Valiant Entertainment 2019
Written by B. Clay Moore
Illustrated by Fernando Dagnino
Coloured by José Villarrubia
Lettered by Jeff Powell
They were the best…they killed the rest.
Five deadly assassins are recruited into a game of cat and mouse by their former sensei, the mysterious Jonin! But what does the Jonin want from them, and what do they gain out of helping him?
Oh bollocks this what I have been waiting for ever since we saw this story play out the way it did with Ninjak. How many of the former Ninja operatives still live? Well I am guessing five and considering we're only on K well that isn't very many now is it. Regardless this is a long overdue and perfect way to reintroduce us to these former agents and make them a force to reckoned with once again. While I was never sure what this was going to be about I did know B. Clay Moore was writing it and being a huge Hawaiian Dick fan that's all it took for me to be in. Of course seeing Fernando's name attached as well made me want to read this all the more as I really love his work so it's great to see him working on something new.
This was so much better than I could have hoped for too. The opening is amazing and it sets us up for the tone of the book beautifully. Also the narration is top notch and allows us to be privy to at least one persons idea on monogamy long term relationships, which is actually rather progressive so kudos to Clay. Plus while the character is ambushed it's great to see that they aren't just taking a beating but also fighting back like mad!
The characterisation here is phenomenal! From how we see this man in Italy carry himself to the rather emotional way we meet Ninja-G as well as seeing Neville Alcott again all of them are fleshed exceedingly well and while we get to know them in the present there is still so much that we don't know or that they haven't allowed us to see yet. The way that the story & plot development and the character development and swept up in the pacing and how it all just flows through the pages really is superbly done. So that the structure of the book really does allow the reader to become so engaged in the story is fabulous and delightful.
Goodness gracious are Fernando's interiors a thing of beauty to see. The linework is gorgeous and seeing the varying weights utilised to create the attention to detail here is fabulous. The man has this gorgeous eye for storytelling and we see this in the way he composes the panels. From the angles and perspectives we see to how he showcases foregrounds and the backgrounds to create the whole visual is just amazing. The page layouts and how they are utilised to help with the flow of story works on so many levels. The colour work as well is spectacular and how light sources are utilised to create shading and shadows, colour blocking and gradation in which various hues and tones are brought out is just perfectly done.
As you read the story it's easy to understand how and why the series got it's name. Although there is so much more here than meets the eye and the layers are stacked up on each other as an orange with way too man peels. I cannot wait to see how and where these folks are going to take us next. All I do know is that Agents like these have no friends and trust folks even less so how will they get all five together in one place without them killing each other. Granted the same man did train them all and they all learned the same tricks only the outcomes will vary.
Valiant strikes again with a hot new series and hopefully we'll start getting one that's actually an ongoing monthly because this, this is one that I want to be able to read month and month out. Great writing and fabulous interiors make Killers a beautiful but deadly addition to Valiant Comics.