I can remember diving into Valiant Comics 25 years ago. I started off reading their Turok, Rai, and Harbinger titles back in the day. 25 years later I think it’s pretty fantastic that Valiant is doing better than ever and a lot of that is due to their Valiant Next initiative.  A bit of a relaunch of their titles a la ‘The Big Two’; Valiant Next is a way to get old readers back in touch with their familiar titles and new readers on board. One of those old, now new again titles is Ninjak.

NINJAK_003_004The original Ninjak was created by Mark Moretti (Bloodshot, Harbinger) and Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief of Marvel) In 1994, the series was the highest selling comic of that year. Throughout it’s long history the character has gone through a few iterations, including a child who is imbued with the Ninja powers through a video game. I’m glad that we’re seeing a new take on the character that’s more geared towards the original, and written by Matt Kindt. (Mind MGMT, The Valiant).

If you’ve never read a Ninjak comic before you’re in luck. You’re thrown right into the action right off the bat and you’re very quickly brought up to speed of who Ninjak and his true identity, Colin King, are. The story is a bit of James Bond, The Secret Service, and American Ninja all thrown into one. There is a ton of action, espionage, and great flashbacks that help build on the character that you’re sure to love!

NINJAK_002_001The writing is the true standout in Ninjak, and the story from Kindt is a thing of brilliance. He’s built on the foundation of Moretti’s work and created a Colin King of his own. King is a trained martial artist, a weapons expert, and surprisingly not that great with the ladies. Handsome enough in his own right, you don’t see him interact with many women in the present day; instead those interactions are in the flashbacks where he’s a fledgling spy who stumbles over his words and doesn’t quite no how to deal with the fairer sex.

He also does a great job of showcasing all of the weapons and tools at Ninjaks disposal in an original way. Not only does Kindt explain the article, he applies it to the backstory of Kings life. His lack of emotional depth and struggles with authority are just two of the issues that get touched upon by looking at a gauntlet or grappling boots.

As good as the writing is, it’s also accompanied by the fantastic artwork from Clay Mann and Butch Guice. This duo creates a new world of fantastic action and beautiful colors that explode from panel to panel. One of my favorite parts is seeing the character of Roku face off against Ninjak. Her hair is deadly and has the ability to cut through metal and wrap around characters to kill them. Seeing her hair fly off of the top of her head and attack someone is truly a beauty to behold.

If you would have asked me a few years ago who some of the Valiant characters were, I probably would have been able to name a few. With Valiant Next grabbing up some of the best writers and artists on the comic scene today; everything I’ve read from them has been great. Ninjak is a stand out in my opinion being that I love ninjas and spies; but you may want to check out our reviews of Imperium, Timewalker and The Valiant to see more of their broad range of work. Overall, I am loving this series and can’t wait to keep reading Ninjak month-after-month!