Forty-five years ago, super-powered humans, known as NEXT, started appearing. Some of them fight crime as superheroes in Stern Bild (a re-imagined version of New York City). They promote their corporate sponsors while appearing on the hit television show, Hero TV. The story focuses on veteran superhero, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (Wild Tiger), and the newest NEXT sensation, Barnaby Brooks, Jr., the “Super Rookie” whom Tiger calls “Bunny.” But not all NEXT use their powers for good.
Kotetsu, Barnaby, Pao-Lin (a/k/a Blue Rose), and Karina Lyle (a/k/a Dragon Kid) are babysitting Sam, the infant son of the mayor of Stern Bild. As Tiger & Bunny, Vol. 5 (Chapters 18 to 21) opens, their domestic reverie is interrupted by a possible terrorist attack at Brox Bridge. As the heroes change plans and prepare for action, they are interrupted by an anti-NEXT mob, putting little Sam in danger.
Meanwhile, Ouroboros, a mysterious organization with possible NEXT ties, makes a stronger push into the public sphere. Exosuits attack. Mad Bears are seemingly everywhere. Kriem rises. And who is Jake Martinez, the man whose nudity has to be covered up by strategically placed shadows and word balloons?
THE LOWDOWN: One of my favorite superhero comics is actually a manga. That would be the Tiger & Bunny manga, probably the best superhero comic book not being published by DC Comics or Marvel Comics. In fact, I think that Tiger & Bunny is better than most and as good as the best DC and Marvel titles.
I see in Tiger & Bunny elements from several American superhero comics and concepts, including the X-Men, Justice League of America, the Avengers, "Super Friends," and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, to name a few. A big part of Tiger & Bunny is the competition reality show angle, but the series really focuses on the act of being a hero and heroic, particularly through Kotetsu/Wild Tiger.
Tiger & Bunny Volume 5 reaches the point in the series where the story moves away from introducing the main and supporting cast and to establishing the supervillains. These “bad guys” are an intriguing and frightful lot, and I’m ready for more. I think that readers who enjoy superhero comics will find in Tiger & Bunny a manga they can like.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers looking for an excellent superhero action-comedy will find it in Tiger & Bunny.