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Ninjak #1- 31 Pages of Greatness

Written by Gavin Dillinger on Wednesday, March 11 2015 and posted in Reviews

Ninjak #1- 31 Pages of Greatness

At $3.99, Ninjak aims to provide both quality and quantity.

When you first open Ninjak, your eyes are met with meticulous pencils and vibrant colors. With three settings in as many pages, the work is breath-taking and beautifully narrated. It is truly remarkable. Valiant has been pushing Ninjak as their next hot title, and those first three pages show why they may be right. This monthly, 40 page title with the standard $3.99 price tag and two unique artists has been causing some talk lately.

Ninjak promises to bring our protagonist's past and present colliding together. Matt Kindt does this by writing two separate stories which, knowing Kindt, are probably directly related though that may not be apparent yet. As usual Kindt has his narration boxes on deck and ready to go, though this time he does so through a "Field Report" during the missions. This allows Kindt to access his favorite tools without relying on them too heavily. The story is an intriguing introduction to the world of Ninjak, establishing roughly who our protagonist is and his relationship to MI-6, but is still an introduction so the story does not have any earth shattering revelations. Kindt's concepts for action sequences are terrific, providing for some cinematic moments. Overall, Kindt provides a solid story, but that is not what you will be talking about with this issue.

Most of the conversation about this book should revolve around the art. The two separate stories have equally separate art styles. Clay Mann brings in a precise and detailed technique with his pencils. Meanwhile Seth Mann does an excellent job of honoring the art with equally precise inks. This style, while unique, is in line with what you would expect from a Valiant title. The fight scenes are cinematic, using various angles to provide the feel of an action film. The little details in those moments are incredibly clever as well, be they written or added by the artist. Unfortunately, the panels can be confusing in these moments. The fight is supposed to take place between two lightning fast ninjas. So the ninjas at hand can do a lot in a little time, but that leaves some large gaps between actions where characters are suddenly on the opposite side of the room attacking their opponents. It is easy to over look this flaw, however, with how beautiful the art is.

Part two of this issue is a tale not quite as action packed as the first, but still a great insight into the history of Ninjak. Butch Guice is tasked with the art here. His style opposes Mann's pencils and uses heavy inks. Characters and objects are illustrated by shadows, with all distinguishable features subject to their light source in a dark North Korean night. The large areas of ink are a wonderful contrast to the art to Mann's thin lines.

Now who is tasked with coloring these two stories? Surprisingly just one colorist. One colorist who is capable of complimenting both styles. Ulises Arreola lights up the book and pushes the art to the next level. More impressively is the fact that he excels with both artists. Often a colorist thrives with certain art styles and struggles in other, but Arreola has no such trouble. His nightlife is grim and scenery is lush. In one issue this man made me reconsider just what colorists are capable of.

My big complaint with the book, however, is that when you count up the pages and exclude ads you get 31 pages. Now even if I miscounted the number is significantly lower than the advertised 40. Perhaps this issue just happened to be shorter, but I would still like to get all 40 pages if that is what I think I'm paying for. Don't get me wrong. This book is well worth the money. My problem is just the integrity of advertising a book and counting the ads to reach 40. If the story is only going to be around 30 pages a month then advertise that! 30 pages a month is still a solid number that is higher than the standard comic page count. Just please, oh please, don't tell me that you think people want to buy 9 extra pages of advertisements.

To reiterate, this book is worth the money. Kindt is still on fire. Guice and Mann excel in their work, and Arreola livens the story with his colors. But if I was assigning a numerical grade to it, I would give it a 31/40, because there are nine pages of content missing.


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About the Author - Gavin D.

Gavin Dillinger exists in a constant state of restlessness as he runs between two jobs and spends every spare moment writing articles or scripts. He has also perfected the art of being simultaneously dead tired and jacked on coffee, and is the best-selling author of When is the Right Age to Tell Your Highway It's Adopted. Gavin graduated Cum Laude from MTSU and should probably get a real job. You can follow him on Twitter or see a random thought on tumblr once every three five months.

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