One-Punch Man vols. 9-10



It should go without saying that when you’re trying to build up a new villain for your hero to fight, it probably isn’t a good idea to have said hero incidentally take him out with one punch before they have their big showdown.  Most series aren’t “One-Punch Man,” however.  If there’s one thing linking these two volumes together, it’s the rise of the title’s next big villain Garo.  He’s the kind of bad guy who grew up idolizing other bad guys on TV and was frustrated by how they were always thwarted by heroes at the very end.  Now he’s out to make his mark on the world by hunting heroes through the Hero Association’s ranks all the way up to Class S.  Garo proves to be quite good at that too and his brash, personal approach to this helps set him apart as a villain after the series had previously taken things as far as they can go (power-wise) with the interstellar threat of the last couple volumes.

 

So what does it mean when he’s taken out by Saitama without a second thought partway through vol. 10?  Well, I don’t think it’s going to impede his ongoing hunt through the ranks of the Association.  If anything, I’d bet that creators ONE and Yusuke Murata are setting up Garo’s big moment of crisis after he’s started to tear into the Class S heroes.  He’ll be basking in triumph after taking out King or one of the other big guns, and then “Bald Cape” from Class B shows up to put him in his place.  Just what is that going to do to Garo’s worldview then?  I’m interested in finding out, and if the creators wind up heading off in a direction I can’t predict then so much the better.

 

As for Saitama’s actual presence in these volumes, it mainly consists of the superhero nonchalantly enforcing a general kind of morality about how things in this genre, and real life by extension, should function.  Whether it’s explaining to Miss Blizzard why factions in the Hero Association are a bad thing or showing how fashion sense should never take a backseat to skill, his exploits really cut through to what makes superhero fiction so appealing.  While “One-Punch Man” has never lacked for spectacle, that kind of simplicity usually winds up being its strongest asset.

jason@glickscomicpicks.com


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