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A Tale of Three Kings: Ninjak #1 Review


Book 1

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Clay Mann
Inker: Seth Mann
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

The Lost Files

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Butch Guice
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

Ninjak #1 by Matt Kindt is the ongoing series that you’ve wanted ever since Valiant first relaunched in 2012. The highly sought after British Ninja’s first solo adventure is just what you’d expect, featuring all the guns, swords, and punching that you were hoping for. The first piece of info is a clue into the inner workings of Ninjak’s tools, which is an image perfectly captured and described by the folks at Valiant. This illustrates another important piece of this comic – this is a comic with a lot of substance and ideas that proves itself as an action story with both brains and brawn.

Clay Mann makes a fierce debut to the world of Ninjak, finally getting that big book that is going to set him apart from the competition in the industry. The first battle within the issue is a fight scene containing some incredibly intricate layouts. Mann proves his flexibility in the way he draws the young Colin King (Ninjak) to be so innocent, and the older version to be so cynical. The artist perfectly illustrates the juxtaposition of the two heroes. The streets of the big city look alive with the wonderfully fierce incarnation of an older Colin King invested towards further exploring this new place in which he calls home. Visual cues of technology prove how versatile this artist can be.

The briefing scenes from MI-6 perfectly utilize Ninjak’s own inner monologues to paint a unique landscape that draws attention to itself for all the right reasons. A computer folder shows a slow burn process of Ninjak learning new things about himself that recalls some of the best moments within Rai (also written by Kindt) which has arguably transformed into one of the best ongoings at Valiant Entertainment. The trio of scenes here are still utilized in an even stronger effect, showing that Kindt does have a great pull towards some of the espionage moments that could make a series like this truly great. This title is light on plot, but heavy on espionage. With a host of plot secrets surfing around this issue, Book 1 is a triumphant first solo outing for the hero that has an immense amount of potential to continue to reveal more about the Valiant lands.

The Lost Files backup storyline is another really intriguing debut for Kindt, revealing the sort of middle ground on how King became Ninjak passed his early youth. If I had any gripe with this storyline – I wish this plot was nestled in between the primary feature and the art was made to look more like flashbacks. Making the tale even more dense, and cramming it with more story and intrigue would have led to a really interesting thought experiment that would enlighten the world of Ninjak. Still, it’s incredible that Kindt can tell a story this strong in under ten pages in the back of the book. Also, the tale is even lighter on plot than the opening issue, which is mildly disappointing,

Butch Guice is exactly the brand of awesomeness that Ninjak needs, it’s a quieter less complicated tale that still has the right amount of heavy shadows and linework to really keep my interest peaked. Guice’s work is just as lovely as Mann’s art, and I hope the two will eventually work together within the frame of one story.

Ninjak #1 is a sharp package that contains 30 pages of sheer delight. So many smart ideas and plotting instances are featured throughout this comic. Based on the success of this first installment, team Ninjak could have a book as good as Rai on his hands.

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