Ninjak #11 is not without its share of problems. The thing that sucks about monthly comics is that they’re made so far ahead of time that there’s no hope of changing any of the problems that may arise given a particular storylines narrative device. For instance, the annoying and pointless narrative between Neville and his superior officer. The rest of the story is great and stands on its own. Hell, parts of it are even cool. But that fucking narration deflates everything. It spoils the art because you’re showing and telling rather than relying on the art to tell. It seems like a good idea on paper and hell, maybe at the end we’ll actually see Neville and his superior officer, but for now… they’re just talking invisible heads and they’re really not needed.
The gist of the issue is that Ninjak and Punk Mambo are stuck on an island and that the island is actually alive. Punk Mambo seems really shaken and isn’t her usual confident and mouthy self. It makes her kind of annoying to deal with because she’s a bit childish. Ninjak is Ninjak and he keeps it together. You can understand why he hates the Deadside. I don’t blame him in the least bit. I also came to realize that he’s a character that’s better suited to be on his own rather than constantly teamed up with people. It worked in Unity for a spell, but in his own title it should really just be Ninjak and his rogues.
The backup story is actually way better than the main story. We learn how Magpie and Ember came to be a team and it’s actually a solid story. It also reveals Magpie’s motive, but continues to paint him as this prisoner acting against his will.
The issue unfortunately becomes average fairly quickly. This doesn’t have the same vibe as Kindt’s previous two arcs. The worst part is that Ninjak seems underused. It’s almost a book about the Deadside and a way to build and introduce that to a larger audience which isn’t why anyone reading Ninjak would read Ninjak.
The art is of course good. It’s Doug Braithwaite and Juan Jose Ryp so it better be good. I favor Ryp more in this instance because I like his work more, but both artists are incredible in their own right. It’s just a shame that the art isn’t being allowed to command the story more because of the narration. The narration spoils the art so much by leading the panel. If it were after it could be a recap of sorts and provide humor in the differences, but it’s not. The level of skill and detail to the art is impressive and a small saving grace for the issue.
The question becomes, do I skip the rest of the arc knowing that it’s already done and written and the likelihood that it will change slim to none? I could just struggle through and hope for the best, but I tried that on Unity when I didn’t care for the arc and it bit me in the ass. I might check in at the end of the arc, but I think this storyline of Ninjak is unfortunately trying to build the Valiant Universe more than it’s trying to build Ninjak’s character and so I’m not very interested. Shadowman and his nook of the universe continue to be the only failure of the new Valiant Universe and not even Ninjak can save it.
Ninjak #11 Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Doug Braithwaite, Juan Jose Ryp Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/13/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital