Day 2 of December and we are inching towards the holidays, and by inching I mean moving at Mach 5. Continuing on the path of 24 Trades of Christmas, we move on to an offering from Valiant. Ninjak: Weaponeer, the first volume from the Ninjak series by Matt Kindt, Clay Mann, Butch Guice and Juan Jose Ryp.
Ninjak was in the news a lot in September and October as word came out about a new webseries, Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe. It stars Michael Rowe from Arrow and Jason David Frank from the Power Rangers and is being directed by the guys behind Super Power Beatdown. This increased attention for the character created by Joe Quesada and Mark Moretti has increased the interest in this particular trade as it works as an origin story.
Ninjak is part James Bond and part Batman. He's a super-spy, ninja, assassin that works for the British MI6. His codename is Ninja-K (The 10th in the line), his real name is Colin King, the son of spys and trained by a sadistic Butler after their death. He's brought in to take down a group called Weaponeer by infiltrating them. His first move is to rescue one of their top agents, Roku, who will turn out to be a major villain for him in the future. Ninjak discovers the origins of Weaponeer tie closely to his own origins and a mystical monk who is alive but not alive. Intermixed with his search for the seven Weaponeer, we get the Lost Files, flashbacks to Ninjak's early days. And we even get Roku's origin story.
The writing is fast paced and filled with action. Kindt throws a lot of information at you, but never really slows down to do it. Mann's art on the main story is kenetic and sharp, keeping pace with the story and making the reader want to keep going forward. When Guice and Ryp are brought in to show we are seeing flashbacks, the energy doesn't stop. It's a fun, engaging thriller that holds up against the best spy stories on the market.
This trade will appeal to a lot of different people. Those that like spy-thrillers, ninja stories and kick ass art of course will like it. But this will work for the James Bond / Jason Bourne fans who just haven't gotten into comics or for the comic fans who don't step outside the Marvel / DC safety bubble. Ninjak is the type of character that has no powers other than his training and his mind, yet will not back down from a fight even when the odds are against him. He throws sarcasm into the face of death and is a hing-pin for the Valiant Universe. This is a great starting point for the character of Ninjak and for the Valiant Universe.