Naja is an assassin, and she is good at what she does. The blue haired woman is Number 3 in a list of assassins for a secretive agency headed by someone known only as Zero. With a completely inability feel pain or emotion, Naja is the perfect killer. All is well until one night in hiding she is tied up by what she assumes is a rival and told one of the other assassins for the agency is looking to kill her. Naja goes across the world to find help and must learn to do everything on her own after years of being under complete control of the agency. In the process, she reveals her past and works to unravel the mystery of Zero.
Jean-David Morvan tells an intricate tale of a female assassin with straightforward information. Though he shows her rather traumatic past, he does not allow it to become an excuse but rather the tool that transformed Naja. Haja’s thoughts on different cultures is a bit jarring. This at first comes across as somewhat racist, until the reader discovers that Naja honestly just doesn’t like people in general, regardless of color or creed. The story works in complex circles, much like a well written action film.
French illustrator, Bengal, uses a jagged art style that adds emotion where Haja cannot. Her bright blue hair and costume changes, as well as strangely angular limbs give the impression of a woman no to be trifled with. In just a few pen strokes, Bengal can make her helpless and weak. My only concern initially was a few sequences involving bondage gear, but those were explained throughout the story.
Naja is at times difficult to get through due to violent images and terrifying moments of cruelty to children. The mystery is worth sticking with and the art maintains the interest of the reader. I suggest Haja highly, but would caution against those who have a difficult time with the themes of violence and abuse.
Naja is available in one large collection July 8, 2014 from Magnetic Press.