Ninjak vol 6: The Seven Blades of Master Darque
The treacherous Roku frees her former allies, The Shadow Seven, and offers them their hearts desire....and Ninjak's head. But when confronted by Ninjak, Roku pleads for his aid in one last mission in exchange for settling the feud between them.
Soon it is revealed that none other than the sorceress Sandria Darque has gathered these killers in a plot to destroy the greatest threat of all: her own brother, Nicodemo "Master" Darque.
Man, oh man where do I even begin? The Seven Blades of Master Darque is easily one of the best story arcs to ever grace the Ninjak mythos. I shall endeavor to do it justice with mere words but here we go. For starters can we talk about the absolutely BEAUTIFUL variant covers by Jenny Frison? For reference look at this cover to #26, how is this not instantly one of your all time favorites? Stop pretending because we know it is pal.
Oh yeah and if that wasn’t dope enough, how about some killer Enter the Dragon homage covers? Yeah homie we got those on deck too!
Mind you this awesome is literally slapping you in the face before you’ve even opened up to the first page. Now inside you’ll immediately get throat chopped by simply stellar art by modern legends like Cafu, Marc Lamming and Stephen Segovia, who I’m fairly certain was grown in Valiant Entertainment secret laboratory somewhere specifically to draw sick Ninjak art. Valiant was clearly aware they’d picked an outstanding line up of artists to tackle these issues, when paired the additional firepower of the criminally underrated colorist art of Ulises Arreola the panels are just air tight.
The entire story has a mix of martial arts mystery, mysticism and grim noir vibe blended altogether and masterfully balanced. There’s several steel strong threads being weaved here by Matt Kindt, the reunited Shadow Seven, Roku’s own double dealings, Ninjak’s desire to save Roku from herself and of course stopping the return of Nicodemo Darque. That last one might be lost on you if you’re new to Valiant but think of him akin to villains like Dormammu or Mordru but with none of the hokey elements and even more vileness.
The personal journey Ninjak is forced into, seeing the woman he once loved trapped in the body of his most capable enemy to date and watching as all he’s done to eliminate the threat of the Shadow Seven just go right up in smoke in order to beat an even bigger threat? All of it is as sick as it sounds but despite being something you don’t actually have to dig all that deep into Kindt does it anyways. By the end of this arc the renewed ire between Roku and Ninjak (no spoilers you NEED to read that for yourself) is a fantastic addition of depth between an already insane “relationship”. In the interest of keeping it light on spoilers I’m not gonna go too in depth on what becomes of the Darque siblings, the specifics on the Shadow Seven or Roku as I mentioned but bruh get on this one like ASAP.
The sign of a phenomenal run is when you can read the penultimate chapters and immediately be ready to start the run over again but also have a vigor to dive into future installments as well. Every now and then a run comes along that just nails what a character is all about so well that not only does it become a classic but also raises the bar for anything that comes after. Ninjak’s volume six is exactly just that. No Ninjak fan in their right mind should miss out on these particular issues and if you’re a new reader I’m genuinely excited, like kids on Christmas morning excited for you as you work your way through this fantastic run with an all around epic conclusion.
Simply put if more runs ended this well, nontraditional superhero comics would be a lot more dominant in the game.
Ninjak vol 6: With Friends Like These...
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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