by Kōhei Horikoshi
Volume three of My Hero Academia picks up right where volume two left off. All Might has arrived at the USJ to confront the villains who have interrupted the rescue training and invaded the grounds of the school. It’s an action-packed issue from the drop and really amps everything up that Kohei Horikoshi has been building to since the first issue by immediately throwing the students into a fight with bonafide villains. Horikoshi really stretches his legs in this issue and shows off some of the student’s quirks in action. Once again, he lets Todoroki shine brightly, clearly letting readers know that he’s going to be very important to the story moving forward. Todoroki is on an entirely different level to nearly every other student–and villain–trapped in the USJ.
The bulk of the book focuses on the villain attack at the USJ and we glimpse more of All Might and just what passing on his quirk is doing to him physically. This is is all great, no question. It’s stacked with multiple two-page spreads that are utterly jaw-dropping, and more than worth spending a few extra seconds (minutes) pouring over, combined with fantastic action sequences and character work. The way that Horikoshi has chosen to introduce the villains here–the main ones at least and not just the cannon fodder–is marvelous. They all begin the volume looking like absolute, unstoppable monsters, generally at the expense of poor Eraserhead, and by the end of the USJ sequence not only has the mystique and aura around the Nomu, Shigaraki, and Kurogiri been maintained–and arguably increased– Horikoshi then uses it to elevate other heroes even further, particularly Deku and All Might without ruining anything that he had built up leading to the conclusion of this battle. Shigaraki is still bat shit crazy, and arguably one of the coolest villain designs in years, with a fantastic quirk, Kurogiri is still a badass portal guy and the Nomu is still a huge question mark. Questions like where did he come from? Did Shigaraki somehow engineer him? Are there more? All these, and more, just fuel that desire to jump right into the next volume.
Speaking of the next volume, the last third, or so, starts to set up volume four which will focus on the school’s Sports Festival–which is apparently a totally normal school thing (in Japan?) and also bigger than the Olympics–and some big words from Todoroki as he throws down the gauntlet to Deku. It’s a seriously smart way to split up the series’ volumes this way by providing just enough story to get you into it and essentially pushing you to get the next volume to find out what happens. Unlike North American comics that tend to cram everything from one event into one volume. It feels like this way promotes more follow up purchases and it’s just refreshing to experience.
Volume three really feels like Kohei Horikoshi hitting a very early stride and really settling into a groove that is going to help him immensely down the road. This is a stand out volume for My Hero Academia and is certainly a step or two above the previous two volumes. If you’re not utterly and hopelessly hooked on this by the end of this volume, you may want to see a doctor and make sure your eyes and brain are working properly and communicating with each other the way they’re supposed to.