Superman Vs. Meshi Vol. 2 | Review
Superman Vs. Meshi Vol. 2
Writer: Satoshi Miyagawa
Artist: Kai Kitago
DC Comics; $9.99
Publisher’s rating: 13+
Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent gets an hour for his lunch break, but flying at super-speed in his guise as Superman, he can have lunch literally anywhere in the world. And lately he’s been really into Japanese food, flying to Japan—a three-second trip from Metropolis—to dine at chain restaurants there. That is the entire premise of Superman Vs. Meshi (that’s “Superman Vs. Food”), a delightfully weird new manga featuring the culinary adventures of the Man of Steel.
His interest was explained in the first volume, when he was gifted with some yakitori after saving a food cart during a super-battle in Japan, and since then he’s apparently been coming as often as he can. Yes, this is the second volume, but the gag of Superman as a sort of enraptured food critic hasn’t lost any of its appeal due to repetition. In fact, it seems to be all the funnier the more often it’s repeated.
In this volume, the majority of the stories involve Superman sharing his love of Japanese food with other people in his life (though, sadly, the cover image of Batman feeding him takoyaki while he rides on his back isn’t connected to a story within).
In one story, Superman enjoys take-out from Gosburger in the Fortress of Solitude, while the hologram of his late father Jor-El drools over the food and tries to compare it to Kryptonian dishes that Superman has never heard of.
In another, he and The Flash—moonlighting as a super-speed food-delivery guy in Japan—go out for udon noodles, and Superman has to teach the Fastest Man Alive to slow down enough to thoroughly enjoy his meals, rather than just wolfing them down at super-speed.
In another, he and the quiet, stoic Cyborg, both early for a Justice League meeting, travel to Japan, where the half-robot Justice Leaguer learns that the combination of beef and rice with curry is a lot like him—a fusion of two things that are first-class.
Superman also enjoys a pair of lunch dates, one with Wonder Woman and one with his crush, Lois Lane, though in the case of the first, Wondy’s lasso of truth reveals Superman is more interested in her tomato cream spaghetti than in her.
Perhaps the weirdest stories in the collection involve Superman’s rivalry with Lex Luthor, who didn’t appear in the first volume at all. In one, Luthor riles Superman up by leaving a passive-aggressive comment on his “Pixtagram” account picture of a meal, and Superman seeks to one-up him with a better example of food photography than Luthor’s “super-snobby” pictures and hashtags. In the other, Luthor hits Superman with some sort of slow-acting shrink ray that shrinks the Man of Steel just as he’s about to bite into a now increasingly huge sandwich at Yoneda Coffee. Superman struggles to finish his sandwich and his dessert, which now dwarf him in size. Only a little boy at the next table notices the now tiny Superman tackling a dessert. True to the book’s focus on food over traditional superheroics, it’s never explained how Superman gets out of that predicament; the next story just begins with him at full-size again.
Obviously silly and light-hearted, Superman Vs. Meshi is a fun, funny look at the world’s first and greatest superhero, but it’s also an interesting, highly idiosyncratic portrait of the character, who here still suffers from all his traditional conflicts but has a lot more personality than he is often presented with in his monthly American adventures and mass media adaptations. Beyond his powers, Superman is extremely passionate and also, adorably, a bit of a nerd, cracking lame dad jokes to himself and struggling to fit in with his small circle of super-friends.
Fans of Superman’s adventures in Japanese chain restaurants need not worry that this second volume is the end of the line; a third volume has already been solicited for February. Fans of Superman should find these comics an appealing new look at the character; manga fans with little Superman experience may find the character endearing himself to them after they give these a read.
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About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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