Valiant Comics 2015
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp, Clay Mann & Marguerite Sauvage
Coloured by Ulises Arreola
His name is Ninjak - spy and mercenary for hire. He is also Colin King, wealthy son of privilege. British espionage organization MI-6 tasked Colin with infiltrating and destroying Weaponeer, a criminal empire that designs weapons for the highest, most illicit bidder. Disguised as businessman Henry Collins, Ninjak ingratiated himself to the group’s imposing leader, Kannon. He also met Kannon’s right-hand woman, Roku, an assassin so feared that skilled warriors have taken their own lives rather than face her razor-sharp locks of hair and her deadly skills. Unbeknownst to Colin, Roku knows there’s a spy in Kannon’s midst and the two expose “Henry Collins” as Ninjak. It’s out in the open - Weaponeer knows who he is. Kannon knows who he is. Roku knows who he is. …but who is Roku?
This issue is dedicated to Roku and how she came to be the way she is. Matt as we all know has this incredibly killer mind and awesome talent as a writer and spending this much time on her here gives me hope we’ll be seeing her a lot more in the future, possibly Ninjak’s or just around the Valiant Universe in general. Her origin and what she goes through here can easily be further explored in greater detail and personally I sure as heck wouldn’t mind seeing it.
There really are some impossibly good wow moments that happen throughout this issue. I mean when we see one of the Monk’s being sent to do the other Monks bidding and then the man whom he encounters whom they refer to as the Dark Spirit yeah the artwork is stunningly powerful and when he does does to him and then we switch back to Roku and what her part of that story is well I never in a million years would have expected that to happen!
How the former life ends and the new begins in a transformation that you’ll find in a hidden Monastery ruled by Monks who have been there longer than they can count well it’s interesting and quite that whole mythology we somewhat associate with learning new ways to enhance ourselves, like the Shadow, Peter Cannon or Deadman. After the transformation the trials Roku goes through to regain a portion of who she was and shape who she has become is great stuff. It really is a powerful story that Matt’s delivered to us and very little of Colin is seen here it’s all about Roku and what makes her such a fearsome adversary.
In this issue’s backup story by Matt Kindt, Butch Guice, Brian Thies and Ulises Arreola bring us Kannon own connection to Roku and where she trained. It’s weird and yet fascinating to see how all this played out. To see this undead Monk and how he gained follows and how Kannon came to him and received his new name as well it all just speaks volumes but how does one go from that life to one of crime like this is the real question that should be asked.
There’s a reasons that Ninjak is one of the most intriguing men in not only the Valiant Universe but comics as well and the way his world unfolds before us demonstrates this beautifully.