What do you do after losing twenty agents on a mission ending with only one survivor? You cough up several million dollars and enlist the skills of Ninjak! Thus begins our journey into the latest arc, Operation Deadside. A place we haven’t seen in some time but under Matt Kindt’s skillful hand you’ll definitely want to go!
As the issue opens you quickly realize that these events have already happened and Kindt is telling the story by way of a report being given. As these accounts are laid out, a new villain is introduced and he even ties into the previous arc involving the Shadow Seven. From here Kindt introduces readers to Ninjak and Punk Mambo as we see why the mission to the Deadside is necessary. Both characters get a nice introduction though Kindt focuses a bit more on Punk Mambo which is great for any new readers that picked this up. Everything is a fantastic mix of the supernatural and a classic spy mission that gives this a very unique feel. There’s also a back-up story that centers on a tortured beast of a character, The Magpie. All we know is that he’s a collector and enforcer of sorts and bound by the villainous Master Darque. It’s just a few pages long but Kindt makes sure that it’s just as intense and relevant to the rest of the story.
The artwork this issue is panel after panel of Doug Braithwait’s great visuals once again. From the recounts of the destruction of the MI-6 facility to the magical displays of Punk Mambo you will not be let down. The character design of Ember is solid and he looks as if he’s going to be a serious problem for the good guys. Braithwait also gives you more insight into Ninjak’s character through his visuals that don’t require a lot of dialogue. He nails the character’s cavalier and “been there done that” attitude perfectly while maintaining that he’s very capable and the one for the job. This is a great example of visual storytelling here that really makes it easy for anyone who might be picking up Ninjak for the first time. The back-up story is drawn by Juan Jose Ryp and you’ll be a little upset that the story isn’t longer so you can see more of his work. The Magpie’s visual design bears a striking resemblance to a certain character and it would make sense if it is him and explain a few things. But we’ll just wait and see how things unfold.
When a creative team can make an issue feel like a great jumping on point new readers are all the better for it. That is exactly what Kindt and company do here and you’d be hard pressed to find an easier entry to a series that’s past it’s first few arcs. Not only is it a comfortable entry to the series but the creative team makes sure that there’s some great nods to those longtime fans of the series as well. So do yourself a favor and pick up Ninjak #10 and see what Valiant has to offer because it’s been fantastic so far!