Written by: Eliot Rahal
Art by: Joe Bennett and Belardino Brabo
Colors by: Ilises Arreola
Letters by: Dave Sharpe
Touted as the fight-fuelled showdown of the century Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe is a fantastic jumping on point for new readers to Valiant or for those who, like me, have lapsed in recent years. Colin King is Ninjak, the MI-6’s deadliest operative and weapons expert. When ruthless assassin, Roku, exploits his greatest weakness, Ninjak is forced to betray his closest allies, prompting the world’s most dangerous super-spy to go to war with the Valiant Universe. Not only is the set-up of the series thrilling, but as the book progresses it gives Rahul the opportunity to showcase the breadth of characters that Valiant has to offer.
The writing leaves little room for breath as it quickly sets-up the premise while introducing the reader to the characters, and for those who aren’t familiar with any Ninjak back story, this brief introduction is satisfactory, though a little more emphasis as to who two key characters were would have been nice for those using this as their first foray into Valiant. The story is well-written, even if the trope of good guy coerced to go do something bad is a little over used recently and the dialogue between the characters gives you a great feel for the scenes.
The action is well paced and dynamically drawn by Bennett and Brab who even manage to capture a rather brutal scene without it being overly graphic. The fight sequences have been drawn well, but for me the standout panels are the ones showing the initial attack on the office in Paris where Colin and Vivian fend off the attackers, the sequence allows Bennett to really flex the muscles he used so well with his recent work on Deathstroke and lend a sense of motion and contact to the fight sequences.
Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe #1 is a great opener to the series that will hopefully bring in more readers to the wider Valiant universe, particularly with guest stars throughout the series such as X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Livewire, Archer & Armstrong and Shadowman. I’m looking forward to reading to seeing just how well Ninjak manages to face down against some of the more brutal fighters in the Valiant Universe and just how he will manage to outwit the Roku.