After making his first appearances in the series X-O Manowar and then becoming the backbone of the team Unity in the eponymously named series, Ninjak comes to us as a part of the “Valiant Next” wave of new series from Valiant comics. We actually get two stories in this issue, both written by Matt Kindt; with the main story set in the present and the back-up being a look into the mysterious past of Ninjak.
In the first story, with art by Clay Mann and Seth Mann, we get thrown into action at a fairly quick pace as Ninjak is in a Russian containment center after a woman named Roku. We’re told via a report from Neville Alcott – Ninjak’s handler from MI-6 – that Roku feels no pain, is a master (mistress?) of improvisation and has had genetic tailoring done to her hair, which can cut through metal and allows her to use it to garrote or even behead a man! By the time Ninjak arrives, the guards are all dead she’s well on her way to making her escape.
Needless to say, Ninjak and Roku’s first meeting goes about as friendly as you can imagine. A few intense and well choreographed action beats occur and their confrontation eventually takes them outside the facility. It’s then that Ninjak informs Roku that she’s free to go; just like that. We’re told his mission from MI-6 was actually to free Roku from the Russians, not keep her imprisoned. Surely this can’t possibly come back to haunt him at a later date…
From there, we see Colin King (Ninjak) receiving information about the next step of his assignment from Neville Alcott about, going after the true target, a man named Kannon, who is one of the leaders of a black market arms organization called Weaponeer.
It turns out that Roku was set lose as a part of this next mission where Ninjak goes undercover as a man named Henry Collins, who supposedly had Roku freed as a show of good will towards Kannon. We also get a brief comedic scene where it’s revealed that Colin is code named “Ninja-K” by MI-6 and his seemingly being caught unaware of a possible pecking order.
The rest of the story is spent with undercover Ninjak infiltrating the ranks of Kannon. Of course Roku shows up, as she is the right-hand woman of Kannon who is happy to have her back…
The back-up story, with art by veteran Butch Guice, takes place 10 years in the past and takes a peak into Colin King’s very first assignment; which is to get a woman named Julie out of North Korea. While he was ultimately successful in his mission, he got his butt handed to him in the process and needed to be extracted; not the best of starts. Like the first story, it’s continued into the next issue.
There’s a lot of set-up in this story; a promise of things to come. It’s not unheard of with a first issue and the front heavy action sequence in the story helps keep things exciting.