The endgame of any comic book company is to splinter itself into the public’s consciousness. That takes talent, but more importantly the imagination to see long-established characters in nontraditional roles. Valiant Comics attempts to do this by taking their character Ninjak, an Englishman agent operative turned mercenary, with a malleable moral compass and place him in a slightly alternate universe.
It starts pedestrian enough with talk of custody arrangements, then someone menacing enters and you immediately sense danger. The air tenses as the scene switches to seeing what Colin King (Ninjak) does best. And in a mundane briefing, an eruption of violence occurs. An old enemy whose hair is deadly familiar has need of Colin’s special skills. In order to save lives, Colin has to go against his allies, friends and possibly betray his country. But that’s not the alarming bit. Still, it’s a solid setup, filled with action as the reader is introduced to well-known characters with powers who don’t quite match up to Colin’s will. In establishing this offshoot universe Aaron Schoenke gives the opportunity of broadening the fan base with a tightly written storyline. It gives space to explore and get to know these other characters on a multimedia level since this comic is the companion piece to the web series ‘Ninjak Vs The Valiant Universe.’
So far there has only been trailers of the web series. However, like the trailers, the comic shows the claustrophobic atmosphere of the physical and emotional space, Colin inhabits. In a sense, he is trapped. And having only one way out of his predicament gives a meta-reading of the text. One is what he has to do, but more importantly why. Even if he accomplishes his goal, he may still lose. One gets the feeling that Colin doesn’t care about his own life. He’s not married and has few attachments. But, the people he is friends with are constantly in danger. And that is conveyed when those elevator doors open and he’s confronted with, in part why he’s doing this thing.
It’s a compelling read that leaves out a great deal. All the reader knows is that Ninjak is needed to steal something important for a bad guy and he has no idea how it’s going to be used. That may be the best part of this comic, finding out along with Ninjak why he’s being used. In the meantime, the tactics Ninjak uses carry along a set of life lessons that you’ll find yourself using in your everyday life. And of course the payoff. You want Ninjak to do what he does best and turn the tables on his enemies.
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