Dr. McNinja is not the sort of comic one reads with expectations. What with villains like Ronald McDonald and airship pirates really anything could happen. Chris Hastings has spent years reading and drawing comics in preparation for Dr. McNinja, and somewhere along the way he got so engrossed in his research that all sense of reality was erased from his mind like Jim Carey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The results are some crazy cool ninja fights against a lot of weird and unexpected people, places and things.
The most important thing to remember about Dr. McNinja is he’s not only a ninja. He’s also a doctor. So when I say he is surgical with a sword, I want you to understand my full meaning. Dr. McNinja is frequently a comic about the hero saving the world but it is often an introspective look into the world of a ninja who has chosen to restore human beings instead of constantly destroying them. While the good doctor him self seems to have come to terms with this during his insatiable thirst for knowledge back in college, his family is another matter. This by no means an angsty comic about family dynamics. In fact each family member has a unique personality that adds to the hilarity of the one-liners and epic storylines. I mean really, who wouldn’t want to deal with family drama while fighting a centuries old feud against flying pirates or the bane of the 1980’s ninja existence?
While much entertainment can be gleaned from the alt text of Dr. McNinja, it is by no means a ho-hum typical fourth wall breaking. In actuality some of the funniest lines are introduced by Dr. McNinja himself while he comments on things as they happen. He also tries, and usually fails, to wrap up the whole comic at the end of each issue with a sort-of PSA kind of speech that is always good for a laugh. The best part about the alt text though, is the fact that writer Chris Hastings seems to be a reader merely commenting on the absurdity of everything. It really builds a relationship with the readers.
The comic was, until recently inked by Kent Archer and I believe it is still colorized by Anthony Clark. Both do excellent work and really bring a lot of drama and life to Hastings artwork. On occasion the colors seem to solid, but they look so classic comic book that I don’t even care. In fact the whole series of explosions and mania is so awesome that I am willing to overlook really anything Hastings decides to throw at me. Which thankfully is not much.
So if you boil down the bizarre villains, the obsession with the 80’s, and the gratuitous explosions it makes for an incredibly hearty stew. This comic entertainment stew may not be making any groundbreaking commentary on the world we live in, but why should it? Don’t we read comics as an escape from the mundane portions of our daily struggles? Don’t we like to avoid taking ourselves too seriously and laugh at ourselves every now and again? Of course. So start at comic zero or pick up one of the books with some amazingly awesome cover art today. Enjoy Dr. McNinja. I know I will.