When I first saw that a Marvel graphic novel written by Kazuki Takahashi was going to be released in English, I knew I had to get my hands on it! Yu-Gi-Oh! was one of the first anime I watched as a kid, and the original series remains one of my favorites to this day. I have seen both the Japanese and the English 4Kids dub of the anime numerous times, read the manga, collected thousands of trading cards, and have even been collecting the F4F and Kotobukiya ARTFX figures. Even though I haven't kept up with the multiple spin-off series or the newer trading card releases, the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series has definitely impacted my love for anime and manga. Pair that with Marvel - especially my favorite superhero, Spider-Man - and you have a winning combination in my opinion! With the unfortunate and unexpected recent death of Kazuki Takahashi, I knew that now was the right time to review one of his final works as a tribute to his memory.
Secret Reverse is part of the Marvel × Shōnen Jump+ Super Collaboration alongside other Marvel graphic novels written by manga creators, such as Sanshiro Kasama and Hikaru Uesugi's Deadpool Samurai. Secret Reverse features Spider-Man and Iron Man teaming up against a corrupted card game company CEO who uses his new gaming machine to bring holographic monsters on trading cards to life. Sound familiar? If you hadn't known that this graphic novel was written by the same creator as Yu-Gi-Oh!, you could definitely figure it out from the story itself. The villain in this story is recognizably similar to Pegasus and Kaiba, two of Yugi's greatest adversaries, and the gaming technology known as the Deathal Machine is reminiscent of the Duel Disk. But the similarities don't end there!
Even Takahashi's art style is recognizable here. Spider-Man strikes dynamic poses and has a similar thin frame as Yami Yugi. The villain, Reijiro Kaioh, has a wacky hairstyle and eccentric costume that looks similar to Kaiba's Battle City outfit. The aforementioned Deathal Machine even looks like a Duel Disk that has been modified to be attached to your chest and wrapped around your neck. And of course, there's the monsters that look like metallic prototypes of the famous monsters you recognize from Duel Monsters. These monsters, however, are actually made up of tiny mechanical aliens that are summoned from their world through a portal on the Deathal Machine to invade Earth.
Even though Kazuki Takahashi seems to have copied and pasted his recognizable formula to write Secret Reverse, I still had a lot of fun reading it. I am so happy it was published in an American graphic novel format with larger pages and in color, which makes it much easier to appreciate Takahashi's art. Whether you're looking at panels of the villain playing cards or Spidey and Iron Man fighting his monsters, the action is always dynamic and exciting!
The one con of this graphic novel is that the card game "Secret Reverse" is never actually played since the story revolves around monsters attacking real superheroes, but the cards appear to be very similar to those used in Duel Monsters. I just wish we could get them actually put in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game. It was a missed opportunity for Shonen Jump and/or Viz to not include them as promo cards. Better yet, I would love to have seen Tony Stark and Seto Kaiba meet for a clash of egos between two billionaire technology creators. Nevertheless, if you're a fan of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Marvel, you simply must pick up this graphic novel for an exciting adventure that gives you the best of both worlds. Thank you, Kazuki Takahashi, and rest in peace.
Marvel's Secret Reverse Manga
Marvel's Secret Reverse features story and art by Kazuki Takahashi.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi's epic team-up between Iron Man and Spider-Man, Tony Stark travels to Japan to attend a gaming convention. Awaiting his arrival is Reijiro Kaioh, the CEO of a world-famous card game company. Kaioh plans to unveil an amazing new gaming machine, but the inventor and his device are not at all what they appear to be…Add to CartLearn More