Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido – Words and Art
Dave Sharpe with Javier Pulido – Letters
I was very impressed by Ninjak #1, the first of a new run on the character. I am pleased to say that everything I liked about the first issue is present here as the plot starts to coalesce a bit more as we find out more about who was behind the leak of MI6 names and what exactly Myna and Colin have got themselves caught up in.
I do have to start by praising the art, which is just so unusual for a Valiant book and really does stand out. The panels make it an interesting read. I have to concentrate to follow them and I really love that I have to spend the time working out the layout and following the story. The best comics mean you spend as much time on the art as the text and that really is the case here.
There’s also some great colour work going on too. The single colours work really well in setting the scene. I especially like the contrast between the blue for the sky and the red when we switch to see the bad guy’s pool party (where there are some very intriguing developments – who is this guy and what is he up to?). The selection of colours and where to use them is skilfully done. It really clues the reader into both the action and where the characters are.
The character designs themselves are also excellent. In this issue we meet G3, some mutated assassin types – Growler, Gale and Giant who are pretty worthy opponents. The designs of the characters themselves reflect their mutations. Growler looks like a gargoyle animal, Gale looks like she controls the weather and Giant looks impervious and strong. And yes those descriptions may well put you on mind of some well known mutants from a big publisher, the designs certainly did for me, but I didn’t mind in the least. Their powers are also depicted in a nice action-orientated way. There’s some real chaotic dynamism to their fights with Colin and Myna.
There is plenty of interesting action. It’s always good to see Ninjak in action as Colin goes up against three foes. Yet what I like is that we also get insight into Colin’s character, not only in the way he fights but also in his interactions with Myna. Myna is still learning about Colin close up and personal and that’s really good, especially for newer readers to get to know the character that is Ninjak.
Myna herself is a good contrast to Colin. She is perfectly capable in her own right but as she points out she’s never done a wet work op. She is out of her comfort zone but clearly trusts Colin and takes his directions even though she doesn’t entirely know what she’s doing. She is rising to the challenge and it’s clear that Coin trusts her, at least enough to follow his instructions.
There’s a nice little relationship building between Colin King and Myna. We’ve not really had a dynamic like theirs in a Ninjak book before and I appreciated it. I’ll always appreciate a dynamic with a female character in a book like this too, which would be so easy to concentrate on the tough male character and Ninjak is very much that. The panels of the two of them in shadow are so simple and so effective, just seeing their silhouettes says a surprising amount about their relationship.
The end of this issue segues nicely into the free comic book day issue of Ninjak story, which is where the story will pick up in the next issue.
This issue though is really good. We had a credible threat with the G3 and I sense that might not be the last we see of them, or certainly not their mysterious employer. It’s an interesting choice to have Ninjak, a character traditionally grounded in both traditional action as well as spiritual and supernatural undertones facing off against mutants, more of a science creation and something a bit different for him to tackle.
I am looking forward to more Ninjak because this issue really builds on what we have seen before. It might take things in a slightly more unrealistic direction but I enjoy seeing how far the boundaries can be pushed that way and this is working for Ninjak. It’s just a really good book. Recommended.