18 May, 2011

Dark Horse Presents Dr. McNinja’s “Night Powers”

Posted by Elizabeth Holli in Previews|Reviews

Fans of unicorns and talking gorillas rejoice, the internet comic Dr. McNinja is hitting the shelves of your favorite comic book shop thanks to Dark Horse. And this time, as the back of the book promises, he is in full color.

Written and penciled by Christopher Hastings, “The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Night Powers” distinguishes itself from other incongruous webcomics thanks to the sophistication of the art design. Sure, the content might be centered on a middle-aged man who fights crime using his ninja training while running a successful private medical practice (who may or may not ride a rainbow-haired unicorn), but the complexity of the lines in each panels will actually draw you in.

Accompanied by his moustache-sporting, Velociraptor-riding, 12-year old sidekick Gordito Delgado, Dr. McNinja uses both his martial arts and medical training to fight a number of evils, including evil lobster men and ghost-driven giant golems. There might be a murderous dolphin in there as well.

“Night Powers” has all the elements of a young boy’s imagination after eating three packs of Skittles and playing Super Mario Brothers for six hours straight. If you grew up in the nineties, you are sure to appreciate the Nickelodeon and video game references sprinkled throughout.

Dr. McNinja’s first adventure includes saving a small girl from the dreaded Paul Bunyan’s disease—you know it’s that thing where a young child becomes a giant bearded lumberjack folk hero? Just go with it. After that, hilarious violence ensues as Dr.McNinja and Gordito take on more evil villains that would look right in place on a bizarro Saturday morning cartoon lineup.

“Night Powers” features four stories: “Monster Mart,” “Death Volley,” “Doc Gets Rad” and “Beyond Winter Thunderdome,” the first of which offers some background into Dr.McNinja’s troubled college past. During this time, he was a member of a “vigilante club” until his secret identity was threatened to be exposed by a fellow member. Yes, Dr. McNinja did wear a different mask over his usual ninja mask to keep his identity hidden, a redundancy that is not lost on little Gordito.

Beneath each page is a one-liner from the author. Think of it like running commentary on your favorite Adult Swim show DVD. Half insight into the writing process (“Want to see how many pages I can go that are mostly silent except someone saying, ‘Niiice…?’” or “I caught myself making sound effects with my mouth when I drew this”), half just goofy observations (“What a little turd. What a turd of a robot.”), these annotations make you feel like you are actually in on the joke, not just trying to figure it all out along the way.

“Night Powers” was written and penciled by Hasting and inked by Kent Archer, Carly Monardo and Anthony Clark. “Beyond Winter Thunderdome” was written by Benito Cerno and drawn by Les McClaine. The volume features an introduction by Kate Beaton.

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