For stealthy super-spy Ninjak, the one secret he’s only just now discovering is what kind of man he is.
With the current Ninjak arc peeling back the layers in the murky dimension known as Deadside, April’s new storyline will see him back at home and going back to basics. “The Siege of King’s Castle” will see Colin King defending himself against a woman who was critical to his origin, Roku. She doesn’t want his money, his prestige or his oh-so-imaginative gadgets, however… she wants revenge.
Series writer Matt Kindt is orchestrating this four-issue assault on Ninjak’s home as the last step in a figurative assault on who the character is. Joined by X-O Manowar and Unity artist Diego Bernard, Kindt calls this arc the beginning of a “new status quo” for the Valiant character, something series editor Tom Brennan.
“Not only is ‘The Siege of King’s Castle’ going to be a decisive turning point in Ninjak’s history, it’s also probably one of the single most gut-wrenching Valiant stories that we’ve told to date,” Brennan said. “This is Ninjak’s Skyfall or Born Again moment –stripped-down, high-stakes storytelling that is going to shatter notions of who and what we thought Ninjak truly was…and leave plenty of wreckage along the way. Roku is about to put Colin King through the meat grinder, and when we see him on the other side, Ninjak’s status in the Valiant Universe is going to change forever.”
Newsarama talked with Kindt about this upcoming story-arc, how it fits into his long-term plan for Ninjak, and hints at what Colin King could be on the other side.
Newsarama: Matt, for the "Siege of King's Castle" of Ninjak you are bringing back Roku from the first arc. What has Roku been up to since her last appearance?
Matt Kindt: We’ll find out in this arc. But basically...Roku’s been up to no good. She’s one of those characters that is critical to Ninjak’s creation and is basically coming back to haunt him. Ninjak has spent a lot of time in the Deadside, which left a big window of opportunity for Roku to operate without interference with her plan to ruin Ninjak’s life forever.
Nrama: And what is Roku after, coming back into Colin’s life?
Kindt: She’s really after revenge. Plain and simple. She doesn’t just want him dead. She wants his life and everything he cares about destroyed first...and then have him die. Pretty standard villain motives, but the true seed of where her hate comes from is going to be the real heartbreaker in this arc.
Nrama: The title of this is “Siege of King’s Castle”, Ninjak’s family home. Is this title metaphorical, or will Colin be defending his actual castle as well?
Kindt: It’s both metaphorical and literal. Colin is really going to lose everything. Which is part of the fun of this arc. We’re stripping Ninjak down to the basics – to see what makes him tick now. We saw his origins and how he got to where he is now. “The Siege of King’s Castle” is a kind of reversal of that. Stripping all of his modern trappings away to see how he’s changed since he became Ninjak. The nature of his work in espionage and hero work has the potential to really skew a personality – and I think Colin has really lost himself. He’s lost who he was and who he aspired to be. This is the arc where he’ll (hopefully) realize this. Plus fighting. Lots of ninja fighting.
Nrama: Joining you on this arc is Diego Bernard from Unity and X-O Manowar. What does he bring to the table for this revenge story?
Kindt: Diego has a really kinetic style, but he can pull off the quiet moments as well. This arc is going to be full of that. The story is more akin to the loud-quiet-loud style of rock-n-roll. And he’s really going to nail it.
Nrama: Colin King’s changed a bit however since your first arc on Ninjak, especially after going into the Deadside. Is this all building to something bigger?
Kindt: Definitely. There’s going to be a new status quo after this arc. To date, I think Colin has felt kind of aimless. He’s a work-for-hire guy at MI-6 and he’s taken on the missions that they’ve given him. But he doesn’t need the money, so why does he do it? I think he really doesn’t know. But after this arc, he’s going to have a renewed purpose. He’s going to have a reason to do what he does. A new mission in life. I’m seriously dancing around what actually happens in this arc, since there are a lot of big things and super-spoilery moments that are critical to his character and the development of the series. What I can say, is that the building blocks to this arc have been put in place very early on in the series – everything that’s happened to date is going to come to a head in this arc.
Nrama: "Siege on King's Castle" is coming later this year, as well as the big 4001 A.D. series. Should readers expect some intertwining of these two storylines?
Kindt: We will definitely see echoes of some things that Ninjak goes through in this arc that impact 4001. We got a brief glimpse of that in “The Fall of Ninjak” issue that tied into Book of Death. So in a lot of ways, this is the stepping-stone for Colin that gets him from where he is now to where he ended up in “The Fall of Ninjak” – which ultimately played a huge role in New Japan and 4001. There are big ripple effects. That’s what I love about working in the Valiant Universe: I’m able to set up things that work subtly with the other books. They’re not even crossover events or anything. They’re just subtle character moments and beats, that if you’re invested in the entire line of the Valiant Universe, just add a depth of character and world building that is unique in the industry.
Nrama: This is the first storyline since you visited the realm of the Deadside, and Shadowman and Punk Mambo. Is there any chance that you could be doing more with those characters, here or in some other title, coming up?
Kindt: I would love to. We’ll have to see. I had so much fun writing the interaction with Punk and Ninjak. They have two great tastes that do not go well together – which is what was so fun about them. I love Punk and Shadowman, so eventually I would love to circle back and use them again. Unfortunately I’m so booked right now with the other books I’m writing, I’m not sure when it’ll happen. I have so many ideas and not enough hours in the day. I’m like a starving man at an all-you-can-eat buffet at Valiant. I want to do it all – it’s all so good! – but I can only stuff so much into my mouth at one time without getting sick and/or choking to death. My editors have to restrain me every month from trying to do more.