Review and description of Tales of the Ninja Warriors #4 (1988)

1 Tora no Kage: Blood and Sunsets

The story continues on the cruise ship they were on in issue #3, the protagonist is on bodyguard duty for the client's daughter. History and relationship between the protagonist and Danjo, who neutralized the attempted murderer from last issue, also a friend, is explored. They know each other's fathers. Kage also bonds with his client's daughter Kathleen over a romantic dinner and a kiss. The next day there's another attack, and Smythe (the client) is eventually killed. It is revealed that Danjo is an assassin. They have a duel.

2 Ninjie the mini ninja: Side Kick

3 Shinobi

A newly promoted commander of the imperial guard and his three children are assaulted by their own clan, the Asahi. The children witness their father's rival and their clan's current employer, Hiroshi, kill their father. The two youngest children escape while the oldest brother is killed by a clansmen.

4 Kwak Attack

5 Black Angel

A man arrives in hell and is sought after by a clan of ninjas, and gangsters.

6 Fallen Angel

An injured security guard praises the seemingly super-human skills of a mysterious hooded swordsman.


Appaently i can't add a volume without adding the first issue. It's a shame, i have 2-4, but not the first. Wished i did. Now there are 6 parts in this book, but 2 of them are comic shorts. What i really wanted to review are Shinobi,... you know, cos i liked the game AND the name, and Tora no Kage.

Tora no Kage, or "Shadow of the Tiger", apparently, sells his skills as a bodyguard, but refuses to carry guns. He makes his first appearance in the previous issue (or so i assume since i don't have issue #1 And if anyone does have ANY info on that, please let me know) He's first seen being interviewed by Smythe, who wants him to protect his daughter. On the first page itself, we have many small panels, narration and three Rambo dudes with big muscles, bigger guns, shades. All the things i love. We have 2 pages of him (Kage) fighting those guys, with his broad, ripped shoulders and muscles and BEST OF ALL, MULLET! I love those 80's/90's/whichever art and hairstyles, when everyone was macho and had bodies that were big, but not too big, just right enough. As a little boy i've always been impressed by "cuts" and i've tried to draw pictures of this sort many times. His bodyguard job begins on a cruise ship, we meet a friend of his who turns out to be an assassin and they have an awesome Samurai battle, with samurai armour and samurai weapons, and lethal mid-air contact, and that's several different tiers of awesomeness, over just 2 issues. The whole book is in b&w but not a panel is too boring. I think if they had tried colour, they may have not gotten it right anyway, so b&w must have been the best thing for this comic. The rawness, the macho, you could just inhale awesome through the dust of these pages.

Then we get to Shinobi. This story has a lot of Japanese words, with their meanings explained, some very cool ninja techniques detailed, and for any TMNT fan, an INCREDIBLE resemblance. So it's more of a graphic novel style, that has a lot of words spread throughout in a 3rd person narrative style. Akido Suki has a bitter rival named Hiroshi. The day Suki is appointed Samurai, as well as Commander of the imperial guard, (a position Hiroshi had hoped for) Hiroshi hires the Asahi, Suki's own ninja clan, to assassinate Suki and his family. God, these Japanese stories, especially when it comes to ninja, have such DEEP enmity. Shinobi, Splinter and Shredder, even their names, Suki, the good guy and Hiroshi, the bad guy, sound so much like names from TMNT.... ok so the cartoon first came out around the same days as this comic book did, probably before, so it's likely that this comic was influenced (HEAVILY) by tmnt. But what's awesome is that the IDW plot line where Splinter and the Turtles used to have past lives in Japan, was not around yet. Hiroshi also strike out on Suki after the Asahi is completely done with everyone else, as was how it was done in the 2003 series when Shredder kills Yoshi.

The ninja tactics used are impressive too. A whole army of them drop in silently and take out a whole village full of people. First the sentries, and then killing EVERY sleeping inhabitant. Why? to make it look like a mass murder, to cover up the individual targets that were their real mission. Strategy! Then you have the fine thread at the good guy's lips. He wakes up with a wet feeling on his lips, and as a ninja he knows he's already fucked. I'm very impressed by this information, because having been a ninja fan for 10 or 13 years, in 2008, this was something i never thought of. I had seen ninjas fight, and even hide. They were about weapons, honour, masks and fighting. But here, they're killing someone without even touching them. And it's real. Ninjas were feared more for their assassination skills using poisons and stuff. Some words are explained too, like Yamabushi being "mountain warrior" or Shinobi meaning "The Stealer within". Shinobi is also said to have been first used by an "Otomo-no-saajin".... idk the validity of these.

Then, the 2 "Angel" stories, Dark Angel, where the ninja fight the Mafia, has this Shredder like dude, in a Shredder like armour leading a clan of ninjas. The ninjas just keep coming, in overwhelming numbers. So cool. And then, you have "Fallen Angel" where an ex security guard talks about how high a ninja can jump, how his sword can return to him and deflect bullets,...all that shit

What i like about this comic is the amount of ninja lore; facts and fiction. How they fight, what their powers are, what they can do, inaccurate huge bodies of ninja, probably true description of poison use and stealth,.......i just love this comic.

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