Valiant Hero Of The Week: Ninjak
Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter to provide fans with some escapism while new comics are in short supply. The poll allows Valiant fans the opportunity to select the “Hero Of The Week” from four choices. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways, and more. This week, the poll featured Ninjak, Rai, Doctor Tomorrow and Livewire.
But this week’s winner (as you’ve probably guessed) was…
Who is he? A freelance mercenary frequently contracted by the British government. Colin King is a super wealthy man who has been trained in the ninja arts, possesses an incredible intelligence and affinity for technology. His parents died when he was young, he was raised by their butler, and it’s around this point that the Batman similarities end. Colin King’s parents were spies for the British government’s MI-6 who would eventually defect to the Soviet Union, leaving him in the custody of their Russian butler Alain who may or may not have been his biological father but was definitely an ex-KGB agent in hiding. Alain
What should you read?
X-O Manowar: Enter Ninjak
X-O Manowar has returned to Earth — and now the world’s most lethal intelligence agent has a new target. Hired by members of The Vine hidden deep within Earth’s governments, Ninjak has been sent to bring back the Manowar armor at any cost. But what happens when the world’s foremost weapons specialist engages the universe’s most powerful weapon head on? And even if Ninjak can defeat the armor’s defenses, does he stand a chance against the savage warrior that controls it? It’s raw power versus stealth and cunning in the second thrilling volume of X-O Manowar — and the Valiant Universe will never be the same again.
The introduction of Ninjak to the modern Valiant universe was in the second arc of X-O Manowar (a series worth reading in and of itself). If you want to see how effective Ninjak can be against somebody who on paper far outclasses him, then this is the book for you; yes, it does initially fall into the Superhero Team Up cliche, but this is one I over look because as Ninjak’s first appearance in the modern Valiant era, it was possible that his alignment may have shifted a little. I read this long after I had discovered who Ninjak was, but still thoroughly enjoyed the story nonetheless.
The only danger with reading this book is that you’ll probably want to jump into the world of X-O Manowar too, but don’t worry if that’s the case. It’s a world that’s well worth getting lost in.
Every master spy…has to start somewhere.
Then: Meet inexperienced MI-6 recruit Colin King on his first mission in the field as he learns the basics of spycraft and counterintelligence, and develops a volatile relationship with his first handler.
Now: Colin King is Ninjak, the world’s foremost intelligence operative, weapons expert, and master assassin. And he’s hunting the Shadow Seven — a secret cabal of shinobi masters with mysterious ties to his training and tragic past.
This collection covers the first five issues of Ninjak’s Valiant Entertainment relaunch, and is written by Matt Kindt and features Clay Mann, Butch Guice, and Juan Jose Ryp‘s artistic talents. This is where you’ll want to go for your introduction to the character, despite his first appearance coming in an issue of X-O Manowar a couple of years prior. We’re (re)introduced to Colin King and discover how he became Ninjak in flashbacks that twin with the present as King hunts down the Shadow Seven. It’s a spy thriller in the vein of James Bond, but starring a character who is closer to Batman than most other agents.
Ninjak: The Siege Of King’s Castle
Colin King, the elite MI-6 intelligence operative codenamed Ninjak, has confronted his past. He’s survived the gauntlet of the Shadow Seven. He’s walked into the Deadside and returned a changed man. Now his greatest trial yet will come to pass as the ruthless assassin called Roku returns to lay siege to Ninjak’s present and future by destroying his life from the inside out – and only the death of Colin King will stop her.
One of the best things about Ninjak and his mercenary life is that once you have a basic understanding of the character you realize that while his stories do follow a continuity you don’t have to read them in a linear fashion. This story follows Colin King as he loses everything and answers the question; who is he without his technology?
A classic stripping down of a character to his essence, this is Ninjak at his most resourceful – and consequently it’s one of my favourite tales.
Ninjak K: The Ninja Files
For nearly a century, MI-6, the most elite branch of Britain’s clandestine intelligence service, has honed a ruthlessly effective, top-secret division – THE NINJA PROGRAMME – into one of its nation’s most finely wielded weapons.
Tasked as the first and last line of defense for queen and country, this small shadow army of agents and assassins has produced a succession of notable assets, including NINJA-A, the Queen’s silent weapon of World War I; NINJA-E, the globe-trotting secret agent that pulled the Cold War back from the brink of Armageddon; and, most recently, NINJA-K, aka Colin King, a brash but fearless instrument of lethality that has saved the world from madmen and terror at every turn. But now…an unknown enemy is hunting and killing members of THE NINJA PROGRAMME one by one – and NINJAK is next on the list.
The first volume of a series that dealt with Ninjak’s legacy as a member of MI-6’s Ninja Programme, this is a story that focuses less on Colin King and more on his predecessors, but it also means we get to see a lot of fantastic art from Tomas Giorello as he explores the different eras that MI-6’s ninja’s have been operating.
Another story that you can easily read out of order, this also comes highly recommended from yours truly.
It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better valued, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts). They’re my personal preference.
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