Here’s a look back at last week’s releases from Valiant Entertainment: Ninjak #2, Ivar, Timewalker #4, and Divinity #3.
Note: These reviews were originally published at InfiniteComix.com
Having read two issues of Ninjak, it’s clear that Matt Kindt plans for this series to showcase how Colin King became the man he is today, and why he is able to stand side-by-side with the likes of X-O Manowar, Eternal Warrior, and Livewire in the Valiant Universe. Even though the inclusion of things like razor sharp hair push this title close to the edge of camp, Kindt manages to reel it back into the relatively grounded world of ninja espionage.
Clay Mann’s strong pencils from the first issue carries over here, as he enables the reader to perceive situations as Ninjak does. This is best demonstrated in the book’s opening sequence, in which King must kill someone in order to retain the trust of the Japanese crime boss, Kannon. The marriage of art and script makes Ninjak’s assessment of various targets, and ultimate execution of his plan, all the more captivating.
For two issues, Kindt has shown readers the influence various media has had in molding King into the man he is today. Though it is not focal point of the series, it provides subtle commentary on the impact external stimuli, especially pop culture, has on our own individual development. It should be interesting to see if this theme carries forward in later issues.
Ivar, Timewalker #4
The fourth installment of Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry’s time-travel saga is full of excitement, intensity, and heartbreak. With the enigmatic Ivar sidelined for the majority of the issue, Van Lente gives co-protagonist Neela a painful lesson in the Valiant Universe’s time-travel rules. If Ivar #3 showed readers that major historical events cannot be altered, Ivar #4 reinforces that seemingly minor occurrences hold just as much weight.
Van Lente sends Neela on a fool’s errand, as she tries again and again to prevent the death of her father. She tries sneaking into the hospital as a nurse, mailing a letter to her family weeks in advance, and trying to prevent the car accident that would his claim his life. No matter the method, the result is the same. Each failure brings with it a new level of pain until she is reduced drowning her distress in a bottle. Clayton Henry’s expressive artwork adds to this issue’s emotional weight to the point where some readers will be reduced to tears.
If the emotional journey wasn’t enough, the final pages bring about new developments which should, to put it nicely, kick serious ass.
Each new installment of Divinity is so filled with complexity, that it requires multiple reads to fully understand. This is not to say that Matt Kindt’s narrative is incomprehensible, rather that readers are able to extract new ideas and develop new interpretations as they revisit it.
This issue is divided into two core narratives: one which revisits the events which transformed Abram Adams into Divinity, and the other in which the Unity team fights through the personal utopias Divinity has crafted for them. Their reaction to the worlds gifted to them reinforces the heroism at their cores – even for someone with as cold an exterior as Ninjak.
The issue’s other plot reveals some, but not all, of the details surrounding the Soviet cosmonaut’s transformation into a godlike being. The sequence is beautifully rendered by artist Trevor Hairsine, unveiling the primal nature of Divinity’s actions. This is how new characters can be successfully introduced to modern comic universes. Instead of laying everything out at once, Kindt slowly peels back layers, leaving a bit of mystery to surround the character. The result is simply engrossing.