Some of you may be familiar with the original or current version of Ninjak, a government assassin named Colin King. Well, between the original Valiant Comics and the current one, video game publisher Acclaim Entertainment had bought the company after Jim Shooter was screwed out of the publisher he founded. (For more check out SF Debris’ series on “The Rise And Fall Of The Comic Industry”. The full miniseries is up on his website but if that doesn’t work, he’s currently uploading it to YouTube, which I have a playlist on mine for. As of this writing he still has a few episodes left to go on YouTube.)
In this new version, meant to possibly be turned into a video game, Denny Meechum is a video game fanatic and Ninjak is his favorite game. But when he solves a secret puzzle he is infused with the game hero’s powers, becoming Ninjak. That’s because the game is meant to find the hero who can defeat the Dark Dozen, ancient warriors serving Akuma, and either prevent his return or take him down. Except last issue he got dragged into fighting a more typical supervillain, Stonemason, who can turn to stone bring statues to life, disrupting Denny’s sister’s wedding plans. As we left our hero and agent Colin King, Stonemason was hanging defeated, but had one of his stone troopers hold King over a ledge, turning back to normal forcing the statue to let go and let King drop to his death!
Ninjak vol 2 #8
Acclaim Comics/Valiant Heroes (October, 1997)“Wedded Blitz” WRITERS: Kurt Busiek & Robert L. Washington III PENCILER: Neil Vokes INKER: Rich Rankin COLORING: Atomic Paintbrush LETTERER: Dave Lamphear ASSISTANT EDITOR: Alex Glass EDITOR: Jeff Gomez
Ninjak is forced to save King…I mean forced to let Stonemason go to save King. In his personal life, the love triangle between Denny, Shelley, and Town gets weirder as Town doesn’t seem to mind she only came to the wedding to get closer to Denny since Town is only there to get closer to Denny’s sister, Annie. (Town, Annie, and Denny’s mother are the only people who know Denny is Ninjak.) When Stonemason and Webnet, unaware there is a wedding going on in the museum, try for the statues again, Ninjak and Colin team up again to stop them and save the party goers. Ninjak also suggests that, to make things up to Linda and her new husband by giving them the tour of Europe that they really wanted for their honeymoon and publicly clear her of all charges, since they knew she was innocent anyway. After all this and possibly the Ninjak spirit making Denny braver, he applies for a job at the comic store where his crush works.
What they got right: I’m just goofy enough to like the giant cake for Linda and her husband to stand on. (Yes, the cover actually happens, another plus for this issue.) Denny also could have taken a good lawyer for a reward since the unaware Acclaim is suing Ninjak for trademark violation, but instead he wants to be sure his sister gets something good besides a husband out of this debacle. He’s a good brother and a good person. It makes you want to root for him even more.
What they got wrong: I’m pretty sure I said this before but it’s been half a year since we discussed this series that it bears repeating. Using a non-Ninjak Colin King in this story must have ticked off fans of the classic concept who didn’t like seeing such a strong departure with the same name. I can relate but this series is more my style so it doesn’t bother me, but I can see their point if I’m right.
Recommendation: This was a good conclusion to this arc and interesting to see how this Ninjak fights someone outside of the usual video game villains, which return next issue. I still recommend this series if you don’t mind the name on a completely different character than originally created.