Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human magic-user; 1st Century A.D., Pre-Modern, and Modern eras (and presumably periods in-between as summoned by Master Khan)
Group Membership: Formerly part of a group of samurai
formerly the Cult of Kara-kai, Iron Fist, Lee Wing
Enemies: Batroc, Batroc's Brigade (unidentified mercenaries), Abe Brown, Cult of Kara-kai, Bob Diamond, Iron Fist, Lei Kung the Thunderer, Harold Meachum, Lin Sun, Colleen Wing, Yü-Ti (see comments); his former samurai order
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: An unidentified pocket
formerly bound with the Book of Many Things (Sacred Volume of Kâli), which was held in K'un-Lun, then a temple of Kâli in Northern India, then the residence of Lee Wing;
formerly Japan, @ 2000 B.C.;
First Appearance: Marvel Premiere#17 (September, 1974)
Powers/Abilities: The Ninja is a master martial artist,
on par with the likes of Iron Fist and Shang-Chi. He is an extraordinarily adept
hand-to-hand combatant, as well as with a sword, shuriken, and nunchaks. He is
highly skilled in stealth and the rest of the ninja arts, as well as the
skills of the samurai. His speed, agility, and reflexes all border on the
supernatural. He is immune to ageing.
In addition, the Ninja is trained in magic and can accomplish a number of feats, including teleportation, mental domination of others, and even brief transformation of another (presumably only one with whom he has been associated for some time) into a duplicate of his original form, complete with duplication of all of his talents. Iron, which weakens mages of Master Khan's order, can neutralize the Ninja's magic.
The Ninja typically exists within a zero-gravity alien world-type pocket dimension. He apparently can only currently materialize on Earth via the summoning of Master Khan. He formerly could appear via the Book of Many Things within which he was bound, but this is no longer the case since the book's destruction.
(Marvel Premiere#22 (fb)) - The man who would become the Ninja was once the greatest samurai in Japan, his sword feared by all, and his fellow samurai called him "Death," a title he proudly accepted. Eventually, however, the samurai cast him from their ranks with claims of cruelty and murder. He refused to accept this treatment, and many of the other samurai died by his sword, but he was judged an outlaw and eventually forced to flee.
(Marvel Premiere#22 (fb)) - His flight brought him into contact with the Master Khan, oldest of all wizards, who suggested he turn his talents toward the art of the ninja. He gained true mystical powers in addition to his stealth, combat, and other arts.
(Power Man and Iron Fist#75 (fb) - BTS) <2000 years ago> - The Ninja was active as one of a cult of invisible assassins killing in stealth and darkness.
(Marvel Premiere#22 (fb)) - After Khan presented him with the Book of Many Things he read in it of the city of K'un-Lun, reputed to have the most skillful fighters; in addition, its leaders somehow posed a threat to Khan's plans. Determining to conquer K'un-Lun, the Ninja used information from the tome to find entrance into the city (beyond its usual ten year appearance on Earth). With the advantage of surprise the Ninja swiftly overcame many of K'un-Lun's defenders before being laid low by Lei-Kung the Thunderer. Bound in rings of iron, the Ninja was brought before Yü-Ti, who stripped away his physical form and imprisoned his spirit within the Book of Many Things where he remained trapped for centuries.
(Power Man and Iron Fist#75 (fb) - BTS) - For centuries, the Ninja was servant to Master Khan, who presumably summoned his ethereal form and granted it substance as needed to serve his whims.
(Marvel Premiere#22 (fb)) - On one of K'un-Lun's many appearance on Earth, a visitor stole the Book of Many Things, though he was slain and the Book stolen shortly afterward. Having increased his psychic and magical powers during his existence in purely spiritual form, the Ninja took possession of the second robber and forced him to give the Book to the Cult of Kara-kai. The Ninja hoped to learn from the Cult -- whose leaders (incarnations of Shaya and Ushas) he'd heard compared to gods -- a means to free himself, but the leaders did not live up to his hopes; they placed the Book (which they called the Sacred Volume of Kâli) on an altar, never to be touched by any but Kâli's self-determined descendents. In a fit of rage at their stupidity, the Ninja unleashed forces beyond his control that caused an earthquake that buried the temple for over a century.
(Marvel Premiere#21 (fb) - BTS) - Assuming that his own existence depended on the existence of the Book of Many Things, the Ninja unwittingly acted to protect it. In reality, however, it only served as his prison, and its destruction would free him.
(Marvel Premiere#19 (fb) - BTS) <Nine years before the main story> - An excavation in Northern India led by Professor Lee Wing uncovered the Book of Many Things. Wing ignored assertions from the diggers of the Book's evil curse and kept it for himself, and then survived an assassination attempt from the Cult of Kara-kai that same night.
(Marvel Premiere#22 (fb)) - As his power had continued to grow, the Ninja found himself able to physically possess then transform Professor Wing's body into a duplicate of his own form for limited periods of time. He did so as needed to protect Wing, whom he felt could someday discover the means to free him.
(Marvel Premiere#22 (fb) - BTS) - When Iron Fist came to Earth from K'un-Lun, the Ninja believed that he might hold the key to freeing him from the Book of Many Things.
(Marvel Premiere#17) - While Iron Fist fought his way through the maze of death-traps at Meachum Industries, the Ninja trailed him silently in the shadows, prepared to save his life if need be, so that the Ninja could use him to escape the Book. Iron Fist caught glimpses of the Ninja who eventually hurled a throwing star at a camera, blinding its laser mechanism and aiding Iron Fist in dodging its assault.
(Marvel Premiere#18) - While Iron Fist battled Harold Meachum's agent, Triple-Iron, trapped within a small room, the Ninja hurled a throwing star that lodged itself in the thin slot on an otherwise hidden door, allowing Iron Fist to recognize its presence and break through it to escape. Later, after Iron Fist had confronted Meachum and turned his back on the bitter old man, Meachum pulled a gun and tried to shoot Iron Fist in the back. The Ninja threw a dart into Meachum's hand, spoiling his aim enough that Iron Fist could hear the shot and move sufficiently to only receive a glancing blow. While Iron Fist lay stunned, the Ninja drew his sword and impaled Harold Meachum, leaving his sword stuck through Meachum's dead body. By the time Iron Fist recovered, the Ninja was long gone. As Iron Fist stood over Harold Meachum's body, Joy Meachum walked in and assumed Iron Fist to be the murderer.
(Marvel Premiere#19) - Ward Meachum arranged an ambush on Iron Fist, and the Ninja arrived in mid-battle intending to ensure Iron Fist's survival. The Ninja slew three back-up assassins, at which point Iron Fist defeated his own attackers . When Iron Fist asked the Ninja who he was, why he was firing him, and what was his purpose in going to Meachum's office, the Ninja wiped his blood-soaked sword on a newspaper who headline stated " 'Iron Fist' sought in Meachum Murder!", tossed the paper to Iron Fist, and departed.
(Marvel Premiere#20) - As Batroc's Brigade (Batroc and an army
of unidentified warriors) attacked Iron Fist, the Ninja appeared in mid-battle
and helped fight off the attackers, despite Iron Fist's insistence that he did
not want his blood-laden assistance. After the entire Brigade had fallen, the
Ninja summoned mists that teleported Iron Fist and himself to a vacant alley,
and then vanished again himself.
Across town in Lee Wing's office, the Ninja reappeared above the Book of Many Things and then transformed into Lee Wing, himself.
(Marvel Premiere#21) - Lee and Colleen Wing were captured by the the Cult of Kara-kai and bound in iron chains (which affects the magic of Master Khan's order of mages and thus prevented the Ninja from transforming Wing), and the Cult claimed the Book of May Things as well. Iron Fist arrived and freed the Wings, and when Lee Wing was subsequently taken hostage by one of the Cultists, he was transformed into the Ninja who defeated his attacker. In the subsequent struggle, one of the Cultists fled with the Book, and the Ninja threw something (presumably a throwing star, though it glowed with energy) into the Cultist to stop him. As he fell, the Cultist dropped the Book into a lit brazier, and the book was almost instantly incinerated. The distraught Ninja assumed he would perish as well, but instead he found himself separated from Lee Wing and free at last. Realizing that he had been guarding his prison all along, the victim of some cosmic joke, the Ninja was even more enraged at K'un-Lun, and decided to take out his wrath by slaying Iron Fist.
Premiere#22) - The Ninja attacked Iron Fist but pausing to fight the Cult of
Kara-kai when they amassed to attack the pair. The New York Police Department
then arrived, and the Ninja proudly admitted to slaying Harold Meachum because
at the time he had thought he needed Iron Fist alive. Wishing no further
interference, the Ninja then transported himself and Iron Fist to the pocket
dimension which had been his home for centuries. He renewed his struggle with
Iron Fist who was at a disadvantage due to his experience in the zero-gravity
realm. Stunning Iron Fist into submission, the Ninja delivered a seeming
death-blow then became lost in a recollection of the events of his life that had
brought him to this point. However, having only feigned defeat, Iron Fist took
advantage of the Ninja's distraction to adapt to the strange battlefield and
then attacked anew. The two battled fiercely in a lengthy struggle, each gaining
rare strikes while dodging and parrying the other's assaults. Briefly kicking
the Ninja's sword from his hands, Iron Fist took advantage of the brief respite
to summon his chi to deliver an Iron Fist strike. Regaining his sword, the Ninja
channeled his chi into it, and sword struck fist, resulting in a violent
Iron Fist returned to Earth, and the Ninja was nowhere to be seen. Lee Wing was free of the Ninja's presence.
(Power Man and Iron Fist#74) - Khan sent the
Ninja to steal the Jade Tiger's paw amulet from Bob Diamond,
knocking out Colleen Wing and stabbing Diamond in the process. The Ninja later
stole the Jade Tiger's head and other paw amulets from Lin Sun and Abe Brown,
From the Kismet Curio shop in the Village Khan restored the Jade Tiger, sending the Ninja to delay Power Man and Iron Fist when they tracked him to that location. The delay worked and Khan infused his power into the intact Tiger, which enlarged in size, opening a portal in space which he rode the Tiger through, though Power Man and Iron Fist followed him through it.
(Power Man and Iron Fist#75) - Master Khan summoned the Ninja within K'un-Lun to help fight off Power Man and Iron Fist. While Power Man faced many warriors of K'un-Lun at once, Iron Fist again faced the Ninja in single combat, hoping to settle some scores. The Ninja gained the early advantage, but Iron Fist apparently purified his thoughts and motives to meet him in equal combat and eventually delivered a kick that both dropped the Ninja and knocked the sword from his hand. Iron Fist held the sword to the Ninja's chest, asking Khan to call him off or he would kill the Ninja. Though mockingly asking, "How does one kill Death?", Khan ultimately decided that good servants were hard to come by and returned the Ninja to his pocket realm to wait until Khan next summoned him.
Comments: Created by Doug Moench, Larry Hama, and Dick Giordano.
It is uncertain whether the Yü-Ti who trapped the Ninja within the Book of Many Things was Lord Tuan or a predecessor. It is not known how long Tuan ruled as Yü-Ti, so it can't be certain. It might have been decades, centuries, millennia, or even hundred of thousands of years.
Profile by Snood.
No KNOWN connections to:
images: (without ads)
Marvel Premiere, p21, last page, last panel (full body)
#22, p1 (full body)
p4, panel 4 (face)
p5, panel 1 (Ninja in pocket dimension)
p8, panel 1 (as samurai)
p9, panel 5 (unmasked face)
Marvel Premiere#17-19 (September-November, 1974) - by Doug Moench (writer), Larry Hama (penciler), Dick Giordano (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Premiere#20 (January, 1975) - by Tony Isabella (writer), Arvell Jones (pencils), Dan Green (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Premiere#21 (March, 1975) - by Tony Isabella (writer), Arvell Jones (pencils), Vince Colletta (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Premiere#22 (June, 1975) - by Tony Isabella (writer), Arvell Jones (pencils), Aubrey Bradford (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Power Man and Iron Fist#74-75 (October-November, 1981) - by Mary Jo Duffy (writer), Kerry Gammill (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Last updated: 09/19/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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