Review - Killers #1 (@ValiantComics)

"True love is highly overrated."

The life of a spy seems glamourous on its surface, but there are certain days when you have to fend for your life in the middle of an otherwise relaxing vacation spot. In Killers #1 from Valiant Comics, two spies are on a collision course in some beautiful locales. The issue is written by B. Clay Moore, illustrated by Fernando Dagnino, colored by José Villarrubia and lettered by Jeff Powell.

Five deadly assassins are recruited into a game of cat and mouse by their former sensei, the mysterious Jonin! But what does the Jonin want from them, and what do they gain out of helping him? Each of these assassins can channel their ki—the spiritual energy within all beings—in different ways, granting them incredible powers, essentially making them super-ninjas!

At its core, the issue is very much an espionage book and Hill's dialogue is fantastic at giving it that international sense of flair. The way Moore introduces the reader to the events of the issue is very frenetic, yet it works exceptionally well for framing the rest of the issue. Moore funnels the narrative through Ninja-G and Ninja-J, both of whom are brought together at the behest of the Jonin to complete a series of tasks, which allows the reader to understand how powerful they are and a glimpse at their abilities. There's plenty of action throughout throughout the issue that keeps the reader on their toes with Hill emphasizing their talents. Their abilities as both ninjas and spies are profound which lends credibility to the notion of them being able to square off against one another.

Dagnino's illustrations are effective at keeping up with the action. Both ninjas are distinct in their appearance, able to demonstrate their ninja prowess while on the streets and dressed to blend in. Dagnino's linework is scratchy in a way that adds some griminess to the book. It's interesting how Dagnino works with perspective, primarily in that the closer Dagnino gets to someone the more detailed they are which aligns well with the concept of focusing on something. The panels are overlaid for much of the issue and serves the volleying back and forth of battle well. Villarubia's colors are gritty and dark, effectively providing shadows for the characters to hide in.

Killers #1 is a spy story with a powered twist. Ninjas G and J are two of the best at what they do which means they make a great team when required. Moore's script is very concise and efficient in delving into the stories of the ninja spies. Dagnino's illustrations add a sense of mystery to the book that serves it well. Killers #1 fits very well within the larger Valiant Universe in that it embraces characters who have powers and who are extremely effective at doing their jobs.

Killers #1 is available July 31.