Comic Book Review: NAJA

Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment

"Naja is the perfect killer because she feels nothing… literally. Her body registers no pain, nor does her heart, coldly executing jobs given to her by her mysterious boss, known only as 'Zero.' When another killer in Zero’s organization targets Naja for elimination, she has no choice but to fall off the grid and seek answers, as bloody as they might be…"

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This one was an oddball choice for me, because I wanted something fresh to read that would begin and end in just one volume. The artwork on the cover looked kind of dreamy, with this great blue motif, and I figured "why not?"

So, as the brief blurb above says, the main character, Naja, feels no pain. Her body takes damage as normal, but she never feels it. The comic is divided into neat arcs that wrap up narratives for each major character in the story (written by J.D. Morvan). I loved that, because the actual plot ended up being way more twisted than anticipated going from the start. Naja has a bunch of problems, but we never know half of it until we're almost at the end.

I liked the slow trickle of information while we got to explore Naja's character through her relationship with the others. She's definitely got an awful past; I might even give it a bit of a content warning depending on how sensitive you are to graphic content depicting abusive relationships.

Despite the squick factor, I enjoyed it overall in terms of story. In terms of art (by Bengal), it was also rather fascinating. The artwork was, at times, gorgeous, and other times, more focused on expressions or movement, so it varied widely from page to page, and sometimes even panel to panel. Usually, I prefer art to be uniform, and I did rather like the style it took whenever the panel was meant to look gorgeous, but I think the variations worked for this book. It took on whatever style worked for what was going on in the story. I should also mention that there were themes with the colors as well, something I love about Hawkeye and also appreciated here.

I recommend this comic if you're into twisted, gritty stories. I don't mean twisted as in sick or horrifying, by the way. I mean more like, convoluted politics between people who are all after something different while playing the same game. They're all assassins, and they're all related in ways they don't know. It's pretty cool, and wrapped up neatly in this one volume, which comprises just five books.

Buy this book from the publisher.