Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Kevin Maguire front & back cover to Marvel Comics Presents #25
Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja was an awesome comic book about an American ninja in an unspecified near future where World War III has begun. The series was written by Larry (Wulf, Bucky O'Hare) Hama, based largely on his success writing the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic, writing concurrently with Nth Man.

Nth Man and Alfie O'Meagan first appeared in Marvel Comics Presents #25. The following Nth Man comic book series was meant to last for 24 issues, but cancelled after 16. In spite of this, Hama was able to resolve the storyline early. Ron (Blaze, Morbius) Wagner, who penciled the series (except issue #8 pencils, although Wagner did the cover, done by Incredible Hulk artist Dale Keown) for its entire run, attributes its commercial failure to its being set in a standalone universe.

The series starts in medias res, with American soldiers parachuting into war-torn Moscow, in an attempt to rescue the mysterious Nth Man. Using TV news commentary as a plot exposition device, it is revealed that the war was caused by Alfie O'Meagan, using his psychic abilities to neutralize all nuclear weapons on the planet, upsetting the balance of power.

During the course of the story, we learn that Alfie has grown up in an orphanage alongside John Doe (the "Nth Man" of the title). Doe was adopted by an elderly Japanese man, who worked for the CIA's "Black Ops" division. Doe was raised as a ninja, taught to kill without regret. While in the orphanage, O'Meagan had visions of possible futures (the "could-be's"), and over time his powers grew, so that he was able to control matter and produce other effects that were against the physical laws of the universe.

The storyline is complex, following numerous characters through war zones, plague-ridden post-Apocalyptic landscapes, inside a video game, alien worlds, and various points in time and space. Alfie gains vast power, while losing his sanity. When the Soviet Union launches biological weapons, Alfie's attempt to turn them harmless backfires.

Using a narrative jump of one year (which was forced upon writer Larry Hama in order to wrap up the story, due to the cancellation of the series), we see that the biological weapons were turned into a mutagenic virus, and millions are transformed into psychotic, cannibalistic "moots". The conclusion of the story makes use of a paradox, and Doe and O'Meagan are shown to be responsible for their own origins.

It's a shame this series was never saw it's full 24 issues, or even collected into a trade paperback for that matter. However, you can find the Nth Man origin story from Marvel Comics Presents #25 reprinted in Marvel Firsts: The 1980s Vol. 3 (Highly Recommended Trade Paperback series.) 

Marvel Firsts: The 1980s Vol 3 reprints Marvel Comics Presents #25 Nth Man premier!
Nth Man shows up in Exbalibur #27, Barry Windsor-Smith interior pencils!
Bill Sienkiewicz provided the inks in Excalibur #27!
Live Large My Friends!

Thank You!
Appearance from Nth Man in Quasar #19, cover & art by Greg Capullo!
Terrific fan art of Nth Man!

1 comment:

  1. Everything about that looks and sounds like a bad Jean Claude van Damme movie idea.