Writer/Artist: Tri Vuong
Colorist: Annalisa Leoni
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Here we are at issue #3 of Lego Ninjago! Lord Garmadon may have vanquished bears but now he faces new foes. Which are old foes. Well technically there are old allies turned foes except they could be allies again. But there’s still the big bad to deal with. As usual I have had to revert to the wiki to fill in some gaps but there were a couple of moments where I understood the references so my knowledge is growing!
When we open this issue we find Garmadon enjoying a drumstick as his praises are sung for his beating he bears last issue and saving the village . However in his absence the Red Crows have attacked the village (which is now on fire) under the orders of the mysterious Lord Mogra (I’ve been cruising he wiki trying to get clues as to who he is but so far I have not managed to discover his identity. If you have any theories – hit me up). So Garmadon returns, still chewing his drumstick, to see what’s been going on what he finds is that his gang the Sons of Garmadon have come under the command of another and now call themselves the Red Crows.
For those who don’t know who the Sons of Garmadon are or were I shall quote the wiki: “The Sons of Garmadon (abbreviated as S.O.G.) were a crooked biker gang pledged with resurrecting Garmadon with more than 300 members.” (they had 300 members bit that they were using 300 members to resurrect him)
As you can imagine they did actually resurrect him but that was some time ago in the world of Ninjago and a lot has happened since then. There’s been Oni and war and death and much canon. I have merely scratched the surface in my wiki reading.
You don’t need to know all this background but I find it helps because otherwise you miss some of the emotional heft. Its a lot more interesting to see the betrayal the Sons of Garmadon felt after Garmadon abandoned them (I mean he was busy doing other things but still) if you know that they saw Garmadon as their saviour, like a god pretty much. It makes the fact that they ended up in jail after he abandoned them (they were captured by Lloyd whom I am reliably informed is the best Ninja) and were ripe for a new leader all the more interesting.
We get to see these flashbacks and they are well done. The art generally just works and I really appreciated the flashbacks scene. The colouring makes it clear it is a flashback but the flashback itself if neatly done with only a hint of Lloyd in the panel, enough for those who know who he is. The interesting thing for me was that Killow has a somewhat less obvious Lego person design. He does look different in the show but here he seems even more rounded and less Lego-y but its a design that works and doesn’t feel out of place amongst the rest of the world.
Of course Garmadon is straight back inot his overbearing leader-like self routine with his former Sons of Garmadon (and to be fair they are straight back into obeying his every whim – yet they never do find his missing drumstick) but then Lord Mogra appears and we get an epic showdown. One of the things this series has been good at so far has been the action and Garmadon fighting whatever foe he has to face this month. Here he has truly met his match because Lord Mogra is no bear. He’s much more dangerous. They are evenly matched in both evil announcements, ordering minions about, punching ability and harnessing more power. It turns into quite the cliff-hanger ending.
I would be remiss though if I didn’t mention young Min, the female character who has spent a lot of time interacting with Garmadon (that’s her on the cover). She is prepared to go back into the burning village (and that village is a solid bit of art too) to help him out. Garmadon may be a bit of a monster but well he has helped the village, albeit very reluctantly and for his own general gain. As a result young Min feels they should help him. Or they would be as much a monster as he is. It’s a very profound comment and one that encapsulates the strengths of the Ninjago franchise. Yes it is about Lego and yes there’s humour but there’s also some really interesting character moments about friendship and good and evil and all that. I appreciate that being worked in.
This was a very solid third issue, bringing in a superior foe for Garmadon as well as introducing more of his past. Even without looking up the names of everyone on the wiki I feel I would be able to follow it, I just like more knowledge. I enjoyed this issue and I appreciate the interesting character and art work that’s going on. A solid issue that leaves me wanting more.