Wonder 3 mixes Osamu Tezuka’s penchant for showing the darkness of humanity, as well as his penchant for humorous kids’ comics, and it blends well. The setup has three aliens sent to Earth to stay there for a year to see if it’s worth keeping around. If not, they’re supposed to bomb the entire planet and put an end to all the horrible humans.
The three aliens disguise themselves as a rabbit, a horse and a duck, and almost immediately upon reaching earth they witness terrible violence. This gets them thinking that earth cannot be saved. But they have to stick around a whole year, and they end up being saved at one point by an elementary school boy named Shinichi. Shinichi is kind to the animals, making two of them rethink their opinions on humans. He will beat up on other kids, but only because they bully him first. Shinichi is also very attached to his older brother, a brother who pretends to be a manga creator but is actually something very secretive and different. The stories of Shinichi, the aliens and the brother all come together.
There’s stuff in here about how awful people are, which is a familiar frame for Tezuka. However, there’s also plenty of comedy, thanks to the antics of the aliens as animals. Tezuka gets the comedy across in slapstick, dialogue and his artwork. There’s quite a bit of adventure to be had in these pages as different characters must save the earth.
The manga is being released as a single volume, and it’s just short of 700 pages. While it’s not the best of the best from him, it has a solid story and a good ending, and it never gets bogged down in the talk about how bad people can be, though the point is brought up multiple times. There are a few twists and turns and surprises. The afterword from Tezuka himself talks about his work on the manga and his work for an anime adaption of it.
It’s always great to see more Osamu Tezuka titles being licensed in America, and this is a fun, winsome story.
Story & Art: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.