One-Punch Man Volume 4 is about Saitama, a superhero who can defeat an opponent with just one punch. His disciple is Genos, a cyborg out for revenge against another cyborg that killed his family. Both Saitama and Genos are now members of the Hero Association.
Volume 4 begins with a giant meteor that’s expected to hit City Z and destroy it. Even though all of the Class-S heroes have been summoned, Genos is the only one to try to do something about the situation. This first story also introduces two other Class-S heroes, Bang and Metal Knight, who either don’t do anything about the threat or are only there for their own selfish reasons. As we see later in the volume, Bang is actually rather respectable. The only reason he doesn’t do anything about the meteor is that he feels it’s impossible to stop it. But Metal Knight, on the other hand, shows that even though he’s a hero, he only truly cares about himself. Of course, I think it can be guessed who ultimately saves the day.
Even though Saitama accomplishes impressive feats and moves up Class-C rank quickly, there are those who believe he’s taking credit for work done by Class-S heroes in order to bolster his name. This leads to a confrontation with two other heroes, Tank-Top Tiger and Tank-Top Black Hole. These two brothers go to any lengths to try to discredit Saitama, but Saitama’s reaction to what they do is rather surprising.
The final story in One-Punch Man Volume 4 involves monsters known as the Clan of the Seafolk, who are trying to take over the Earth. Saitama easily takes care of the first member that arrives, but when more and more appear on the surface, other heroes are trying to battle them. This story introduces three more heroes: Stinger, Lightning Max, and Puri-Puri Prisoner. The writer is trying to portray the obviously gay Puri-Puri Prisoner as comic relief, but the portrayal for this character could potentially offend readers.
This story also sees the return of Speed-o’-Sound Sonic, and the reader gets to see the backstory for when he was sent to prison after being captured in Volume 3. This backstory is important, because it shows how both he and Puri-Puri Prisoner escaped from the prison in order to be part of the action in this story.
Volume 4 spends time introducing new characters, and it also starts increasing the absurdity of the villains that Saitama and the others have to face. Outside of the portrayal of Puri-Puri Prisoner, the humor in this volume is rather amusing. However, the scene of the Tank-Top brothers giving Saitama a hard time shows that the series is capable of being serious when the story calls for it.
If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous three volumes of the series, then you should also be able to appreciate One-Punch Man Volume 4. It has just the right combination of humor and action that readers have come to expect from the series, and the newly introduced heroes seem like they could potentially add new directions and storytelling layers.
The reviewer received a review copy from VIZ Media