Review: Ninjak #16

Have you been reading Ninjak? I admit I fell behind, but I caught up with this issue. First, though, let’s stare at those two covers below. There’s a third, but I didn’t like it as much as these two. Just so… yum. I love the regular cover, but that next one… I like it! I never really talk about covers because, let’s be honest, they’re just buy-bait (that’s a modern term for an old… term, think clickbait!). Candy for the eye that makes you buy shit that you won’t read or like, but not Ninjak. I’m happy to say that if you pick this up for the cover, you’ll love the interior just as much! [su_quote]Synopsis: Ninjak kills a lot of people trying to get to Roku and there’s a heavy emphasis on the word “lot.” He ends up in Venezuela where he intentionally gets himself kidnapped… and kills more people. A lot more people.[/su_quote]

NINJAK_016_COVER-A_CHOII know that for a lot of comics the secondary story in the back is just filler. They divide the cost that way so they can give you a fuller issue, but the main story is light on pages and the backstory is just filler. There’s a ton of publishers that do this and while I’m not here to pick at them, I am here to say that Kindt’s backstories are never filler. They give a great insight into the series, the characters, and the past, but he uses all of that to feed it into the main story. I fall for it every time too. I get completely wrapped up in both stories that I forget that he’s waiting to push the characters of the backstory into the current story in some way. The details are always important with his writing and that’s no different here.

The path that Kindt is taking Ninjak/Colin down is interesting. He’s taken his life away from him and he’s not ruthlessly killing all kinds of bad people while following the path of a trap that he knows to be a trap. Why does he want to get to the end and find Roku there, I don’t know? I want to know. I want to keep reading to find out, but I’m curious as to what kind of character Ninjak will be when he reaches the other side. He’s gone from hero to anti-hero in just three issues and with the final pages of this issue, he finally pieces together what Roku is doing to him and it’s brilliant because we should have seen it coming. It should have been clear to us, but Kindt again distracts you with everything else going on that you forget that he’s not writing a story arc, but rather an entire series with peaks and valleys. Everything he’s written on this series is connected. Everything. Even the Shadowman arc I didn’t like.

NINJAK_016_COVER-B_PHAMComplementing the story is Diego Bernard’s artwork which has become more detailed than ever before. He is the unsung hero of Valiant’s line of books because he’s worked on all of them at different points and whether people realize it or not, he was probably the artist on your favorite arc. I’ve lost track of how many times he’s been the artist behind one of my favorites. I know my he’s the artist behind my favorite X-O Manowar arc, and this is quickly shaping up to be one of my favorite Ninjak arcs. He’s consistent and detailed and I like that. Sure, sometimes I like my comic book art to be more artsy, but sometimes I just want clean and detailed and for Ninjak to look like fucking Ninjak on every pages (looking at you,  Aquaman) and for the action to be solid and easy to follow. Bernard does all of that. He makes it look easy; to the point that you have to wonder if other artists were scheduled better if they could deliver the same, but probably not because he’s that damn good.

I don’t particularly like reviewing the end of an arc because the only purpose is the spoilers, so I’ll likely skip the next issue for review. I would already recommend it based off of this issue of Ninjak, so keep that in mind as you read this week’s issue. This is a good palate cleanser after reading so much from Marvel and DC lately; it’s a nice reminder that there’s a publisher that truly wants to deliver the best superhero comics they can and they are.

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Ninjak #16
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artists: Diego Bernard, Andres Guinaldo
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 6/8/16
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital