Not to be left out, my husband Brian is contributing reviews of the manga he reads as well. The infection is spreading…
Junk: Record of the Last Hero Volume 1
By Kia Asamiya
Publisher: DrMaster Publications
Reviewed by Brian Henderson
Hiro is a troubled high school student who has refused to go to school ever since he had a terribly traumatic fight with the school bullies. One day, he happens across a website looking for a monitor for a revolutionary new product called only “JUNK”. Once he receives his “JUNK” though, his life will never be the same. JUNK turns out to be a super-powered suit of armor that allows Hiro to do things beyond his wildest dreams. Just one problem, his dreams turn out to be anything but heroic, in fact his dreams are very selfish and self-serving, causing problems not only for the people in the city where he lives, but for those closest to him. Add to that the mysterious appearance of another JUNK suit who isn’t too happy with his he’s chosen to live his new life…
My biggest problem with most superhero comics these days is I find them ridiculously unrealistic. Yes, I know that looking for realism in a comic book seems a bit silly, but I do find it really nonsensical that so many teenagers, when given super powers, automatically become selfless superheroes, dedicating their lives to saving the world without a moment’s thought to what they might get out of all this power.
JUNK isn’t like that. JUNK portrays things the way I’ve always thought they’d realistically be. If you took your average teenager and gave them powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, do you seriously think that they wouldn’t abuse those powers? Heck, if Superboy was real, he’d be peeping at girls in the school showers, showing off in front of the guys and making himself look good to the cheerleaders. That’s how teenagers think and act and that’s exactly how Hiro acts when he gets his JUNK suit. Without question, he’s a messed up kid, he hates authority, he’s got a vendetta against the bullies who beat him up, he’s obsessed with an idol singer, at no time does the idea of fighting for truth, justice and the Japanese way ever occur to him and that’s the way it should be!
Volume 1 deals with Hiro’s first tenative steps out in his new JUNK suit. Being an impulsive teen, he ignores the manual and just goes for it, stumbling around and learning as he goes, never once thinking about the consequences of his actions. By the middle of this volume, he’s taken bloody revenge against the bullies, is being hunted by the police, he’s considered a public menace, his entire life is falling down around his ears and it’s all his fault. Then he meets the second JUNK suit and it’s operator is not impressed with the way that Hiro has been handling his responsibilities. Hiro is unstable, liable to fly off the handle at the smallest provocation and isn’t concerned in the least about how his actions impact others. He has a long, long way to go to learn how to be a hero.
In the end, perhaps the only negative to the story is that it’s all way too convenient. He’s in the right place at the right time to get the right suit so he can learn the right lessons and do the right thing. Yes, it’s a set-up, but you have to struggle at times to suspend your disbelief. While we haven’t seen anything about the company that made the suits, you have to wonder why they haven’t done anything about their monitor trashing downtown with their proprietary JUNK suit although I’m sure that will come into play somewhere down the road. For now, you have the media wondering just where these amazing suits came from and why they keep knocking down buildings and causing destruction wherever they go.
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary in the superhero genre or you’re jaded by the four-color spandex concept, check out JUNK, it gives a much more realistic view and plenty of action to keep any fan happy. 9.0