Ninjak #6

WHO ARE THE SHADOW SEVEN? That’s the question Ninjak was sent to answer when he was dispatched to destroy terrorist organization Weaponeer from the inside out. As the mysterious new enemies make their move, he’s on a globe-spanning race against time to stop their machinations. Plus: discover how Colin King and Neville Alcott first met – and the deadly secret Neville has kept from Colin as NINJAK: THE LOST FILES continue…and Matt Kindt, Raul Allen, and Butch Guice begin a pivotal new chapter of the year’s smash-hit new series! All-new arc! All-new jumping-on point! “THE SHADOW WARS” start now!

Writer:
Matt Kindt
Artists:
Raul Allen
Butch Guice
Publisher:
Valiant Entertainment

Art is something I think most reviews (and I include myself in that group) rarely acknowledge in comics. Too often we praise the writing of an issue and the narrative and neglect to mention that the art is what makes the script sing. Hell, without it we wouldn’t have comics!

I only mention this because Ninjak #6 illustrates how an artist with a new take or different style can come into a series and revitalize it. I was growing a bit tired of series, feeling it was too overblown and serious for it’s own good at times. I’m glad I stayed reading it though as Raul Allen has turned what was becoming a exercise in ‘gritty 90’s comics’ into a boyant and playful globe trotting adventure.

As you would expect from the artist on Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series (and who was featured in last month’s Bloodshot Reborn) the issue looks a lot like Hawkeye. Unintentional or not, Matt Kindt’s script keeps Ninjak out of his costume for the majority of the issue which plays to Allen’s strengths, turning Ninjak into a jetsetting international man of mystery.

By framing him in a colour palette that invokes a 70’s setting – cool fluffy pastels one moment, dark claustrophobic buildings framed against the nights sky the next – the Ninjak comic has become more hip. Retro it may be, it passes something onto the comic that is hasn’t had in this run, which is style.

Not that this means the comic suffers in the action stakes. When it comes to the climactic battle against the Le Barbe, the minimalist style works to its best, cutting back the extraneous so that the two combatants and their states are the main focus. Be it the slight stumbling wobble Ninjak exhibits after being blinded or Le Barbe’s mad swagger shifting to uncertainly which is reflected on his face with just a few simple lines added, its an example of how neo-retroism (to summon a somewhat defunct ‘ism’)  and minimalism can be used to great effect.

All in all, consider me re-invested and refreshed by the end of the issue. It’s the perfect jumping on point for new readers too- what are you waiting for?

Cover image courtesy of Valiant Entertainment.

Ninjak is available from 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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