By Christos Gage, Tomas Giorello, and Diego Rodriguez.
“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action…”
― Ian Fleming
Created by Joe Quesada and Mark Moretti, Colin King (Ninjak) first appeared in July of 1993 in Bloodshot #6, and in full costume the following month in Bloodshot #7. In November of 1993 (with a cover date of February 1994), Ninjak #1 became the first Valiant comic to reach number one in sale (for all publishers, including Marvel and DC). A creative blending of James Bond and Batman (along with other spiritual and mystical elements of course) with a dash of G.I. Joe, Ninjak quickly became an “A-List” character in the Valiant Universe. Valiant’s Ninjak Vol. 1 ran 26 issues (along with a “#0” issue and a “#00” issue), and Acclaim’s Ninjak Vol. 2 ran 12 issues ending in 1998.
When Valiant Entertainment re-launched in May of 2012 with X-O Manowar #1, fans knew it would only be a matter of time before Ninjak would be re-introduced. Only five issues later in X-O Manowar #5 , Valiant did exactly that, and in March of 2015, Ninjak Vol. 3 was launched running 27 issues (with a “#0” issue of course).
In November of 2017, Ninja-K #1 was released, written by Christos Gage (Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps: H.A.R.D. Corps #0, G.I. Joe, and The Amazing Spiderman). The result is a fantastic book of the highest quality. Cage greatly expands the history and wold of Ninjak by introducing MI-6’s clandestine “Ninja” program featuring “Ninja-A” during World War I, through “Ninja-K” in the present. Each has unique background and compelling characteristics that draws the reader in and separates each of the Ninjas from one another. In the course of only one issue, Cage creates characters that readers actually like and take interest in, which is an indication of a strong story. Conversations and narration appear natural, humorous, and interesting. Much like what Jeff Lemire did with Bloodshot in Bloodshot: Reborn (2015), and what Matt Kindt did with X-O Manowar (2017), Cage adds new depth to the character of Colin King insomuch as his history, legacy, romantic relationships, and premise.
The art team of artist Tomas Giorello and colorist Diego Rodriguez (X-O Manowar #1, #2, #3 (2017)) is a perfect pairing. Giorello demonstrated phenomenal work on X-O Manowar #1 (2017) and 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1, so it should come as no surprise that he is able to handle Ninja-K with the same magic and skill. His work features sharp pencils employed to create a mastery of depth and shading with hatching and cross-hatching techniques. Giorello’s characters have consistent and recognizable faces that visibly separate each from the next while always showing the appropriate emotions for events occurring in each panel or on each page. Backgrounds and settings are detailed and feature an effective understanding of perspective and placement so that the reader is pulled into the story where events are unfolding. Rodriguez worked with Giorello previously on X-O Manowar (2017) and completely understands how to work with Giorello’s art style. Rodriguez creates natural skin tones, a hazy moonlit night sky, polished metallic surfaces, and rich textured backgrounds. The best way to describe the look and feel of Ninja-K #1 is to say that it is a fantastic comic book experience of the highest quality.
Ninja-K #1 is comic book excellence of the highest quality. It is visually stunning with an interesting story and compelling characters that make it well worth your time. It is the perfect starting point for new readers, while also featuring some of the finest Ninjak series plot and character development in recent memory.