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Advanced Review: Ninjak #1

Ninjak #1

Out of the shadows and into the spotlight in Ninjak #1… the world’s greatest superspy has been exposed!

Colin King is Ninjak and he has a target on his back like never before. With enemies lurking around every corner, how will Ninjak survive when there’s nowhere left to hide and the world is gunning for him?

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room right away, shall we? Javier Pulido‘s art is going to be divisive – though judging from what I’ve seen on various social media platforms there seems to be more people who are, to put it politely, less than thrilled with the art style in the comic, than there are those who are excited to see what can be done with this style of art in a Ninjak story.

If you’ve yet to see the art, scroll down a bit – I’ve included the preview pages so that you can form your own opinion.

For me, I’ll fully acknowledge that this art style wouldn’t be my cup of tea – this isn’t the kind of look that would get me to pick up a comic based solely on the art (but to be completely transparent, I don’t remember the last book I picked up solely because of the art, so that’s nothing but an observation), but I do find myself enjoying what Pulido brings to the table.

This book reminds me of Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #1. It took me a couple of issues to get used to Raul Allen and Patricia Martin’s art style (which I now love), and so I’m expecting that the art’s going to grow on me over the course of the story. There’s no denying that it’s a different look for the character, and it’s fairly far from what we’ve seen in the past but I don’t think it’s a bad look, either. There’s something exciting about a fresh look for the character’s stories.

Style aside, there were a couple of moments in the comic where it felt as though a panel or two was missing (which is the reason for the score on the art, not because of how it looks). The first, and most obvious is actually in the gallery below on the fourth page; a goon is threatening somebody with an angle grinder before it’s suddenly in Ninjak’s hands and somebody else’s neck. My interpretation of the sequence is that we’re seeing Ninjak’s speed on display, but I’d have preferred at least another panel in the sequence. While there are others examples, since they occur later in the book than I’m showing you I won’t go into specifics – especially since they’re not as obvious as the one below.

The story in this issue of Ninjak picks up several months after the close of Christos Gage’s Ninja-K, and finds Ninjak as a freelance operative being trailed by MI-6. Jeff Parker paces the story well, and sheds light on the events of the last few months that we don’t see by utilizing the internal monologues of Ninjak and the MI-6 agent tailing him – at times their thought bubbles are in synch, and at times they’re slightly off which did give me a pause when trying to figure out what order to read the words on the page. Not the end of the world, ultimately. Given that the story is just beginning, Parker balances exposition with action admirably, with the comic moving at a brisk pace while still allowing Pulido to flex his creative muscles. That Parker wastes no time in dragging the story out longer than necessary is to be commended; he uses Ninjak #1 to reintroduce us to the purple ninja and his supporting cast, catch us up with what’s been going on in the time since we last saw them and set the stage for what’s to come. All in all, this is an impressive book for that reason alone.

Ninjak #1 is almost exactly what I wasn’t expecting after seeing the previews; though not perfect, a genuinely good comic. Yes, the art isn’t for everyone, but at the end of the day this is a comic visually unlike anything Valiant have put out, and I’m happy that they’re willing to take the chance. Parker builds a solid foundation for what’s to come, while ensuring new readers can pick up the comic and not be muddled down with mountains of unexplained backstory.

I’m biased because of my love for the character, but Ninjak #1 is a welcome return for Valiant’s purple hero.

Words and Art: Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido
Letters: Dave Sharpe and Javier Pulido
Story: 7.9 Art: 7.5: Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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