The first issue of Christos Gage and Tomás Giorello’s Ninja-K built from the history of the Ninja Programme to an explosive finale, with Colin King’s investigation taking a new turn when an explosion levelled the home of D-3, the murdered Ninja-D’s last remaining backup. Ninja-K #2 is a great follow-up issue, though there are some problems with the comic’s pacing towards the end that detract from the issue as a whole.
What Happened This Issue?
Rather than jump straight into the aftermath of the previous issue, Ninja-K #2 starts with a story about Ninja-C, one of the earlier participants in the Ninja Programme. That story details Ninja-C’s negative experiences with the Ninja Programme and the lifestyle that being a government assassin entails. Back in the present, Ninja-K continues his investigation into Ninja-D’s murder, bringing him into conflict with Madame Charade and deeper into the Ninja Programme’s sordid history. The issue caps off with the story of the original Ninja.
Gage’s writing remains tense and intriguing throughout, building towards the final page’s reveal of the assassin taking apart the Ninja Programme’s former participants. The opening story about Ninja-C establishes the character nicely, though perhaps telegraphs the issue’s twist a bit too hard. Overall, Gage and Giorello’s arc is moving along at a brisk pace, and the action and intrigue are escalating with each page.
One of the book’s highest point comes with the introduction of Madame Charade. While she doesn’t necessarily reveal that much relevant to the plot as a whole, she does draw comparisons to Ninja-K’s love-interest/enemy Roku, who was a big part of Kindt’s previous run. The aging femme fatale also helps build on the series’ theme that there’s no country for old spies.
Although Ninja-K and Ninja-C’s stories are fantastic, there’s an additional story at the end of the book about the original Ninja that feels a bit tacked on. While it might end up tying into the book, that story takes away from the final pages of K’s story, making them feel more rushed than the rest of the comic. King’s exploration of the abandoned office building that once served as a training facility takes place over a few short pages, which is a shame as they presented a lot of possibilities to look at some of the Ninja Programme’s more sordid deeds.
Giorello crafts absolutely fantastic full-page spreads and action scenes throughout the comic. The scenes of Ninja-K and Ninja-C fighting their enemies are tight and brimming with energy and kineticism. While the more dialogue-heavy scenes aren’t as stellar, they still accomplish their goal and help show the characters’ emotional states.
The book does, however, fall a bit flat during its exploration scenes throughout Ninja-K’s story, as the transitions between panels don’t do a great job of establishing the location’s geography. This is particularly prominent towards the end when Ninja-K is exploring an abandoned office building that also once served as a training facility. Staircases appear from unseen locations, which makes the entire sequence feel disorienting.
Is It Good?
Despite a few problems with pacing, Ninja-K #2 is a great comic that continues to ramp up the tension and intrigue. Gage and Giorello do impressive work, and, whatever happens next, there are a lot of mysteries still left to unfold.