Even years from now, the friendship of Ninjak and The Eternal Warrior will endure.  But, what can two old men do against a mystical conspiracy?  Your Major Spoilers review of Ninjak #18 awaits!

Ninjak18CoverNINJAK #18
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Khari Evans
Colorist: Ulises Arreola and Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Kyle Andrukiewicz
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Ninjak: “His name is Ninjak, spy and mercenary for hire.  He is also Colin King, a once-worthy son of privilege.  He works for the highest bidder, though his conscience often aligns him with the good guys.  He is an expert in combat and espionage.  He is as ruthless as he is charming…  Ninjak has been run ragged by the deadly Roku, who systematically destroyed Ninjak’s life — his home, his contacts, even his relationships.  But, resilient as always, Ninjak defeated Roku and must now rebuild.  But not everyone has abandoned Colin.  In fact, despite their differences, the Eternal Warrior will remain one of Ninjak’s closest allies long into the future…”


This issue doesn’t spend any time with setup, opening with a caption indicating that it’s the future, with an elderly Colin King and Gilad riding a train in a scene very reminiscent of Snowpiercer.  Of course, it’s not a full-on dystopian future, but just one where our geriatric heroes have been sent by MI-6X to take down a group of clones…  Or rather, where Gilad has been sent, and has broken the “Do Not Contact” list to call in Ninjak for backup.  Things quickly get complicated, and our heroes end up in the Himalayas, tracking down a man known as The Fakir who wants to resurrect his old teacher, The Undead Monk.  As the first story ends, The Fakir has escaped into what seems to be a mystic portal, with Ninjak and the Eternal Warrior prepared to follow.  There’s also a backup tale set in the present day which reveals that a recent mission for regular-age Ninjak may have some serious medical consequences…


I have to admit, it was a little bit disconcerting to suddenly be seeing the older heroes in action, but the strength of the character interactions (and the entertaining Noodle Incidents that the bickering heroes keep referencing) make it worth the read.  There are some issues with art, as Khari Evans old-men are SUPER wrinkly, making it seem as though they may be octogenarians, but are still kick-butt ninja fighters, but I will give the creators serious props for successfully showing us 20 characters with identical faces who actually HAVE identical (but still expressive) faces.  The lead story promises to be part one of three, which makes me wonder how it’s all going to come back around into the present day, but the momentum of the characters makes the issue go quickly…


What it all comes down to, as Alanis will remind us, is whether the book is entertaining, and on that score, it hits the mark.  Even with some overworking of wrinkles and an uncertain future setting, Ninjak #18 delivers action, an interesting plot and some nice interaction between very old friends, making for a good read and 3 out of 5 stars overall.  And, honestly, given that the Valiant Universe has long had multiple time-frames (the original universe took place in 1993 and 4001, after all), there’s enough precedent to see how the story unfolds…


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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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