By Matt Kindt, Khari Evans, Ulises Arreola
The boys are back in town. Ninjak and the Eternal Warrior team up in Ninjak #19 for an entertaining story full of surprises.
“The Fist and The Steel” Part Two follows the continuing mission of the heroes. Set decades in the future, the story features an aged but still deadly Ninjak as he assists the Eternal Warrior on a mission involving a foe from the past.
Until this arc, the title has been set in the present, with Ninjak operating solo. This arc offers a peek into the future, letting readers see outcomes of ongoing themes as well as offering bridges into the even farther future shown in Valiant’s Rai and 4001 A.D. titles. The addition of the Eternal Warrior to this arc creates a buddy dynamic that brings more levity to these otherwise serious characters. At no point do they degenerate into silliness, but having these two play off of each other allows for more humor than normal. Writer Matt Kindt gives us plenty to chuckle about. He never forces a joke but allows them to arise naturally out of circumstances. Having these two characters together also serves to make them more human. Ninjak has revealed more of himself emotionally in this arc than in any other.
Weirdness abounds on their adventure as the duo travels through mystical portals and another dimension in pursuit of their target. Their destination is possibly one of the more unique places on Earth and provides several moments of levity. The big payoff is the confrontation with the enemy. Readers with knowledge of Ninjak’s and team Unity’s past adventures likely already suspect who the big bad of this arc is, but I won’t spoil it for those unaware. The reveal is creepy and a bit disturbing. All in all, a fun read.
The supporting chapter, “The Lost Files,” occurs during the present. It ties directly into an earlier Ninjak arc, “Operation Deadside.” This story features several out-of-the-spotlight characters and reveals some interesting info about what they’ve been up to. This story has much promise and is a gratifying read.
Artist Khari Evans and colorist Ulises Arreola work their magic on the main story while artist Andres Guinaldo and colorist Chris Sotomayor create “The Lost Files.” Evans successfully creates one of the creepiest looking villains ever. One close-up panel in particular is a visage of malice and insanity. Very effective. Arreola’s coloring is spot-on, especially within the panels depicting magic or the villain.
Guinaldo’s work in the auxiliary “The Lost Files” story is excellent as well. The gritty London scenes are especially evocative, with their details deepening the sense of place and accompanying emotions. Sotomayor’s colors are subdued and fit the feel of the scenes. The final panel’s passage of colors due to the scene’s lighting is a standout.
Ninjak #19 is an entertaining read. More than just a spy thriller, this book offers adventure, witty humor, science, and magic. This arc promises to be a significant chapter in the Ninjak saga. Pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed.