When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.

Historically, Japanese superheroes are… different from American ones. However, recent years have seen an explosion of manga and anime that hews closer to the themes and look of Western comics. One current example is My Hero Academia, a manga that combines several teenage superhero stories together to create something fun, exciting and utterly unique.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT 

Several years ago, the birth of a glowing baby in China heralded the complete makeover of the world. Overnight, people with superpowers — or “Quirks” — became the majority of the world’s population. Naturally, many people chose to become superheroes/villains.

Quirkless 15-year-old superhero fanboy Izuku Midoriya stands alone. Despite taunts from boorish, literally explosive classmate Katsuki Baguko, Midoriya strives to attend the prestigious UA High School (this world’s Avengers Academy/Xavier School) and become a superhero like his idol All Might.

 

 

One day, Midoriya is caught in the rampage of a Clayface-esque supervillain who kidnaps Bakugo. With everyone staring helplessly, Midoriya charges in. An impressed All Might later tells Midoriya his darkest secrets. First, secretly wounded, he can only maintain his power for three hours a day before he starts coughing up blood. Second, his Quirk — called One For All — is inherited rather than natural, and he needs a successor…

WHO'S IT BY?

My Hero Academia is the third ongoing shonen manga by Kohei Horikoshi after Omagadoki Dobutsen , an untranslated fantasy manga and Barrage, a two-volume sci-fi manga previously published in English.

 

 

WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?

Horikoshi distinguishes his large cast through unique powers and appearances. The most obvious example is All Might, whose hero form looks like patient zero for Rob Liefeld's character design. Horikoshi follows great superhero artists like John Byrne and manga giants like Masashi Kishimoto in balancing intimate character moments with larger-than-life battle scenes.

On top of that, this series sincerely depicts superheroes as paragons of virtue and inspiration. In a century that’s seen both Wonder Woman and Superman snap people’s necks, that’s welcome.

WHO SHOULD READ IT?

Fans of Rachel and Miles X-Plain The X-Men who want to read more comics like classic New Mutants. People who read and miss Avengers Academy, The Initiative and the Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie Young Avengers. People who grew up watching Sailor Moon and Teen Titans. Legion of Super-Heroes fans. Fans of Noelle Stevenson. People who loved the 2005 Disney movie Sky High (those last two are basically a Venn Diagram).

 

 

WHERE CAN I READ IT?

My Hero Academia has run in Viz Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump digital magazine since February 2015. New issues drop every Monday at the official website and on Comixology for just $0.99.

The first volume is available in print and digitally through Comixology, iTunes, VIZ.com, Google Play and Amazon. A second volume will be released November 3. (A copy of that second volume was provided by the publisher for this review.)