One Punch Man Vol. 1 TP
Publisher:  VIZ Media
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Price: $9.99
Creator(s): ONE (Writer), Yusuke Murata (Artist)
Format: 200 pgs., Black & White, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8564-2
Age Rating: Teen
ICv2 Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

Bald, skinny and not exactly what you’d call good looking, Saitama doesn't exactly look like a hero but he's so incredibly powerful he’s capable of dispatching the mightiest of monsters with just one punch.  Unfortunately, he finds fighting monster isn't all that much fun when you always win.  Bored and dissatisfied with his life he’s just going through the motions when he finds himself saddled with Genos, a self-proclaimed "lone cyborg fighting for justice" who wants to become his disciple.

It's hard to say exactly what kind of manga One Punch Man is because it works so well on so many different levels.  Although possessing its own slightly askew sense of humor springing from the juxtaposition of the fantastic with the everyday, it's not really a spoof or satire of American style superheroes.  And while some of the monsters Saitama battles (The Subterranean King, Mosquito Girl and the creatures from The House of Evolution) are so grotesque they’re almost parodies it can and does operate as a mostly serious superhero story.

It also works as an examination of the genre seen through the prism of Japanese culture.  Saitama doesn't become a hero because he’s seeking justice or revenge but because he's trying to relieve the drabness of the dull life of an unemployed salaryman.  But he finds that the emptiness of everyday life is inescapable, even for superheroes.  It's rare to find a manga which has its own unique voice and style but creators ONE and Yusuke Murata have come up with something that's wholly original which will appeal to anyone who wants a good story.

--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant.