As Ninjak and Punk Mambo uncover the truth about the land of the dead, Shadowman makes his final move to finally wrest control of the uncanny parallel dimension called Deadside! The terrifying, intense, and heartbreaking return of a Valiant icon comes full circle as master storytellers Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite deliver OPERATION: DEADSIDE’s riveting finale!
The last three issues of Ninjak have been some of the best in the series so far, with the Operation: Deadside story arc coming to it’s conclusion with Ninjak #13, my expectations were high for the conclusion.
Unfortunately, the comic fell a bit short.
This arc has seen Ninjak cross over to the Deadside, a spirit world where an MI-6 team disappeared. Punk Mambo, the only person to return from that failed MI-6 mission has been tasked by MI-6 to go back to Deadside, and bring Ninjak to a world he’s not entirely familiar with in the hopes of completing her team’s mission. That set up has given readers some fantastic interaction between the mystical Mambo and the more technology reliant Ninjak as they navigate the unfamiliar terrain.
One of my favourite things from the first three issues, that of Ninjak‘s handler Neville giving a debrief of the mission to an unknown higher up continued this issue, but rather than the disembodied narration boxes, we actually see just whom Neville is talking too, which was a nice touch. Likewise, the art across the series has been stellar, with the story set in the fantastical world really feeling as if it’s a different dimension. The colours used have been superbly complimentary to the art thus far.
And yet… the conclusion felt drawn out. The story felt as though it was perhaps ten pages too long, with the story really coming to a crawl as the action wound up. The same can also be very accurately applied the back up strip The Lost Files, which honestly didn’t need a fourth part. Had Valiant dropped The Lost Files from this issue, and given us a fourish page one shot back up story, then the comic would be much stronger than it is.
Which brings us to a close; Ninjak #13 isn’t a bad comic, but as a concluding part in Operation: Deadside it’s nowhere near the quality of the first, second or third parts of the story, which is a genuine shame. Still, this is worth a read if you’ve already bought the past few issues, because there is a potential for a sequel to this arc down the road which will hopefully be able to maintain a consistent quality throughout the arc.
Writer: Matt Kindt Art: Doug Braithwaite with Juan Jose Ryp
Story: 6.75 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Valiant provided a FREE copy for review.