Ninjak 1

For the first time, Ninjak’s past and
future collide in the pages of an all-new ongoing series from New York Times
best-selling writer Matt Kindt (RAI, Mind MGMT) and superstar artists Clay Mann
(X-Men: Legacy, Gambit) and Butch Guice (Captain America, Action Comics)! Colin
King is Ninjak, the world’s foremost intelligence operative, weapons expert,
and master assassin. And he’s hunting the Shadow Seven – a secret cabal of
shinobi masters with mysterious ties to his training and tragic past.
Writer:
Matt Kindt
Artists:
Clay Mann
Butch Guice
Publisher:
Valiant Entertainment
Flipping through the first few pages I
suddenly thought I had picked up a 90’s comic by mistake. Ninja’s – check.
Gratuitous Tn’A – check. People wearing bulky ‘realistic’ armour fighting in a
semi John Woo style – check and check!
Still, despite all of that stuff that’s not
really to my taste, it’s admirable it had a lot more things to recommend it.
Setting Ninjak (which I think is meant to be read as ‘Ninja-K’, but nobody used
the guy’s code name as far I can remember so I’m not sure) as a british spy
that does tasks for MI6 on a freelance basis is a very interesting choice,
along with the various flashbacks to the past, that take us through some of the
steps he took to become the man he is in the present. I do hope they expand on
the English aspect though, because at the moment, were he not hanging out in a
Tudor Castle I wouldn’t have known he was English in the slightest.
For an issue that is mean to act as a
jumping on point for new readers and a soft reboot for the character, it packs
a lot of plot in without ever really explaining much. That’s quite nice in a
way because it contrasts many comics that would be tempted to do an info dump
when introducing new characters, instead hooking us in with a mystery and
letting the reader fill in the blanks.
I mentioned the 90’s feeling I got when
reading the first few pages and the artwork reinforces that a lot, if more in
the way it lays out its panels and their various ‘shots’, as well as the inking
style. It may be harder to judge exactly what that is, now that companies like
DC are leaning heavily on Jim Lee as an influence for it’s house style, but if
you took the average panel of an ‘x-treme’ 90’s comic and updated it to account
for modern techniques, you couldn’t be able to notice any real difference.
It does seem like I’m ragging on the comic
for a rather small thing and to be fair, it’s a valid point. But having been
lucky enough to read some other lines Valiant have been launching (such as Ivar Timewalker and Imperium), that take
some of the 90’s atheistic but updates them in contemporary ways, it’s a little
disappointing.
I’m sure there’s a market for it and I don’t
begrudge those who do (even if I do judge them on their spelling, to read a few
comments on forums). After all, the comics industry is making steps to become
more diverse and part of that is still catering to traditional comics fans. But
it’s not really my cup of tea.

Cover image courtesy of Valiant
Entertainment.


Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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