Ninjak took down Kannon last issue and now he’s head honcho of Weaponeer.
His first move as CEO? Bring down the whole damn company from the inside… just like he planned. Can he do it? Is it good?
Ninjak #6 (Valiant Entertainment)
“The Shadow Wars” begin and we’re given our first real taste of Ninjak’s stratagems to bring down the company of which he so rightfully ass-kicked and beguiled his way to the top.
Jak’s been “off the grid and undercover for over two months.” Because of this his methodology is different than it’s been in issues past. No over-reliance on cutting edge tech and fancy toys for you in this issue, Jakky-boy: You’re relegated to communicating with MI-6 through hand-written notes dropped in back alleyways; meeting with prospective weapons buyers face to face and then revealing to us the goods you just sold them were sabotaged; gossiping with Provencal natives undercover to procure intel (including a funny scene with a bearded Frenchman); and later on when facing La Barbe himself, who’s able to render all of your tech useless, shedding your gadgets and fighting like a bare-knuckle bad ass. Just like you should be.
The entire concept and its recurring motif of “back to the basics” makes for some of the best Ninjak characterization we’ve seen from writer Matt Kindt yet — from Colin’s inner monologues to his modus operandi to his overall ninja sneakiness — the story in Ninjak #6 hooks from the very start and doesn’t let go.
La Barbe, the first of Ninjak’s nemeses from the Shadow Seven (a secret council of Shinobi masters) is an offbeat villain that should delight most readers. He has a cool power set and resembles a strange fusion of Metal-Head from G.I. Joe, Howard Hughes after he went crazy and a dirty hobo. Good stuff there and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the council is like.
Raul Allen’s art is a big change from the painterly style of Clay Mann’s, though not in a bad way. Allen’s characters look less detailed than Mann’s on the surface. His choice of perspective and facial expressions are more simple and straightforward. Where Allen excels is in his distinctive character designs, beautiful backdrops, panel structure and the equivalent of mis en scene; these facets grant the issue with an excellent sense of scope and in addition to some beautiful choreography during Ninjak’s subterfugal scenes, really drive the story forward in a way that’s more befitting of the book’s tone. The coloring palette is also on point; autumnal leaves crackle orange-red in the backdrop of an outdoor lunch; Ninjak slinks through a wash of blue-green shadows in La Barbe’s forest maze and the flashbacks are bleared and color-faded to give them the sense of actually having taken place at another time, something not evoked effectively in issues prior.
Is It Good?
Some of the best Ninjak characterization yet combined with a tight new narrative direction and clean, captivating art. The Lost Files back-up story featuring the first meeting between Colin and his handler Nelville Alcott is also a cleverly crafted tale with plenty of the story evoked solely through Stephen Segovia’s striking visuals. It’s all good, baby.
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