By Matt Kindt, Doug Braithwaite, and Brian Reber; with Juan Jose Ryp and Ulises Arreola.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
― Winston Churchill
Writer Matt Kindt orchestrated Ninjak #12 to be written in two parts; Operation Deadside: Part 3 and The Lost Files: Legends of the Magpie. Kindt writes both parts, but with a different art team for each.
Operation Deadside: Part 3 – continues both Ninjak and Punk Mambo’s mission into the Deadside which began in the pages of Ninjak #10 and #11. Kindt explores the magical and/or spiritual possibilities of the Valiant Universe that was first introduced to readers and fans in the pages of Shadowman (a longtime fan-favorite character who has been absent from the Valiant Universe since Shadowman: End Times #3 in June of 2013). Kindt’s writing is never in question, and he uses the vast and/or unique story potential of the Deadside (complete with its landscapes, cities, history, and inhabitants) to create a compelling tale in a both interesting and/or effective style that had not previously been fully explored. New readers will certainly appreciate Ninjak #12; however, longtime readers and fans of Ninjak, Book of Death, and/or Shadowman will almost certainly appreciate it even more as Kindt ties past characters, events, and history into to each page.
Artistically, you cannot go wrong with artist Doug Braithwaite and colorist Brian Reber. Braithwaite’s work us really good, and a quick look at his work on Unity #1 will show as much. To tell Kind’s story in Ninjak #12, Braithwaite has been tasked with visually creating a strange and peculiar world and bringing it to life. There are a number of ways this could go wrong, but clearly Braithwaite nails it page after page. Reber also provides his best, with a wild array of vivid pinks, yellows, blues, and greens that give Braithwaite’s art a magical appearance and a strikingly unique appeal.
The Lost Files: Legends of the Magpie – There are a lot of easter eggs here, longtime readers and fans of the series are sure to appreciate some of the background that Kindt provides. There are also a number of characters (some old, some new) who readers are introduced to, which fills in a few gaps in the Valiant Universe for those keeping tabs on everything. Artist Juan Jose Ryp has a style that is visually quite different from Braithwaite’s; however by no means is it anything less. As our characters engage one another in settings never before seen in the Valiant Universe, it quickly becomes apparent that Ryp’s take on Deadside works quite well and is a welcome addition to Ninjak #12. Colorist Ulises Arreola provides a significant touch of texture, while also doing some amazing work with coloring “energy”, “elements”, and “magic”.
Ninjak #12 is the perfect book for Shadowman fans, while further expanding the known Valiant Universe as well as fan-favorite characters Ninjak and Punk Mambo. There is more at play here than what we have seen in the past, and it makes for a well written and visual experience.