By Dustin Cabeal
Totally willing to admit that I haven’t kept up with Ninjak, but unlike a lot of superhero comics, Matt Kindt makes it easy to jump back on the series. Point in case, this is a pretty big conclusion to a storyline, and once again it involves the Shadow Seven, Roku, and Master Darque. I’ll say this much; the series does need some new villains because I am getting super tired of that dude with the creepy little hands. He’s great because of those hands, but he’s still just creepy as fuck.
Ninjak and Roku start the issue off in fighting poses (after some great future visuals that is) against Master Darque who is feeding off the Shadow Seven like a tree on one of those glass things that hold water upside down… you know what I’m talking about its As Seen on TV! Anyway, Roku betrays Ninjak which I saw coming instantly, and I haven’t even read the last several issues. She wants to die, so it’s not a surprise, what is a surprise is everything that happens after the betrayal.
The ending is just too perfect. In a lot of ways, Ninjak’s story is as tragic as Wolverine’s in that nothing ends and nothing good happens to him. He has moments of joy, and then it all starts over. I don’t know if there’s another issue after this one, but it seems to me that it will need to start something completely different from this point and that’s okay. Ninjak telling Neville (who looks like shit) that MI-6 knows where he is if they need him was a great way to say, “I’m around… always.” Obviously, we’ve seen the future of the Valiant U., so it’s not like Ninjak is going anywhere, but I sincerely hope to see Matt Kindt continue the series.
Kindt continues to be one of the few writers to get Ninjak. If you’re reading a lot of superhero comics, I guarantee you won’t find another character like Ninjak. Yes, his overall world and gadgets have a familiarity with them due to the genre, but his actual nuts and bolts as a character are very different. He lives for life as Ninjak in a way that outshines Batman. Batman has a mission, but Ninjak is just wandering lost. His backstory is just too fucked up and tragic to be compared to anyone else’s making his damage far more complex than just “dead parents.” Kindt makes him this cool, but tragic character that has sprinkles of similarities to his comic counterparts, but in the end, he feels human and relatable in a way that anyone we meet in life is relatable. Aside from Aric, he’s the most human feeling character in the Valiant Universe.
Ninjak has always had great art, and this issue is no exception. I’ll take Stephen Segovia any day of the week on Ninjak. He’s joined by Ulises Arreola which I can only assume means inking and coloring or at least the latter. It’s a beautiful looking book, and there are two scenes in which something changes color, and it looks wonderful. It gives the comic life at that point. Segovia is masterful in illustrating Colin’s expressions. Segovia puts a ton of effort into everyone’s expressions, but there’s something about the work he does on Colin. You feel the weight of the world on Colin’s shoulders at the being of the issue, like he’s about to recap something he doesn’t want to talk about or even remember. It’s clearly something he just wants to put to bed and be done with, but he must debrief and push through the emotional pain.
When I read an issue of Ninjak that is this good I end up going back and reading what I missed. Even knowing where it ends up, it’s always worth the journey. I may not always review the series, but I would be lying that it doesn’t still register as one of my favorites, even when I fall behind. If you too have fallen behind on Ninjak, don’t let the number on the cover scare you, give it another shot right here with this issue. You won’t regret it and its way better than the stuff the corporate heroes are doing.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artists: Stephen Segovia with Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: Valiant Comics