Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Doug Braithwaite, Juan Jose Ryp
Colourists: Brian Reber, Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Warren Simons
Ninjak #13 is the conclusion to ‘Operation Deadside’ and like the entirety of the story itself, it’s phenomenal! With smart storytelling and a deeper inclusion of the occult than ever before; Kindt shapes what we can expect not only from‘Ninjak’ but ‘Valiant’ comics in the future to come.
The tone ‘Operation Deadside’ takes is completely different from the previous two arcs of Ninjak, jumping from crazy conspiracy theories (with hints of the occult) to a fully blown supernatural story without diverting its attention from theespionage action. Thankfully Kindt makes the transition seamless without feeling rushed. In fact, it’s safe to say that ‘Valiant’ is where Kindt truly is at his best and this issue is a testament to that.
However while this is in fact a Ninjak title, the real shining stars of this story are Punk Mambo, the Loa(s) and the villain himself ‘The Magpie’ and although I do feel like their time had been cut short, there was never a time where they weren’t compelling and even sympathetic. To be fair though, with the continuing addition of yet another entry to ‘The Lost Files’ adding to Magpie’s backstory (without feeling intrusive), it’s safe to say that it was time well spent. I can’t stress enough with how awesome the cast of characters are, and after this I truly cannot wait to see what else Valiant does with them.
Now while the ending to this story wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was also nowhere near disappointing. In fact, I’m glad with the outcome of this story, it’s fairly ambiguous on everything but Ninjak’s side of it, and I’ve also truly grown curious to see where the other characters are heading from this point onwards. This story was a nice breath of fresh air and I’m glad I stuck with it to the very end. I have to say, it’s great how the quality of ‘Valiant’ comics is astonishingly high throughout their line-up, and they’ve continued to prove that they can cultivate rich universes and worlds… Deadside is proof of that. And with that I shall say no more, because we’ve got to talk about the art!
Now being completely straight up here… This comic is what it is, because of Doug Braithwaite’s art, of course with the inclusion of the intense colouring/inking from Brian Reber. They’re a hell of a team and complement each other perfectly. I’m actually pretty confident that there hasn’t been a time in fact where Braithwaite’s art left me anything less than mind blown, so it means a lot when I say that this is some of his best work. Giving us both lush and grim scenery that regardless are actually nothing short of being full of energy. This makes the action scenes and final battle explosive, exciting, and absolutely euphoric! Additionally we receive some really awesome artwork from Juan Jose Ryp, and colours from Ulises Arreola who finish off ‘Legend of the Magpie’ with flair and send this issue off with what I’d say was a pretty awesome final panel.
All in all I’m going to give Ninjak #13 4/5 and say it’s a must BUY, like all of Ninjak’s issue and volumes so far.