Ninja-K #11 emphasizes why I like this series. With each issue, Christos Gage escalates the action, and this issue is no different.
Gage is joined this issue by artist Robert De La Torre, color artist Jose Villarubia and letters from A Larger World Studios, picking up on the fallout from the end of the last arc. Spoilers ahead!
The Dying One, an immortal consciousness, has possessed the body of Gilad Anni Padda, the Eternal Warrior. Ninjak wants nothing more to rescue his friend. In the fallout of the Second Harbinger Wars, MI-6 dangles a carrot- help them find Livewire, they’ll help him find Gilad in exchange. This sends Colin to Chernobyl, where he finds the results of the Dying One’s experiments… and is able to remotely track down Livewire…
Gage’s story is tense and moody. This feels like an 80’s spy thriller, and that’s not just due to the setting. It’s paced very well, and paranoia seeps into the dialogue. The final pages also set up a devastating double cross.
He also dives deep into Colin King’s psyche here. He shows an incredibly conflicted hero, who is also deeply loyal. The impact of his possible betrayal of Livewire is felt deeply, as is his desire to save Gilad.
De La Torre is the perfect artist to draw this story. His pencils are sketchy and dark, putting the mood clearly on the page. He also gives us some great action scenes, especially a full-page splash at the opening of the issue featuring Ninjak and a horde of smugglers.
Villarubia’s colors are a great compliment to De La Torre. He grounds the story with a lot of Earth tones, and texture. In Chernobyl, he’s able to make the entire town feel rusted and corroded, just through his choice in palate.
This is a very fun action thriller, especially for a book flying under the radar.
Ninja-K #11 is available now from Valiant Comics.