TotL – 5 Ninjas; but Like a Dozen, Really
The ninja! The silent assassin who (maybe?) were an actual thing from ancient history (or modern history?) That’s really the thing with a super-secret group of dark assassins who strive to live in the shadows, though, isn’t it? Whether the clandestine clan of killers ever actually existed or not, the ninja has become such a permanent addition to popular culture, which is exactly what the REAL ninja would want! Hiding in plain sight!! Back to pop culture, there are a lot of amazing ninja characters throughout all sorts of geekdoms, and I’m touching on some of my favorites. So, without further ado, comics, cartoons, and video games, in Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: 5 Ninjas.
Comics or TV, take your pick. Marvel’s ninja assassin Elektra is a notorious character, equally hated and beloved by much of the fandom. I’m not sure I get all the hate. I mean, it’s not her fault. She’s a punching bag, constantly killed off and then resurrected by The Hand for some ominous antics against Daredevil most likely. Then there’s her weird relationships, but I’m not even going there. I really like Elektra as a character, and, against much of the rest of the fandom, I especially liked her on the Netflix Daredevil and The Defenders series. We’re likely to her return to the Netflix shows eventually, because you can’t keep a good ninja down.
4. The Mortal Kombat Gang
Some of the most recognizable ninjas in all of popular culture, it may be mostly about Sub-Zero and Scorpion, but all of the ninjas from the wildly popular video game series are instantly understood and relatable to the franchise. And for good reason! When the MK series hit arcades (yes, I was there) back in the day it was a monumental advancement to the genre and video games as a whole. That legacy continues to evolve and grow with each installment, and while we’ve reached peak Mortal Kombat years ago, there’s always another game (or a movie!) being planned.
I mean, it’s in the name. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may have started as some kind of weird joke on the many genres it eventually dominated, but in the world of kid’s cartoons, comic books, video games, and, dare I say, movies, the TMNT have become a behemoth in popular culture. Name recognition alone puts them on this list, but the Turtles are legit cool, and have been for decades. They should be the Middle-age Mutant Ninja Turtles at this point, but the comics and cartoons always keep them fresh and current. Yet, some of the comic tales are outright dark, which helps keep those older fans on board. Who doesn’t like the damned turtles? Besides Michael Bay…
Valiant’s high-tech, super-spying, British secret agent spin on the ninja character has always been cool. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, Valiant Comics’ latest release of Ninja-K #1 has pushed this character into the Top o’ this Lot for very good reason. The Ninja Program, as it’s known, has been creating and using ninjas for decades to help keep the world safe, and building on the lore of this character – who is now a legacy of characters – adds so much to the mythos of Ninjak and the comic book series as a whole. A more is always more, and we’re talking about more ninjas!
1. Snake Eyes…and, yes, Storm Shadow
Yeah, this isn’t a list of 5 ninjas. I get it. But it never really was, was it? If I listed out the half a dozen Mortal Kombat ninjas and ranked them that would just be silly, and even with super cool cold and demon powers, neither Sub-Zero nor Scorpion would take the top spot over Snake Eyes. The G1 G.I. Joe superstar who’s maintained his popular culture popularity for decades now, is still my favorite of all the ninjas anywhere. And he’s got guns! Keep you Deadpool, he’s just a loud-mouth with a healing factor; no nuance. Snake Eyes is the true silent assassin (because he can’t speak) and his Top Secret background only adds to his allure. And it’s hard to have Snake Eyes without his nemesis/brother/buddy, maybe? Storm Shadow. They are the yin and yang of the clan of ninjas from whence they both were trained, but we’re talking about comics, cartoons, and nothing else. Those movies DO NOT exist.
See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Let us know what you thing!