Note: This review was originally published at ComicsBulletin.com
The wait is over everyone. After years of making cameo appearances (X-O Manowar) and sharing the spotlight (Unity, The Valiant), the coolest of Valiant’s cast gets his own series with Ninjak #1 by Matt Kindt and Clay Mann. Seriously, how can you not get excited about a character that combines the wealth and physical talents of Bruce Wayne, the suaveness of James Bond (Connery, duh), and a sweet-looking ninja outfit? Answer: you can’t.
In terms of the product matching the hype, Ninjak #1 is a qualified success. Anyone unfamiliar with Colin King, but finds the cover (by Lewis LaRosa) too tantalizing to leave on the shelf will have no difficulty following Kindt’s script. After an frantic opening sequence, the narrative slows down to set the stage for the arc’s main narrative. The change in pace also enables readers to better understand King and his corner of the greater Valiant Universe, including why he goes by the alias “Ninjak.”
The art by Mann, Mann, and Arreola maintains the visual consistency of Valiant’s comics while maintaining enough differentiation for the title to stand on it’s own. Clay Mann’s does a wonderful job the issue’s characters, particularly Ninjak himself. There is an intensity beneath King’s cool exterior which the reader can infer from a glance at his eyes. Though it may not be as spectacular as it could be, the aforementioned opening sequence is a well choreographed piece of comic book action. Seth Mann’s inks add great definition to Clay’s pencils throughout the issue. Arreola’s colors do not overpower the Mann’s work, and instead accentuates their efforts with the occasional splash of vibrancy.
If there is a complaint, it is that the issue is interspersed with flashbacks which cause a potentially smooth read to be choppy. From his previous works, it’s evident that Kindt is a meticulous planner and that everything he includes has a purpose. It may prove true that these flashbacks – well written as they are – hold a thematic importance in the greater story, they add little to the main narrative of this debut issue. Despite these reservations on the use of flashbacks, Ninjak #1 is a welcome addition to the most cohesive and welcoming superhero universe currently being published.