Comic Book Review: Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe #1


Credit where it is due that Valiant is getting ambitious in their attempts to attract a wider audience. The wheels have already been set in motion to push into movies and tv, they’re already breaking barriers through their comics, and now they are making a move into live-action digital firsts. Not to mention that through this live-action digital first, they are creating the opportunity through this book to expand on the story of Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe without messing with what’s canon. It goes without saying that where a publisher might mess up is that they allow live-action and comics to influence each other too much.

Setting Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe was probably the best choice they made with this series. For as crazy and ambitious as this story is, you don’t want a story like this stepping on the toes of everything else already going on in the Valiant Universe. From the start of this issue it is new reader friendly as you get to see what life is like for Colin King as Ninjak and an agent of MI-6. His life is pretty much routine until it isn’t and the ball gets rolling for this plot.

Using Roku as a villain here was a bold move considering their history, though with this story being its own thing she at the same time was probably the greatest threat you could throw her way. Truthfully it was cool to be able to see her once again just being the best there is at what she does. At her best she can do pretty much anything with little remorse for her actions. Things can get personal fast and unlike Colin she won’t falter. She is a walking weapon and pretty darn good at getting what she wants when she is motivated. To get one over on Colin the way she did was a key moment that they executed very well. In one swift move setting up exactly what it is that Ninjak has to do that will get him into trouble, and the problems that he will face along the way.

Now when it came to what Ninjak had to do for Roku that would get him into trouble, I’m glad they didn’t sit on that too long. For a first issue like this, you want to set the pace and let nothing like the process of stealing to slow things down. That’s not to say that the escape after stealing said things wasn’t thrilling for the challenge, but that’s just not the kind of scene in this story that you would want to spend too much time on. After getting past the what and the why, the only question that remained was where this act of treason would lead Ninjak to face off against Valiant’s big guns. The first person who Ninjak would go up against wasn’t too much of a shocker, though it was how he handled said person that was a great way to get the ball rolling. If you didn’t know what made him formidable in battle, you got a good idea right there by the way he approaches fights and the kind of gadgets he makes use of in a pinch.

There was one thing I enjoyed most about this first issue and that was how they brought together these heroes who would help take down Ninjak. That was my only worry going into this series since you don’t call on some of these guys out of nowhere. There has to be a reason. The team and name of this team was exactly what I wanted to read, and in turn added to Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe being its own thing.

I’m not the type of person to have doubts about the quality of artwork from Valiant, though it is hard not to when you are picking up a book like this. One that is its own thing and based off of the story for something live-action. Usually you might pick up one of these books and while the story is great, the art may turn out subpar. Fortunately that was not the case here as Joe Bennett, Belardino Brabo, and Ulises Arreola made a good art team. This isn’t the first book I’ve read with artwork from Joe Bennett, so I did have some hope going into this. He’s familiar with action stories and proved this through a number of fluent scenes. Every person who Ninjak engaged with was a fight which was straight to the point. You could see how he processes a fight, and what new toys he always has up his sleeves. It was nice that even in spite of how good Ninjak is in a fight, others more notable are still a challenge. I should also mention that I do like how they made this costume of Ninjak unique to the story. Now with that said, there were some panels where faces fell flat. You could see that the colors were meant to try to make some details pop out, though didn’t quite have the effect needed. That sort of inconsistency is hard to miss at times.

Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe #1 is off to a good start. Momentum is key for a book like this and they are nailing getting from point A to point B with impact. If you were looking for a book that is all about the thrill of taking on the world, then this is the action-packed story for you.

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