Having finally caught up on Ninjak I couldn’t miss the opportunity to review the series again. Frankly I have enjoyed every issue more than our regular reviewer Nick, but that’s the charm of our site; we all have our own books we like and dislike and I prefer to hear the honest truth from someone rather than puckering ass kissing. When the first issue hit I was asked on social media why this book was good. Frankly I wasn’t looking to get deep into the conversation because only fools do such a thing on social media. Now that I’m more in my natural habitat I can go into why Ninjak is a fantastic series that old and new Valiant fans should check out.
Do you like spy novels? Do you like spy movies? Do you hate when they break their own rules and simply become action stories? Well Ninjak never forgets that it’s a spy story. It actually reminds you several times that it is a spy story full of espionage and spy goodies. But it’s not just a very thorough spy story, it’s also a ninja story. It’s a ninja spy story that doesn’t forget that it’s a ninja spy story. Ninjak doesn’t just pick up a gun and shoot someone or bed the closest woman because she’s hot. There aren’t other ninjas after him because he’s betrayed their code or some shit and he needs to protect and bed a woman. There’s no tropes typically associated with either genre and that’s partially what makes it so great.
What I find great about it is Matt Kindt’s writing (see: Mind MGMT #36 also on sale this week) and how he constructs a page. At one point our two characters’ size each other up. Our villain is La Barbe and his tech actually rivals Ninjak’s which I suspect will change after this issue. La Barbe uses his tech to basically list everything Ninjak has and turn it against him. While Ninjak takes inventory of what La Barbe has and does his best to figure out what he’s capable of. There didn’t need to be a breakdown, but it’s far more interesting to see how each character is sized up by the other character.
Before this though, we see Ninjak engage in actual spy techniques of finding La Barbe by talking to locals and chasing rumors. Rumors that prove fruitful. It’s this added touch that shows how well-trained and well-rounded Ninjak/Colin is. It’s authentic to his character and never feels out of place.
The art has switched on this issue and frankly I didn’t think I was going to like it, but Raul Allen is actually a great fit for the book. There’s a pulpy grit to Allen’s style that works with both genres’ at play here. At times it even felt as if Allen was miming Kindt’s art style and I really liked that. Overall Allen is a welcomed edition to this series and that’s not something I thought I would say. In particular I enjoyed his stealth sequences which are always hard to nail in comics.
The backup story also switches art and I kind of liked it better than the previous artist. Stephen Segovia’s style is different from Allen’s so it stands out and makes the story feel as if it’s taking place in the past which is the most important part of the story. Overall the art team switching turned out to be a good thing and not a distraction like it often is in comics.
If you haven’t tried Ninjak then you should. Maybe I’ve sold you on it with this review and maybe I haven’t. Maybe I need to go to social media and explain in 600 words why I like the book and what makes it so good, but maybe you’ll pick it up for yourself and see that the story is wonderfully written and plotted by Matt Kindt and that he works seamlessly with any art team assigned the book to make it a well put together package. It’s a comic that feels a bit like a creator owned series and that’s a damn good thing if you ask me.