Ninja-K #6 continues the story of Colin King and the MI6 monster fighting ninja program which features ferocious fighting, traitors, magic, demi-Gods, and more.
Everyone knows Marvel and DC and, to a lesser degree, companies like Dark Horse and Image share some household name status. However, in the 90s, there was another company making some wildly popular books. In February of 1994, Valiant Comics, now Valiant Entertinament, released the first solo Ninjak title, and by November of that year, it was the #1 selling comic. Yeah, like, of all comics. But Valiant lives in strange obscurity from the mainstream. However, they’re still around making some great books, including this new start to their long-time super-spy action series. Does this book deliver a killing blow to the target that is the reader’s mind like it has in the past? Read on, readers.
Writing: Christos Gage
Art: Juan José Ryp
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: A Larger World Studios
Editor: Karl Bollers
“… I’ve fought back from the brink of death
more times than I can recall.” – Ninjak
Ninjak is the story of Colin King who is a super-spy for British agency MI6. King is a sort of James Bond, with a badass, cool personality, deadly combat skills, and fancy technology. King is technically Ninja-K, as he’s the 11th primary ninja of the secret program. For the first few pages, Ninjak is a disappointing, massive exposition bomb. In all honesty, it was a bit painful. During the process, we learn that King wasn’t the first choice to be “K” but received the job because … reasons and the original “K” instead became “K-2,” Ninjak’s understudy.
Years later, K-2 is tired of waiting for Ninjak to die off so that he can become the new Ninjak. So, K-2 turns on MI6 and our hero is assigned to stop him. Seems simple enough, borderline boring, and I know I’ve made it sound like this book is not interesting. However, the truth is, if you make it through the opening moments, at page five, Ninjak is dropped in to begin his mission. From there on, Ninjak is balls-to-the-wall action that features ninja versus ninja swordplay and also, ninja versus other crazier stuff.
Spanish artist Juan José Ryp does the work of creating gripping action scenes like the pro he is. The man who drew Wolverine: The Best There Is handles all the frenetic motion of a fight sequence with great ease without it ever becoming confusing. The lone splash page is a hero shot of Ninjak, which, frankly, as splash pages go is a little disappointing. However, I don’t feel as though that’s Ryp’s fault as much as it is the lackluster way in which the page is built up to by the story. Splash pages work best when the pages beforehand create the sense of a moment that only a big, bold image can punctuate. Colorist Jordie Bellaire kept things moody and bathed in specific colors for the moment. Ninjak rides its color palette to significant effect.
I do have one gripe about the lettering, though, and it’s the lazy “ktanng” sound effect for two swords clashing. It’s super-nitpick-y, and I ask that readers even ignore what I’m writing here, but I’ve never been bored by two swords crashing together in a fight. But “ktanng” in evenly and modestly sized letters did nothing for me. C’mon!
Ninjak is an easy book to recommend. Based on this issue, if you’re a fan of nonstop action comics, then don’t hesitate to pick this up. It’s brutal and bloody. The characters live in a world where magic and monsters exist, and those elements, blended with a touch of near-future sci-fi tech makes for an exciting world to build upon in coming issues. At the very least, it’s a world where there is room for a lot more action since by the end of issue one, Ninjak’s mission gets a lot more complicated.