Chased by Ninjas

Publisher: Valiant
Words – Jeff Parker
Art – Beni Lobel & Javier Pulido
Colours – Andrew Dalhouse
Letters – Dave Sharpe

This is a bit of a bittersweet review for me as Ninjak is taking a break after this issue only to return in 2022 (still a few months off!) with Mike Norton taking over art duties. Whilst I’m interested to see what Mike Norton does I also can’t help but be a bit disappointed as I think that Javier Pulido’s art has been a real highlight and helped really set the book. To lose him after only four issues is a shame.

Sadly Javier Pulido’s art doesn’t even feature in all of this issue either. There are only five pages of his art before Beni Lobel takes over, and it’s partway through a scene. To give Lobel credit he does manage to not make the partway through a scene transition too jarring. Though you can definitely tell the difference as Pulido’s art is always so stylised. As the book goes on you will notice the difference. I would love to know what has happened to cause this change and hope it’s nothing bad.

However Lobel does try to use elements of Pulido’s style in his section, such as the use of figures as shadows moving across the jungle, the colours remain bold and continue the solid block of colour style that works so well with Pulido’s art. The use of tones for certain locations does work. As I said the difference is clear, but I think all the creative parties have managed to prevent the art from being too dislocated from the art I have so loved in previous issues.

There’s even attempts at some of the more clever and slightly mad bits of art Pulido has done. The moment when the sister talks to the brother has that same kind of style. The dream-ish sequence between the sister and Ninjak is also interesting with some interesting composition. At the same time we have naked! Ninjak, without genitals and Naked! sister, without genitals. I get it’s a dream plane and mental plane and all that but it just looks really, really odd when such things could be obscured in some way with the art. I did actually like that sequence as a concept. The use of the wall as a mental barrier was interesting. I think we forget that historically Ninjak has a lot of mental mind discipline which should come into play more so it was nice to at least get a hint of it here.

I’m also going to just ponder skin tones with the art as Myna at times appears white and others times not white. I only point it out because it was one of the things that stood out to me as the worst aspect of the art which really overall is excellent considering.

Whilst we get more revelations here and the plot does develop, although I wouldn’t say it ends on on a point where I would consider the arc wrapped up. In fact there are threads which I could see would and should make for an interesting second arc. However, they also feel rather wrapped up on the threads of the present arc as well and therefore it’s more difficult to separate them out. Your mileage may vary on that one but for me it feels like this book was maybe more of a six issue arc?

I am very pleased with what we do get however. We get further information about The Kingmaker and his organisation Daylight. We also learn that not only is Kingmaker the product of a black ops lab so is his equally dangerous sister. She seems like she could become a real foe and perhaps more of a threat than the Kingmaker who can be a deliciously cheesy villain at points.

There’s also hints about Myna. She was not affected by the mould back in the lab they investigated last issue and this issue hints that there’s something different about her and it feels like she may well be the key to stopping Kingmaker and sister. I do look forward to seeing how that revelation plays out.

I also really appreciated having Neville playing back up. It was nice to see him being the helpful, supportive Neville of old. Though I still worry about his head and the lingering after effects of what happened to him, he does well here.

In terms of the arc although their plans to get rid of the Kingmaker and his sister don’t go…. well according to plan, if you will pardon the pun, we do get a good setup for what happens next. Needless to say Colin is in trouble as usual. It works as the setup for anther arc but as I say there are some lingering threads from this one. I hope we get to explore them as well. Why is Myna unaffected by the mould? Is Neville okay? How was Daylight formed? Will Colin beat those mind games?

I have loved this run of Ninjak so far and this is another excellent issue. I really hope for more soon.

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