Monday, June 22, 2020

My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 7 Review

That’s our Cap!

Story: Hideyuki Furuhashi
Art: Betten Court
Translations: Caleb Cook
Lettering: John Hunt
Cover Price: $9.99
Release Date: June 2 

Review by Luke Hollywood

(MAJOR Spoilers ahead!)

Remember this one? I wouldn’t blame you if this stellar My Hero Academia spin-off might’ve slipped your mind, after all, the last volume landed all the way back in October last year! It looks like this title is giving Shazam! a run for its money! It’s been a long wait, but our favorite Vigilantes are finally gracing our bookshelves/ digital readers once again, and in the same month as a volume from the main series, no less! When we last left the gang in volume 6 there were some surprising revelations with good ‘ol Knuckleduster, a cliffhanger we’ve definitely been waiting to see resolved! But will this new volume be a classy comeback, or is it time for the curtain call? Let’s find out!

Explain It!:

As I mentioned above, the last volume really did give us an ending to chew on.... for 8 months as it turns out! Knuckleduster is back, this time sporting a rugged beard that fits him surprisingly well.  He was overseas in the last volume, but he’s back in Japan now. We get a quick reunion of sorts for him and his daughter Tamao (from back in volume 4!) and also with Soga and his delinquent buddies. There’s clearly a history between Soga and Knuckleduster, and still some tension between father and daughter too. Good thing Knuckleduster is going to get the spotlight, for now, right? Wrong! He’s in and out in a single chapter! After delivering his investigation info on the Trigger drug to the police and briefly checking up on the Crawler and Pop (and almost getting spotted from his crummy hiding place!) Knuckleduster exits stage left for now. There’s clearly a lot more to cover with his character, as a comment from the detective suggests a potential connection between former hero O’Clock and that pesky scarred man who’s been stirring up trouble. I wouldn’t have minded if he stuck around a little bit longer, honestly. Considering how important a part he played in the early chapters, it just feels like something’s missing without him. Obviously what this story really needs is more scruffy beards!

The real meat of this volume starts soon after the return of the beard. Captain Celebrity makes his triumphant return, just in time for his big send off! Christopher Skyline’s sabbatical from the States is nearing its conclusion and Makoto is planning a farewell party to end all farewell parties! All the Narufest kids will be in on the celebration too, which was a clever bit of combining side stories on Author Furuhashi’s part. Also, it’s really impressive to see just how far the not-so-good Captain has come since his detestable debut back in volume 3. A key example of this occurs after he single handedly saves the cute Narufest trio from a surprise villain attack. His costume gets ripped up in the process, and he’s embarrassed to get the press attention when he’s not looking like his usual pristine self. Of course, he doesn’t realize that cape or no cape, with three freshly rescued victims in his arms Cap, is looking more like a real hero than ever before!

Turns out that the surprise attack wasn’t such a surprise after all. The scarred man is back at it again, and he’s got the villain factory churning out winged flying bombers by the tube-load! His current mission is to find out the secrets behind Cap’s seemingly invincible power, and he’s willing to throw a lot more bomber villains into the fray to find out! In the meantime, we’ve got a lot of prep work to be done. The big shindig for Skyline is being held at the Tokyo Sky Egg, a venue far bigger than the Narufest gang are normally used to, so it’s time to practice practice practice! While this is all underway Crawler and Pop ☆ Step (in their civilian garb) get roped into the incognito investigation on the Trigger business and the villain factory. As you can imagine, Koichi is as stoic and humble as ever once he realizes he’s able to help out at all, even if it’s just with videos of previous encounters with the factory’s output. We also get a couple of returning faces for the investigation popping back up here, which is a nice touch. Really though, I just wanted to fast forward to the big event already!

And as soon as that big event kicks off it’s clear to see why I was looking forward to it! Fireworks, spotlights, and a whole host of guest heroes! Adding in relative newcomers to the main manga like Mirko and Ryukyu is a nice touch and another example of Furuhashi’s impressive knack for world-building. Makoto really pulled out all the stops for this one! Of course, Captain Celebrity remains the real star of the show. He kinda botches the big reunion with his wife on stage (that was an embarrassing phone call) but his heart’s in the right place, bless him. A bigger problem occurs elsewhere with the raid on the proposed villain factory HQ. Sure, they manage to take down a couple of the goons, but the Scarred Man and his flying bomb bounty get to make a hasty escape... and make a beeline straight for the Sky Egg! Time to gatecrash the party!

As you can imagine, things get explosive quickly. Koichi and the Captain find themselves outside the Egg, and the only heroes available to defend against the incoming barrage of bombers! On the inside, Makoto and the guest heroes coordinate together to protect the civilians and keep the Sky Egg from crashing down. Sure, it’s a little convenient that Ingenium was able to get his gear in so quickly, but it’s also very satisfying to see the heroes really save the day! Of course, the Crawler and the Captain are the two holding the frontlines. In a brief lull in the bombardment, we get a touching flashback for Skyline, going all the way back to his college days and the start of his unlikely romance blossoming with his wife. We see the sparks flicker, roar, and slowly fade as Skyline makes quite a few mistakes along the way. He isn’t perfect, but it really seems that he wants to make amends for his dubious past actions, and by the end of it all watching him hold the line is quite endearing. Eventually, the other heroes make it in time, and just when it looks like the day is saved for our unlikely duo we get the biggest bomb yet in what is most definitely an explosive climax to the volume! Now I’m just mad we’ll have another long wait to see the outcome!

Bits and Pieces:

While I was a little disappointed with just the small taste of Knuckleduster we received after being starved for so long, the rest of the volume proceeded to give me a heaping helping of Captain Celebrity, so I was still a satisfied customer! I’m not saying Cap steals the show here... he owns it completely! I’ve praised Furuhashi for writing guest characters from the main series so well, but I can’t help but commend the character work done on the original character Skyline in this volume. He was a character I loved to hate, and now I’m anxious to see him come out on top (and alive, preferably!) Kokichi being right there with him is the icing on the cake, especially considering how much their relationship has grown. If Captain Celebrity really is heading home, then this volume is the perfect Swan Song for an unlikely favorite! And now the wait for volume 8!


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