bald-headed character that packs a punch. And after finishing the first volume, I’m not sure there’s a lot more than that. One Punch-Man feels like it has a goal to spoof Western superhero comics and over the top manga. The character literally just walks up to the enemy and punches him.

It’s pretty straight forward, yet there’s still something deeper that can be debated about the series. Is it really about a search for purpose? For challenge? For satisfaction? Or is it just about punching things? It’s hard to say if the series gets much deeper than this since I just read the first volume, but on the surface, it’s not too deep… but could be.

There is a choppy flow to the manga which I wasn’t too keen on. I’m not sure how much of that was the original writing and how much is the translation by John Werry. It’s been years since I could read Japanese, so can’t really say, but it’d be interesting to see how the flow of the narrative differs between the Japanese and English dialogue.

Murata’s art is dynamic though. For as sparse as the dialogue is at times, the art speaks for the story. The power of the punch, the flow of what’s going on, it’s all there in the art. There’s sections where the comic is silent it feels like, but the story of the battle is still conveyed.

The first volume is interesting and I can see the appeal of the manga. There’s a goofy simplicity and innocence to it all that’s entertaining and fun. It’s a quick read, though you’ll linger staring at the art, and most importantly it’s entertaining and has me wanting to check out more.

Story: One Art: Yusuke Murata
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Viz Media provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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