Ninjak #23 offers a brand new story arc complete with a killer title Quentin Tarantino might enjoy: “The Seven Blades of Master Darque.”
We explore the first issue, but is it good?
Ninjak #23 (Valiant Entertainment)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
Master Darque – the sadistic lord of death and resurrection – wrests to be free once again, but first he must fight for his life. Darque is a target, his powers are weak, and his enemies know it. Now, Darque’s own former pupil and Ninjak’s ruthless arch-nemesis – the lethal assassin known as Roku – has gathered the Shadow Seven together again for the sole purpose of putting Darque down for good. And the only thing holding their uneasy alliance together is a mysterious benefactor from the shadows… Someone who also goes by the name Darque…Everything has led to this… Out of the ashes of BOOK OF DEATH, Ninjak and Master Darque will collide in a punishing circle of death, destruction and hellfire! Join New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (Divinity III: Stalinverse) and blistering artist Marc Laming (Planet Hulk) here for a steel hardened jumping-on point that will leave Valiant’s seven-time Harvey Award nominated series forever scarred!
Why does this book matter?
Since it’s the start of a new story arc it’s a perfect jumping-on point for anyone wanting to get a little Ninjak in their life. If you’re a fan of heists you should prick up your ears too as most of this issue is a break in! But for what?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Cool crosscut of the facility.
Writer Matt Kindt writes a solid introductory issue to the new arc here with a setup that is as tense and exciting as any heist film. That’s due to the way he’s structured the story, with an MI-6 officer named Neville Alcott communicating with Ninjak over the phone of what has just transpired. Alcott starts by taking Ninjak (and the reader) into a maximum security prison setup (complete with a cool cross cutout of the place) and working his way through the facility’s security systems. After he describes the system, we see villain Roku trounce right through them and Alcott further explains how she did it. While he explains, artist Marc Laming takes us through it with plenty of showing and telling going on. This all leads to a surprise ending that pays off all the setup and explanation of each Shadow Seven villain Roku breaks out.
The structure of this issue also helps convey what’s at stake. Ninjak gets information on each villain Roku is breaking out and it’s pretty clear if they’re free the world is a very dangerous place. They all have varying powers too, which is certainly going to make it difficult for Ninjak to beat them all. It’s also interesting to note Roku promises specific things to each villain, some of which conflict with one another and she certainly won’t be following through on.
Laming draws in a highly detailed form illustrating in a thin line style that’s clear. The amount of time Laming spent on Roku’s hair gives me shivers and effects like fire and texture (like werewolf fur, don’t ask!) all look good. The style is more focused on realistic imagery than dynamic, though there are a few pages that bring the drama.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The art does have a storyboard feel in that it conveys who is talking, but not in a dramatic or exciting way. Detail is key, don’t get me wrong, but the layouts and flat camera work don’t inspire excitement.
Is It Good?
Cleverly written, Kindt shows he’s at the top of his game when it comes to tense visual storytelling. Ninjak #23’s narrative has a cinematic feel that’s hard to put down.
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