Who is the mysterious femme fatale called Roku? Where did she get her otherworldly power? What motivates a deadly woman of her caliber? How does she know Ninjak? All of this and more gets answered in this astonishing issue all about the most dangerous woman in the espionage game.
Matt Kindt takes a break from ongoing spy tale to peel back the veil of mystery around the hired gun Roku. Interestingly he does it without much apparent subtlety, there’s not a ton of exposition going into it Kindt just dives in head first.
Right off the bat we see this isn’t just another typical supervillain origin. Roku is a nameless woman who’s clearly been abducted or something along those lines. You have to hit the ground running and just take the story as it goes, one of her abductors does somewhat explain why she was chosen but we never get a clear answer on who exactly she was before this. Trust me just go with it, it pays off huge.
Throughout the pages so beautifully crafted by Juan Jose Ryp and co. we even see a familiar face: Master Darque is the master of this bizarre occult ceremony. It culminates with our unknown woman having a mystical rail spike of some sort driven into her spine and buried alive deep underground. Here she begins the metamorphosis into the lethal Roku. As she fights her way through soil and stone we see her symbolic rebirth as something wholly different from what she was before despite knowing little of who she was before.
She faces trial after trial, namely a gauntlet of superpowered Oni demanding to know her name or she will surely be killed. It’s in these pages that Matt Kindt shows us the ferocity of Roku’s resolve as well as her various newly discovered powers as she kills her way to freedom or truth, whichever comes first.
Stout inner dialogue is our guide as she comes to the final test: defeating a shadow of her former self, though it is still shrouded in mystery. Her original identity still not made clear, but if you’ve been paying attention to the back up features of Ninjak well suffice it to say you know her whether you’re aware of it or not.
All in all it’s a just a phenomenal look at the darker underbelly of the mysticism around the abilities of Valiant characters like Ninjak himself. Seeing how the so called villains become so, garnering a sympathetic yet highly intriguing narrative about who Roku is and leaving you starving to know more about her. If you’re gonna write a warning tale about an enigmatic and fierce foe routed in martial arts mayhem and magical mystery, this is a play book on how it’s done.
Ninjak #4 is an outstanding introduction to the woman behind the deadly allure that is Roku. It's a perfect interjection in the world building we've seen in Kindt's Ninjak up to now and a textbook example of grade A mythos crafting.
Ninjak #4: “My Name Is Rokurokubi.”
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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