One of the more baffling things about comics is what gets released and what doesn’t with regards to collected editions by both Marvel, DC and various other companies. By that I mean you can find the entire run of the champions, a book where Black Widow, Hercules, Ghost Rider, Angel and Ice Man hang out on the west coast of the U.S. but you can not find a collected book of Nth Man, ultimate ninja. I think we can agree, this is a shame.
If you haven’t heard of the Nth Man series, well stop me if you’ve heard this before. Set six months after the start of World War 3, a daring team of American Special Forces land in red square and free John Doe, a U.S. assassin imprisoned after a failed attempt to kill the head of the KGB. He is freed because he is needed to kill his childhood friend Alfie O’Meagan who has wiped out all nuclear weapons, which kick started W.W.3. All that happens in the first issue and while it was cancelled at 16, not the allotted 24 it does cram a lot of action in, and is perhaps one of the most 80’s comics ever.
It features Ninjas, America and the U.S.S.R. at war, time travel and is perhaps one of the more out there comics in existence. It suits the medium perfectly because it of the ability to tell a complete story without needing a huge budget for special effects. Written by my man Larry Hama with art by Ron Wagner and Don Keown it is a thing of beauty, and most issues had a glossary of terms in the back of the book with the letters column. While it does sit outside the normal Marvel Universe some characters do take inspiration from comics, such as Alfie appearing as Galactus, and John Doe’s mentor’s ninja outfit looks like Storm Shadow’s urban cammo job.
The fact that it doesn’t have a collected edition is sad but not really surprising. It only lasted 16 out of the allotted 24 issues which does tend to make a comic company cautious about releasing older books. The first volume of the Suicide Squad by John Ostrander was considered a flop and the fact that we are getting more volumes is I suspect due to the movie coming out and increasing demand. I mean if Peter David’s X-factor has stalled at volume 2, what chances does a cult comic from the 80’s have. In fact Peter David’s X-factor is a fantastic comic and the fact there isn’t a collected edtion volume 3 is a crying shame.
That said, if Marvel does every decide to print the entirety of Nth Man: Ultimate Ninja I’ll write the intro for free, as long as you promote my comics.