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Video game tie in comics are nothing new to the industry. Whether it be Halo, Mass Effect, or Borderlands, there is always something out there told in sequential art to help flesh out the characters, lore, and the world of the game while also introducing ideas for stories or plots for future games installments. Due to NetherRealm Studios ties with DC comics, we now have one for MORTAL KOMBAT! (cue theme song)
Written by Shawn Kittelsen and drawn by Dexter Soy, Mortal Kombat X Vol 1 collects the first four issues of the series. The comic takes place between the events of Mortal Kombat (2011) and Mortal Kombat X. After the defeat of Shao Kahn and Shinnok, the warriors of Earthrealm and Outworld try to rebuild their worlds, fix their lives, and protect their realms from mercenaries, arms dealers, and a demon from another realm trying to collect the powerful Kamidogu Daggers in order to throw all the realms into chaos.
The comic doesn’t really focus on just one character, but several of the characters from the MK universe individually just like in typical fighting game fashion. From series regulars like Scorpion, Raiden, Sonya Blade, Kano, Reiko, and Sub-Zero to newcomers Kotal Kahn, Cassie Cage, Takahashi Takeda, and Jacqui Briggs. This works since Mortal Kombat has always been more of an ensemble cast than a single protagonist story. Sure some characters get more emphasis than others and someone important always ends up defeating the final boss, but to me the MK games always felt like it was more about the cast as a whole and the role that they play in the overall story.
Dexter Soy’s art in this is phenomenal. Whether it be the magic, the characters, the fights, blood and gore, and even the brutal looking x-ray attacks, they all look vibrant, colorful, and gorgeous to look at no matter how squeamish you might be. The art does help make up for the writing which, unfortunately isn’t quite as engaging. The story feels incredibly fast paced and ultimately short. Granted it was still nice to see how the cast was doing during the 25 year gap between the games, the new information about certain characters, and seeing returning elements from the previous timeline like how Sub-Zero’s got his scar this time.
Like may tie in materials, there are a few inconsistencies here or there. One example would be that in the comic Kotal Khan has been fighting Mileena for ten years while in the game it is only five years.
Another thing is that there felt like there were just too many cameos. As good as it was to see some of the old faces from the franchise again, most of them just felt like pointless appearances and seemed more like “Hey remember me? I still exist in this timeline” moments or were just thrown in so they could be killed off due to their lack of popularity. It doesn’t really help that some of the cast is written to be incredibly unlikable like Sonya Blade who constantly acts like there’s a stick up her a** and almost practically causes two inter-dimensional incidents by antagonizing and attacking people who at one point were just asking for her to help them.
Unfortunately this book is nowhere near the flawless victory that I was hoping it to be with its short story, some unlikable characters, inconsistencies, and overcrowded cast. Despite this, I still found it mildly entertaining for what it was and still partially liked some of the things about it. If you are a fan of the MK franchise, the lore, the story, and the characters, then I think this worth at least a read at some point.
FINAL SCORE: 6 out of 10