Panel 3: Long-term readers may notice this problematic reference to the “new leadership” of Ninjette’s clan, which doesn’t quite track with later volumes’ discussion of who’s in charge over there. The previous panel’s reference to the unrescinded bounty is also a bit of a problem, to the point that I’d have to “No-Prize” rationalize my way out of the corner I painted myself into. Ah, but subsequently I pretty much ignored this page as being an inconvenient lapse, as I wrote it long before I’d puzzled out the workings of Ninjette’s clan.
Then again, an easy explanation springs to mind: What these shinobi are talking about is simply wrong. They are, after all, just repeating hearsay and rumor, which would be no great stretch to characterize as off-base and mistaken, if not utterly false. That’s actually a genre trope that’s always interested me: the fact that we always, always take whatever expository dialogue we hear in a story at face value and rarely question its veracity. Then again, writers almost never broach this concept themselves, so this is certainly a valid assumption for readers to make.
Still, the idea of flawed or misleading exposition is an intriguing idea worth exploring. An example: In the first Matrix movie, the comically goofy idea that the machines created the film’s wildly elaborate real-world and virtual infrastructure merely to use humans as batteries seemed so blatantly ridiculous that I assumed that Morpheus was either mistaken or deliberately lying about the backstory he was rattling off, and later we’d find out the real reasons behind the machines’ actions. I’ve heard online vague mentions that Los Wachowskis supposedly were forced into the ludicrous “humans as batteries” explanation by studio interference, and had more viable theories in mind all along—but if so, why the hell didn’t they bother to contradict the Morpheus exposition in the later films, when they clearly had much more power to do so? This really would have been an ideal time to break out the competing narrative trope of “everything you know is wrong!”—which, alas, only seems to get broken out when someone is emulating the gamechanging Alan Moore Swamp Thing twist as they reboot an existing intellectual property. Oh, well.
Panel 4: Can’t believe I hadn’t yet thought up the superior term “douchecape.” Oh, well, again.
Well, that’s it for this ominous little episode; we will see these bloodyminded shinobi again, though not until well into Empowered vol. 3. Our next short story—“The Power of TIME!”—takes us in a much different and much goofier direction.