It’s been a few issues since I checked into Ninjak with a review… or read it. I wasn’t a fan of the “Deadside” storyline. The story itself felt like an easy way to bring Shadowman back and I didn’t particularly care for the way the story was narrated. I’m finding more and more with Matt Kindt’s Valiant work that if I don’t like the narration I usually have to skip the arc. This arc, “The Siege of King’s Castle” is a return to form in my opinion. The first arc of this series was the best. The pacing, the narration and of course the art. I’m not going to compare the art, but Diego Bernard is a great fit for the series and the arc so thus far.
What sets the tone for the entire story arc is the narration. Colin is narrating again and we’re privy to his thoughts. His thoughts are on everything that’s happened in the series leading up to this storyline, including the backstory reveals. Which is some clever writing. I know that most would argue that there really is no such thing as a jumping on point in the middle of a series, but then I would argue that it doesn’t matter because the only way to learn about characters and to catch the stories is to just start somewhere. This issue manages to present the series in a way that isn’t just exposition and is still entertaining for readers that have been following it all along.
After Colin explains why he can’t clear his head, he has this amazing Batman-Sherlock moment in which his brain catches up and realizes the simplest and smallest things that were out of place as he arrived home and begins to run… as his house/castle explodes. He makes it to safe room which holds for a moment and then collapses, trapping him. He pulls himself out and leaves his home that’s stood for 25 generations.
No worries though, he has a ton of money and emergency supply stashes all over. Then he tries to pay for a cab with his credit card and gets sloppy… he doesn’t think anyone knew about the stashes, but he soon finds out that everything he has is gone when the credit card reads “Dodgy Pillock” instead of his fake name. Things only get worse for him after that.
What’s also particularly good about Kindt’s writing here is that he’s still tying everything together. This has everything to do with the first two arcs, but in the stories world its only possible because of the third. Because he was gone to the Deadside for so long. That’s just some fantastic writing and it really shows how in control of this series Kindt is, just how much editorial trusts him to weave and plot the way he does on his creator-owned series.
Kindt’s narration is again a return to form for the series. Colin’s inner workings rivals Batman and Tony Stark in comics. It’s almost as if they had a baby and that baby was Ninjak who has an Omega level of intelligence. Yeah, that just became the yard stick of measurement for your comic character. Oh you’re the third smartest man on the planet… fuck that, Ninjak is an Omega level intelligence!
Bernard’s artwork is very detailed, but what really stood out to me was the fact that the characters were very consistent. The artist has changed every other arc, but the characters continue to be so consistent that they’re recognizable. I know that’s dumb, but given the fact that only one character has a costume and he doesn’t wear it for the entire issue… well that’s saying something.
Do you read Ninjak? If yes then hey you’re in for a really, really good issue. If you don’t, this is actually a hell of an issue to start with and if you’re like, “superheroes, mine have to be starring in a major summer blockbuster or I don’t care” then hey why are you reading this review? But hey when it does become a Sony movie you’ll wish you had started here.
Ninjak #14 Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Diego Bernard Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/6/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital