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Ratman: Volume 1    by INUI Sekihiko order for
by INUI Sekihiko
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Most manga, even shonen manga, does not deal with what Westerners would classify as superheroes. Yes, there are characters who fight crime and have powers take Sailor Moon, for instance but I have never read any that I would classify as true superhero manga until I came across Ratman by INUI Sekihiko.

Shuto Katsuragi is small for his age, which makes him the target of bullies. This might be why he is so obsessed with superheroes, even hoping to somehow become one one day. Little does Shuto know that his dreams are going to come true in a way he could never imagine. After escaping from bullies, Shuto is abducted by a secret evil organization that runs an experiment on him, turning him into Ratman. Shuto wanted to be one of the good guys, not one of the bad guys, but he soon learns that justice is never black and white.

I have never been a fan of superhero comics, so I was a little skeptical about reading a superhero manga. Ratman, though, was just plain fun. It is almost a coming-of-age story, filled with action and deep thoughts about what is good and what is bad. The typical black-and-white manga format subconsciously highlights this message as Sekihiko's artwork is very clean in contrast to Shuto's now muddled views on an issue he thought was simple black and white.

Ratman will definitely appeal to Western superhero fans, possibly drawing them into manga. However, even if you are not a superhero fan, INUI Sekihiko's fun story is sure to delight anyone looking for a light yet action-packed read.

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