After the powerhouse storyline before “The Kill List”, there’s really no way that “The Kill List” can live up to or surpass it. This story arc is really a transition arc leading into what will likely be another big showdown between Aric and Commander Trill. The opening is fun because we see Ninjak and X-O hunt down another safe house of Plantings and then send another “We’re coming for you” to Trill. I think if there had been more stuff like this, then it could have been a good arc. It’s fun and you could have provided some real challenges for the duo, like kill a guy without causing a national incident or something like that. Really pick any assassination movie and just steal a scene from the movie and it would have been great fun.
The problem is that it goes from fun kill listing to the heavy political stuff from the previous arc. Which is strange because it makes you realize how merciless they’re being with their killings. Then Trill uses that to his advantage and while that’s interesting, it still doesn’t really fit with the conflicting tones of the issue. Really “The Kill List” needed to be serious. Ninjak wasn’t the best choice or at the very least the way he’s being portrayed wasn’t suitable for the arc. Don’t get me wrong I love Ninjak and Venditti’s Ninjak is great, but it should have been serious so it fit the overall series better.
The art continues to be very strong. Robert Gill and Ulises Arreola are producing some powerful scenes which again makes Ninjak a strange fit. We open with a bloody scene and the art is accurate to that tone, but then Ninjak is Ninjak and pops a one-liner and deflates the scene. Also I really like the way Gill illustrates the Vine people. Some artists make them look so spidery that I want to burn the comic with fire and gasoline, but Gill keeps a balance making me put down the lighter.
It’s an okay issue. It’s not great. It’s not a great follow up to the previous arc, but if you’re reading and liking X-O, then it’s worth keeping with it. Like I said, it’s a transition arc and so once we’re out of fog we’ll have a showdown and major consequences for the X-O side of the Valiant Universe. Until then, I’ll keep reading and enjoying Ninjak.
X-O Manowar #44 Writer: Robert Venditti Artist: Robert Gill Colorist: Ulises Arreola Letterer: Dave Sharpe Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/3/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital