Review: Book of Death: The Fall of Ninjak

I can see how these one-shots can rub people the wrong way. After all it’s basically just a glimpse at the end of a storyline that will likely never happen unless comics evolve to the point that they actually retire characters. There are a few major positives for these “Fall of” one-shots and the biggest is that you can enjoy them without reading Book of Death or any other Valiant title. I mean think about that, did you need to read Convergence to understand two months of DC’s titles? Yes, you did. Do you need to read Secret Wars to understand and read all of Marvel’s numerous tie-ins? Yes, you do. You can lie to yourself and buy the hype that both companies spew out each crossover, but you do in fact need to read the main series to understand why the fuck there’s a tie-in.

With these one-shots there’s just a mention of the Book of the Geomancer which is the focal point of the Book of Death event, but that’s it. Really these tie-ins are for readers of Valiant’s entire universe. Nowhere is that clearer than right here in The Fall of Ninjak.

The Fall of Ninjak CoverAre you reading Matt Kindt’s other Valiant titles? Because if you are then buy this issue. The reason being is that he not only explains New Japan which is the location of Rai, but he also touches on a story angle that’s been brewing in Unity. More so, he establishes that the Valiant Universe is mapped out both in its past, present and future.

Personally that’s what I really enjoyed about this issue. Valiant’s past is being explored in Unity and you can see things from the past that have played into the present. In the present we know that the universe is tightly knit because there are crossovers a-go-go with the books. But Rai and the Eternal Warrior mini were always big question marks to me. They take place so far in the future of the Valiant Universe that I always wondered why? Well, here’s part of the answer. It really is a testament to the editorial team at Valiant, but also to Kindt who is clearly mapping the hell out of their overall storyline.

But hey, maybe you just like Ninjak. I mean, I like Ninjak and I especially like Ninjak when Matt Kindt is writing him. So the question here is… is an old ass Ninjak still as cool as a young ass Ninjak?

Your damn right he is!

I won’t spoil what Kindt does with this character, but it’s safe to say that Ninjak is the baddest mother in the Valiant Universe. I even dare to say that he’s their “Wolverine” if the aforementioned character hadn’t been run through the dirt and mud and ruined by a lack of care by a corporation that had dollar signs in their eyes. Think back to when you first found out about Wolverine and were like, “this character is awesome!” That’s Ninjak now. Your welcome.

The art on this issue is of course great because when Trevor Hairsine is on, he’s really on. Hairsine brings out the emotion of Ninjak/Collin’s journey. There are great character moments that Hairsine gives depth to on the page. I don’t want to say which characters (you should probably already know), but there are touching moments between them and Ninjak throughout the years and it really shows the depth of Kindt’s writing. Because through Hairsine’s art we see that this truly is a different, older, wiser, Ninjak.

You may have passed on this tie-in because you don’t want to see some “The End” type story for your favorite character. You don’t want to see their death knowing that the way comics work, the character will never really get to that point. But then again, they did get there. We just get to enjoy them for as long as possible, but make no mistake… this is the death of Ninjak… and it’s fantastic. But maybe only if you’re a Valiant/Ninjak fan. But then if you aren’t, then why would you start reading here?

Score: 5/5

Book of Death: The Fall of Ninjak Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Trevor Hairsine Inker: Ryan Winn Colorist: Allen Passalaqua Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/26/15 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital