At some point, there is always a first. The first Black woman in the U.S. military was Cathay Williams. She posed as a man to serve in the Civil War. The first female Black spy was Mary Bowser. During the Civil War, she infiltrated the Confederate white house. Bowser’s history is fascinating as she was a slave in the north, was freed and moved to the newly established African nation Liberia, which was created for ex-slaves from the U.S. She repatriated to the south and was arrested for pretending to be a free person. The woman who initially freed her and paid for her education, helped her become a spy. An effective one. That’s what Black women do, they become amazingly efficient. They have to. As double minorities, historically, they’ve had to work twice as hard. In issue four of ‘Ninjak’ we meet the first Black woman who had the misfortune to become a part of MI-6 Ninja program. And she is something special.
Colin King, the current Ninja-K has believed until recently that his life was his own. He thought his working for MI-6 was his choice, that he ruined his own relationships. But that’s not the case. Ninja-C has informed him that there’s the Acclimation Bureau that’s set on keeping the ninjas going until they become dried up husks, worthless to anyone including themselves. Of course not taking at someone at their word is what Colin is best at and seeks out the well-hidden Ninja-G. After being greeted in customary spy fashion both Ninjas sit and chat because this story is a good one.
Orphaned at a young age, Ninja-G is taken in by an uncle who sends her to a spy school. Of course being Black with awesome afro-puffs she is ridiculed and fights for her right not to be dominated. Not cutting it as a traditional spy she joins the ninja program and is trained by Jonin. She like Colin strives to have a life separate from her spy work with similar results. With one difference, she finds out she’s been lied to, gets her revenge and successfully disappears. Having realized she’s been manipulated by the agency she gave up so much for Ninja-G found a satisfying semblance of peace. Now here comes Ninjak asking for help.
Writer Christos Gage’s interpretation of the spy game is innovative and speaks about the human condition in a refreshing way. The bad guys are not entirely wrong. The good guy seems to only be Colin. And he’s got to figure out if taking down the organization that may have killed his parents and made him the man he is today is worth it. What if Colin succeeds? Will something worse rise up in its place, or will it leave an irrepressible vacuum?
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