Review: Ninjak #2

Story: Matt Kindt
Art: Clay Mann (pencils-main), Seth Mann (inks-main), Butch Guice (art-backup), Ulises Arreola (colours)

At last! The madcap Brit Ninja(k) returns to kick some more ass and never even contemplate chewing bubble-gum! With the stage set in the last issue, we’re all set for the action to start ramping up as his undercover mission gets underway and we find out more about how he started out on the road to becoming the Ninjak that we know today.

The Basics:

International financier Colin King hasn’t just come to Tokyo to take the Rippongi club scene by storm. As the covert MI-6 operative codenamed Ninjak, he’s also tracking down the men who trained him to be a lethal weapon…the very same men whose movements have now aligned with the latest terror plot by the cybernetic crime cartel called WEBNET! But how do you detect killers who specialize in the undetectable? And how does he know that the SHADOW SEVEN haven’t caught up with him first? It’s all-out ninja-versus-ninja warfare as the deadliest men and women of five continents converge on the Tokyo underworld for a blood-spattered blowout!

What’s good:

Once again Matt Kindt finds a nice flow with the story and his handle on the Ninjak/Colin King character is excellent. Normally I’m not a great fan of comics that have huge amounts of internal monologue – nothing wrong with it, just rarely very good. This comic and Ninjaks internal musings during the course of his mission to befriend Kannon and infiltrate Weaponeer are definitely in the category of good narration. I enjoy the crisp detail without huge amounts of exposition.

The combination of license-to-kill cold and calculating approach alongside a hint of some degree of morality (albiet quite grey) doesn’t often come across as well as it has in this comic thus far. Kindt weaves the roots of that nicely into more flashbacks from Colins past, yet again doing a nice job mingling flashback and present narrative.

I was also pleased as punch to see more of Roku getting unleashed and getting to kick some serious butt! She is a truly deadly and well designed character – although her character itself remains painfully unexplored thus far, I hope they get to that sooner rather than too much later, at least a glimpse if not major backstory.

It’s also in fight scenes like Roku’s where the dynamism of the Mann’s art really looks great. Not to say the rest of the comics art isn’t good, but it’s the little moments where something more active is happening that the art really stands out, the quieter moments are decent but nothing spectacular.

The backup story detailing Ninjak’s start as a spy continues, in India this time, where his assignment is assassinating an assassin (try repeating that fast thrice!) – the main standout here was the art. I say this because while the story was okay, the art from the last issue seemed better somehow this time and in particular the design and feel of the scenes in the crowded market felt very real and true to the source.

What’s not so good:

Right off, I have to get this off my chest – in the introductory tech-page at the start of the issue where (like last issue and I assume the rest will follow suit) in lieu of exposition or backstory, we get some info on our mans tech and insight into his mind, well there’s a typo… the word “catastrophic” is misspelt. …whew… sorry, I’m not usually a hard-ass about these things but it’s a “once seen cannot be unseen” thing with me. Annoying. Sorry.

Other than that, I have few complaints with this issue, the main one being that I wish there was some way to engage Roku more – but then it’s a hard call because her stoic and silent manner is perfect for an enforcer like her.

In the backup story however, there’s a reveal and a twist and it was fine by itself, but somehow strangely I expected what was going to happen. Yes, not every story can have a unique twist and not everything can be brilliant, but something made me see what was coming and now I presume several things about the next installment which I must admit lowered my excitement for this backup feature.

The Last Word:

Despite the backup being a tad weaker story-wise, overall the book remains good and the main story is still taut, exciting and great fun.

Toss in the fantastic artwork and you have a rollicking good espionage, action-adventure thriller and personally I love the little gadgets and wonderful toys that Ninjak always has – he’s like James Bond, only better and deadlier. Bond would be dead before he’d even opened his mouth to make a smart-ass comment if they fought and Ninjak would make his own smart-ass comment while he did it.

Read this comic.

Story Score: 9 / 10
Art Score: 9 / 10
Overall Score: 9 / 10


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