Valiant Entertainment 2015
Written by Matt Kindt
Penciled by Clay Mann & Butch Guice
Inked by Seth Mann & Brian Thies
Coloured by Ulises Arreola
His name is Ninjak, spy and mercenary for hire. He is also Colin King, wealthy son of privilege.
The British espionage organization MI-6 tasked Colin with infiltrating and destroying Weaponer, 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. And if Roku knows, then the dark forces that created know as well….mysterious forces from far away and with a deadly purpose.
Who are the Shadow Seven?
So we’re back to Kannon’s office where Roku has Colin in her grip and he’s wanting answers from our hero. One of the things Matt’s been able to do so nicely here is seeing where he is at any given moment and then flashing back to when he was a boy and giving us this background information on Colin and the events that shaped the man he’d become but at the same time using that to show his determination to get out of his current predicament.
I love Clay’s work and that Seth and Ulises can take his pencils and expand on them like the do here really helps this series stand out. Colin is a handsome man period and Clay’s ability to showcase men like this is something we don’t see enough of, simultaneously he’s also able to showcase the action sequences in a way like you’re watching a dancer whose fluid movements show a grace and style unique to them.
I like how the story progresses here too from seeing Colin fighting Kannon and implying that he knew how to take him down, though we see the start but not the official takedown, to when he was a kid and his brain even then learning how to work things out. The one room off limits him as a boy is one he had no idea where it was until he told his parents he was in, this of course sends his father right to it revealing its location. Both instances just show us how smart he was and continues to be now. Matt’s characterization here is pretty damn flawless and it really makes an impact on you, as a reader, view Ninjak.
So what happens in this issue really does blur the line that Colin has to take and being Ninjak whose methods are always seemingly fluid to a place I’m not sure even he’s ready to go. But he was tasked by MI-6 for this assignment but has the assignment ended and he’s going the extra mile or is this going to be bad for him as the man in the long run? So many questions about how it’s going to go and what he’s doing it really is fantastic. Also what happens to Roku is something that is almost ambiguous but she’ll be back she’s a much larger role to play for the Seven than I think any of us realize.
The backup Lost Files story that continues to flesh Colin’s early training years also does some wonderful things in fleshing out him out as a full character. It conveys so much of what he went through and what he was willing to do to find and something that affected him on a personal level and ends up with his first meeting with a man he’ll continue to have a relationship with to this day. Though personally I’d love to see a story where he has to get close to a man, physically and romantically, while undercover because that would make him more fluid and interesting seeing he’d be able to do really anything at all.
Ninjak has already become my favorite Valiant title and after reading this it’s easy to see why. With a story and characterization that is so intense and interior artwork that moves you in a myriad of ways this series sits head and shoulders above the rest.