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Review: Ninjak #4

ninjak #4

The first four issues of Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido Ninjak are here, and the long and the short of this review is that Ninjak #4 is really enjoyable, but there is a rather large asterisk added to that sentence that I’ll come back to in a moment because it does verge into spoiler territory – if you want to avoid that, then just know that the book is still worth picking up if you’ve enjoyed the other three issues.

At this point if you’ve been following the chatter about this series then you’ll know that not all of it has been positive when it comes to the art. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but I’m genuinely enjoying Javier Pulido’s work; he brings a fresh look to Valiant’s comics, and I’ve since sought out other comics Pulido has contributed to, such as Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run. One of the strengths of Pulido’s artwork is in how he uses the panel layouts to add to the motion of the story in ways that are both overt and subtle; Pulido’s style allows you to flow across the page much like a skate over ice, which is a poor metaphor to say that it’s a smooth read.

The story of Ninjak #4 focuses on Ninjak looking to assassinate Kingmaker and Syphon, which is a fairly straight forward conclusion to the arc thus far. We’ve seen Ninjak use firearms more in Jeff Parker’s run with the character we typically have before, which makes a lot of sense given his lack of high tech equipment after the destruction of his home and separation from MI6 (in Matt Kindt’s Ninjak and Christos Gage’s Ninja-K, respectively). It’s a facet to the character that I enjoy, though admittedly it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The issue’s pacing is a touch slower than Ninjak #3, as Parker spends time revealing what he’s been hinting at when it comes to how Kingmaker and Syphon have been operating.

The asterisk I had mentioned earlier in the review, however, is that the story doesn’t really come to any kind of satisfying conclusion. If there was another issue coming in November or December, then the ending of the book would make total sense; as it is, the story feels a little too unfinished for an extended break. This may just be me wishing that Valiant were publishing more than two or three books a month, but when it comes to Ninjak the break has a very real chance of slowing any momentum the comic was gaining. The break seems a little too abrupt given the place the story is in.

That said, at the end of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed the book as it is, and ultimately that’s what is important when it comes to reading comics.

Story and Art: Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido
Letters: Dave Sharpe and Javier Pulido
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: ET-ER #1

ET-ER #1

(W) Jeff McComsey, Dan Panosian (A) Javier Pulido, Shawn Crystal (CA) Andrew Robinson
In Shops: Oct 13, 2021
SRP: $3.99

Intergalactic virus liquefy one of your heads? Feeling a bit “off” ever since you drove through that black hole? Then visit the ET-ER, the galaxy’s leading medical facility. This interplanetary crew of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and technicians is uniquely qualified to cure what ails you. There’s no planet too far, no asteroid too small, no patient too, well alien – and they accept most forms of insurance. This super-sized debut special includes two stories of medical madness that are out of this world.

ET-ER #1

Preview: Ninjak #4

NINJAK #4

Written by JEFF PARKER
Art by BENI LOBEL & JAVIER PULIDO
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Cover B by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Pre-order Cover by PEDRO ANDREO
On sale OCTBER 13th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Part 4 of “Daylight!”

The truth revealed. Nowhere left to run. A formidable foe strikes first.

The stunning final chapter of Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido’s explosive first story arc.

NINJAK #4

Preview: Ninjak #3

NINJAK #3

By JEFF PARKER, JAVIER PULIDO
Cover A by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Cover B by ALITHA MARTINEZ
Pre-order Cover by ZU ORZU
On sale SEPTEMBER 15th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The critically-acclaimed team of JEFF PARKER and JAVIER PULIDO continue their globe-trotting adventure with Valiant’s top superspy… and the secret behind Ninjak’s mysterious enemies is revealed!

One look at Pulido’s pages and you’ll see why NINJAK is one of 2021’s most talked-about comics.

NINJAK #3

Review: Ninjak #3

Ninjak #3

I’m genuinely surprised by how much I’m enjoying Javier Pulido‘s artwork in this series. Upon initially seeing the preview pages for Ninjak #3, I was cautiously optimistic that I would come to like the artist’s style as I had flashbacks of another comic that I was initially disappointed in the art style before I began to appreciate what the team were doing with the comic. I’m in a similar position now, albeit starting from a more open position, and watching Pulido play with the panels, borders and layouts on each page is a genuinely exciting feeling. Especially once you realize how the page needs to be read (which is honestly one of the only drawbacks to his creativity is that it sometimes took me a few seconds to work out how to read the page because of the layouts).

Ninjak #3 continues to evoke the series James Bond vibes as Ninjak and Agent Myna confront a kill team sent after Neville Alcott before the duo head to a mysterious mountain base. With the comic picking up exactly where the previous issue left off, Jeff Parker throws you right back into the action – which is going to be great for the trade, but because of the gap between issues, it adds to the pace of things on the page as your brain recalls what had happened in the immediate pages leading up to what you’re about to see.

Because we’re now three issues into this creative team, you’re going to know whether you want to continue with the series and its creative team or not; Ninjak #3, for me, establishes the unique aesthetic (when it comes to Valiant’s comics at any rate) and the consistent pacing of the comic places it higher on my weekly reading list than a lot of other books. Parker and Pulido have delivered another solid comic that’s sure to have people talking – I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next issue.

You’ll see the first few pages above to get an idea of just what Pulido is capable of; at first glance the style seems like an overly simplistic one at first, but the depth of storytelling he delivers is fantastic.

Story and Art: Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido
Letters: Dave Sharpe and Javier Pulido
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Ninjak #3

NINJAK #3

By JEFF PARKER, JAVIER PULIDO
Cover A by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Cover B by ALITHA MARTINEZ
Pre-order Cover by ZU ORZU
On sale SEPTEMBER 15th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The critically-acclaimed team of JEFF PARKER and JAVIER PULIDO continue their globe-trotting adventure with Valiant’s top superspy… and the secret behind Ninjak’s mysterious enemies is revealed!

One look at Pulido’s pages and you’ll see why NINJAK is one of 2021’s most talked-about comics.

NINJAK #3

Preview: Ninjak #2

NINJAK #2

By JEFF PARKER & JAVIER PULIDO
Cover A by DAVID NAKAYAMA
Cover B by MICHAEL WALSH
Pre-order Cover by DAVID LOPEZ
On sale AUGUST 25th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Part 2 of “Daylight!”

Who are the trio of extremely powerful bounty hunters hunting Ninjak?

Javier Pulido and Jeff Parker’s next stop on their action-packed thrill ride brings Ninjak and fellow agent, Myna, to Scotland in search of the last remnants of MI6…

NINJAK #2

Exclusive Review: Ninjak #2

Ninjak #2

Ninjak #2 has the ex-MI6 agent taking on three mercenaries with only minimal equipment, introduces a new antagonist, and also has a spot of skydiving thrown in to boot. It’s honestly the most James Bond-like comic I’ve read in a while, ironic considering I’ve always looked an Ninjak as an amalgamation of Bond and Batman.

That view is amplified in this issue as you see Ninjak facing off against the aforementioned mercenary trio, who bear a slight resemblance to three members of the X-Men (which I thoroughly enjoyed). The fight is well choreographed and Javier Pulido‘s art style really makes every panel pop – the simpler style allows the action to flow as fast as you can read it, and given how much happens in the first ten or so pages, I can’t see many other art styles being able to keep up with Jeff Parker‘s script. I’ve been reading a lot of old comics from the 70’s and early 80’s, and I’m always surprised by how much story is packed within those pages; I’m getting the same feeling from this book with the amount of story told within its 20-some pages.

Despite how fresh and exciting the art is (and I’m not just saying that, Pulido’s style has genuinely grown on me) I’m getting heavy nostalgic vibes from this book. In many ways this comic has all the hallmarks of the 60’s with a modern twist, making this comic an utterly fantastic read as it subverts the modern expectations from the story.

In every way, Ninjak #2 improves upon the previous issue – the comic is tightly paced as Parker and Pulido control the narrative without allowing the book to slip into chaos. Although the book isn’t quite on par with some of Valiant’s best offerings, the progression in quality from the first to the second issue is giving me a lot of hope for the book going forward. I know that Pulido isn’t an artist that is universally appreciated, but if you’re looking for something fresh and different to feast your eyes on, then this is a comic for you. His style isn’t quite abstract, and while it’s objectively simpler in comparison to others, his layouts absolutely shine in this comic, adding to the overall excitement of the comic.

I’m aware that I’m going into this comic wanting to love it, and perhaps because of that the things I see people unhappy with on social media genuinely don’t bother me. I’m really enjoying the added artistic diversity that Pulido brings to the Valiant universe, and I’m hoping we see more in the future.

Story and Art: Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido
Letters: Dave Sharpe and Javier Pulido
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-order: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Ninjak #1

Ninjak #1

Previously in the pages of the book Ninja-K, it was brought to light that MI-6, the organization that employs Colin King, AKA Ninjak (and also Ninja-K), had a lot of skeletons in the closet and was doing a lot of manipulation to make their agents see their way. Ninjak wanted no part anymore of this and bailed on MI-6. Ninjak #1 kicks of a brand-new series that sees the pieces of that puzzle start to take shape. While MI-6 has someone tailing Colin, MI-6 takes an even bigger blow in that someone has leaked the identities of all of their secret agents, resulting in a lot of death. Ninjak, being one of the best spies and assassins around, knows quite well of his tracker, Myna, and brings her into the fold as forces now want both of them dead.

I love the story that Jeff Parker has crafted with this. For one, he did the work and saw where the character was left. Some of Valiant’s work lately seems so detached from the previous continuity that it almost felt like no one cared to see how the characters work. Parker, picking up from the previous Ninja-K series, seemed to know exactly where to take the character and amplify the threats and action. There’s a lot going on inside the cover and I think if someone gives this book an honest chance, I think there’s a lot to like with Ninjak’s story.

The real obstacle of this book is going to be whether you can handle the art. Javier Pulido’s artwork is going to win some fans over and help lose some. It’s just such a departure from what your typical Valiant comic looks like. In my opinion, Javier’s panel layouts are top-notch and help his style. The colors are simple, as is the amount of detail in his work. Ultimately, I do like how this volume of Ninjak looks so far, but I’m not faulting the Valiant faithful who are turned off by what they see.

I’m glad to see Ninjak back and I’m even happier that someone read Ninja-K and built the story off where that one seemed to leave off. Ninjak is on the run and for those chasing, they face one of the most dangerous men alive. Ninjak #1 is chock full of action and has a very interesting art style to accompany it. While I do think some won’t fully appreciate the visuals, I do hope they give the story a chance because it’s exactly what’s needed with Ninjak.

Words and Art: Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido
Letters: Dave Sharpe and Javier Pulido
Story: 9.0 Art: 6.0: Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

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


Pre-order: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

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