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Lysa Hawkins Takes Us Into the Shadowy World of Ninjak

Ninjak #1

Valiant Entertainment’s top superspy is stepping out of the shadows…

From Ringo Award-winning writer Jeff Parker and artist Javier PulidoNinjak #1 follows Colin King, aka Ninjak, as the secret operative is on the run after the identity of every MI6 agent is exposed. Now, Colin must embark on a global adventure to evade the deadly people who have him in their sights…

Ninjak #1by writer Jeff Parker, artist Javier Pulido, and letterer Dave Sharpe goes on sale July 14th, 2021, and features covers by David NakayamaCaspar WijngaardDamion Scott, Ibrahim Moustafa, and Javier Pulido.

We got a chance to ask Ninjak editor Lysa Hawkins about the series and what we can expect in the latest take of Valiant’s superspy.

Graphic Policy: Hey Lysa, how’re things?

Lysa Hawkins: I’m fully vaccinated! Things are a lot brighter now!

GP: So, Ninjak. How would you describe him to somebody who has no idea what to expect?

LYSA: I like to say Ninjak is the love child of James Bond and Modesty Blaise, so you really don’t know what to expect.

GP: How has the experience been editing Ninjak? Are there any differences between this book and others you’ve edited?

LYSA: Did I mention I love James Bond and Modesty Blaise? Working on a spy thriller is very near and dear to me. I’ve been blessed at Valiant to have my toe dipped in many different genre pools. Horror, sci fi, action-adventure, supernatural and now spy thriller. I’m feeling pretty lucky.

Ninjak #1

GP: The last time we saw Ninjak he’d severed ties with MI6 – will we see what happened in the immediate aftermath?

LYSA: Yes and no. Our story takes place a few months after he left MI6, but you do learn what Colin has been up to since departing from MI6.

GP: How did the creative team come together?

LYSA: Synchronicity! I actually had Javier on board before I found Jeff, which is unusual as it’s usually the other way around. When I read Jeff’s script I could just see what I thought Javier would bring to the table, of course I was wrong. He brought so much more!

GP: Javier Pulido’s art style is a departure from what we’ve seen in the past when it comes to Ninjak books. Can you talk a little about that?

LYSA: Denny O’Neill once wrote a great article talking about your favorite Batman, as we have seen so many incarnations of the Dark Knight over the years. It’s the same with Ninjak.  He is a universal character that will have many different art styles over the years. If this isn’t your Ninjak, just wait, yours will pop back up eventually. Javier is bringing something new to Ninjak, which I find very exciting and appealing, and while the style is different, the character is thoroughly all Ninjak.

GP: We’ve seen a few pages already, but can you tease any more about the series’ direction?

LYSA: You ain’t seen nothing yet! No, seriously, Javier pushes the boundaries of the art on every page resulting in an exciting, joy ride of action. 

Ninjak #1

GP: The series sees the identities of the MI6 agents exposed. It feels like that’s a pretty relevant story with today’s concerns over data and privacy and even some of the secrets that have been leaked out.

LYSA: Without a doubt, this tale is very much set in our modern world. One of the things I like the most about playing in the Valiant Universe. It walks that fine line of fiction and reality.

GP: Ninjak feels like one of the more high-profile British comic characters out there. How much does that play into the character and is there work to try to get that detail “right”?

LYSA: Well, if it’s done right, you hear his voice in your head sounding British. I happen to think Jeff nails it. Not only is Colin completely British, he’s also deadpan and funny.

Ninjak #1

GP: What sets this book apart from the other Ninjak stories we’ve had from Valiant over the years?

LYSA: It looks unlike any other Ninjak book previously. It gets to push the envelope further because of the art style and the reader gets to go along for the ride.

GP: Valiant has always been impressive to us in that it balances stories that can be enjoyed by themselves and the greater interconnected stories and world. How difficult is it to balance that?

LYSA: We are the Valiant Universe. We are meant to be enjoyed on our own or together, always one expanding universe. 

GP: What are you the most excited for about this book?

LYSA: Gosh! Everything! I think you’ll like Myna. She’s a great new character. 

GP: Thanks for your time!

LYSA: Thank you! And Stay Valiant!

Review: The Visitor #5

The Visitor #5

With only two of the Visitor’s targets left standing, what extreme lengths will he go to in order to finish the job? Find out as The Visitor #5 returns the series to the stands.

It has been more than a year since I read an issue of The Visitor, and in that time I’ve read a lot of comics (unfortunately due to a harddrive crash I’ve lost the pdfs that I would have used to refresh myself on the story, and my floppy issues are in a short box somewhere that isn’t as organized as I want it to be), and so I’m going into this using only my memory and the recap page to catch up with the story so far. The recap page does well enough to bring a person up to speed with the events of the previous four issues, thankfully, because I don’t know how well my memory was doing.

After over a year waiting for The Visitor to return, I’ll freely admit that I’m not sure it was worth the wait. The comic wasn’t bad, but it definitely suffers from the extended break; a lot of the characters were unfamiliar to me once again, but this is an easy fix if you reread the previous couple of issues.

The Visitor #5 is written by Paul Levitz and features artist MJ Kim, colorist Ulises Arreola, and letterer Simon Bowland. I previously wrote that “[the comic] follows the titular character as he’s trying to eliminate something that the Japanese scientists he’s hunting are working on and the UN Security agent Dauber assigned to protect them. Levitz keeps things entirely believable when the scientists keep frustrating Dauber’s efforts to keep them safe by insisting on their secrecy as they all underestimate the Visitor.” It’s still true. so I’m leaving it here because I don’t need to update the summary from the second to the fifth issue, really. The chase is now just a little further ahead, although with the fifth issue of The Visitor we finally understand what the program is that the scientists are working on, and knowing what it is will give some longtime Valiant readers an idea as to how the book will end.

There were a couple of moments where the art didn’t make sense to me from a chronological point of view; specifically when the Visitor confronts Dauber, initially it looks like he does so in front of a crowd of armed guards, though the following panels indicate she’s nowhere near any guards. It’s not a story breaker for me, but it definitely took me out of the comic for a bit.

The Visitor‘s return wasn’t bad, but this isn’t a comic for anybody other than those who have read the first four issues and want to know how the story ends.

Story: Paul Levitz Art: MJ Kim
Color: Diego Rodriguez Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 6.9 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Shadowman #2

Shadowman #2

The hellscape known as the Deadside has pried open a doorway to Earth in Enoch, Arizona in Shadowman #2! And our only chance at survival against the awakening desert beasts is Shadowman.

It’s often the smaller details that really impress me about a comic, things standing out that I generally wouldn’t pay attention to. In this case, that’s the recap page. Now, I’m always in favor of a recap page partly because I’m old and like a reminder, but also because it serves as an introduction to the story for new readers. Shadowman #2‘s recap page is in the form of Baron Samedi regaling us about the previous issue, and I found it funnier than it probably should be.

Shadowman #2 continues the pattern set in the first issue of having a complete story within the comic, minus a lingering hint of something else that hovers in the background. If I was a poetic person, I’d find a way to leave you with the idea that there was a hint of the ethereal evil laying just out of reach, but I’m not (no matter how much I try to be), so instead I’ll just flat out say it.

Written by Cullen Bunn, with art by the incredible Jon Davis-Hunt and colours by Jordie Bellair, this issue has Shadowman stepping away from New Orleans into the Arizona desert to confront a bloody disgusting looking demon. It’s about as horrifying as my cat is adorable (an unusual statement, yes, but he’s currently sat next to me with a paw on my hand trying to get scritches). I can’t pinpoint what it is about this issue, but it’s an absolute beast. Bunn’s story about a demon gathering followers for his nefarious scheme, Shadowman’s uneasy relationship with Baron Samedi… Davis-Hunt and Bellaire are spectacular in the book as the scene shifts from our world to the Deadside and back frequently, often from one panel to the next, and the pair show you the shift in a way that you can’t mistake.

Davis-Hunt’s artwork is brilliant on its own, but his heavy inks are given spectacular life by Jordie Bellaire‘s use of colour, who contributes an underrated and unstated character to the pages. But it’s Bunn’s writing that really adds the cherry to an already fantastic comic. I never expected Shadowman to feature in one of my most anticipated series this year, but I am so happy to have been proven wrong.

As a series, Shadowman is easily one of the best things Valiant has put out in a long time, and for my money is the best thing on the racks right now.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colours: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-order: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Black Friday #2 (Scout Comics/Black Caravan) – Something is trying to come up through the floor. An evil has festered due to the violence of previous Black Fridays and the staff of Star-Mart will need to survive what’s coming. Fantastic horror and a must for fans of the genre.

Black Widow #7 (Marvel) – The series has been amazing so far with a great mix of everything. The writing is top-notch, the action entertaining, and the art is amazing. One of Marvel’s best series out now.

The Blue Flame #1 (Vault Comics) – A new take on the superhero genre. The Blue Flame must prove humanity is worth saving before a universal trial but the hero must save himself first.

Made in Korea #1 (Image Comics) – A series that explores the concept of artificial intelligence. Check out our glowing review.

Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #1 (DC Comics) – Spinning out of Future State, this is the story of how Shilo Norman became Mister Miracle.

The Other History of the DC Universe #4 (DC Comics) – John Ridley turns his exploration into the DC Universe towards Renee Montoya.

Redshift #1 (Scout Comics) – The Ministry of Exploration pins mankind’s last hope on an astronaut who’s scared of space. It’s a tale of survival for all.

Reptil #1 (Marvel) – Not a character we expected to get the spotlight but we’re intrigued to see what’s done here.

Robin #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue was a lot of fun. There was a solid mix of humor and action and the second issue is just as fun. So much added to Damian as far as depth of the character already.

Shadow Doctor #4 (AfterShock) – The amazing true story about a Black doctor in the 1930s who had to turn to his friend Al Capone to help fund his business.

Shadowman #2 (Valiant Entertainment) – The first issue was fantastic and a great reintroduction to the character. The debut got universal praise from our team and we’re all excited to see where the series goes from there.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3 (IDW Publishing) – We’ve been eagerly waiting for the issue as the series has been delivering entertainment with each release. It’s a familiar grizzled take but the setting and story itself really stands out with really unique elements.

Preview: Shadowman #2

Shadowman #2

Written by CULLEN BUNN
Art by JON DAVIS-HUNT
Colors by JORDIE BELLAIRE
Letters by CLAYTON COWLES
Cover A by JON DAVIS-HUNT
Cover B by CASPAR WIJNGAARD
Cover C Horror Movie Homage Variant by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
Preorder Variant Cover by ANNIE WU
On sale MAY 26th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The hellscape known as the Deadside has pried open a doorway to Earth in Enoch, Arizona! And our only chance at survival against the awakening desert beasts is SHADOWMAN.

Shadowman #2

Review: Savage #4

Savage #4

Mad geniuses Max Bemis and Nate Stockman bring their first Savage adventure to a mayhem-filled finale in Savage #4.

It’s an all-out brawl to save our dimension from Project Bizaree’s evil quest to become one with the Faraway. And only Savage can save us. Or he’ll die trying.

After my uncertainty on how to take Savage #3, Savage #4 didn’t do anything to sway me. Max Bemis packs a lot of story into the comic and has done for the series as a whole, but in this issue, it’s more a quantity over quality. A lot happens in the comic, and consequently, there’s a frantic pace to the storytelling, and perhaps because of that things start to fray a little. As the series has progressed Bemis has leaned further into the absurdist comedy that was speckled into the first issue so that by the end of the fourth I’m not entirely sure what I’ve read.

The things I was excited about in the first issue, such as how Bemis was using Savage to talk about how humanity is still brutal to each other but in a more refined way, have given way to a B-movie about dinosaur snipers attacking London for reasons that seem to boil down to a mad scientist wanting to get to another dimension and needs Savage’s blood… I don’t honestly know. The lack of response from either G.A.T.E. or the government I assume is because of the speed of the attack, but it’s never really explained or brought up why London expects a teenager with a penchant for using bones as weapons to save the day. It was somewhere around this point that I realized I had gone from really enjoying the series to quietly waiting for it to be over.

That said, despite the story stumbling, Nathan Stockman, Triona Farrel and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou give you something very exciting to look at (and ultimately gave me a reason to keep reading). The artist, colourist and letterer come together to give life to Bemis words in the most unapologetically energetic way, embracing the chaos of the story admirably. Their work is worth the price of admission if you’ve already picked up the first three issues, as the trio continue to deliver.

Once again, I’m going to quote myself from the review of Savage #2, because it’s still true.

Nathan Stockman, Triona Farrell, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou round out the creative team for Savage #2 as artist, colorist, and letterer respectively. Otsmane-Elhaou’s work is noticeably good in this issue, which is a rare feat for a comics’ lettering to stand out in a positive way, with his liberal use of colored fonts and upper and lower case becoming more than just a method to convey Bemis’ words. This book is an example of lettering as its own art form, a comic to show those who claim that anybody can throw words onto a page, which although that is a true statement, the same is also true; anybody can write a story or draw a picture – but there’s a difference between my pictures and Nathan Stockman’s pictures). Stockman’s art is great; there’s a very punky feeling to the comic, at times evoking Pushead’s art style, but almost consistently embodying the rebellious nature of the title character.

Review: Savage #2

Savage #4 has some fantastic visual elements, but the story has shrugged off its early promise and leaves us with a whimper. A shame, because I was hoping we’d see more depth from the series after the first issue, but that never happened. If you haven’t read the series yet and are trade waiting, then go into it knowing that you’ll be reading a popcorn sci-fi B-movie story and you’ll probably find something to enjoy; if nothing else, the comic’s visuals are very consistent throughout and add a lot to the insanity of the story’s events.

This isn’t a terrible series, but it was one of Valliant’s rare misfires.

Story: Max Bemis Art: Nathan Stockman
Colours: Trionna Farrell Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 5.8 Art: 8.4 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read (for the art)

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – TFAW

Preview: Savage #4

SAVAGE #4

Written by MAX BEMIS
Art by NATHAN STOCKMAN
Colors by TRIONA FARRELL
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by MARCUS TO
Cover B by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
Preorder Variant Cover by PEACH MOMOKO
On sale MAY 12th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Mad geniuses Max Bemis (Worst X-Man Ever) and Nate Stockman (Spidey) bring their first Savage adventure to a mayhem-filled finale.

It’s an all-out brawl to save our dimension from Project Bizaree’s evil quest to become one with the Faraway. And only Savage can save us. Or he’ll die trying.

SAVAGE #4

Read Ninjak #1’s First Seven Pages by Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido

Valiant Entertainment’s top superspy is stepping out of the shadows…

From Ringo Award-winning writer Jeff Parker and artist Javier PulidoNinjak #1 follows Colin King, aka Ninjak, as the secret operative is on the run after the identity of every MI6 agent is exposed. Now, Colin must embark on a global adventure to evade the deadly people who have him in their sights…

Ninjak #1 by writer Jeff Parker, artist Javier Pulido, and letterer Dave Sharpe goes on sale July 14th, 2021, and features covers by David Nakayama, Caspar WijngaardDamion Scott, Ibrahim Moustafa, and Javier Pulido.

Check out the first seven pages from the upcoming series, below.

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