By Mike Badilla
Whew, good thing for recap pages, amirite? I haven't read Ninjak in a while, so to jump in here on issue 20, there's a lot going on. Big thanks to Valiant for helping us all out with this recap: Ninjak went to an otherworldly plane to rescue some MI-6 agents, they all caught a disease while they were there (wanky wanky) and now Ninjak has it too (um... wanky wanky?) and now we are decades ahead with Ninjak and the Eternal Warrior (not to be confused with the Ultimate Warrior, although that could be interesting) fighting some old timer called Dr. Silk.
We find ourselves in the heat of battle between Dr. Silk and our heroes. The doctor has summoned a giant magic(?) spider and it is attacking Ninjak and the Eternal Warrior. There is some back and forth between our heroes and they engage the spider in attack, although it doesn't seem to phase it. Dr. Silk reveals that he has actually summoned this spider for the otherworld mentioned earlier (known as Deadside) because he has discovered the secrets of the universe there. He still doesn't say what he's planning on doing with the spider though, so I imagine it's his ride/companion. Immediately after explaining this, he warps to the Deadside, and our heroes discuss the fact that the doctor is now the Deadside's problem and no one elses. They ultimately decide that neither feels good about Silk accessing all the universe's info so they head after him through the Deadside portal.
Once inside, they find that Silk is gone, and they are surrounded by holes into different dimensions. Inside the main hub, Ninjak finds an old friend, Mambo, who discusses some things about Ninjak's mentor and his training, also mentioning when Ninjak had the deadside virus. Ninjak reveals to Mambo that the virus he had exists throughout time and space, and using meditation he was able to travel to the future time he is in now. The warrior can't see Mambo or anything that Ninjak seems to be interacting with in this space, so he gets Ninjak to continue the hunt for Silk. Suddenly, after some virus talk, the two are swept up and, uh, "excreted" from some creature into another dimension, where they spot Silk, riding his spider (ha, good guess) towards some large structure in the middle of a barren wasteland. As they approach, they are attacked by flying firey warriors...
I mentioned that I haven't read Ninjak in a while. That is in no way because it is a bad book, it's actually really funny. The art is good, the dialogue is fun and every once in a while you're reminded that Ninjak is British based on words like "sodding." Because I'm behind, I can't really comment on the story as of late, but I will say that I'm interested in seeing where this goes. It's really weird and there's a lot of things like a time-traveling virus from the deadside that could either interest a reader like it did for me, or leave him groaning.
The inclusion of a recap page is basically my favorite thing though, and should be included in every comic, as it is a grand way of getting just enough of a back story as to not feel lost if your first issue is far along in the series. Overall I'll say that I like the art, the dialogue, the story is heading in a fun and interesting and very new direction from anything I've read in a while, so I'll continue reading it.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artists: Khari Evans and Eric Nguyen
Colorists: Ulises Arreola and Chris Sotomayer
Publisher: Valiant Comics