The Adventures of Dr. McNinja “Night Powers”
Chris Hasting’s lasted TPB is a Graphic Novel collecting four Dr. McNinja stories, three written and drawn by him (Monster Mart, Death Volley, Doc Gets Rad), which are presented in full color print, the last by Benito Cereno (Beyond Winter Wonderdome), in the more traditional black and white format of the series. Dark Horse’s treatment of the effort, which is scheduled for a May 2011 release, is stellar, but many may find the sarcastic, over-the-top, pun filled gag fest that is Dr. McNinja too out of the ordinary for their tastes. If you think comic book heroes and icons of modern graphic based tales sacrosanct, and not to be mocked, you will not connect with Dr. McNinja. If you love a little roasting of your cherished comic book thoughts and traditions, you will adore Dr. McNinja.
The three tales written by Hastings are the best representation of his odd hero, setting the stage in the very first few pages: “Born to a family of Ninja. Trained in the medical and surgical arts. He kills with one hand and heals with the other. These are the adventures of Dr. McNinja!” This accompanied with a running Doc McNinja, leaping into the air, to engage in battle with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. His side kick is a 12 year old boy who has a huge mustache, a deadly aim, and rides a dinosaur. Paul Bunyan, it turns out, is just a little girl who had a facial hair disorder and when she was allowed to do some lumberjacking, released Paul Bunyon disease from its dormancy. Doc McNinja chastises the kid’s father – NO LUMBERJACKING. (But we needed firewood.) This in the first six pages.
What’s more, Hasting makes a side comment on the bottom of each page, often mocking the thinking process of making his comic or an event on the page. “Dr. McNinja in color: Showing you where lens flare is appropriate since 2008.” If none of this seems funny to you, time to walk away from this series, but if you are grinning, even a little bit, at the smarky commentary and goofy antics thus far, well you are in for a treat! McNinja always wears his Ninja mask, just like his parents, and he has a huge rival, – King Radical “the most radical man in the radical land. No one knows where he came from, or why he is here. He has taken control of Cumberland through his army of common men, and he aims to revitalize the city from the ground up to match his radical vision.” He looks like the Burger King’s King on a motorcycle.
King Raidcal blows up Dr. McNinja’s office, though his ape secretary was safely out of the building, and McNinja’s desire for revenge is so high he actually teams up with a Unicorn, who takes the shape of a motorcycle, to hunt down King Radical. This does not go well. Our Ninja Doctor hero also is recruited by the feds to enter a secret ancient temple to get the tennis game that keeps the world from being destroyed back into action before it is too late. Yes, I wrote tennis game. This is the might of the humor in this series, I imagined Adam West’s voice coming out of McNinja within a few frames, in the same intonation of his campy Batman role of the 1960’s. This mockument of all things comic book will either turn your stomach with distaste or with bellowing laughs. Personally, I liked the trip.