LEGO Ninjago 1: The Challenge of Samukai! (November 2011)

It’s weird to read a comic book targeted at kids. It’s also weird to read a Lego comic book, even if the Legos in question have personalities and so on. Lego never struck me as something able to be turned into a brand.

LEGO Ninjago has far more interesting villains than good guys. Writer Greg Farshtey opens with the bad guys, who are bickering amongst themselves, and even uses one of them to introduce the four good guys.

I can’t remember being a kid and reading comic books, so I’m not sure how I responded to cliffhangers and so on. Farshtey sets up an unresolved plot point, which never even comes back as a cliffhanger. One of the good guys has a kidnapped sister. We only ever see her in a flashback, being kidnapped.

Farshtey sets up the book in chapters. Some chapters are more tied together than others. Sometimes Farshtey is didactic with the plotting, sometimes not. The final story, about the bad guys coming to a resolution, confused me. I can’t imagine a kid getting it.

Besides one horrific slip of tense, Farshtey’s writing is all fine. It’s a kids comic… but it’s better written than a lot of “adult” comics just for the benefit of Farshtey being straightforward.

Pablo Henrique’s artwork is fine. Sometimes Lego-influenced scenery is more interesting than the action though.

I had no expectations for Ninjago. It was fine enough for a kids comic, though a kid might not have the same response.