In Ninjak #1, Matt Kindt solves the problem of the origin story by telling three tales simultaneously: That of young Colin out on an adventure, of the older Colin just getting started in the spy business, and the Ninjak of now beginning a new assignment. Visual and verbal overlaps keep the switches from seeming unrelated or jarring, and there are enough cues on both levels to prevent confusion.
Matt Kindt shows Colin’s not-so-perfect life as a young boy and the dreams he used as a means of escape. While showing this aspect of character formation, he moves on to show one of Colin’s earliest missions (perhaps the earliest?). This gives the adult Colin a chance to talk about some of his reasons for choosing his line of work. The final portion of the story is the now fully-established Ninjak accepting and carrying out a new assignment. In the course of this adventure, Kindt provides one of the cleverest reasons for having a nearly-naked woman a comic, so I’m torn between admiring the twist and asking “Was that really necessary?” I’ll leave it to you to decide when you read. In any case, the three tales together serve to provide a peek into Ninjak’s psyche while providing plenty of action. Kindt continues to show his strength in this area: The action in his stories never just action and the character moments generally involve a lot of fighting.
Clay Mann and Seth Mann handle the transitions between tales, often providing a visual switch-over which contains aspects of the end panel in the prior story. The close-ups of Colin’s eyes as his moods and age change reflect the evolution of his character and ambitions through time. The two are also responsible for keeping the action dynamic and making even the quieter scenes visually interesting, which they do.
Ninjak #1 is available March 11, 2015 from Valiant Entertainment.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Pencils: Clay Mann
Inks: Seth Mann
Colors: Ulises Arreola
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Covers: Lewis LaRosa, Clay Mann, Brian Reber, Dave Johnson, Marguerite Sauvage, Trevor Hairsine, Tom Muller