The Seven Blades of Master Darque continues in “Ninjak” #25 this week as Colin King teams up with the series’ debut villains to take on a major Valiant Universe villain. The last couple of issues of the series have set the bar incredibly high, will this issue be able to maintain that momentum, propelling Ninjak towards a huge fight with Master Darque in the immediate future?
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated by Stephen Segovia and Ulises Arreola
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Once sworn enemies, Ninjak and the Shadow Seven have forged an uneasy alliance to accomplish their singular goal: kill Master Darque! But why can’t Colin King shake the feeling that he’s leading a suicide mission, or that his mysterious benefactor, Sandria Darque, isn’t giving him the whole story? Ninjak’s about to confront a terrifying truth…and the answers just might destroy him!
Whereas the previous issues had a more momentum in the overall setup of the story, “Ninjak” #25 slows the pace down for some backstory on the antagonists of the series as the set of heroes are just now preparing for the lingering fight of Master Darque. Instead of celebrating a publishing anniversary, “Ninjak” #25 shuffles the cards in order to get ready for a huge fight. Motivations are set into place and Ninjak once again analyzes the strange pattern of events that led him to team up with The Shadow Seven in the first place.
This issue takes the chance to also flesh out some of the developments behind what happened with Roku. The way last issue recapped the plot of the entire series was a solid introduction into the world of Ninjak which allows this issue to payoff more plot threads involving the character. The reason why she has aligned herself with the new Shadow Seven brings more intrigue to the character than she had previously. The story development also gives Roku a stronger tie to a major supporting player in this issue. While this story does continue to recap some information that we already know about the character, Ninjak and Roku do have an extremely complicated relationship. When this story winds down I would love for the relationship between the two to be more clearly defined and much less ambiguous as King clearly knows Roku’s true identity now.
Ninjak has never quite taken this long to broaden the scope of a story, making this storyline in particular really stand out for the series. This issue even opens up with a strange framing sequence that is followed-up by a huge flashback scene. While this will likely read excellent in a collected format, this issue in particular could be jarring for some readers. The mount of action is light and the big flashback issue seen in the beginning recaps information touched in other series. Reestablishing this backstory is necessary for the story even if the two recaps don’t reveal a ton of new information about these characters. Ninjak has rarely taken on a storyline with this many moving parts where this information has even needed to be recapped before. The final moments of this issue in particular seem to be teasing a more exciting follow-up issue when all the major cards of this issue are set into motion.
This issue isn’t only comprised of backstory. There’s a few scenes that shed some development back on the main cast like the scene where Colin spends time actually fraternizing with The Shadow Seven. The scenes haven’t quite been as good as previous issues as Colin catches up with everyone a airplane.
The art from Stephen Segovia and Ulises Arreola has nicely propelled Ninjak back to previous highs. Segovia and Arreola’s scratchy yet smooth style is the perfect companion piece next to the original Ninjak series artist Clay Mann. Fight scenes are fluid, storytelling is all there and the duo pick great framing sequences to keep the flashback scenes fresh. When the action sequences start, the team is able to render the action in a fast and fluid manner. The monsters and supernatural creatures in the story look great as the team seems to find joy in Ninjak exploring the arcane world. There are some small details in this issue that aren’t drawn with precision that are noticeable. There’s a small vace that doesn’t quite look right in a panel next to Sandria Dark, the sword on the last page does not have the correct shape and the Darque children don’t look quite right. While these small details add up to something less than ideal for an important Ninjak story, they don’t detract from the overall quality of the package.Continued below
Ninjak and The Shadow Seven are just starting their quest to take on a huge Valiant Universe villain. Now that the setup is finally out of the way, I’m hoping for the creators to start paying off the huge setup on the way to Master Darque in the next couple of issues. It’s actually nice to see some honest payoff leading towards a big story in a Valiant title. Lots of superhero series right now are in the middle of smaller, less ambitious stories that Ninjak has the chance to really capitalize in the next couple of installments. If character relationships start to progress a little more naturally and Kindt can payoff this pacing, this book could in really good shape for the next few issues.
Final Verdict:7.5: Colin King’s latest adventure is getting started on the right foot in “Ninjak” #25