5 Stars Lego Ninjago Graphic Novels #4: Tomb of the Fangpyre Greg Farshtey Papercutz 64 Pages Ages: 6+ ............... .......................
Tomb of the Fangpyre is book four in the Masters of Spinjitzu series. Four masters Jay, Cole, Zane, and Kai are lead by the Master Sensei Wu. They are in an ongoing battle with the serpentine snakes. In this book, the boys go on a mission to retrieve the four shattered stones of the Serpentine Stone. Inscribed on each stone is the history of one of the serpentine tribes. One night, lightning struck this dark stone and the four pieces were scattered to the four far corners of Ninjago.
The first stone is somewhere on the land of fire and ice. Kai, the master spinjitzu whose impetuousness began the mission, continues his impulsive ways and jumps up to take the first mission Master Sensei Wu describes—only he was not finished. Jay heads off to a jungle area, while Zane dives into the freezing ocean waters, and Cole checks out the ruins of a once great city. All must return with one of the four stones before the snakes find the stones.
This is the first time I have read a Lego Ninjago graphic novel. I enjoyed it more than I expected. Young boys will cringe to hear me say this, but I thought the Masters were cute. The expressions on their nose-less faces filled with emotions from joy as they laughed to fatal determination when attacking their foes. The headgear they wear sets off their eyes and eyebrows, drawing your attention right to them.
The story had humor, another unexpected, yet pleasant surprise. The graphic novel is blasting with vibrant color from edge to edge. The fight scenes are detailed, yet not gruesome. The fight scenes highlight the Masters’ determination to defeat the snakes and save mankind from the horrors of the treacherous serpentine.
Boys are going to flip over this series. The characters are compelling, the action is detailed and logical, the enemy is awesome in an evil sort of way, and the Masters and Master Sensei Wu are the kind of heroes’ young boys should admire. They are tough, resolved, happy, and good.
Interestingly, there is no commercialism involved in this series. The books can stand-alone. With the exception of the Masters being Lego figures, nothing else points to these building blocks that have been around for ages. If Legos did not exist, this series, and others like it, would influence toy makers to come up with a toy.
Master Sensei Wu’s reason for calling the mission, other than to keep the snakes away from the serpentine stone and its power, immediately brought a smile to my face. Kai, the impulsive master, was practicing the Soaring Eagle Kick when Master Sensei Wu asked if he understood the kick. Kai said he knew it could “make the big, bad snake guys fall down.” He was not interested in the kick’s history.
Master Sensei Wu retorted, “You see, every move, even the most basic strike, has a history. Master the move and you have skill. . . . Master the history and you have power.” This bit of wisdom is translatable into many things we do on a daily basis.
Girls may not enjoy the Masters of Spinjitzu, though this one did. The humor grabbed me from the start, as it will others. For reluctant readers, especially boys, this series is an excellent way to introduce them to the joys of reading and the worlds one can experience from the safety of their own space.
Also, look for books one through three.