||This article possibly contains original research. (August 2010)|
|Publication date||February 1994 - March 1997|
|Number of issues||26|
|Main character(s)||Colin King|
Ninjak is a fictional comic book character that originally appeared in eponymous books by Valiant Comics, and later by Acclaim Comics. Co-created by writer Mark Moretti and artist Joe Quesada, the character first appeared in Bloodshot #6 as Colin King and quickly gained his own series. The Ninjak series was very popular and Ninjak #1 placed number one on Wizard Magazine's Top Ten Hottest Comics of the month article in Feb of 1994. The lead character is ninja spy Ninjak, whose alter ego is British playboy Colin King. Ninjak immediately hit with readers, the first issue has sold close to 1 million copies. Ninjak has become one of the most popular Valiant characters continuing a long run and selling millions more copies to date. Ninjak comics have been translated into a number of languages including German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Filipino and Chinese among others.
A second series was produced after Valiant Comics was purchased by video game company Acclaim Entertainment in 1996. The second series was written by Kurt Busiek. In the series, a teenager is endowed with ancient ninja powers from a video game. He is able to become the game's hero, Ninjak, but finds that the twelve villains from the game have started appearing in the real world.
Colin King is the wealthy son of a master spy who was employed by the British Government. King was raised in the Orient but was an outcast in that society. When his father was killed by rival agent Iwatsu, King decided to go into training, determined to continue his father's tradition and bring his killers to justice. Now a master of the secret arts of the ninja, he serves England and the world as Ninjak.
Ninjak is the enforcer of the mysterious Weaponeer organization and the world's foremost espionage expert. Ninjak uses his expertise in martial arts, demolition, information acquisition and others skills, a keen intellect and an ability to prepare for any outcome in a given situation. He wears a kevlar-armored bodysuit that can change colour.
Weaponeer is a worldwide network of operatives through which Ninjak distributes all types of weapons, from swords and handguns to nuclear warheads. He has the facilities and expertise to create customized weapons to the buyers specifications. These skills generate a large demand for the Weaponeer's services around the world.
Doctor Silk, a crippled and disfigured recluse, begins to kill Weaponeer operatives, believing the Weaponeer organization is too dangerous. Through his own international terrorist organization called WEBNET, Silk virtually wipes out the Weaponeer organization - only Ninjak survives.
Eventually, Ninjak joins the British Intelligence organization under Neville Alcott, who also works with Bloodshot and Eternal Warrior. Alcott has known Colin since he was a boy, Colin's father also worked for Alcott many years ago in Japan.
With the Weaponeer organization destroyed, Colin considers retiring as Ninjak but Neville Alcott convinces him to return with something he couldn't resist: his long-lost love, the woman he left behind in Japan.
Powers and abilities
Ninjak has no superhuman powers but has trained his body and is a master of ninjutsu, a group of martial skills that includes jujutsu (hand to hand fighting), bōjutsu (staff fighting), and iaijutsu (drawing the sword). An aspect of ninjutsu is the ability of the shinobi, or master, to use any object as a weapon. Ninjak has a highly analytical and tactical mind, allowing him to foresee various scenarios and prepare for them. He is also a computer hacker and uses this skill to gather intelligence.
Ninjak's greatest asset is his powerful intellect. He is the smartest man in the world. He understands human psychology and is always one step ahead of his opponents. Ninjak can anticipate every possible element in a given situation and prepare a counter for it. Ninjak is also adept at learning and understanding languages, including computer languages. He can learn languages easily and can decipher computer codes and hack into the most complex computer systems.
Ninjak has trained body to the level of an Olympic decathlete. He has mastered a variety of martial arts including karate, jeet kune do, judo, aikido and several forms of kung-fu. However, his fighting style of choice is the lethal art of ninjitsu, which was used by ninja warriors of feudal Japan as assassins. Ninjak is also an expert marksman and trained in the use of the world's cutting edge weaponry. He is an expert with the sai, bō staff, swords and bladed projectiles.
- Customized Shurikens: Golden disks embossed with signature "N" symbol; function as blades and throwing stars. Star points are spring-loaded inside disk, and are easily extracted with a slight amount of pressure on disk face.
- Swords: Collapsible stainless steel blades designed to emulate weight and appearance of ancient samurai swords. Collapsed blades are easily concealed in Ninjak's vest.
- Sai: Three-point stainless steel weapons, effective in blocking and disarming opponents.
Acclaim Comics version
Valiant Comics was purchased by video game company Acclaim Entertainment for $65 million. Acclaim restarted the Valiant universe under the name Acclaim comics. All the existing characters and titles were changed to better fit video games. Ninjak was the most drastically altered title. The Acclaim version of Ninjak was written by Kurt Busiek and was critically praised.
High school pupil Denny Meechum solves a complex puzzle embedded in the popular Ninjak video game and is transformed into the hero of the game. He takes great joy in his enhanced agility and skill and battles superbeings comprising The Dark Dozen, the twelve bosses from the game, now brought to life along with Ninjak.
Denny begins to gain confidence in his personal life but can't seem to find the courage to tell the girl of his dreams, a clerk at the local comics store, his feelings for her. After a series of increasingly difficult battles, Denny tracks down the writer of the Ninjak software and learns the truth behind his transformation. He has inherited of the skills and drive of an ancient cadre of Ninja warriors, sworn to protect the world from twelve evil monks, now the villains of the game. Denny is caught up in a struggle for the fate of the world. By the end of the series, his ethics are tested and he learns whether he has the qualities to be a hero.
After the release of Mortal Kombat, its director Paul W. S. Anderson attempted to obtain the rights to Ninjak and produce a feature film of the second incarnation of the character. Anderson would have worked with his producer on Mortal Kombat, Larry Gordon. The rights holder at the time, Acclaim Entertainment, were focused on comic publishing and possible video game adaptation, therefore did not entertain a film adaptation.
In the 2012 relaunch of the Valiant Universe, Ninjak first appeared in the second arc of X-O Manowar, initially as an enemy, but later an ally of the title character.
Ninjak currently appears in the series Unity, written by Matt Kindt.
The 1994 series has begun being collected in hardcovers under the Valiant Masters banner:
- Valiant Masters: Ninjak Vol. 1: Black Water (collects Ninjak (1994) #0, 00, 1-6)
- All Things VALIANT: Wizard Top Ten - Wizard #31: Ninjak is #1, http://allthingsvaliant.blogspot.com, November 1, 2010
- Ads - Chinese Valiant Comics, allthingsvaliant.blogspot.com, February 15, 2011
- Ninjak at the Comic Book DB