Fernando Dagnino (Artist), B Clay Moore (Writer), Jeff Powell (Letters), José Villarrubia (Colours)
31 July, 2019
Desdemona Rush returns home to find a masked man dead in her hallway, alongside her beloved companion. She needs answers—they lie in Burano, Italy, with a former covert colleague Roger Thorpe. Traveling there is the easy part. Trusting Thorpe is a different matter entirely.
I don’t know much about the Valiant-verse, but I’m a simple girl: you say superninjas, I ask where. Who doesn’t want to read about superninjas? And I’m glad to confirm that Killers #1 delivers on its promise.
Desdemona appears to be the focus of this series, and that makes me very happy. Doubly so because, for all intents and purposes, Desdemona was in a relationship with a woman. At least, as far as I can tell from the first few pages. There is a great deal of talk about relationships and love accompanying the opening panels, so I think it is safe to assume that we did encounter Desdemona’s partner.
I like that we have a queer woman of colour as a protagonist. I don’t like that her story is being motivated by the death of her partner. There aren’t nearly enough queer characters in pop culture, and far too many of them end up dead. Can this be rectified in the upcoming issues of Killers? I certainly hope so.
I love the worldbuilding in this issue. The superninjas’ powers aren’t elaborated to us through unnecessary dialogue. Instead, we see it in action. The action scenes are fantastically rendered—I almost forgot that it’s a two-dimensional page I’m reading. There’s so much movement captured within these panels. It seems that the ninjas have been taught to channel their ki, or spiritual energy, to access new powers. We really only get to see Thorpe in action in issue #1, but what he can do is definitely impressive. From what I understand, the ninjas all have different powers. I wonder what Desdemona’s is?
The person behind all these super abilities is a man named Jonin. Over 100 years old, Jonin is both mentor and friend to the superninjas. He even sends his daughter to recruit them for a new mission. The daughter is intriguing as well—she looks like a child, but apparently isn’t. She knows things that she still hasn’t let on. I feel like she is the key to unlocking the mysteries our ninjas are about to face.
The ending of Killers #1 was a shock, and it makes me more excited to read more as a result. The book was chugging along at a decent pace—it even felt like it had slowed down a fair amount for the conversation between Thorpe and Desdemona—but it really upped the ante in the last couple of pages.
The art is generally what I like, but there were a fair few thick outlines that I felt looked old-fashioned. But for the most part, the art by Fernando Dagnino was beautiful, excellently portraying characters, interiors, and so much more.
I picked up Killers #1 because everyone loves ninjas, and I wasn’t disappointed. The story was fairly well-paced, the characters are nothing short of intriguing, and the ending left me desperate for more. What else could one ask for in a new series?