The latest volume of Valiant Entertainment’s Ninjak launched in July from the creative team of writer Jeff Parker and artist Javier Pulido. This arc has our protagonist, Colin King, without his gadgets in a world where no spy is safe. In two issues’ time, Ninjak has faced down masked terrorists and costumed supervillains, but that’s nothing compared to the insanity that lies ahead. Ninjak‘s next issue, which hits shelves September 15, promises to finally dig into the dirty little secrets of the titular hero’s newest foes.
We had a chance to read the upcoming third issue and chat with Parker about the whole explosive story. Like any super-spy worth his weight in exploding pens and jetpacks, Parker is good at keeping secrets. Even so, he did give us a bit of insight into this first exciting arc as well as a few tantalizing hints at what’s coming next.
AIPT: Now that we’re past the halfway point for Ninjak, how has the response been?
Jeff Parker: From what I see online, great! You never know if you try for a whole different feel or direction if people are going to connect with what you’re doing, and then when you read or hear reviews where they clearly are into it, it’s incredibly rewarding. My approach is always to entertain me first, and then hope enough people share my tastes – sometimes it pays off!
AIPT: The return of Neville is a surprise. How big of a role will he play in Colin’s crusade going forward?
JP: Well, that really completely depends on what happens in this issue. You’re going to see something disturbing regarding Neville Alcott, and I shouldn’t say any more than that. I’ve said too much already.
AIPT: The recap page to open the book is incredibly fun, like a spy’s desk. How involved are you with that page?
JP: I seriously love a good recap page like that, and I wish I could take credit for it. But it’s assistant editor Audrey Meeker’s brilliance on display there. You’re right that it’s a great way to open an issue. We’re lucky to be working with her!
AIPT: Some big deaths in Ninjak #3! How exciting is it to have even more of a clean slate going forward?
JP: You are determined to lead me into spoiling things here, aren’t you? Can’t blame you, it’s your job. Just like it’s Ninjak’s job to kill people in the coolest ways possible. Which he does here. Especially on that one page.
AIPT: There’s an incredible double page in Ninjak #3 (that includes the Periodic Table). It’s impressive how much text is on the page, did you plan for the page to come out that way or did you add text later in opportune areas?
JP: Javier ran with that and that’s what I hoped for because you never want to assume the artist is cool with a lot of verbiage, it’s best to make clear they can do that if they think it works well and then you adjust the script accordingly if it needs it. Some artists love loading up a spread that way, others really don’t, and I don’t like to put creators in a position where they have to do something not in their wheelhouse.
AIPT: Tell us a bit about the conception of Kingmaker, Ninjak’s latest big villain.
JP: You’ll probably notice he doesn’t seem to take his role in things seriously like some masterminds do, and if he has a master plan, he doesn’t go around talking about it very much. In fact, he seems to like to laze around the pool a lot, a very relatable enemy. Keep your eye on his sister, she might be more important here than you think.
AIPT: Ninjak’s really out for blood at the close of this issue. What can you tease about where his mission is heading next?
JP: He himself doesn’t really know, because his world has been upended. At the moment it looks like the future is an endless race for survival. But by now readers should understand Ninjak is like an animal that you think you’re hunting until you realize it’s led you away into unfamiliar territory and then changed the roles completely.
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