Mortal Kombat Universe (Malibu Comics)

The Mortal Kombat comic books series included the official comics by Midway and a licensed adaptation series by Malibu Comics, published between October 1994 and August 1995. There are thus two different lineups of Mortal Kombat comics: the tie-ins published by Midway that closely followed the storyline of the games, and the Malibu series, which took a few liberties with the source material.


Publication information

Publisher: Malibu Comics
First appearance:
Created by:

In story information

Official Name: Mortal Kombat Universe
Aliases: 
Status:

History

While the comic books by Midway depict the game's official storyline, Malibu's Battlewave and Blood & Thunder story arcs are official publishings of the game providing alternative scenarios for the early Mortal Kombat series, thus favouring the "what if" theories. Malibu Comics canceled their line after 10 months and 27
issues (published in several mini-series) due to increasingly low sales.

The Malibu comic books were a sort of "re-imagining" of the Mortal Kombat franchise as numerous details were altered. Characters with no particularly defined background at the time (e.g., Smoke and Jade, who were paired up in the comics) were radically different when comparing their comic book appearances to their in-game appearances. In addition, certain characters were tweaked, mostly for the sake of the plot. For example, in Mortal Kombat II, Baraka is subservient to Shao Kahn and follows his orders without question. In the comics, however, he joins an alliance with Kung Lao, Kitana, and Sub-Zero, among others, who wish to bring Kahn down.

Throughout the Malibu series, interesting concepts are raised that, while not always part of the game's official storyline, are, in fact, part of the "what if" hyperextension of the game. For example, it is revealed (just as it was in MKII) that Mileena was specifically designed by Shang Tsung, through sorcery, for Kahn as an imperfect clone of Kitana. However, despite being created artificially, Mileena considers herself to be "Shao Kahn's true daughter" and refers to herself in this way throughout the series, even after she learns the truth. Kung Lao and Kitana share a love relationship instead of the more canonic relationship between Kitana and Liu Kang in the later games. Johnny Cage and Sonya also have a relationship in the series, and, while the concept is highly supported by the game's storyline, there has been no official confirmation that it exists within the games. Raiden does not appear to take an active part in the second Mortal Kombat tournament. This idea would be used again during the Mortal Kombat film and the retconned story of MKII in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. Sonya, who absolutely hated Kano and did all she could to ensure his capture—if not his death—becomes fully focused on aiding her friends and Raiden, and even shares a rivalry with Mileena, who tries to kill her on many occasions. Scorpion wants to kill not only Sub-Zero in revenge for killing him, but also his family and his clan; which was not his original intention.

Sub-Zero's treatment in the Malibu comics is particularly interesting. In the games, the original Sub-Zero had been killed early on (prior to Mortal Kombat II), turning into the wraith Noob Saibot, and substituted by his younger brother. However, the older Sub-Zero is portrayed prominently throughout the entire run of the comic book series; while the younger brother makes only a small appearance in the last page of the Tournament Edition II issue. In the series, the older Sub-Zero has the traits of both himself and his brother. For instance, in the beginning, he is loyal to the Lin Kuei and always speaks highly of his clan; yet later in the story he becomes more humane and, instead of being a ruthless assassin, he assists Kitana, Kung Lao, Liu Kang, and their friends. He is portrayed as heroic (in contrast to the original Sub-Zero's soul being tainted in the games), while Scorpion is made to look purely evil (as opposed to his neutral alignment in the games). On the other hand, Noob Saibot is not mentioned or featured in any of the comics except in a special Baraka issue, where he shows up in a small role as a completely separate character (at the time, his identity as the original Sub-Zero was yet to be established in the games). The final issue sees the new Sub-Zero rise to avenge the death of his brother—which largely brings things closer to the game.

Character specials

Mortal Kombat: Battlewave
Mortal Kombat: Blood & Thunder

The Blood & Thunder story arc depicts the early Mortal Kombat series in greater detail; yet it also uses the "what if" theory to a great extent. The storyline, in addition to following the structure of the video game, also creates a storyline of its own.

Blood & Thunder focuses on one primary source of power, which is a mythical book known as the Tao Te Zhan which, when opened, can unleash greater power that anyone can imagine. Originally, there were many, but over the years in which the powers of each book were unlocked and abused, the Elder Gods destroyed each separate book. They did, however place all its previous powers into the one book and devised a powerful spell in which was to keep the book permanently closed and placed in somewhere in the mountains, never to be found again. Therefore, there is only one undisputed and ultimate Tao Te Zhan book that remains in existence today. However, the catch with the Tao Te Zhan is that it requires a great power to break the spell keeping it closed and the answers to seven riddles in which unlock the great power. Each solved riddle advances to the next page and they have been answered by various warriors, most specifically Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage and Sonya. Sub Zero answered two riddles (the rest only have answered one) and at some stage of their adventures have they tried to unlock the book's power. The books' last riddle
was solved by Goro, who had disappeared in between Blood & Thunder and Battlewave. Raiden and Shang Tsung however, join forces to strip Goro off his newfound power.

The Seven Riddles of the Tao Te Zhan are the seven special riddles that must be solved in order to unlock the ultimate power it possesses:
  • "You may swallow me, but I may swallow you." The answer, which was "water", was solved by Liu Kang.
  • "Ten men's length, ten men's strength, ten men cannot tear it, but a little boy walks away with it.” The answer, which was "rope", was solved by Scorpion.
  • "What overcomes you, yet you do not see it?" The answer, which was "sleep", was solved (inadvertently) by Sonya Blade.
  • "What bridge is built without stone or wood?” The answer was solved by Sub-Zero, which was "ice".
  • The fifth riddle is never mentioned. It is however mentioned that Sub-Zero answered the fifth riddle, whatever it was.
  • "What is higher than a house, yet is smaller than a mouse?" The answer, which was "a star in the sky", was solved by Johnny Cage.
  • "What belongs to you, but others use it more than you do?" The answer, which was answered by Goro, was "your name" (although ironically, many characters referred to themselves in third person many times in the comic series). As a result, Goro walked away with the Tao Te Zhan's power, only to be stripped off it by Shang Tsung's and Raiden's powers combined.

Mortal Kombat: Goro, Prince of Pain

The Prince of Pain trilogy revolves around the storyline elements of chaos and order, the themes later officially introduced in the video game Mortal Kombat: Deception. The story is starred by Goro and the possible reason why he disappeared from the Mortal Kombat 1 tournament during the battle against Liu Kang, Sonya and the others. He appeared in Earth in front of a police car, being received by Rook, a talking crow, who leaded to Zaggot, the God of Chaos, who appeared as the responsible of Goro's disappearance from Outworld. This story continues in Blood & Thunder storyline.

Mortal Kombat: Raiden & Kano
Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition
Mortal Kombat: U.S. Special Forces

Reception

In 2011, 1UP.com featured the Malibu comics in the article "The Top Ten Times Mortal Kombat Went Wrong", calling it to be suffering from "sloppy artwork, a truly baffling sense of human anatomy, and strange lapses in continuity."

Points of Interest

Continents

Countries

Cities

Residents

Original characters

  • Abacus: Lord Abacus is a god of order, featured in the Goro: Prince of Pain miniseries. Residing in the Library of Order, he witnesses the chaotic scheming of his brother Zaggot unfold, yet refuses to respond physically for fear of producing further chaos, thus feeding his rival. This course of action alters, however, when Abacus encounters Goro and presents to him a weapon forged of order. Abacus is finally seen versing Zaggot in a game of chess. He is accompanied by the librarian Miss Bishop, who endlessly aids him in maintaining the occurrences of the universe.
  • Bo: Bo is introduced in the second issue of Battlewave as Johnny Cage's personal bodyguard sent by Cage to protect Liu Kang. Massive in size, he first appeared as Liu Kang was taking a beating from Goro, from whom Bo was able to absorb a direct punch with little effect; without his intervention, Liu Kang would almost certainly have been killed. During the course of events in the series, Bo received a broken arm yet, in Tournament Edition II, he still managed to defeat Reptile with only his good arm. Deciding he didn't know enough about Outworld to continue with Shao Kahn's "contest," he instead spent the rest of the tournament by sitting on the unconscious Reptile and keeping him pinned to the
    ground.
  • Gorbak: King Gorbak, ruler of the subterranean Shokan province of Outworld (specifically Kuatan), made his official debut in the 1993 Midway-published MKII comic book, in which he expresses his outrage to Shao Kahn at his son Goro's death at the hands of a Shaolin monk (Liu Kang), and then demands Shang Tsung's destruction as compensation. However, Tsung talks his way out of his imminent demise by conceiving another means of invading Earthrealm through twisting the rules of the tournament, leading
    Gorbak to offer a new Shokan allegiance to the Outworld throne: Kintaro. In the Malibu canon, Gorbak is featured in Battlewave #1 and #6 and in MKII: Collector's Edition. Interestingly, his part in the storyline alters between his two appearances; in the first issue, Gorbak's role mirrors that of the aforementioned MKII comic, but in the sixth issue, he is referenced as attending the wedding of Shao Kahn and Sonya (under mind control by Kahn). Gorbak also made an appearance in the animated film Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins and is referenced briefly in Jeff Rovin's 1995 novel.
  • Grum: Grum is a Shokan ruler of the Outworld province of Katala, briefly featured only in Blood & Thunder #2. He wields six sets of nunchaku with his six hands but is quickly dispatched by Sub-Zero from a simple freeze and flying-kick combination.
  • Hydro: Sub-Zero's fellow Lin Kuei companion, Hydro had the ability to control water that was capable of freezing opponents upon contact. He was depicted in the Blood & Thunder series as younger than Sub-Zero yet a respectable fighter in his own right, but he was killed in Outworld by Scorpion in issue #4 as part of the latter's ongoing vendetta against Sub-Zero. Hydro also made an appearance in Mortal Kombat: Legacy, portrayed therein as an early version of the Lin Kuei's fledgling cybernetic-ninja program, unit LK 1V1, and is used to demonstrate Cyrax and Sektor's superior abilities. This version of Hydro displays the skills similar to other Lin Kuei cyborgs, such as conducting electricity.
  • Lance: Lance was Sonya's Special Forces partner (assuming the role of a similar character, Sparky, who had appeared in the 1992 Midway comic based on the original MK game) who assisted her bid to capture Kano. He sported an artificial bionic arm - which served as an inspiration for Jax's metal implants in Mortal Kombat 3 - which had the ability to extend and conduct electricity. Kano
    defeats Lance and then performs his heart-rip Fatality during the opening bout of the MK tournament in the second issue of Blood & Thunder.
  • Siang: A combination of twin Shaolin fighting monks Sing and Sang, who had the ability to merge their bodies together to form a single powerful warrior. He was considered to be the greatest champion of the Order of Light (of which Liu Kang was also a member) and was sent as their representative to participate in the MK tournament. They saw their only action in Blood & Thunder #3, when Siang attempted to attack Goro while he and the other Kombatants were imprisoned in Shang Tsung's dungeon, but they were soon forcefully ripped apart and killed by Goro. However, in the Battlewave miniseries, it was revealed that Sang had actually survived Goro's attack. Therefore, Sang joined with the deceased Sing once more to form Siang, this time on a permanent basis. Siang was controlled by Shao Kahn due to his Deathstone, a special gem that had the power to control the dead. Because Siang was only half-dead, he maintained a mind of his own and managed to crash the wedding between Shao Kahn and Sonya, yet remained under Kahn's control. In a mercy killing, Siang is slain by Scorpion through impaling the warrior's heart with his spear, then the Deathstone is destroyed.
  • Sylence: Sylence appeared only in the Special Forces miniseries. She was a member of the Special Forces, with pale skin, purple hair, and solid white eyes, and her weapon of choice was a push dagger. She is the only character that uses a Fatality-like move in the miniseries.
  • The Kombatant: The Kombatant was a multi-limbed all-powerful creation of sorcery, first seen at the very end of the first issue of the Goro: Prince of Pain miniseries. Created by Zaggot, it is imbued with the combined strengths and certain physical attributes of the original seven Kombatants along with Shang Tsung and Goro, resulting in a seemingly indestructible being. Upon
    Goro's defeat, the Kombatant is ambushed in issue #2 by Baraka, Kitana, Mileena and Reptile, all of which are easily defeated, but Baraka manages to sever its upper left arm, which then mysteriously reappeared in the next installment with no explanation. The Kombatant meets its demise when Goro easily disintegrates it with a magically-crafted machine gun bestowed upon him by Abacus.
  • Zaggot: Lord Zaggot is a god of chaos and the evil brother of Abacus, featured in the Goro: Prince of Pain miniseries. He receives his sinister strengths through the disruption of events in the universe. His companion is a talking crow named Rook. Zaggot found it necessary to create the Kombatant once proposing the position to Goro, receiving refusal. Later, Zaggot reveals his true form to Goro for purposes of intimidation, only to be swallowed by Goro when the lack of insuing chaos causes the god to shrink in size. He is later seen playing a game of chess against Abacus.
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