Saturday, January 19, 2013

CBR New Mangaverse

Time to check back the Marvel Mangaverse in what was the last stories published for that universe so far!

For more stories of AMAZING FANTASY check those out!!

Comic title: New Mangaverse: The Rings of Fate
Art by Tommy Ohtsuka
Story by C.B. Cebulski

Published by Marvel Comics
From 2006
Lineup Marvel Mangaverse
Format: Digest trade paperback collecting issues #1-5 of the New Mangaverse.

First of all...what is Marvel Mangaverse?
The Mangaverse was Marvel's original attempt at cashing in on the manga phenomenon.
There's been various interpretations of the Mangaverse, they sort of follow each other story-wise, but the whole concept of the brand is every time played with and totally different.

The original Marvel Mangaverse was launched in 2000.
It was mostly drawn and imagined by artist Ben Dunn. This first Mangaverse was a very Americanized hybrid Manga/Comics series (some call the style "fusion"), things were very exaggerated and stereotypically Japanized.
Antman was a musician, most mutants were monsters, catgirls, etc.
This series made itself popular by specially featuring a lot of mechas, anime-inspired robots. Iron Man was a giant robot and there was a lot of mechas directly resembling those from Mazinger Z and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
This entire on-going series was collected in trade paperback as Marvel Mangaverse Vol. 1 & 2.

Next were produced various mini-series focused on several characters, with some bookends opening and closing it all in 2002.
Young artists clearly drawing influences from both mangas and animes they watched in their childhood were able to let their art style and improvise upon what was done before.
The style was again sort of fusion, but more cartoonified instead of stereotypical.
New characters that had been missed earlier were introduced such as Spider-man and the Fantastic Four. Others were reimagined, their appearances modified from the earlier Mangaverse to make them less cliché.
These were collected as the following Vol. 3, 4, etc.

Finally in 2005 the Mangaverse was brought back one last time.
The third iteration of the Mangaverse was titled New Mangaverse.
It was actually drawn by a manga artist this time, Tommy Ohtsuka.
This time some characters were once again reimagined, the previous "super deformed" chibi style from the second series was dropped for a more natural Japanese style, though somehow influenced by Evangelion again.
It was published as a mini-series, closing some old plots left open and opening new ones for the future.

This graphic novel reptrints that last take of Mangaverse, the story arc dubbed "The Rings of Fate".

It is mostly a Spider-man story though also a continuation of several Mangaverse comics.
The story builds upon what was already published in the Mangaverse but still is easy enough to pick up if, like me, you haven't read anything from the rest of the Mangaverse. (I'm only familiar with Spidey)
The characters are all re-interpreted after all.

The story picks up a bit after Legend of the Spider Clan.
Spidey's been training Mary Jane in the arts of ninjustu, now under the alias Spider-woman, a superhero like him.
But they've been keeping a low profile.
Several heroes have already disappeared, it seems someone is targeting superheroes just like someone made super-villains disappear not long ago.

After an attack on Dr. Strange and Tigra it is revealed ninjas are behind all this.
Ninjas from The Hand to be specific.

Anyways, Pete and MJ are ambushed by some of those ninjas. The Black Cat arrives just on time to save the duo.
After a scene like out of Love Hina or your typical rom-com manga, Black Cat brings our heroes to Tony Stark to access the situation.
The Fantastic Four are no more, only Torch is left alive.
With Wolverine brought back to life, it seems they're all that is left in the world...

Behind all this is one enemy of the original Iron Man (in the Mangaverse Iron Man was first a giant robot of the Avengers and then Toni Stark, Tony's sister) - The Mandarin!
And not the Mandarin himself. He's been long defeated actually...
But that foe's unique weapons, his Ten Magic Rings!

Now they are used by Deathstrike. And by Elektra and her Hand ninjas.
Our Avengers try to go against those formidable foes. But they're already incredibly dangerous usually. With those rings? The odds seem pretty insurmountable...

But who's really behind all this?!

The story isn't exactly a mystery title. It's much more straightforward.
But the plot is fast paced and the characters very fun.

First, the writing is really fun.
C.B. Cebulski is back behind the series.
He was one who helped launch the original Marvel Mangaverse as writer and consultant.
Mangaverse X-Men was the comic (a one-shot) that launched is career at Marvel, and since then he became an editor.
New Mangaverse is his return to writing duties.
I knew the characters and you really see he had fun with the dialogs, with Wolverine's lines for example.

This time it's an actual manga artist on the art, and it really shows.
The "manga style" expressions and jokes aren't as forced as before, it's more organic and comes naturally.
Tommy Ohtsuka worked on Slayers and Rescue Angels.
He made the characters his and doesn't draw such "super deformed" characters as the previous artists on this universe did before. Spidey as more classic proportions, Wolverine and Iron Man have bigger builts, the ladies look, err, "lady-like".
For some reason, there's a lot of inspiration from Evangelion going on. Wolverine comes out of what seems to be an "entry plug". Black Cat looks like a skimpy Rei Ayanami. And Peter Parker appears to look a tad bit like Shinji Ikari.
But it's more a question of style than anything else really. Just having fun with the rules that were established back in the original Mangaverse.

Overall, it's a pretty fun and original mini-series.

It's very new readers friendly, you don't "need" to read any previous Marvel Mangaverse (or any other comics really) before.
The characters are classic archetypes from Marvel that have already been reinterpreted so many times, movies included. This is just a shonen manga-esque interpretation.
A pretty fun one at that.

I gotta say, I love how they manage to adapt the Marvel MC2 (the Spider-girl's universe) "Captain America" into this story.
Fun little nod for fans.

The only complaint I have is more nitpick than anything else really.
Even though the story is left open in the end, it was probably planned as the final Mangaverse story comic.
The Mangaverse world is left without any heroes or villains (besides *spoilers*... I'm not gonna write it here.....)
And Marvel hasn't published any more new stories up to this day.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 SpiderHams!

No comments:

Post a Comment