Dawn of the Ninja is a fan made Ninja Turtle Graphic Novel. After being inspired by Christopher Nolan’s 2005 blockbuster Batman Begins, a group of likeminded folk decided that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles needed to be given the story they deserve, and Dawn of the Ninja was born.
Chapter 1 tells the story of Saki and Yoshi. We are treated to a new origin story that tells the truth about what turned Oroku into the evil, sadistic villain that he is today. The story opens in 1982 where everything seems to still have a Feudal era feel. Oroku Saki’s father is giving him a life lesson, one that is rather twisted and reveals the type of character Nagi is.
The reader is then introduced to Hamato Yoshi, the prized pupil of the Foot Clan of ninja. He has shown his strength in battle and he is currently about to experience war as he prepares for his wedding. The ceremony begins and all seems fine until a rival group of ninja decide to use Yoshi’s wedding day as their opportunity to launch an attack. This is where the book gets great. The action scenes are well presented and rather graphic. You have heads rolling, bodies being punctured and maimed as action jumps in from all angles onto the page. The blood involved in the slashing of blades and the puncturing of Sais gives of a real visceral sense of violence. You feel the true nature of battle and the true nature of Oroku.
Oroku is still young and he is flustered by the violence and chaos that surrounds him. While he deals with the horrifying visuals of being on the battlefield, Hamato is dealing with the loss of a loved one. As he grieves we see that Nagi has a darker side and he plans on showing his true colours when the opportunity strikes.
Following the tradition of the tale, Nagi attempts to have his way with Shen as she is alone attending to the sick and injured victims of the attack. This is when Hamato walks in and, filled with rage, takes it upon himself to punish Nagi, leading to him being exiled to America. Worst of all, young Saki witnessed Nagi’s demise in all its hyper violent glory. Hamato apologises for his actions as Oroku shies away and is overcome by what he has witnessed. It is only upon the day of Hamato’s exile the we see Saki is indeed his father’s son. His facial expression shows exactly what he intends to do to restore order. He remembers Nagi’s words, “True justice is only that which you can take for yourself.” Dawn of the Ninja stays somewhat true to the original origin of its major and most popular villain whilst presenting the reader with a new, more graphic recalling of the events.
The art in this book is amazing. It is similar to the digital art style offered by Top Cow’s Bushido title. However, the violence is far more detailed and attempts to draw the read into an epic re-telling of a classic tale. The colours employed in the comic fit the scenes quite well, with lush brighter colours being used during the scenes of celebration and upon Hamato’s exile, showing that he is the protagonist of the story, whilst darker colours are used in battle and in scenes that involve Nagi Saki. The artists are very clever and use colour to show how Oroku’s sense of honour and justice has been warped. The use of warmer colours during the pages of battle also allows the reader to feel the heat and tension of battle. Characters facial expressions are well presented and easily recognisable. The tale feels authentic and fresh. Emotions are not forced upon the reader at all, this is not a pity party for Hamato, and this is an origin story that lets you decide who you want to root for.
This fan-made title is impressive to say the least. It offers some stellar art and great dialogue. The greatest part is whilst we are reading this origin, a new Turtle adventure that features Baxter Stockman is underway. And this is exactly where Chapter 2 kicks off. It would seem that this title would be telling us the tale of two different Ninja as they rise. We are getting the origin of the Foot Clan’s very own Shredder whilst seeing just how the Turtles become master Ninja under Splinter’s tutelage.
Read it now at www.dawnoftheninja.com