“As long as we have ‘loyalty till the end’ there’s no point in believing in anything, even in those we love. The only thing we can believe in, with absolute certainty is the mission…”
― The Boss, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
The second consecutive Ninja-K issue written by Christos Gage (Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps: H.A.R.D. Corps #0, G.I. Joe, and The Amazing Spider-man), Ninja-K #2 is every bit as strong as the first issue; with additional quality content that will be discussed shortly. Cage demonstrates a very solid grasp of the character and person that is Colin King (AKA Ninja-K). He also has created a supporting cast of interesting and compelling characters that seem memorable and have natural dialog complete with emotion, history, and purpose. Cage has yet to take his spin on Ninja-K into the larger Valiant Universe; however, he has started the character on a similar and positive developmental path as writer Jeff Lemire has done with Bloodshot in Bloodshot: Reborn (2015) and Matt Kindt did with X-O Manowar (2017). Cage continues to add new depth to Colin King, and also to the world of Ninja-K.
Artistically, Ninja-K #2 consists of three stories; a five-page introduction drawn by Roberto De La Torre and colored by Diego Rodriguez, followed by the main story drawn by Tomas Giorello and also colored by Rodriguez, and a backup story featuring artwork by Ariel Olivetti.
De La Torre (Ms. Marvel, The Invincible Ironman, and Shadowman) starts the story with a flashback to 1952, and does so with a sharp lines and heavy contrast (employing a liberal use of ink for shadows). Character proportions, placement, and perspective is all well done, with several backgrounds (inside the bar) appearing heavily photo referenced.
The art style quickly transitions on page #6 for the main story pencilled by Giorello. Not enough can be said about Giorello’s work on this issue (and title) as his quality is consistent from start to finish. Giorello captures nuanced emotional facial expressions that are appropriate to the story. Character proportions, placement, and perspective are all on point, as is his ability to create the illusion of motion. He is able to depict feminine and masculine qualities for different characters at various ages, and works brilliantly with Rodriguez who further enhances Giorello’s work, adding textured and detailed backgrounds and settings with a color palette adding a natural, lifelike quality to each panel.
The backup story, painted by Olivetti (Daredevil, X-Man, and Space Ghost) is quite incredible. Olivetti often paints with acrylics and oils; however is able to work digitally as well. The characters he paints have an “Alex Ross” inspired quality to them, while his backgrounds and layout choices appear more quality comic book(ish) than Ross’s. This is not a bad thing at all, but rather a compliment to Olivetti who provides his own visually stunning and creative style which is truly a visual gift to readers.
Beautifully drawn and brilliantly written; Ninja-K #2 is quality entertainment of the highest degree. It is the second chapter of a series that is most strongly recommended to for new readers looking for a fantastic comic book experience!