Hello, and welcome to a new segment (this blog has segments?) called The Dragon’s Den. I will use it to spotlight some media from fighting game series outside of the games themselves. Why? Mostly because I think there’s some fun to be had, plus I like the stories and want to explore them more in depth. In other words, I’m one of those people who likes fighting games for the plot. Anywho, time to dive into the world of a personal favorite of mine, Mortal Kombat. Today’s comic: Mortal Kombat: Blood & Thunder #1.
The kover is descent; not really anything special, but it isn’t too bad. It’s just a bunch of the characters in various poses with the imposing figure of Goro looming in the background. Not a fan of the art either, but I’ve never been a fan of komic art, particularly 90s stuff. The whole thing is poster-esque and works well as one. Now on to the actual story.
Our tale begins by telling this is not a fairy tale. Namely because the prince the story opens on is Goro, who’s good nor fair nor kind like the ones in those tales. The Shokan Prince of Pain is berating some of Shang Tsung’s guards; telling them they are unworthy of their duties, and they will die by his four hands. Goro then murders the nameless mooks who probably had families. What a prick. (I know he’s evil, but how is murdering the workforce at all productive anyway?)
Tsung hails praise down upon Goro, and tells him that he is close to opening the Tao Te Zhan, a mystical power that will grant somebody ultimate power if opened. Afterward, we cut to Hong Kong, with some narration hyping the Mortal Kombat tournament. We also see the name of the issue is “A Slow Boat to China.” What could be finah?
Nearby the titular boat is Hollywood megastar Johnny Cage. (I never got why the hard C in his name has never been a K, but this is before they started all that krap.) His agents urge him not to get on the probably rotting boat, and Cage tells them he’s going to go whether they like it or not. He then stares out of the panel at the reader and says that this is his story. We then go to Sonya and her partner in pursuit of Kano. The Black Dragon leader is leading the special forces to Tsung’s boat. Also, Sonya’s partner is apparently Nic Cage.
Kano then jumps they’re van on his motorcycle, then drives the bike into the ocean and jumps on the boat as it pulls away from the dock. A box of text tells us the vessel is heading to the East China Sea, and to passengers eminent demises. On board the ship, the people being ferried pass the time and ease their minds by cracking jokes and swapping tales. One particular soul however is reflecting to himself inwardly, thinking about his home and the last time he was there. Liu Kang had left for the tournament on his own accord, despite his order already sending a representative. They are twin monks who can merge into one warrior, and together they are the greatest warriors since Kung Lao the Elder, and that’s why they are my favorite characters to play as. They’re combined body has a stupid green Mohawk. That’s essential to know. They are Sing and Sang separately, but by their powers combined, they are CAPTAIN PLANET. Or Siang. Whatever.
Despite this Siang being their greatest warrior, something in Liu’s beautiful, dreamy brown eyes makes the elder think perhaps Liu is the one who can really win. Makes me kind of second guess the great Siang. Kang is snapped out of his deep thoughts by a nearby fight, and decides to join the fray. It turns out the fight is Kano and some others ganging up on Johnny Cage. Liu Kang berates the assailants, which allows Cage do deliver his signature kicking move to the gangster’s face. While thinking the monk for the help, another man charges Cage with a club to receive a split punch to the nuts.
This turn in the momentum of the fight enrages Kano, but it’s sort of moot as Cage lands another flying kick to his face and Kano is iced. Kang says how they have made a lot of enemies, and Cage makes a quip about how Liu oughta see how life in Hollywood is. The narrator tells us that unbeknownst to the new found chums, they are being watched in the shadows by Below Freezing and Aqua!
Hydro enquirers what hubbub was, but Sub-Zero says it’s of no concern to them. But Hydro says Sub seems distracted, and Sub says it’s his throat injury, which means he is coming back. Hydro tries to tell his friend not to worry, that surely it will not be… AYAYAYAYAYAAAY.
Crap, Hydro had the power of Grayskull all along. Okay maybe not, Scorpion’s spirit was inside of him. Scorpion then provides exposition of how Sub-Zero killed him dishonorably in their fight. Scorpion says how he can’t pass into his clans hallowed halls in the afterlife until he’s had his revenge. He informs Sub-Zero that he could be killed once again and simply be sent into oblivion, but he’s willing to take that risk in the name of vengeance. He sends a blast the ninja’s way, but Hydro saves his friend. Scorpion vows to do anything to kill Subs, even if it means protecting him from others who attempt to do so.
Sub-Zero is then grabbed by the log metallic arm of Nic Cage, who is now on the ship on Sonya after chasing it with a speedboat. Sonya and Nic are just looking for somebody to tell them if they’d seen Kano. Sub-Zero says that the Lin Kuei cooperate with no one and destroys the photo, and it looks like another fight may be on the way, but a loud voice informs everyone aboard the ship that they have reached their destination, Shang Tsung’s private island, a magical place filled with so many wonders.
Shang welcomes them to the island, and begins to introduce the undefeated Goro. He is interrupted by Sonya, who ones again ask about Kano. He tells her that his island is outside of the U.S.’s jurisdiction, and that she is welcomed to stay, but only if she participates in the tournament. Tsung finishes up and then takes the competitors inside for breakfast. When Cage ask if everyone is there, Shang says there may be one more last minute entry into the Mortal Kombat tournament. The final page tells us that man is the God of Thunder himself, Rayden.
So, that’s the first issue of Mortal Kombat: Blood & Thunder #1. My final thoughts are that this is a really good comic. Introduces all the players to both the reader and even makes sure the key characters all meet each other. It sets as a perfect preface to the coming tournament, establishes where lines are drawn, and leave tensions high. It drew me in and made me want to read the next issue. There are spots where the writing is a bit dated and telling of the time, but it’s still a good read. Though a lot of the characters like Siang, Sparky (aka Nic Cage in this review) and Hydro are exclusive to the comics and probably forgotten by most fans (even those who may have read the comics), it still gives them a little meaning in the story and helps flesh out some story that had been missing from the game. All in all, this comic provided a great outlet for expansion of the mythology. Overall, worth a read even if you’re not a Mortal Kombat fan. It tells a good story on it’s own, and is a great introduction. I hope to see you next time in The Dragon’s Den.