Ninjak 3: Operation: Deadside

ninjak volume 3 operation deadside cover trade paperback tpb
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 8/10

Character has potential

Debriefing style story takes away suspense and danger

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Ninjak (Volume 3)

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Writer:  Matt Kindt

Artist:  Doug Brathwaite

# of Issues:  4

Release Date:  2016

ninjak #10 cover operation deadside

Ninjak (3) #10 Variant

Reprints Ninjak (3) #10-13 (December 2015-March 2016).  Ninjak has been sent on a special mission.  His goal is to infiltrate the Deadside and bring back stolen MI-6 property and their missing agents.  Colin finds himself reluctantly teamed with Mambo Punk for the extraction mission, but things have a way of going sideways for Ninjak.  Faced with a being called the Magpie and his assistant Ember, getting back home could be harder than Ninjak expected.

Written by Matt Kindt, Ninjak Volume 3:  Operation:  Darkside is a Valiant Comics superhero comic book collection.  Following Ninjak Volume 2:  The Shadow Wars, the collection features art by Doug Braithwaite.

Valiant’s relaunch interested me more than the initial run of Valiant.  With semi-established characters and a plan, Valiant had a means to hit the ground running.  By the time Ninjak came around, the initial push was over…and Ninjak had to stand on its own without the newness of the Valiant line.  Ninjak 3:  Operation:  Darkside shows that the character has the potential to be a great standalone character, but it also feels he isn’t quite there.

The comic book is mired in the fact that Ninjak is an agent of MI-6.  Personally, I am not a huge fan of secret agent comic books (even Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D drag a bit) and the whole idea of a hero that only sees the bottom line doesn’t feel much like a hero.  It is compounded by the fact that Ninjak is an agent of MI-6 and that “Queen and Country” might potentially stand before world safety.  It generally doesn’t come down to that, but there is a lot of “red tape” in Ninjak.

ninjak #13 cover variant operation deadside

Ninjak (3) #13 Variant

This volume in particular is structured around this “red tape” and that doesn’t necessarily make for compelling storytelling.  The four issue storyline is a debriefing of Ninjak and Mambo Punk’s mission and that means everything must have turned out ok for Ninjak’s handler Neville to have the information to put into a brief…taking away from any suspense.  It is an unfortunate side effect of the writing style.

The series also is pretty hard on Jack Boniface aka Shadowman.  Shadowman also is one of Valiant’s earlier characters, and he’s led a tortured life…but the hits keep hitting.  The hero is down and out and a slave to his past.  He wanders the Deadside bound by Master Darque and it is a rather grim outlook for one of Valiant’s major characters (and it doesn’t get much better for him by the end).

Ninjak 3:  Operation:  Deadside cannot be the taut spy thriller it needs to be because it decides to tell the story in a recap.  Ninjak can work in the superspy world better if there is a hint of suspense or the threat of death (it seems unlikely that Ninjak would die or be dismembered…but at least it should be in the back of the reader’s mind).  Ninjak 3:  Operation:  Deadside is followed by Ninjak 4:  The Siege of King’s Castle.

Related Links:

Ninjak 1:  The Weaponeer

Ninjak 2:  The Shadow Wars

Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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