Regardless of the fact that Saitama doesn’t make good on embodying the title of his series for the concluding half of this battle, his fight against Boros is still a marvel of action spectacle. If nothing else, one has to admire the utter balls of ONE and Yusuke Murata to depict the climactic moment of the Saitama vs. Boros fight as a series of TWELVE(!) double-page spreads. They’re followed by a thirteenth two pages later just to drive home how epic Sitama’s battle-ending punch was. American superhero comics may have more depth to their stories and characterizations, but they all pale before “One-Punch Man” in how utterly thrilling its action is to behold on the page.
Once Boros is out of the picture the rebuilding begins in both a physical and storytelling sense. With City A wiped off the map, someone has to take up the job of building it back up. Metal Knight takes up the job, with hints that he and Genos are going to butt heads at some point. Hopefully it’ll go better for him than his (very) brief showdown with Tornado did. I’m also still waiting for someone to smack the taste out of Amai Mask/Handsome Kamen’s mouth after he shows up late to the fight, trolls the other heroes for failing to save the city, and then executes some alien prisoners without a second thought. It’s all great fodder for future storylines and setting them up here helps keep the momentum rolling in the wake of the Boros battle. (Also, the third bonus manga in vol. 7, about a run-in between Saitama and the police, is really kind of perfect in how it shows heroes and police should ultimately act.)
Vol. 8’s main story doesn’t pick up on any of these threads, choosing instead to focus on one of the S-Rank Heroes who didn’t take part in the previous fight. While King is hailed as one of the strongest and most fearsome heroes around, he’s hiding a secret that would bring his career crashing down around him. While some might think that the reasons behind this are a little silly and contrived, I think that the world of “One-Punch Man” is just ridiculous enough to support them. There’s also more setup for a future crisis as the members of the Hero Organization set about recruiting bad guys to help fight it. With all these plot threads to choose from, I hope that vol. 9 picks one and follows through on it. That being said, even if the creators go with a familiar setup like the one vol. 8 leaves off with, I’d be happy with that given their skill with executing familiar superhero stories in a compelling way so far.