Published by: Malibu Comics
October 1994 - April 1995
Bobby Rae - inker
Charles Marshall - writer
Dave Lanphear - letterer
John Tobias, Mark Paniccia- editor
Patrick Rolo - penciler
Scott Christian Sava / Janice Wismar / Violent Hues -colourist
(it may be worth noting that I was listening to the first Mortal Kombat OST whilst writing this. It's very good)
In the mid-90's, Mortal Kombat was a media juggernaut. A fairly successful film spun out of a series of widely successful games, a (poorly executed is must be said) animated series, and a collection of comics mini-series released by the ever-forgotten Malibu Comics. You must remember Malibu? They were the guys that gave Image Studios a leg up, they were the company who created the Ultraverse! (they were the company who Marvel bought up for their colouring programs) Nothing? Don't worry, we'll be getting to the Ultraverse. Soon.
All too soon....
Lets not dwell on these too much. As they are indeed utter garbage, which means we will scrutinize them at a later date.
Lets get on with it.
We begin with Goro (General of the Armies of Outworld, and Prince of the subterranean realm of Shokan) and his big angry face shouting at pointy-hatted ninjas. Whom he then kills because they have been lax in the Duty of Shang Tsung (sorcerer supre....wait , no, thats someone else). Obviously on hearing his name, Up Tsung pops to tell Goro (General of the Armies of Outworld, and Prince of the subterranean realm of Shokan) that he is close to opening the book of Tao Ze Zhan
(appears to translate as “Path of Standing Like A Post” according to google). This seems to be a plot point.
Kano does some funky bike-riding and jumps into the sea to catch the boat to the Tournament. Sonya decides to follow.
Meanwhile, on the boat a (bald?) Liu Kang (The Order of Light) thinks back to when he first set out on this journey. And is told the story of the Twin Fighting Monks Of The Order Of Light™ , Sing and Sang who could combine (hopefully with some kind of Sentai Cry) into Siang! The Greatest Warrior Of The Order Of Light™! FORESHADOWING!
Liu is shaken from his memories by the sounds of a scuffle, so he back flips his way downstairs to find Kano kicking seven shades of sin through Johnny Cage. Liu decides to even the odds by joining the fight. This gives Cage the opportunity to kick Kano in the face, punch a henchmen (where did they come from?)in the nuts, and kick Kano a second time. In The Face!
We then move upstairs where a pair of Lin Kuei ninjas named Sub-Zero and Hydro are watching the fight. Sub-Zero complains of a throat injury, and then is possessed. By a ninja he killed years ago. Because he has a throat injury where this
Also, “Sparky” is still not yet given a name.
Still with me? Almost there now.
An island is seen in the distance, diffusing the situation. Everyone on the boat has a quick shot at explaining their character in one sentence or less, and leave the boat....
They are greeted by Shang Tsung and Goro, who explain the background of the Tournament and show off Goro. A little psychological warfare there I think. “Here is the champion of the last 500 years, this four-armed, half dragon bastard that’s twice as tall as you, with four times the body mass. Sleep well!”
The issue mercifully draws to a close with Cage asking if everyone has arrived. Tsung responds cryptically, whilst Rayden (God of Thunder and Lightning) storms in in a incredibly 90's single splash page. With some wonderfully sub-par- Stan Lee captioning.
(That is the most capital letters I have ever used at once)
MUSINGS ON THE ISSUE
Holy hell, that moves at some speed! The majority of the cast is introduced and explained, before speeding away onto the next character. As a first issue, it does it's job well enough, although it does suffer from the weight of what it needs to do. The artwork for the most part is adequate, with some truly awful panels, but then again, some really nice ones. All in all, it's an incredibly average issue, saved by some of the oddest and funniest scenes I’ve come across. Poor “Sparky” always amuses me in this issue, his complete lack of character and /or name makes me feel for him more than anyone else in this issue. The Scorpion / Sub-Zero relationship is the highlight of this issue for me, even thought it's completely at odds and a lot more black/white than the shades of grey that the game back story gave us.
Later in this series, we will see some fantastic highs, and some really bad lows.
Until next time, here is a damn cool panel....