Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ninja Tales

by various writers and artists

This was a book that I'd considered buying when it first came out, but I was put off by its $7 price-tag. This week-end I managed to pick it up out of a $1 box as part of the Beguiling's extended Boxing Day sale.

For a dollar, this is a great read. There are some very nicely crafted stories in this book. The opening tale, by Andrew Cosby, Tim Hamilton, Sunder Raj, and Marshal Dillon is an excellent story of paranoia, heightened security, and the art of the ninja. It sets a tone and level of quality that sadly, the rest of the book didn't quite live up to.

The second story is basically a '90s Image Comics ninja tale, if ninja's wore leg and arm braces. I couldn't ever quite figure out if the main character was disabled, or if this was a special weapon. That killed it for me.

The Ninja School Dropout story by Henry Myers and Sunder Raj was cute, and had a very appropriate manga feel to it. John Roger and Chris Lies' story about Albert Einstein battling ninjas (and being one himself) was fun, in a Matt Fraction Five Fists of Science kind of way.

The book rounds out with an amusing story called 'Special Needs Ninjas', by Chris Ward and Jean Dzialowski, featuring battling geriatric ninjas in an old-folks home.

I think that the main problem with this book, as illustrated in the story titled and credited in Japanese, is that ninjas are kind of boring. They are great when used in a comic like Daredevil as the bad guy, but there is very little to hang a story around when they have to act on their own. There's nothing to talk about.

Still, this was a nice read for a dollar. It seems that the whole book is also available now as a webcomic.

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