I was going to give this series a break because I’ve found that I rarely enjoy the follow-up after a really good story arc. “The Siege of King’s Castle” was extremely good and tied up all the loose ends of Kindt’s run in a lot of ways. It felt like a fresh start was coming. And then “The Fist & The Steel” instantly revisited the Shadow Council with this issue. I don’t mind that it’s set a bit in the future. In fact, ever since the one shot showing how Ninjak dies happened, I’m all for periodically venturing into this character’s future.
The problem I had is that this didn’t feel like a fresh start and while I can appreciate the fact that the main story and the backstory tie into each other and subsequently the “Dead Side” story arc as well, nothing is particularly interesting here even without comparing it to the last arc. They’re chasing down the creepy guy with extra arms. They talk a lot and it’s okay because Kindt writes a great partnership between Colin and Gilad. The goal of the remaining member of the shadow council is to bring back the Bleeding Monk. Clearly there’s something there that I don’t know because reading a lot of Harbinger kind of answered this question for me, but we’ll see what Kindt has up his sleeves. It’s just that this issue feels really mellow coming off the last story arc.
The art is weird. It’s not bad and shows a lot of talent, but I didn’t like it on this series. Only when Colin was in the Ninjak gear did he look cool. Gilad looks goofy. He just looks off and I didn’t get the same sense of his character from looking at him. Every character’s facial features are bogged down by an excess of extra lines. Instead of adding style and detail, it makes everyone look more like a California Raisin. It’s a personal taste for sure, but much like this story arc, it wasn’t a great fit for the series after “The Siege of King’s Castle.”
The likelihood of me reviewing the next issue is pretty slim. I’ll likely read it as a fan. Having read the previous 17 issues of Kindt’s run and figuring out that the first issue in the arc always sets the style and experience for the complete arc… well, I kind of know what to expect. Since I’m not loving this issue, I can expect the same for the next few and that’s okay. Doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, but you also probably don’t want to read the same review over and over either. Because of Kindt’s fantastic writing style you can’t just skip this arc if you don’t enjoy the issue, you’ll need the details here and for that reason it’s enough to keep buying and reading.
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Ninjak #18 Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Khari Evans Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital