|Ninjak VH 2|
Denny Meechum is a typical teenager with a boring life, and the only boy in a family of five whose sisters are good for little more than annoying him and whose parents are not much help either. His father, Sean Meechum, is a lieutenant in the United States Army whose job keeps him away from home, leaving his mother, Donna Meechum, busy taking care of the family alone.
Denny does not have many friends, though he and his best bud Fulton Townall III are close as brothers, so it is little wonder that he so thoroughly immerses himself in the action–packed, 64–bit world of America’s hottest video game – Ninjak!
While playing the game, Denny finds that he can re-arrange certain background tiles like pieces in a puzzle and, when he happens upon the right combination, a bolt of energy that comes out of the video screen zaps him, and somehow, grants him the power to become Ninjak himself!
Denny will need Ninjak’s martial arts prowess to stop Akuma and the Dozen from taking over the world, and though no one ever said it would be easy, at least things are not boring anymore!
I Call On The Power of Ninjak!
Denny Meechum was a young man whose solitary life revolved around playing every version of the Ninjak video game in existence. One day while playing the game instead of helping his friend Fulton Townall III with a project, Denny found a puzzle within the game that caused his PC to discharge an electrical bolt that knocked him out when he solved it. While walking home with a worried Town, Denny told him that he felt energized, but when they stopped at a comic book store his inability to speak with Taina disheartened him.
Returning home, Denny hid in his room to avoid his sister Anne and play Ninjak while his mom was engrossed with his sister Linda’s wedding. As the game loaded, Denny spoke out the tagline from the beginning of the game, I Call On The Power of Ninjak, and found himself transformed into Ninjak. Startled, Denny jumped out a window just as Anne walked into his room.
Excited by his newfound sense of coordination and speed, Denny made his way to Town’s house by jumping from roof to roof and, when he jumped into Town’s room through an open window, he startled him. As Denny tried to convince Town of who he was, he saw a report on the Internet of a man dressed as Brutakon, a member of the Dark Dozen, destroying a construction site.
After Denny arrived on the scene and engaged Brutakon in battle, he recalled how he beat Brutakon in the game and drew a poisoned shuriken, but then he wondered if Brutakon was a kid transformed by the game like he was and decided not to use it. Fooling Brutakon into hitting a highway onramp’s support beams, Denny got him to knock it down on himself.
Leaving as people gathered around the debris and Brutakon reverted into a construction worker, Denny met up with Town in an alley and reverted to himself by speaking the tagline from the end of the game. While walking home with Town, Denny dreaded the idea of having to fight the rest of the Dark Dozen, unaware that at that moment Zeer was approaching other wicked people with his offer of power.
Late one night in Alphabet City, a couple of patrol officers discovered a crack house filled with bodies slaughtered by Karnivor.
The next morning, Denny delivered his newspaper route as Ninjak in a thrill much to Town’s chagrin. While Denny did not question how or why he became Ninjak, Town reminded him that real life was not a game, and that if he died he would not get another life. Worried for Denny’s wellbeing, Town urged him to take his situation seriously.
The next day at school, Anne introduced Denny to Shelley Eleftherakis, but, thinking that she was messing with him, he brushed Shelley off. As Shelley ran away in tears, humiliated, Town chastised Denny for being insensitive and failing to consider that maybe Shelley wanted to meet him. When Denny told Town that he was interested in Taina, Town reminded him that he could not even bring himself to talk to her and left. Later that day, Denny wrestled with calling Shelley to apologize or finding out more about what happened to him, when then he changed into Ninjak and went out. Running into Taina, Denny transformed back and awkwardly tried to talk to her, but she brushed him off. As Taina left for the subway station, Denny felt like a loser.
Suddenly, Denny heard screams coming from the station and transformed into Ninjak to investigate. As he entered the station, Denny saw Karnivor holding Taina and other people hostage whom he intended to release into the tunnels to hunt as prey. Confident and self–assured, Denny dared Karnivor to hunt him instead and he accepted his challenge over Zeer’s objections.
Karnivor lurched against Ninjak, who failed to block his fist while he was distracted making sure that Tania got out okay. As the battle raged on, Denny cut through Karnivor’s demon-dogs with his blade, worried that they might have been real animals. Falling on the train tracks, Denny got his foot stuck between the rails as a train came bearing down on him with Karnivor on top of it. Changing back, Denny barely avoided the train. Reverting to Ninjak, Denny jumped over Karnivor and defeated him, but he vanished and escaped.
Hurt, Denny recalled Town’s concerns and decided to discover what had happened to him, unaware that Zeer was plotting against him.
Men of Acclaim
Seeking answers for what happened to him, Denny broke into the offices of Acclaim Inc, the makers of the Ninjak video game, as Ninjak.
Making his way into an exec’s office, Denny learned that the game’s designer, Yasuiti Motomiya, lived in Maine and, in exchange for that information and 500 dollars, he agreed to appear in a mall to promote the video game. As Denny told Town the news, he learned that Town had invited Shelley out after he dissed her, which made Denny feel uneasy as he was still considering calling her to apologize but had not yet done so due to her feelings for Taina.
That night at dinner, Anne told her sisters and mom what Denny did to Shelley to humiliate him and, though he did not care about what she said, Denny wondered if she was right when she said that he spent too much time playing video games and was letting life pass by.
That Saturday, Denny, Town, and Shelley went to the mall where the live promotion for the Ninjak video game was going to take place. After Denny apologized to Shelly, who expressed enthusiasm at the idea that the real Ninjak might show up for the show, he abruptly left to change into Ninjak and made his way to the mall’s mini-amphitheater where actors dressed as characters from the game waited for the show to begin. Suddenly, Gigantik threw Denny across the stage into the crowd, who believed their fight was part of the show.
Unable to use the tricks from the game to defeat them, Ninjak improvised, while hiding from the battle, Town spotted Zeer watching from the sidelines. Signaling Ninjak, Town pointed him at Zeer. Grabbing the Zeer, Ninjak told him to call off the attack. Declaring that under the rules Ninjak had won a victory, Zeer and the others left, leaving Ninjak to wonder what the rules were. That night, Denny used the $500 he got from the show to book a flight to Maine.
As Denny ran toward the gate to catch his plane, he crashed into Colin King, a meeting that would have a significant effect on his life. While Denny made his way to Maine, confident that Town would cover for him, back in school Anne and Shelley cornered Town and asked him where Denny was. As Denny arrived in Maine, he saw a Japanese temple in the distance and deduced that it was Yasuiti’s home. Changing into Ninjak, he made his way to the temple, where he collided with a force field that vanished after he touched it for a bit. Leaping over the wall, Ninjak found himself in a courtyard adorned with statues where Yasuiti attacked him from behind unprovoked. As Ninjak blocked the blow, Yasuiti yelled at him for not striking back. Bothered by Ninjak’s lack of killer instinct, Yasuiti knocked him off his feet and told him that he did not create him to use his abilities so foolishly. Gathered around a brazier, Yasuiti told Ninjak his origin story.
Yasuiti told Ninjak that he created the game to find a champion who could stop the evil sorcerer Akuma, who waited at the gates of reality ready to return. Yasuiti used suspension of disbelief to manifest Ninjak, and Akuma was doing the same to create the Dark Dozen. As if on cue, seven of the Dark Dozen and Zeer appeared and took Yasuiti hostage. Assuring Ninjak that he had nothing to worry about but his destiny, Yasuiti asked him to accept the power he had bestowed on him now and forever. As Ninjak fully accepted, Yasuiti turned to dust. Guided by Yasuiti’s incorporeal voice, Ninjak made his way to the heart of the temple beneath the courtyard. There, he stepped on a glowing symbol that granted the full power of Ninjak on him. Empowered, Ninjak escaped from the temple before it blew up. Filled by a bright light flaring within him, Ninjak reverted to Denny and was teleported home, where his mother was waiting. Aware that he skipped school, Denny’s mom grounded him.
In a pier in Long Island, four members of the Dark Dozen killed a squad of police and D.E.A. agents to protect a group of drug smugglers working for Frankie Serrone, the mob boss. The next day in school, Denny gave Shelley a dozen roses to make up for how the treated her. After school, Denny assured Town that he was not trying to steal his girlfriend, that he was just getting braver, but when Town dared him to prove it by talking to Taina, Denny declined and said that he was not that brave yet. Back home, Anne tried to convince Denny to go with Shelley on a double date with her, but then their mom reminded him that until he told her where he went he would stay grounded for skipping school without permission.
Unable to tell her mom that he went to Maine, Denny locked himself in his room. Meanwhile, the Dozen kidnapped three federal witnesses. Seeing a report on the Internet, Denny changed into Ninjak without saying the tagline from the game, an advantage from bonding with the power. Arriving on the scene, Ninjak tried to stop the Dozen, but the battle drew unwanted news coverage that got Denny in deep trouble. While Acclaim Entertainment execs pondered how to sever their connection with Ninjak, Anne discovered that Denny was not in his room. Tengu hypnotized a crowd of bystanders and ordered them to drown themselves in the river. Forced to choose between saving the people and stopping the Dozen, Ninjak saved the crowd while the Dozen escaped. Just then, X–O Manowar, who thought that Ninjak was the Idea Man, ordered Ninjak to surrender.
This World’s Finest?
After a very brief battle, Ninjak convinced X–O Manowar that he was not the Idea Man and that they should team–up to find the hostages. After awhile, Ninjak convinced X–O and then returned home, where Anne asked him to tell her where he was before their mom found out that he left his room. Unbeknownst to either one of them, their mom was listening in to their conversation. The next day at school, Denny was the center of the attention after he gave Shelley roses. While trying to convince Town that he was not interested in Shelley, Denny realized that he was giving him advice that sounded nothing like him at all. That night after dinner, Denny left to meet up with X–O, unaware that his mother discovered that he was gone.
At a warehouse owned by Serrone, Ravenswing showed his true colors and betrayed his allies in the mob, when then Ninjak and X–O Manowar busted through the wall and caught both sides by surprise. As the battle ensued, the four members of the Dark Dozen put up a tough fight, but Ninjak and X–O Manowar managed to outwit them. Though the Dozen escaped, Ninjak and X–O captured Serrone and his men. On his way home, a process server handed Ninjak a notice that Acclaim Entertainment was suing him for trademark infringement.
Looking for help with his legal trouble, Denny met with a lawyer who suggested that he stop being Ninjak. Sometime afterwards, Denny’s mom confronted him and he revealed his secret identity to her. Just then, Air force Colonel Sean Meechum, Denny’s dad, returned home and forced Denny to get a summer job. Returning home after school, Denny found that Colin King was questioning his sister Linda in regards to a series of museum robberies. That night, Denny’s mom asked him to investigate the robberies as Ninjak to help his sister. Breaking into the museum, Ninjak ran into King again, and, after a brief skirmish, they teamed up to investigate the robberies. Together they confronted the real thief, Stonemason, a psycho–kinetic with the ability to bring inanimate objects to life that once empowered became solid stone. After a prolonged battle with Stonemason’s living statues, Ninjak tied Stonemason with a rope and hoisted him off the floor. Warning him that if he tried to escape he would shatter, Ninjak expected Stonemason to revert to normal, but then Stonemason revealed that if he did then the statues would revert to stone. As it happened, one of the statues was holding Colin King by the neck, and, if it reverted to stone, it would shatter and he would fall.
Reverting to normal, Stonemason forced Ninjak to choose between catching him and saving King. Making the easy choice, Ninjak saved King and let Stonemason escape. Thanking him for the rescue, King confessed that they blamed Linda for the robberies to distract Webnet, the terrorist cabal Stonemason worked with. Irked, Ninjak kicked King across the head and left. Proud of how he handled himself during the battle with Stonemason and his living statues, Ninjak returned home eager to see how the media responded to his heroics. The next day, Shelley approached Denny and prodded him to invite her to Linda’s wedding, but he completely missed her hints. Just then, Town arrived and invited Shelley. Not wanting to stand between them, Denny said nothing. That Saturday, Denny’s mom thanked him for what he did for his sister, while his dad kept at him to get a job after school.
Later, at the reception, Town revealed to Denny that he was no longer upset Shelley was interested in him as he was actually interested in Denny’s sister, Anne. Elsewhere, Stonemason and his Webnet backers broke back into the museum unaware that King and the police had set a trap for them. However, when the trap went amiss, the battle that ensued between Webnet and the authorities quickly spilled out into the wedding reception. Transforming into Ninjak, Denny stopped Stonemason’s rampaging statues from pushing Linda and her husband off a giant wedding cake, while King saved Town and Shelley from the Webnet enforcers. Using Stonemason’s powers against him, Ninjak turned the living statues against their mentor by convincing him that he was responsible for the damages caused to the statues during the battle, which caused him to break down mentally. As the authorities took Stonemason away, King offered to give Ninjak anything he wanted as appreciation for his help. Although he would have preferred help from a lawyer to deal with the lawsuit, Ninjak instead asked King to give Linda and her husband a memorable European honeymoon. That night, while pondering how Ninjak’s bravery was spilling into his personality, Denny went to the comic book store Taina worked at to apply for a temporary summer job.
Forced to change his look due to the lawsuit, Denny bought a ninja costume and renamed himself Black Belt, then after stopping two rival gangs from shooting each other he left before the police arrived. Later that day, after Anne left his room upset by his inability to choose between Shelley and Taina, Denny logged into a Ninjak website that turned out to be a trap that sucked him into his computer. Changing into Ninjak, Denny was wearing his original red costume as his Black Belt suit did not return as his street clothes did. Finding himself in a virtual reality recreation of a level from the Ninjak video game, Ninjak saw Kraniak, the last of the Dark Dozen, looking down at him from atop a metal tower. Climbing the tower while fighting Kraniak’s cybermenagerie, Ninjak destroyed the support beams and they all fell out of a jumbotron in Times Square into the real world. After a brief melee, Ninjak reeled the cybermenagerie with a crane that he hooked up into an electric tower, which caused Kraniak’s virtual reality scenario to reboot and spit him out of his computer back home. Meanwhile, as Ninjak failed to show up at a hearing with Acclaim’s lawyers, the judge contacted the agents from Inquest.
At the Acclaim offices, Acclaim executives debriefed Inquest on Ninjak. To deal with him, Special Agent Blue came up with a situation that Ninjak would be compelled to respond to. While unloading the new inventory at the comic book store, Denny learned of a hostage situation at an art fair in Lincoln Center by a separatist group who demanded to speak with Ninjak. Changing into Ninjak, he arrived in Lincoln Center, where it turned out that the hostage situation was a ruse perpetrated by Agent Blue, who ordered Ninjak to surrender to his authority. As a fight ensued between Ninjak and the people from Inquest, Blue shot Ninjak with confetti that broke down into hundreds of microcircuits that served as a tracking device, however when he changed back to Denny it rendered the device ineffectual. Later that day, Denny changed into Ninjak to invite Taina out on a date, unaware that doing so reactivated Blue’s nanites. Arriving at the store, Ninjak planned to mention his cool friend Denny to Taina, when just then Inquest arrived and captured him. Elsewhere, Zeer gathered the Dark Dozen to begin the ritual that would free Akuma from his prison.
Trials and Errors
Unexpectedly released from prison, Ninjak met with Maria Barbella, a lawyer hired by Colin King. After explaining the details of his origin to Maria, Ninjak left the prison with Denny’s mom, while elsewhere, Zeer and the Dark Dozen successfully freed Masterlord Akuma from his prison. The next morning, Denny discovered that his plan to use his Ninjak identity to make Taina interested in him had backfired as she had become interested in Ninjak instead, even after Inquest arrested him in front of her. To make things worse, Shelley asked Denny if he would be interested in her if she were not with Town, who arrived at the store before Shelley could finish her thought. Sometime later at the courthouse, as the judge ruled in Ninjak’s favor, the Dark Dozen broke into the building looking to enact their revenge. As Masterlord Akuma entered the room, he used his power to split Ninjak and Denny apart.
All The Marbles
Suffering from brief bouts of amalgamation, Ninjak – who was really Tatsuo, Yasuiti’s brother and greatest warrior who sacrificed his life to create the power of Ninjak –, retrieved his weapons from the Dark Dozen. While battling the Dark Dozen, Ninjak and Denny finally split into two individuals. Unaware that the Sutra of Retribution, a mantle that would turn his attack on him, protected Akuma, Ninjak delivered a killing blow, but before his sword hit Denny diverted the strike by consciously taking control of Ninjak’s hand. Linked through their Ki, Denny’s will was Ninjak’s will, so Denny prevented Ninjak from killing. Engaging the Dark Dozen, Denny guided Ninjak’s moves as if he were playing a video game, but instead of using tactics that he learned from the game, he used tactics that he learned watching movies.
Facing defeat, Akuma absorbed the Dark Dozen to boost his strength and avoid vanishing as Yasuiti had after he gave Denny the full power of Ninjak. Capturing Denny so he could kill him to absorb Yasuiti’s spirit to anchor his presence in reality, Akuma was ready to deliver a final stroke, but then Town leaped out and distracted him long enough for Ninjak to free Denny from his grasp. Drawing Yasuiti’s spirit within him, Ninjak lunged toward Akuma, who protected by the Sutra of Retribution was certain of his victory. However, instead of hitting Akuma, Ninjak allowed Akuma to hit him instead, resulting in the Sutra affecting his attack back at him. Weakened, Akuma fled to parts unknown, taking the Dark Dozen with him and leaving their human hosts in his wake.
In the aftermath of the battle, Acclaim dropped the lawsuit against Tatsuo, who won a court order that said that he could be Ninjak forever. Meanwhile, Akuma hid within Josie, the assistant of Acclaim Inc’s president. Things with Denny deteriorated. First, Town, enraged due to Shelley breaking off with him, called off his friendship with Denny, who he believed said something that egged Shelley into it. Second, as his mom was too busy at home, Anne became his driving instructor, while he became his sisters’ chauffer. Finally, Denny and Ninjak remained separate individuals as they had no idea how to merge back into a single being.