Mr. T vs. Ninjas

Bloggified by Jake on Tuesday, June 20, 2006

If you grew up during any portion of the 1980's, there is a debate that's been raging in the back of your head for nearly twenty years, whether you knew it was there or not. Who would win in a fight between Mr. T and a bunch of ninjas?

Oh, sure. Tell yourself you've never thought about it or that it doesn't intrigue you in the least. Go get a cup of coffee, click over to another comic blog or two, get back to work.

You'll be back.

The more you try not to think about it, the more you think about it. Ninjas? Mr. T? Trust me, the longer you don't give it any consideration, the more epic the battle becomes, until there is no possible way any story can live up to the images you've created in your mind.

Mr. T and the T-Force #8 answers the question we never knew we asked, and considering the title of the book, you really ought to be able to figure out who wins.

The concept of the Mr. T and the T-Force book was a skewed one that I'll explore more in depth another day (I picked up about nine of these from the quarterbox [wherein the comics cost 50 cents regardless of what I call it] and I'm going to get more than one post out of them). The general plot is that Mr. T is a landlord of an apartment building who has appointed himself neighborhood crimefighter. He's basically like the overzealous blockwatch captain, but with a mohawk, bad dialogue, and silverware hanging from his neck. No, go click on that cover image above. See? Silverware.

Just in case it's not clear how mad with power Mr. T has become, the book begins with a scene where he breaks into the bedroom of a teenager who lives in Mr. T's building in the middle of the night because he suspects the teen, Lester, has stolen a pair of shoes.Mr. T then pulls Lester out of bed, slaps him in a headlock, drags him down the hall and the stairs, and throws him, clad only in socks and underwear, into the alley, all the while threatening that he'll get "real unhappy" if Lester makes any noise and wakes up the other tennants.

So, that's the hero of this tale.

Lester tries to go about his life, but Mr. T stalks him like... uh... that guy who killed that girl from My Sister Sam? Man, there has to be a better analogy that that.

It gets so bad, Lester can't even attend the meetings of his inner city ninja criminal youth group, which doesn't sit well with the group leader, who decides the best way to handle the situation is to kidnap Lester in broad daylight.Mr. T stops the van from getting away with the help of a sewer worker, which raises the most important question of all:What the hell is Mr. T wearing? A pink muscle shirt over a yellow T-shirt, two fanny packs, and what appear to be white hot pants over blue bike shorts. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say those are just tube socks he's pushed down and not legwarmers, but I'm not 100% convinced of that fact.

Unfortunately, the (relatively) bad guys get away by gunning the four-wheel drive and ripping off the bumper. Little do they know the vehicle is dripping oil, leaving a trail of oil spots spaced about six inches apart. Judging from the trail Mr. T follows, the van's oil tank holds at least thirty gallons.

Before Mr. T can make it to the warehouse of evil teenaged ninjas, the leader of the clan, a creepy middle aged guy who looks like Droopy Dog shoves a gun in Lester's face and asks the kid if he'll be taking part in the master heist the clan has planned or if he'll be getting shot in the head. Lester opts for the former, though the clan doesn't appear to have planned shit.

Instead, the clan has heard there is a safe on the top floor of a building that is impenetrable. Anyone who tries to blow it up would wind up bringing down the entire building, so explosives are out of the question. That's pretty much the end of the plan before Lester chimes in with his solution, which revolves around his being the greatest ninja in the world.And thus begins a completely incomprehensible heist sequence. First, Lester climbs the sheer side of a sky scraper so he can run and leap to the roof of the targeted building. Why not just climb the targeted building in the first place?

Don't answer yet, because things get stupider.

Once atop the second building, he slips through a sky light and makes his way to the power room where he snips some wires, presumably to shut down alarms or some other type of security measures. He then goes back to the roof and opens a door to let in all the other ninja teens, of which there are at least eight pictured. So, while Lester was leaping across the skyline, the rest of the crew was just hanging out?

Okay, maybe they had to climb the other building and leap across too. Maybe. But if that was the case, where did they get the three dozen or so huge logs and the giant block and tackle?They literally have thirty trees worth of wood and I don't ten teenagers lugged that up the side of a building strapped to their backs with tiny suction cups on their hands. They also have sledge hammers and other tools and are using something to cut the wall around the safe, so I'm guessing their equipment weighs a total of about seven tons.

Anyway, Lester's plan involves cutting the safe out of the wall and rolling it across a series of logs until it picks up enough speed to break through the wall on the other side of the building and crash upon impact with the street below.Mr. T shows up just in time to catch Droopy Dog grabbing the cash, but then the ninjas descend upon him for the battle we've all waited two decades to see...... and one panel later it's over. Mr. T defeats the ninjas with one arm still securing Droopy Dog the entire time. Lester helps though, by turning on his ninja brothers when he finally sees that Mr. T was trying to help him when he did things like smack him around, deprive him of sleep, and literally throw him out in the garbage in just his underwear.

With the money recovered and the ninjas in custody, Mr. T reflects on Lester's turn of heart... then sends him to prison.Damn, that's cold!

By the way, in case you thought you recognized that masterful ninja art style, Rich Buckler was one of the four artists credited on this book. You'll recall Buckler was the artistic force behind Ninjutsu: The Art of the Ninja, which inspired Ninja Made Easy Week back in February, when I got about eight hits a day. And to think, my readership has nearly doubled since then!

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