Ninjak and Punk Mambo clash with Ember and Magpie as they continue their mission to secure Fakir. While in “The Lost Files,” Magpie’s mission and his reasoning for capturing Fakir are revealed. How does it fare?
Kindt continues using the dialogue between Neville Alcott and the Director of MI-6 to kick off Ninjak #12. It’s a nice twist on the typical narrative. He also makes this book accessible to new readers, not something you typically see from a book set in the middle of a story arc. He does it by providing a brief recap in the dialogue regarding Ninjak and Punk Mambo’s mission.
The dialogue between Alcott and the Director of MI-6 is also important because the two characters are never seen on the page. Instead, we see Ninjak and Punk Mambo taking action as Alcott provides details from the mission report. It allows Braithwaite to flex his creative muscles, giving us a number of extraordinary panels of the city of Shambhala within the Deadside. Kindt also makes this dialogue enjoyable; he creates an entire litigation industry demanding recompense for the damage caused in Shambhala. He also subtly ties the Valiant universe together with a mention of Dr. Mirage representing Earth.
The book is well-paced. There is plenty of action and, even more important, Kindt and Braithwaite separate Ninjak and Punk Mambo. This allows Braithwaite to give us some hard-hitting action sequences with Punk and her loa, Aye. I really love how he depicts their combat with both Aye and Punk performing identical actions to maximize their impact. In addition, they are also able to fight separately to confuse and deceive Ember.
Probably the best part of the story is Kindt and Braithwaite’s characterization of Magpie. They are able to take this feared, extremely powerful being and completely deconstruct and break him down. His soul is bared for all to see. It is heart-wrenching. The scene might be a bit of a recap for Valiant fanatics, but its emotional power is nevertheless present.
In “The Lost Files,” Kindt teams up with Juan Jose Ryp. He uses a more straightforward narrative and lays down a ton of exposition regarding Magpie’s mission and why he has been collecting individuals such as Fakir. It’s another opportunity to continue to world build as well as introduce some interesting characters. In addition to the world building, he also builds mystery and intrigue concerning the truth about Magpie’s mission.
Ryp’s artwork is as solid as ever. While Braithwaite is able to capture the majestic nature of the Deadside, Ryp exposes us to the brutal and violent nature of the world. He also uses a nice little pattern to depict Magpie’s encounters with magical beings. He uses two smaller panels overlayed on top of a larger horizontal panel which transitions into a half-page splash page. He uses this technique three pages in a row and it captures the methodical nature of Magpie’s mission. The only fault is the character design of Ember. He looks drastically different than Braithwaite’s imagining. In Ryp’s version, he is stouter and more toad-like where Braithwaite depicts him as more rotund and giant-like.
Ninjak #12 is another fantastic entry that continues to world build within the Deadside through both dialogue and artwork. Kindt, Braithwaite, and Ryp’s pacing is excellent, combining emotional character moments with heart-pounding action. Kindt and Braithwaite absolutely nail it by completely exposing Magpie emotionally. Kindt even teases a new ability that Ninjak possesses. Ninjak is killing it.
- Phenomenal emotional breakdown of Magpie
- Ability to be new-reader friendly while also being the third issue in the story arc
- Fantastic pacing
- Ember's fluctuating character design