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8 October 2016

Ravette (6) - Shinobi

Shinobi - the fear pavilion

This reprints the computer game tie-in that had originally appeared in Sonic the comic issues 1-6.
Art is by Jon Haward and this is by far away my favourite strip he worked on, I didn't like his Dan Dare work and his work in Stingray was just single page illustrations (of fish) rather than strip work.

This, on the other hand, is excellent - the panel layout, the details in the panels themselves, the use of colour, just fantastic to look at. A top-notch story of how to break into a pavilion and survive.

A very detailed plot synopsis from the Sonic the comic wiki [] says...

Ninja Joe Musashi is searching for his girlfriend, Naoko, who was kidnapped by the evil Neo Zeed organisation. Sneaking on to their premises, he non-fatally disposes of a guard dog and two human guards. Inside the main pagoda, he sneaks through the corridors and jumps down into a room where several soldiers are conversing.
One of them announces that Naoko is not here, before launching into an attack. Musashi easily blocks all their attacks and renders them all unable to fight. He grabs one of them by a chain around their neck and questions him on the whereabouts of his girlfriend. The choking soldier confesses that Naoko was never here. Joe releases him and his enemy reveals that this was all a trap to lure him here. Each floor of the pavilion contains a martial-arts expert and Joe must fight each one of them to escape. Down a darkened staircase, Musashi meets his first opponent.

On this floor, he meets a spirtual man meditating in a ring of candles. After giving Musashi 'warning' that the ninja cannot win, the fight begins. Musashi initially has trouble seeing him, but he grabs at the old man's robes, twisting him around, disorientating him. Joe continues by wrapping the man in his own robe, tying up so he eventually falls to the ground, helpless. On the next floor, Musashi faces someone dressed as the 'Monkey King', a popular opera character. Contemplating how a true Neo Zeed warrior would never betray his masters, the assassin beats Musashi severely. As he comes in for the final blow, Joe dodges and knocks the King to the floor. Walking away, the King gets back up and pounces at Musashi's back. However, Joe is ready and strikes him with his sword, winding the King badly.

In the next room, Musashi faces a man on stilts. The man is arrogant and Musashi feels he can get information from him. Musashi gets soundly beaten after an unexpected tactic from his tall opponent. He ends up with broken ribs, but also manages to wrestle information from him - that Naoko is on the next floor. With this in mind, he gets up and slashes the stilts from the enemy. Beaten, he points to the next room which is where Musashi next enters, unaware what he'll face next.
Finally, Musashi finds Naoko. He is confused, however, that nobody is here protecting her from being rescued. He searches the room but realises too late that Naoko's under-kimono was on display. The imposter leaps at Musashi and another fight begins. Able to fool Musashi's 'haragei', the ninja he was fighting must be very skillful indeed. Joe finds it hard to fight her, looking exactly the only woman he has ever loved. She eventually reveals herself as Water, one of the Four Elements, the law enforcers of Neo Zeed. He suddenly realises that it was all a trap, a lure to destroy him. Throwing a gas pellet, Musashi crashes out the window in a cloud of smoke, ready to fight another day

Going off-topic slightly here but here's a piece of fan art that Jon had published in the new Eagle (30/04/83)

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