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Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #3 Review: Shaky Dialogue Returns and the Plot Staggers

Ninjak has been sent to the Dead Realm by a bullet from Bloodshot. Ray discerned what was happening with Ninjak, and this allows Colin to set up a plan with Shadowman while Roku thinks her agent is out. Unfortunately, not all MI-6's contacts know about Roku's involvement yet, and Archer and Armstrong are on their way to confront Ninjak.

Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #3 cover by Greg Smallwood
Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #3 cover by Greg Smallwood

Where Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #2 succeeded in being simple action-packed fun, this issue goes awry by complicating the plot once again. Plus, this issue has more dialogue, and a lot of it is not good at all.

Banter seems to be a weak point of this book, and Bloodshot shares some really cringe-worthy lines with both the Eternal Warrior and Shadowman. Ray also needlessly complicates their big plan by kicking Colin down a cliff, admitting that it could kill Ninjak.

Also, I guess Roku's nanites don't pick up audio? She can see everything that's going on with Colin, but Bloodshot and Eternal Warrior go over the entire plan right next to Colin's body, and this is never a problem.

Another problem is that the opening pages run dialogue from Shadowman alongside scenes from elsewhere as well as flashbacks from Colin. This means you're having to follow two lines of plot and dialogue running concurrently. This isn't a problem when the captions are brief and mostly symbolic. Running expository dialogue alongside other dialogue-heavy scenes is like playing narration over an audible conversation in a film or show. It's extremely difficult to follow both. This breaks the flow of the comic.

Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #3 art by Joe Bennett, Belardino Brabo, and Ulises Arreola
Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #3 art by Joe Bennett, Belardino Brabo, and Ulises Arreola

Joe Bennett's artwork continues to be one of the greatest boons to the comic. Bennett is a master of drawing superhero comics by this point, and it shows. The characters are well built and imposing, the environments are fleshed out well, and the detailing is immaculate. Belardino Brabo's inking solidifies Bennett's work well. Ulises Arreola's colorwork highlights the characters with bright and appealing colors, giving the world a distinctly exciting atmosphere.

Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #3 unfortunately backslides the miniseries quite a bit. It complicates the story with a very shallow ruse on the part of the heroes, the dialogue is quite bad, and there are other simple logic and flow issues that hurt the book. If you're following this book, you may as well pick this issue up. It's not terrible; the fight with Archer and Armstrong is entertaining, and the art is great. But, if you're just wanting to check out some Valiant fair, this is not the way to go.

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Joshua DavisonAbout Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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