by Whitney Grace
Awhile ago I gave Heroman an average review for a shonen manga, stating the biggest draw would be Stan Lee’s name on the cover and it was perfect for pre-teen boys. After reading volume three, the series remains a good read for the target audience. It plays into all shonen plot devices, some of which are so stereotypical that they are often parodied by other manga.
Joey Jones’ reputation has earned him praise and respect as he and his robot Heroman fight the Skruggs. The Skruggs are an evil race of insect aliens bent on conquering Earth and their invasion gets stronger by the minute. The only weapon able to defeat them, at first, is Heroman, but the robot’s interference has only put a dent in their plans. Not everyone is impressed with Joey and Heroman. Will Davis, elder brother of Joey’s friend Lina, believes he can be an even better hero than Joey and he hates how Lina adores him. To prove it, Will sneaks into a Skrugg ship. He is quickly captured, but he volunteers to be a test subject in an experiment that results in Will transforming into a Skrugg/human hybrid. Will gets the extra power he wanted, but he loses his humanity in the process.
Volume three adds the prerequisite drama that makes the hero’s fighting purpose more personal. Even though Joey was always aware that battling the Skruggs was never a game, Will’s transformation hits him closely and makes him even more determined to defeat the aliens. In that regard a small amount of realism does come the manga, but not enough to free it from the shonen formula.