With Ninjago: Hands of Time finally right around the corner (although I think I’m in the minority, not having watched any subtitled leaks, as the season aired in non-English speaking countries starting in January) I finally managed to get my hands on the third and final final part of the Dark Island graphic novel trilogy at the local library.
For reasons unknown, the volume has been stupidly hard to find, not even officially being stocked by Amazon. (In fact, another Ninjago graphic novel released around the same time is also only available via third party sellers? What the heck happened? Maybe taking the Ninjago comics license away from Papercutz to public in-house wasn’t the best idea.)
Thoughts, reactions, and predictions for the next two seasons after the break. Also, spoilers for everything up through Day of the Departed.
First off, I would like to mention – again – how much I love Cole as a ghost. It added so much to his character and so much potential for growth. I mean, look at Cole being a jerk about it:
I know that all of Cole’s attention-grabbing and his fears of being forgotten were addressed (which was a pretty brilliant way to think of an arc for a character who doesn’t stand out much) but I still wish more time had been spent with Cole the ghost, if only because it was the source of many great gags.
As for the way the trilogy ended… was Wu having the Golden Mech repaired by Cyrus a major deus ex machina that felt a bit cheap? Yes. Do I not really care because I love mechs, I’m happy to see Cyrus, and I wasn’t really expecting the comic to be a masterpiece anyway? Heck yes.
That’s the thing about this trilogy: while – so far – The Dark Island Trilogy doesn’t have as big of an impact on the television series as it was hyped up to have, there’s a lot of potential oozing out of it. For starters, the pirates are a unit again, sans Nadakhan, and could easily be broken out of prison in the future.
More importantly, there’s Clouse, who has been sent to the Underworld where he supposedly can’t cause trouble, because that worked out so well last time. Clouse is, in general, becoming more and more like who Garmadon used to be. However, unlike Garmadon, Close doesn’t have the potential saving grace of someone he cares about being one of the good guys. This could make him a major threat in the future.
Another thing I’ve enjoyed about this trilogy was Wu’s journals… mostly. Wu’s writings while stranded on the Island add a lot to his character, as well as offering some thoughtful analysis on the other characters and the world of Ninjago. We even get a bunch of nifty maps of both islands!
Wu pretty much forshadows the living daylights out of the next season or two in this volume. The question has stopped being, in my mind, whether or not Sensei Wu is going to die, but when? And… why is Dr. Julien of all people in the teaser illustration at the end of the book?
Only Time will tell.
(Time! Hands of Time! See what I did there? A pun because I wasn’t sure how else to end this writeup!)