Valiant Entertainment 2015
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated by Diego Bernard
Coloured by Ulises Arreola & Peter Pantazis
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
Colin King, the elite MI-6 intelligence operative codenamed Ninjak, has confronted his past. He's survived the gauntlet of the Shadow Seven. He's walked into the Deadside and returned a changed man. Now his greatest trial yet will come to pass as the ruthless assassin called Roku returns to lay siege to Ninjak's present and future by destroying his life from the inside out – and only the death of Colin King will stop her.
Over the past year we’ve seen Colin’s life unfold before us, from his distant parents to abusive upbringing by his butler as well as him tackling jobs for MI-6 and glimpses into his love life and all of that did not prepare me for what Matt brought this issue. I honestly think this is one of those instances where I want to say Matt’s a genius. It almost feels like this arc is going to strip Colin back to his beginning and make him rebuild himself from the ground up reminding him of who exactly he is.
As this issue opens and Colin is trying it utmost best to free his mind, something he seems incapable of doing, everything he’s been through is catching up to him. The long trip to the Deadside with Punk Mambo has had him on the go for much longer than his body should have left him. No amount of training is going to prepare you for the consequences of what happens when your body needs downtime. So that we see what we do and his reflexes have slowed down and it’s only in the knick of time he sees what’s in store well that’s when the real story begins.
The ramifications of what we see as the story plays out are absolutely mind boggling. I mean we’ve seen people be taken out of their comfort zone and to have them try to take them down from the inside as it were but the hero always manages to have that one safe house that’s truly safe. That Matt has changed all the rules and has literally found someone dangerous enough to actually do what we see happening almost defies description.
The writing, characterization and sheer volume of what’s revealed here is the kind of stuff that makes legends out of the one writing it. It’s nice to see that he’s got at least one person he could turn to for help and even that is tentative from the looks of things but I gotta say this is going to be Colin’s greatest test yet. There’s a feeling of something epic happening here, one of those things that changes a character forever. I can’t help but wonder if that’s true and if so what Matt has in store. Ninjak’s always been my favourite Valiant character and this, this just reinforces why.
Diego, Ulises and Peter’s work on the interiors bring that same intensity and feeling to the page that words evoke. The way the story moves across the page from panel to panel gives it that sweeping movie epic feel where the attention to backgrounds and scenery give off just as much emotion as the characters themselves. Plus Colin is just as handsome and sexy as all get out which tends to belie what is actually capable of.
Everything here is done in a way that makes a statement and for each person who reads it that statement will be different but make no mistake it will leave a lasting if not haunting impression.