““Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead…”
― Lucille Ball
Writer Matt Kindt explored the realms of death and magic in Ninjak #10, #11, #12, and #13 with Operation: Deadside. What followed was Ninjak #14 which commenced the “The Siege of King’s Castle” story arc (in addition to “The Lost Files” which serves as a prequel story for the Ninjak mythos).
Similar to Ninjak #14, Ninjak #15 is two stories, both written by Kindt, but illustrated by two separate creative teams:
“The Four Noble Truths: Second Truth: The Origin of Suffering” is the second part of “The Siege of King’s Castle” story arc. Kindt continues his compelling story with the same formula that made Ninjak #14 work well. Readers are further exposed to Ninjak’s abilities beyond that of what has traditionally been shown. There are no gadgets, stealth planes, or secret hidden weapons; there is only a man armed with experience and ability. Additionally, Roku (who is pictured on multiple variant covers, so no spoilers here…) is able to make good on a number of promises that Kindt first wrote about in Ninjak #1 where he clearly stated that Roku is “…in every way either your (referring to Ninjak of course) equal or your superior…“. Since Ninjak #1 readers of the series have seen the origin story of Roku and have seen her demonstrate a high-level of ability; however, any notion of Roku being either equal to, or greater than, Ninjak has not truly appeared until this “The Siege of King’s Castle” story arc where readers are able to see her really begin to spread her wings as a character and legitimate key-player within the Valiant Universe.
(Note: In Book of Death #1 readers were provided a glimpse into the future where Roku stands with the mightiest heroes of the Valiant universe against a global threat, so it is highly likely that her character will have a significant role in the years to come).
The artistic team of artist Diego Bernard and colorist Ulises Arreola again proves quite successful. Bernard provides a balance panels that focus on detailed settings and background, with panels that focus on motion and action. Bernard’s pages that showcase the violence of Roku’s attacks are particularly well done and perhaps the finest example of Bernard’s ability to capture movement and action; as well as Arreola’s perfect understanding of how to enhance Bernard’s work.
Again, as with Ninjak #14, “The Lost Files” is not directly related to “The Siege of King’s Castle” story arc; however, it is directly related to the history and mythos of Ninjak. This time the flashback story is illustrated by the creative paring of artist Khoi Pham and colorist Chris Sotomayor. While there is a noticeable shift in art style (expected when using a different artist) from “The Siege of King’s Castle” , it in no way a jarring transition. Sotomayor’s color palate is quite close to Arreola’s which helps both stories blend seamlessly together. Pham does a fantastic job rendering the city streets of Moscow which is provided both temperature and life by Sotomayor.
“The Siege of King’s Castle” is well written, and masterfully rendered. Ninjak #15 is impossible to not enjoy and a perfect starting point for new readers.