Rating: 3.5/5 – Backup is Stronger than the Main Story.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
When I reviewed Valiant’s Generation Zero book a couple weeks ago, I had mentioned that I’m slowly catching up with most of Valiant’s titles. This week I caught up with Ninjak, which after reading through the seventeenth issue, is probably my favorite series of Valiant’s line with Bloodshot in a very close second. Unfortunately, the nineteenth issue which happens to be the second part of The Fist & the Steel storyline doesn’t live up to what’s come before and along with issue eighteen, may be the weakest issues of the series so far.
Now, that’s not to say it’s bad. I’m not really sure if writer Matt Kindt can write a bad Valiant book. It’s just that this issue, along with the art by Khari Evans isn’t connecting with me the way the previous storylines have. In this issue, Ninjak continues his team up with the Eternal Warrior set years into the future. Gilad is on a quest to find Fakir, who Ninjak has dealt with in the past. That search eventually leads them into a confrontation with another Valiant villain, Silk. There’s a very cool scene that I don’t want to spoil that Kindt hinted at in last issue. Also, another small moment that happened multiple issues ago in the Deadlands plays out in this issue’s back-up story. Kindt does this so well. What you think may be a throwaway panel actually matters and may come back as a major story beat later on, and it happens twice in this issue. But, regrettably, it doesn’t make up for the lack of chemistry between the older Ninjak and the Eternal Warrior and the art fails to make up for it.
It’s the back-up story in this issue that was more more enjoyable for me than the main tale as Ninjak looks to find a cure for a disease he contracted during the Operation: Deadlands storyline. Not only is the back-up story better in terms of writing, but also in art. Artist Andres Guinaldo’s pencils although short, are definitely the stronger of the two. I appreciated his panel layout and his rough style and the last splash page ended the book on a high note. The art in the main tale just didn’t connect with me and the colors by Ulises Arreola seemed too bright and in some places, too washed out.
This issue, and this story arc, of Ninjak doesn’t compare to what I’ve seen in previous stories. I’ll be excited once this main storyline runs it course, hopefully what’s coming up next will be a return to what I was enjoying so much earlier in the series. Until then, I still have the backup stories to look forward to.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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