One Punch Man: the Hero We Really Deserve
Ever since all those mindless eggheads of comic book fandom started spewing out how Alan Moore “changed superhero comics forever with Watchmen” the way a Charlie Chaplin-mustached Austrian mass murderer would with non-Aryan peoples, superhero comics have more or less remained the same. On a side note, Watchmen isn’t even a superhero comic, so it’s pretty hilarious that those drooling nerds will fight to the teeth defending it as such, but that’s a long story meant for another time. The point is, every idiot that followed who thought they even have a hundredth of Moore’s storytelling chops stuck to the Watchmen formula after it was released. But, just like any bottle of soda that’s been opened and left to sit out on the porch for a whole month, what these Alan Moore imitators came out with were some empty, disgusting – even potentially deadly – swill.
If I’m not mistaken, I think it was also the grand wizard Moore himself who said that superhero comics is a genre that is on its death throes. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but that just about captures the whole gist of it. One Punch Man, perhaps one of the largest manga and anime properties to come out in the last five years or so, proves otherwise, though. Even better, it is indeed the kind of series that can legitimately fall under the capes and tights genre. But, as those sweaty neckbeards are wont to do, they think it’s just a mere parody of the whole superhero niche, which goes to show how these overzealous bastards hold their muscled men and wet dream fuel dear to them that it’s actually pretty impressive, as Ron Burgundy would say.
The thing is, One Punch Man goes beyond being a parody and instead provides more of a logical conclusion to what being an individual with superpowers is. Simply put, if the strongest man alive was actually the strongest man alive, then there won’t be any need for punch fests of galactic proportions, warehouse showdowns, or freaking one thousand-issue events revolving how this guy in tights is going to smash that other guy’s evil face. That’s what makes One Punch Man such a unique piece of superhero literature: it asks the question “what now?”
Of course, without any arch-nemesis that could match a protagonist, any superhero out there won’t have anything exciting to do; everyone else just turns into a flavor of the week. And that just adds to the appeal of One Punch Man because that is exactly what it revolves around: it’s a series that has the balls to face that problem, and it does so wonderfully. Stripped of all the tropes the superhero genre has made billions of dollars from, One Punch Man manages to not only present viewers and readers with the logical conclusion of what being a superhero is, but it does so in an immensely entertaining manner.
Hands down, One Punch Man manages to give a refreshing take on superheroes by showing how much of a joke the whole genre really is. So, no, it’s not a parody; it’s just that all the capes and tights are naturally ridiculous as hell.