Review: Ninjak #23
Master Darque – the sadistic lord of death and resurrection – wrests to be free once again, but first he must fight for his life. Darque is a target, his powers are weak, and his enemies know it. Now, Darque’s own former pupil and Ninjak’s ruthless arch-nemesis – the lethal assassin known as Roku – has gathered the Shadow Seven together again for the sole purpose of putting Darque down for good. And the only thing holding their uneasy alliance together is a mysterious benefactor from the shadows… Someone who also goes by the name Darque…
This issue of Ninjak feels different than the others that have come before.
Rather than explode into a story, we get almost a full issue that both sets up the coming story and builds upon previous issues, as Fred Van Lente weaves details and hints into the tapestry of Ninjak in an effortlessly brilliant manner. Fans who have been reading from the outset will be rewarded with the tying up of some interesting plot threads, but if this is going to be your first issue of Ninjak then the way in which Van Lente writes the issue you’ll be absolutely fine (but also go read the earlier issues because those stories are pretty awesome, too).
With art by Marc Laming, Ninjak #23 packs the visual equivalent to a kick to the nether regions; he has some very interesting layout here, although I wasn’t too keen on the way some of his faces appeared, which is a minor niggle at most when put with his dynamic layouts (apologies, but I’m not sure whether Laming is responsible for the colouring as well as the art as the review copy doesn’t list any credits, and Valiant‘s email only names Laming as an art credit, otherwise I’d tell you how eye catching the final product is).
[Edit: The colours were contributed by Ulises Arreola, who as Jerry Maguire almost said, completes the comic. Without Arreola’s touch, this issue wouldn’t be anywhere near as beautiful as it is.]
I thoroughly enjoyed this issue, although it wasn’t much more than the stage being set for the rest of the arc to come. In fact the more I read this comic, the better it got. When Ninjak is good, it’s really good – and this issue is really good.
As a jumping on point this far into the series, you can’t go wrong starting here if you’re willing to dive into a story that’s the culmination of the series so far (and, amazingly enough, you really can). I can’t wait for the next issue.
Story: Fred Van Lente Art: Marc Laming Colours: Ulises Arreola
Story: 9 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review