Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review - Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe #1 (@ValiantComics)


"Well, the world's greatest spy has his limitations."

When you're a world-renowned spy, there are few things that are outside of your capabilities. In fact, being able to accomplish any objective is usually par for the course for those spies who are at the top of their game. Ninjak is such a spy, but in Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe #1 from Valiant Comics he may be having second thoughts about being so good. The issue is written by Eliot Rahal, illustrated by Joe Bennett with Belardino Brabo, colored by Ulises Arreola and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

Colin King is Ninjak, MI-6's deadliest intelligence operative and weapons expert. When the ruthless assassin Roku exploits his greatest weakness, Ninjak will be forced to betray his closest allies. Now, on the run, he must face off against the most powerful heroes known to man for a high-octane, take-no-prisoners trial by fire more perilous and more unpredictable than any he's faced before. In 2018, the world's most dangerous super-spy goes to war with the Valiant Universe...

While Rahal starts off Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe #1 somewhat calmly, it doesn't take him long to really pick things up and end the issue somewhat bombastically. Ninjak is one of--if not the--most formidable characters in the Valiant Universe and Rahal does a fantastic job of reminding the reader of just that fact. The issue opens by setting the stage, with Rahal providing the leverage necessary to pit Ninjak against the entirety of the Valiant Universe with both the leverage and reasoning behind the standoff making a lot of sense. The issue is fairly light on dialogue, but what dialogue is provided by Rahal is extremely effective at keeping the reader up to speed. The issue ends on something of a cliffhanger, as even though you know what Ninjak will be going up against it's still pretty cool to see Rahal call out all the other characters he'll be squaring off against.

The artwork by Bennett and Brabo is extremely slick throughout the issue as it effectively keeps pace with all the action. In fact, the linework throughout the issue is exquisite with the duo emphasizing the strength of the characters, each strength being derived from a different source depending on the character in question. Bennett and Brabo also offer up plenty of well-rendered combat sequences that showcase the various talents and abilities that Ninjak ends up fighting against. Most of the panel layouts are very rigid and dominate the center of the page with other insets and overlays radiating outward. Arreola's colors are sharp and vivid, giving the book an extra level of bombast considering the stakes.

Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe #1 is a very solid first issue that does its source material proud. Ninjak is audacious enough to take on a seemingly impossible challenge with or without being threatened and it's looking like he's definitely going to be facing long odds to successfully complete this mission. Rahal's script is fluid and engaging, providing the reader with plenty of glimpses into his awesomeneess. The artwork by Bennett and Brabo is sharp and full of characters who cut against their backdrops. Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe #1 is a lot of fun and ends in a way that will have just about every fan of the Valiant Universe wanting to come back to see how things shake out.

Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe #1 is available now.

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