Story and Pencils: Christopher Hastings
Inks: Kent Archer
Third Edition July 2009
Review By: John M. Scrudder
“We could all know Batman in our hearts”
Christopher Hastings is very funny. I hesitate to use the word Hysterical or Hilarious because I feel those words should be reserved for something Hysterical or Hilarious.
Christopher Hastings is very funny. I may change my mind and upgrade as I read through the book again, so look for a surprise ending at the end of this review!
The Introduction is what really sets the pace for Dr. McNinja. I won’t go into detail (you’ll just have to pick up a copy for yourself!) but it did make me laugh. Hell, the cover alone is worth the price of admission. If you don’t want to buy the book or at least open it up to read some of the jokes, then maybe this isn’t the book for you. But it is the book for you. It’s the book for everyone. Trust me. Aside from the Hysterical Cover, each page has a Hilarious commentary on the bottom of the page ala’ Mystery Science Theater 3000 - And, at the end, Dr. McNinja’s Final Thoughts. It’s going to be a strange ride.
Meet the Doctor and His Friendly Staff (Issue 1)
Christopher Hastings is Hilarious!
The Story is fantastic. Completely Absurd and utterly hysterical. The punch lines and visual gags follow closely to that of any Police Squad episode. As a matter of fact, I could even picture Dr. Mcninja as a young Leslie Neilsen.
For example, while taking her son to the Doctor, her son mikey points out there is a doctor’s office and the lights are on! His mother replies by saying it’s too late to be open and it’s probably just the night janitor. As they pull in to the lot a sign reads.
“We Don’t hire night janitors”
The Receptionist is a Gorilla Named Judy and there’s a bad case of Paul Bunyan’s Disease going around and there’s a hapless security guard with probably the funniest death scene I’ve ever read. Hilarity ensues.
Christopher Hastings penciling is tight. He’s a skilled artist and with Kent Archer backing him with able brush strokes and great line control with his inks, it makes for a very good combination. Just know, however, that the jokes and gags are the driving force of this book. The number one thing I always think of when approaching a new book is “Good Writing can save bad art” Luckily for us, this book has both. Archer’s Inks really shine through on the first three panels on the opening page - which I assume was done a fair amount of time after the series started and was probably done for this TPB. With this thought, and those wonderful panels, I’m pretty sure that the artwork will continue to improve greatly as the story progresses.
So What is a McNinja? (Issue 2)
A Story so Epic it took four months to tell. Well, that’s how it’s sold anyways. To be honest it did take a while to get through. The pacing wasn’t as good as the first issue and it seemed that there was a blend of seriousness with small joke payoff’s which I feel doesn’t really work very well for this type of book.
In this issue we Learn of the history of the McNinja’s (they’re Irish, of course) and their ancient rivalry with pirates. We’re introduced to the family which consists of Mom and Dad (Dan and Mitzi) and younger Brother Sean (Black Smoke Puncher… he’s old enough to choose his own Ninja name now). There’s some really funny parts with some sort of talking Fowl and the most interestingly effective I’ve seen to sink a pirate ship. The annotations at the bottom of each page felt a bit rushed (perhaps an after thought since the story took so long to do?). This Story did drag, but it produced enough laughs for me to want to finish it up with the third installment of the book. As a matter of fact, the House in the cave scene could have carried me all the way through even if there wasn‘t anything else substantial in the whole issue - again, luckily there was.
“Peg Faces For all!”
There is a Raptor in my office (Issue 3)
Ford FreeStar’s are funny. It is now a proven fact. This issue has it all. It’s sort of the Matrix Revolutions of the trilogy here. Reloaded just didn’t work without Revolutions, you know?
It only becomes clear that Raptor Riding Mexican Bandits is a smooth transition from Pirates. It’s really the only way the series could continue forward. Ronald McDonald, McNinja Burgers and Organic Jet packs are all becoming a part of our every day reality while things that were once popular, like Myspace (with a super-tiny-hard-to-read-section-that-may-require-me-to-get-prescription-glasses-now section), have gone the way of the dinosaur… but not the dinosaurs in this book. Because, you know… anyways…
“And their wallets were stolen?? Dinosaurs don’t need wallets.”
The face on the woman screaming from the bench actually had me laughing out loud. Not LOL mind you, but actually doing it. I was actually laughing. It’s not easy to make me laugh. My whole family died in a Volcano, so I don’t find too many things funny.
This one was a riot - and it did help me appreciate issue 2 much more. This TPB Format worked really well for these first three stories. The elongated stories were a departure from issue 1 & 2, which made for a slightly bumpy read going into them. But now I expect it. I expect Christopher Hastings to write a thoroughly engaging and thought provoking story line that includes, People with Paul Bunyan’s Disease, Suburban houses in caves, and Raptor Riding Mexican Bandits. It’s all starting to become clear and make perfect sense to me now. Looking forward to reviewing the next three TPB’s.
Oh yeah! There’s some bonus material here in the back of the book! Some more comics (Six one page strips and some sketches and stuff - you know, the regular Hidden Track sort of thing) But I’m not telling you about that. You’re just going to have to pick yourself up a copy.
Oh, you want some more Dr. McNinja? Can't get enough, huh? How about checking out the official Site!