My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 4 // Review
Every villain has its nemesis. Batman has the Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor. Spider-Man has Venom. Knuckleduster has… Queen Bee? MHA Vigilantes has finally reached the fourth volume, and the regular villain behind the Instant Villain menace creating fear in the city is done playing around. And so is Knuckleduster!
This volume of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes was, of course, written by Hideyuki Furuhashi and Betten Court provides the art.
A local department store is having their grand re-opening, and they want local hero and idol Pop Step to celebrate as one of the major musical acts. With her nerves acting up, 'it's down to The Crawler to step up and be a friend to help her gather her wits, and headline what could be the most significant moment of her career. Meanwhile, Queen Bee has decided to crash the party, but 'Knuckleduster's eternal quest to bring her to justice draws him ever near. 'It's deadly schoolgirl versus brawny old man as their final battle hits close to home.
Hideyuki Furuhashi has come up with a great way to tie two major plots together side by side, without having either one genuinely interact. Pop 'Step's ascent as an idol works fantastic and feels natural for the character, and the other acts brought together to perform with her try their best to steal the spotlight continually. Old man Knuckleduster also receives more than his fair share of fleshing out for this volume as well, with a bit of his backstory revealed. Nothing is explicitly spelled out, left for the reader to fill in the gaps, and it really feels organically done without shoving it in the 'reader's face or purposely playing coy. Indeed, the only flaw is that the focal character of The Crawler winds up being in the background for the volume. However, a third ongoing plot would have only weakened the other two stories, so it is understandable.
The art is nothing short of impeccable for this issue. Betten Court has really gotten how disturbing the Queen Bee is, with one page showing weaponized bees flying out from under a 'schoolgirl's skirt is genuinely unnerving. While the brawl between Queen Bee and Knuckleduster is nothing short of brutal and visceral, the quiet moments with Knuckleduster finally showing a practical human side really shine on the page. The entire book is a real looker, with a style that looks very similar to the core My Hero Academia and like it could almost belong on a comic rack alongside any American hero book.
If you like superheroes, this book really should be something you look into. 'It's a different flavor with a decidedly Japanese bend (it is manga, after all), but the Vigilantes side story even feels like a full story without needing full knowledge about the series it's spinning off from. I would recommend picking up the first three volumes first, as jumping in without reading them will undoubtedly cause confusion.