Written By: Matt Kindt
Art By: Clay Mann and Butch Guice
Ninjas! Assassins! Corrupt Businessmen! Tigers! All of these wonderful things appear within the pages of Ninjak #2 by and while the issue isn’t quite as good as the previous one, it still is an enjoyable if somewhat familiar spy adventure.
This issue picks up where issue one left off, with Ninjak, in his civilian identity as Colin King, infiltrating the arms dealing corporation known as Weaponeer. Colin continues to prove his loyalty to Weaponeer’s CEO, Kannon and it even looks like Colin is willing to kill innocent civilians to prove his loyalty to him. However, Ninjak always has a plan and is one step ahead of his enemies as his so called cold blooded murder is actually a ruse that Kannon doesn’t pick up on. This intelligent Ninja portrayal is a fresh change as so often in books involving Ninja’s it’s all about violence and swordplay and rational thought is often thrown to the wind.
There is also a little flashback to his childhood and to a scene in which he tries to subtly poison his abusive butler and caretaker. The flashback, although brief is very much one of the major highlights of the book as it really creates an emotional attachment with Colin. The problem that I have with this issue is that present day Colin lacks the sort of emotional connection with the reader that his past self has, however it is still early in the series.
Clay Mann’s art however is something that packs emotion and continues to be one of the many highlights of this series. His pencils are clean and crisp, and that works well with Matt Kindt’s sleek and kickass portrayal of Ninja and the world around him. The best part of Mann’s work is easily and surprisingly the flashback, featuring Colin’s attempt to rid himself of his abusive caretaker. The scene is tense and young Colin is drawn as steely eyed, yet equally vulnerable and when he is found out you can’t help but feel sorry for him and disappointed that he was caught.
The backup story called “The Lost Files” is a nice, if slightly short little look back into one of Ninjak’s previous missions and involves a possible ruthless assassin that Ninjak is unable to bring himself to kill. It’s a cool look into the human side of Ninjak and its something that I hope is further explored. The art in the back up is much darker and less crisp than the main story and it fits the tone of the story perfectly. Butch Guice provides a very shadowy and ominous vibe to the story and this little story makes me want to check out his other work.
With Ninjak #2 Kindt, Mann, and Buiche prove that issue one was no fluke, as they deliver an enjoyable and animal filled issue that further cements Valiant as the publisher to watch this year.