By AJ Lieberman (writer), Riley Rossmo (artist)

The Story: Nix and the Cowboy Ninja Viking saddle up and head out to Japan to take down Ammo, but the Triplet’s not going down without a fight, and may actually be serving a larger endgame than anyone realized.

The Good: I’d read recently that CNV has been upgraded from a limited to an ongoing series, and I think that’s about the finest compliment you can pay a book like this. Lieberman and Rossmo have the makings of an insanely fun book on their hands here, and this issue just goes to show the last one wasn’t a fluke. Lieberman’s writing is smart and manic, gleefully chomping on bits of Tarantino dialogue and plot points from Alias and spitting the whole mess out on paper. You’d think that would make for a fairly disgusting, regurgitated mess, but you’d be wrong. These guys fully understand the genres and conventions they are exploiting, and they do it with a wink and a knowing smile. I like that this issue brought out Duncan’s character and made him more human, and I think the extent to which Lieberman can bring that out of Duncan will only fuel the success of this book. Rossmo’s art is perfect for CNV. I didn’t care for it one bit on Proof, but his frenzied style is exactly what this comic needs. Under Rossmo’s direction, the fight sequences between Cowboy Ninja Viking and Pirate Gladiator Oceanographer take on the kind of furious intensity worthy of only the finest summer blockbusters, know what I mean?

The Not So Good: I’ve got two small issues that are still annoying me. The first is the use of the mono tones Rossmo uses to color the book. Last month it was blue, this month it’s red. Is it going to be green next month? Purple? Don’t know, and I don’t care, because frankly I think Rossmo’s art here, as well as the overall design of the book, is strong enough that it doesn’t need any color at all. The tones are an eye sore, but I don’t expect that to change. Also, I’m still not convinced yet that this idea of the Triplets is anything more than a gag. I’m sure this is a point Lieberman will address in forthcoming issues so I’m more than willing to ride this one out and see where it takes me.

Conclusion: Is there a point to teaching each aspect of a person suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder how to be an assassin, or does it just make for some fun, brutal storytelling? I’m not sure yet, but I do know that I’m having a good time reading this comic, and at the end of the day isn’t that what counts?

Grade: B

-Tony Rakittke