Time to jump on if you haven’t been enjoying Ninjak because a new story arc starts here. It’s Ninjak on an international mission that’d put James Bond to shame. Plus, an explanation for the purple!
Writer: Kevin Maurer
Artist: David Baron
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
Snakebite!He’s fought the Shadow Seven, journeyed to the Deadside, and bested death itself, but MI-6’s top superspy has never tested his limits like this! When Ninjak is assigned to the Middle East for a seemingly simple extraction, this once-routine mission will quickly turns south when the laws of nature are turned upside down…and mutated soldiers bearing the animalistic abilities of nature’s deadly predators strike from the shadows! Now, Ninjak must hone his lethal skills and channel his inner warrior like never before…or end up at the bottom of the food chain!
Why does this book matter?
In Ninjak I trust, a series that’s seemingly always well paced, but also good at delivering espionage with swords. Now joined with artist David Baron, prepare for highly detailed art.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Using tech to kick ass…
This issue kicks off with a special ops team getting their butt kicked in the Middle East by two formidable foes not too different from Ninjak. They sport swords, high tech gizmos and are highly skilled at killing. Two against one doesn’t seem like fair odds, but that’s the point as the stakes are raised instantly before Ninjak even knows what their deal is. Kevin Maurer segues this into a solid intel sequence (which includes the explanation for why he wears purple!) and then transitions to the mission. Kindt wastes no time getting our beaks wet, dropping us into a mission, and progressing the story from there nicely. There’s no decompression in this issue with some major actions taken by Ninjak you may not see coming (read: killing). As always there’s a bigger plot afoot which ties into an American angle that’s intriguing.
The art by Baron is fantastic in this issue and looks like a million bucks. Seriously, Baron could easily be drawing an event series with this quality; he employs a great use of light (when Ninjak looks at screens) and exciting action. Take a scene where a bad guy shoots off a rocket launcher — the smoke and fire coming from this thing is quite cool looking and adds a bit of realism to the scene. Even when characters are doing a lot of talking Baron keeps your interest with well paced layouts and panel work. Environments and vehicles all look great in hyper detail and I really dig how he draws the stars in the sky. One highlight visually was a three panel progression of Ninjak’s grappling hook. At first we see the hook fly and a laser shoot out, then we see the laser pointed at a rail, and finally we see the hook wrap around the rail. It’s a cool way to show how his technology is realistic and functional.
…in clever ways.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The big plan of the villains does scream a bit “been there done that” and, at least so far, isn’t the most riveting of tales. Bad guys seem to be infatuated with screwing with human DNA judging by how often we’ve seen it done. I’m holding out hope there’s a wrinkle or two that sets this apart moving forward.
Is It Good?
This is an excellent espionage issue to say the least with exciting action with a good pace and never too much exposition. The biggest highlight is the gadgetry, which is rendered believably and in a cool way.