By Eliot Rahal, Joe Bennett, Belardio Brabo, and Ulises Arreola
“Your worst enemy could be your best friend and your best friend, your worst enemy…”
― Bob Marley, from the song “Who The Cap Fit”
On October 10th of 2016 at the New York Comic Con, Valiant Entertainment and Bat In the Sun announced the Ninjak vs The Valiant Universe live-action digital series. Valiant Entertainment launched its Valiant Digital division with the purpose of producing short-form content for emerging media as part of the publisher’s clear plan to expand beyond print and into film and other media.
The Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe web series trailer was released during this announcement, and is provided below for viewing.
Slightly more than a year has passed since the initial announcement at NYCC, and on January 10th of 2017, Valiant Entertainment released the second half of this project, Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #1, the first of a four-issue comic book mini-series designed to be the “first-of-its-kind attempt bridge the worlds of live action and comics in a way that has never been attempted before.” In many ways, as has often been true with Valiant, this is an industry first.
Valiant publisher Fred Pierce has made it clear that the events of Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe occur outside of continuity, and are in a completely different universe/world from the rest of the Valiant Universe. This means that the story and events for both the comic book series and web series do not require any previous knowledge or background of the characters, stories, or history within the Valiant Universe. They are series designed to stand alone for new and old fans to enjoy, while using social media to reach a global population hungry for quality content and entertainment.
Writer Eliot Rahal (Divinity III: Escape from Gulag 396 #1, Bloodshot’s Day Off #1, The Paybacks) provides the story for Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #1. As a result of the intended purpose and design of the Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe project, this issue lays the foundation and premise for the series while also serving as a quick introduction to the characters involved. While longtime readers and fans are most certainly likely to read this story, clearly new readers and potential fans have been considered here, so the story does not include extensive amounts of character background or references to previous events that have occurred in other issues. The story avoids the complex so that it can be what it is; a set-up for the whirlwind of action that is to come.
The art team of penciler Joe Bennett (Teen Titans, Deathstroke), inker Belardino Brabo (Bloodshot: Reborn Annual 2016 #1, Adventures of Superman #8, and the Fallout video-game-based graphic novel, Fallout: New Vegas – All Roads), and colorist Ulises Arreola (Faith and the Future Force, Eternal Warrior: Awakening, and Ninjak) work together to create a strong and traditional “house style” comic book art experience that appears familiar and recognizable to a broad spectrum of the comic book community. Bennett and Brabo employ clean, well-defined lines with a liberal use of ink for contrast. Shading and contouring is created by combination of Bennett and Brabo’s hatching and cross hatching techniques, enhanced by Arreola’s use of a natural color palette with color gradient to show depth and texture. The artwork is not overly stylized; however, the quality is most certainly present.
Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #1 is the perfect starting point for anyone interested in what Valiant has to offer. It is a story designed to introduce the world to the same magic of the Valiant Universe that has existed for 28 years, and also expand the complete experience that is Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe!