Fernando Dagnino (Artist), B Clay Moore (Writer), Jeff Powell (Letters), José Villarrubia (Colours)
28 August, 2019
Last we saw of Desdemona Rush, a.k.a. Ninja-G, she was being thrown out a window by Roger Thorpe, a.k.a. Ninja-J. She survives and goes on the hunt for reinforcements, namely Raleigh Brewster, aka Ninja-F, a ninja with psionic abilities. If they want to fight Ninja-J, they will need to team up. Especially as there is a new ninja on the horizon, one with possibly unlimited power.
Despite not being familiar with the Valiant-verse, I found myself enjoying the first issue of this series, and Killers #2 continues to intrigue me. I love these ninjas who have additional magical powers (acquired by tapping into their ki) alongside their already considerable ninja fighting skills. These superninjas are powerful, terrifying, and fascinating, and ultimately, what keeps me invested in the story.
There’s also the elusive sensei, Jonin, who has only been alluded to so far. Jonin’s daughter keeps making appearances, ostensibly to recruit the ninjas on a mission for her father. But Jonin himself has yet to appear. The quest he is sending the ninjas on seems nothing short of perilous, yet I am certain that there is more here than meets the eye.
For instance, why are all the ninjas being sent on the same quest? Clearly, Jonin wants them to battle it out, with one ninja standing supreme. This Battle Royale-style engagement has only just made itself obvious in Killers #2, but is likely going to play a major part in the rest of the series. What that will mean for the ninjas is anyone’s guess.
Killers #2 continues the action-packed style of the first installment. There are a number of fight scenes that capture the imagination, creating movement across the static page in a way that testifies to the excellence of the art team. As I got a very early review copy of the book, I couldn’t quite glean all the details, or the colours, but what I did see was outstanding.
However, some of the grandeur of the art is undercut by the strange dialogue attributed to Ninja-F. Brewster’s sentences are repetitive, short, and sometimes hard to follow. I understand this is a character trait—and most likely a fallout of his psionic abilities—but it makes for difficult reading. The panels where Ninja-G and Ninja-F are trying to escape a prison end up feeling overlong because it takes them so much time to communicate.
Unfortunately, despite the time Killers #2 spends on introducing Ninja-F, we still have little idea about who he is, and why he acts the way he does. Part of me is suspicious of his behaviour and motives—I can’t help but assume that he’s trying to dupe Ninja-G for nefarious purposes. But if that is not the case, his writing in this book leaves much to be desired. This is a trend that seems to be forming in this series, and I do hope that it is rectified before issue three.
I’m interested in what is happening with Ninja-G’s Ki powers. She didn’t use them in the first book, and here she tries to, but it doesn’t work. I feel like all signs point to her power being invisibility, but we haven’t yet seen it in action (no pun intended). I hope that it isn’t invisibility, because another invisible superwoman is not what the world needs right now. This would be a particularly aggravating character choice, especially as Ninja-J is bulletproof and Ninja-F is psychic. To have a badass woman of colour be the superhero protagonist of a series, only for it to be revealed that her power is to literally disappear? We’ve had that with Sue Storm, and it didn’t work.
But that is speculation for now so I’m hoping the next issue will clear things up. I do like this universe I’ve stepped into, and I like learning about these characters. I love that the protagonist is a queer woman of colour, and I really want her to get the absolute best storyline possible—as long as her power isn’t invisibility. I really hope, when I read the third issue, I learn that she has a cooler, more proactive power instead. That will give me a good reason to continue reading this series.