Ninjak has put himself into a fine mess and it’s all for a girl. Isn’t it always? He’s got his back to the wall as his entire team of villains have been swept off the board. Sounds like an exciting conflict, but is it good?
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
The moment you’ve been waiting for is here—the final, steel-splintering showdown between Ninjak and Master Darque! But when Valiant’s top assassin and lord of death come to blows, you can bet there’s going to be serious collateral. What will become of the deadly crime cartel known as the Shadow Seven? What final fate awaits the life of Ninjak’s former lover and most hated enemy, Roku? All will be revealed as Ninjak enters a blistering barrage of revelations and revenge…and exits with a brand-new place in the Valiant Universe!
Why does this book matter?
Matt Kindt is the type of comic writer to look out for because he loves to take chances. His comics are never straight laced fight books or heavy exposition dumps. He’s always trying to do new things for the medium, and this series has been a shining example of that. The art is on point in this issue too and I suspect Stephen Segovia only gets better as he puts out new issues. Oh, this is also the finale of the story arc, but don’t you worry, Kindt opens this issue by letting even new readers in on what is going on.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This dude is out of a horror movie.
It might feel like there’s a bit of a redundant nature to recapping readers in the opening pages of the final issue in a story arc, but I find it refreshing here. Kindt frames the recap with Ninjak informing some official of what happened in the Darquewood Forest (which is where we left off last issue). Since he’s telling us from the future what happened we know he made it, but it allows Kindt to add a grave narration via captions. Whatever happens wasn’t ideal, which is a nice way to kick off the story.
And what a showdown it is! Ninjak vs. Master Darque, who ya got?! Roku is a main player too, which of course leads to their tussling even though Ninjak loves the girl inside that head of hers. Essentially a fight comic, Kindt goes in and out of the captions of Ninjak telling an official what happened and the actual fighting. Because Kindt has spent so much time building up Ninjak’s love for Roku the battling has a purpose and Ninjak essentially has to hold back. That’s tricky when you consider the villain is sitting there getting more powerful by the second! Rising stakes, fighting for the one you love…yep, this has a good amount of drama.
Since this is a fight issue, Segovia needs to bring his A-game and I think he does. The action flows nicely, is easy to follow, and he maintains the intensity no matter the situation. Roku fighting Ninjak has the added tricky wrinkle of Ninjak holding back, which Segovia showcases well. Add in Master Darque, a creepy horror-movie type villain, and Segovia needs to convey that all while he sits for much of this issue. Again, Segovia captures that. Hell, Ninjak spitting acid is hard enough to draw and again Segovia captures that well. Overall the book looks fantastic due to Segovia’s pencils.
Great fighting in this one.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Given all the build up of the “Seven Blades” it’s somewhat disappointing to see Kindt not use all these villains. This allows a big showdown between Ninjak and Roku, but it also feels like a trope we’ve seen before. It’s also unfortunate the magic blade introduced earlier in the story arc isn’t used either! These are elements that made this story arc feel bigger, unique, and important, so it’s unfortunate to see them unused here.
Is It Good?
This is a fine conclusion to a story arc that’s been a heck of a ride. Matt Kindt tells stories like a slam poet, making for exciting and surprising storytelling. This issue is a great fight comic worth a look.