Acclaim Comics/Valiant Heroes (August, 1997)“Hero Worship” WRITER/CO-CREATOR: Fabian Nicieza PENCILER/CO-CREATOR: Kenny Martinez INKER: Anibal Rodriguez COLORING: Atomic Paintbrush LETTERERS: Dave & Siobhan EDITOR: Omar Banmally
The kids get time out of the center to visit the mall and a Ninjak stage show. Also attending out of curiosity are Denny (secretly the real world Ninjak) and his friend Town. The show is interrupted (you wonder why Acclaim keeps putting these together) by the Bellicose Brothers (pronounced Belle-Coh-Che), hit men after two of our heroes (I think, this is the only issue I own). XL (and later her brother) and Ninjak team up to take them down. A really nerdy kid figures out how to stop them but is too shy to even save the day, so another kid does it and reaps the praise for the successful plan. Denny and Chris (XL’s alter ego) swap email addresses.
What they got right: I like villains that can’t simply be punched. It forces the heroes to find other ways to win.
What they got wrong: I would say the battle is good but the art is bad, over-exaggerated even by 90s standards, that it’s terrible to look at. I wish Denny and Chris had formed something out of the email swap, which I think comes out of nowhere unless she figured out Denny was Ninjak even without seeing him transform…just ducking into the men’s room and her bumping into Ninjak when she comes out of the ladies’ room. I think that would have been better than Denny still mooning over Tania or whatever’s going on with Shelly. I also need to double check the release times, but where we are in Ninjak vol 2, Denny is still grounded, so I doubt going to Jersey is an option.
Recommendation: The team-up was mostly uneventful and while it might be trouble for the Troublemakers as they were the target, if you’re following the Ninjak comic it’s not worth picking up.