Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Clay Mann/Butch Guice
Inker: Seth Mann
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Reviewed by: Brett Israel
Starting with the recently concluded mini series event, The Valiant, I found myself hopping on board a new publisher. The names of Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt were what drew me in originally, and the Valiant universe kept me around. I’ve picked up each new series coming out of that event, and haven’t felt any have missed the mark yet, but Ninjak was my favorite of the first issues. In the second installment, Kindt succeeds again.
This issue is very much Ninjak aka Colin King, infiltrating a criminal organization called Weaponeer, and generally being an undercover agent in a seedy world. Getting to take a deeper look at this world was a nice touch for the second issue, rather than piling on pieces of story information. Even with that, the issue still felt a little sparse. I know Kindt is weaving a fun story here, and I want to get as much as I can in these pages (I know this may not seem like a detriment, either) Much of the book is the internal working of Ninjak, narrating himself as he moves from scene to scene, with interluding flashbacks. Without trying to spoil anything, think of Colin of Batman mixed with James Bond. Whenever I see Roku, the near silent assassin at the hand of Kannon, the head of Weaponeer, I can’t help but think of characters like Oddjob or Jaws from classic bond lure.
I’ve heard many a reviewer and reader rave about Clay Mann’s work, but I hadn’t really encountered it much until I started reading this series. I have to echo what a lot of people say, it’s really solid work here. I definitely get a Coipel vibe, but he definitely has his own distinct style. He has a very clean line, but it never feels minimal at all here. Also, Arreola’s color in this book is a sharp contrast to what I expect with a book of this tone, but it works. It allows the art to really punch through, and establishes the over the top, nightlife world that Ninjak is working in here. Also, the back-up feature, which highlights older missions of Colin’s called “The Lost Files” features art from Butch Guice, who at this point is a master of espionage and secret agent storytelling. This put me right back into the cozy home of Winter Soldier by Brubaker and Guice, and if this was it’s own series, I’d be racing to the store for it.
All in all, solid issue from Kindt, Mann, and Guice. While it went a little fast, I never found myself not enjoying it, and for anyone looking to get in on the ground floor of a piece of the Valiant universe should hop on. It’s a fun world people, come on in.
4 cups of tea out of 5