By Matt Kindt, Doug Braithwaite, and Brian Reber; with Juan Jose Ryp and Ulises Arreola.

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”
― Dante Alighieri

Writer Matt Kindt orchestrated Ninjak #13 to be written in two parts; Operation Deadside: Part 4 and The Lost Files: Legends of the Magpie. Kindt writes both parts, and a different art team tackles each.

Operation Deadside: Part 4 – concludes Ninjak and Punk Mambo’s special mission into the Deadside which began in the pages of Ninjak #10#11, and #12 For fans of Shadowman, this issue does a very strong job of setting the stage for the future of that character. It also showcases some of the best Punk Mambo combat action readers have seen to date, which is refreshing for fans of the character who have waited to see an expansion of her potential. Similar to the preceding three issues of Ninjak, Kindt enters deeper into the magical and/or spiritual possibilities of the Valiant Universe that was first introduced to readers and fans in the pages of Shadowman, an original Valiant character who has maintained a steady fanbase for the past two decades. Once again, Kindt is able to firmly grasp all loose ends and tie them into a coherent bow that accomplish three major tasks;

  1. Tells an original and compelling story, while developing its main and supporting characters.
  2. Expands the known Valiant Universe with Deadside, to include aspects and details about how the setting works, its history, and its key locations.
  3. It solidifies the relationships between the main characters in such a way that future story arcs and concepts are all but certain.

Artist Doug Braithwaite provides the same level of continued excellence readers and fans have come to expect while creating a uniquely mysterious world. Braithwaite’s pencils are incredibly detailed, and he captures facial expression and emotion with richness and depth. Colorist Brian Reber’s work is as vivid as ever as he holds true to his array of pinks, yellows, blues, and greens that give Braithwaite’s art a magical look and feel. It is clear that Valiant Entertainment is making an expansion into other realms to create endless potential for future story potential. They have done this with space, time, and now the supernatural realm.

The Lost Files: Legends of the Magpie – What appears to be the intention of this story has been to re-introduce Shadowman into the Valiant Universe (he has been absent from the Valiant Universe since Shadowman: End Times #3 in June of 2013).  Artist Juan Jose Ryp’s art style is different from Braithwaite’s; however in no way is it jarring or unrecognizable. Ryp demonstrates a strong understanding of the source material, and visually provides readers a plethora of characters, settings, and other components that show a full range of understanding of the Valiant Universe. Colorist Ulises Arreola provides his signature touch of texture, and effectively adds his touch of coloring to depict “energy”, “elements”, and “magic”.

Ninjak #13 is the very best of the Operation Deadside story arc. Shadowman fans will likely become quite excited as events unfold and the future implications they hold. The role (and abilities) of Punk Mambo within the Valiant Universe and also the Shadowman mythos is certainly one that should not be missed. This issue will make you believe in magic.


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