Sunday, December 10, 2006

Graphic Novel A Day: Mail Order Ninja Vol. 2

Writer: Josh Elder
Artist: Erich Owen
Company: Tokyopop
Price: $5.99 ($5.99 at Amazon)

This book has received some relatively harsh criticism from friends like Johanna Draper Carlson and Don MacPherson, and while I can see where they're coming from, I kinda liked it. It's true that Elder's concept was at its best in its shorter form with its debut at Rising Stars of Manga, as the additional depth of backstory mostly takes away from the fun of the book, but that doesn't mean there's no fun to be had. Elder and Owen present a number of grade school archetypes, from the bully to the rich entitled girl to the bratty younger sister, and mixes in ninja clans and mind control for a story that reads like a younger readers' version of 1984 crossed with a Saturday afternoon ninja movie and a good war movie. Some of the pop culture references are a bit strained (the Pink Floyd one was a groaner), but some are genius (the Saturday Night Fever riff was a favorite). It's light reading, definitely skewing towards the younger side of all-ages, but there are some laugh-out-loud moments and a lot of fun ideas at work in Mail Order Ninja.

No comments: