Colonization can be a dirty word. By definition, it means to coopt the living space of people who already live there. These invaders tend to spread pestilence and cause the death or enslavement of the native population. For those existing in the Deadside, their problem is some megalomaniac every other day attempts to grasp its power. What these power hungry entities don’t understand is that the Deadside seems to have champions rise up from unusual places. For Colin King, otherwise known as Ninjak is the last one you want to see if you’re a wannabe conqueror. And that usually is the case.
In ‘Ninjak Shadowman: Rapture’ issue two Ninjak along with the latest geomancer and a band of adept magicians get together to battle yet another otherworldly threat. Ironically Ninjak doesn’t believe in magic. Then why bring along a woman from the future who communicates with the earth, a Voodoo priestess and a man possessed with a dangerous loa all being in a place that shouldn’t exist? His explanations throughout their journey ring false, particularly since he’s been there before. We may at times need a way to figure out how to get through the night, but straight up denial in the middle of magic central is not one of them. Still, it’s an opportunity to show off the quick wit of several of the characters. Gallows humor at times is best in the most grievous of situations.
What’s more it coincides with what is happening to the Deadside itself. Here an entity who’s cultivated the mastery of languages has decided his grand scheme is to invade yet another place. His attempt to be the colonizer of yet another realm show just how limiting in scope and imagination villains can be. As someone who’s been imprisoned in this supernatural place, Babel will be defeated. But it won’t be because of Ninjak, rather it will be a result of his hubris. Matt Kindt has this way of seeing the frailty in the protagonist by way of the bad guy. And this miniseries’ name is shared by two major playmakers in the Valiant universe. Since Ninjak is the nonbeliever, it must be up to Shadowman to get over himself.
As a black man living in New Orleans, Jack Boniface just wanted to live his life. Unfortunately for him he became the vessel for something he doesn’t clearly understand and wasn’t prepared for. Which is in direct opposition to ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.’ In the television series Jadzia Dax is the host of a Trill. She is chosen, given a series of trials and tests to help prepare her to be a host body. Jadzia has all the memories of her Trill’s past life, yet is able to keep her identity. However she is trained to do so. On the other hand, a loa, mostly found in Africa, is known to be an insect that burrows itself into you and infects your body. In a sense it takes over. In folklore the loa can be seen as a powerful spirit that does the same thing. What makes this worse is that the loa is a powerful energy unto itself and can be wielded for good or evil, but it must be controlled. Since their joining Boniface has had a rough time just keeping up with this spirit. Worse yet, he considers it a burden he never asked for. But you don’t get to choose your birthright. During ‘The Next Generation’ Jadzia dies and her Trill Dax must be implanted into another of her species so that the symbiont may survive. Without the training this new Dax did not fare nearly as well as Jadzia. For Shadowman it is even worse. He never has time to adjust and he is constantly being called to use his power for what is considered the greater good. For Kindt, Shadowman may not be seeking redemption. Instead he seems more like a man who wants to be left alone. And if the mirror of him is Babel, then there isn’t much hope for the Deadside.