Ninjak vol 2 #2
Acclaim Comics/Valiant Heroes (April, 1997)“Playing Games” WRITER: Kurt Busiek PENCILER: Neil Volkes INKER: Mike Avon Deming COLORING: Atomic Paintbrush LETTERER: Dave Lanphear ASSISTANT EDITOR: Jeof Vita EDITOR: Jeff Gomez
Our bug-eyed creature’s name is revealed, Zeer, as he grants a big game hunter the power to become Karnivore, another villain from the game. Zeer doesn’t want him to fight Ninjak lest the hero ends up on his guard or trying to learn what’s going on. Denny has his own problems, though. Town thinks he isn’t taking the whole “zapped by a video game” thing seriously enough, especially since there are no bonus lives in the real world. Then he thinks Annie is trying to set him up with a girl named Shelley but it may have been Shelley she was trying to set up with Denny. After bombing out with Tania, Denny is really not having a good day when the comes upon another of Karnivore’s hunts. Ignoring Zeer, Karnivore decides to fight Ninjak, which our hero just barely wins. Now Zeer want to take down Ninjak while the hero is still not aware of what’s really going on.
What they got right: Denny may be a geek who likes gaming and monster movies, but he’s still a likable kid. It doesn’t feel like a putdown of gamers (unlike some other gamer/computer geek characters in fiction) since we see from his perspective that he isn’t outgoing like Annie because he doesn’t want to be, despite her intentions. Outside of not being able to ask Tania out (by the way, nice contrast to the way Denny treats Shelley, but he feels bad BEFORE Tania gives him the same treatment) he just doesn’t want to do outside world stuff rather than hiding from his own failings. And yet he’s still a typical kid, not taking the whole Ninjak thing seriously until the fight with Karnivore where he almost loses.
What they got wrong: I really can’t think of anything.
Recommendation: Fans of the original idea may or may not like this version and I totally understand that. I’ve gone through that many times with things I like (recently Superman, and even that hasn’t been this radical a change). However, if you never saw the original this might be a fun comic to check out.