Monday, July 14, 2008

A final crisis may be brewing in the DC multiverse, fans of the company learned of a new threat in the unlikely medium of video games! Worlds collide as Midway and DC confirm a confrontation in their upcoming their joint venture: Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe!

Over the past few months the Infinite Wars have served up a fantasy fight armada of characters who could potentially match-up in the collision of worlds, but we can't help but think there are still plenty of DC names unmentioned! To find out who made the previous cut, you might like to track back through our previous rounds: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, clues special, bonus one!

The promise of new characters at E3 proved to be a bust (or misinterpretation), but our speculation has long been expecting the announcement of major villains at the San Diego International Comic-Con! They will pit their evils against the might of; Sub-Zero, Batman, Scorpion, Superman, Sonya, the Flash, Shang Tsung, Catwoman, Liu Kang, and Captain Marvel!

Once again we bend time [because we're a week behind schedule] to inform you of exciting con details! If you're at SDCC you'll want to skip lunch to check out Room 6B on the Friday (July 25)! Ed Boon and Jimmy Palmiotti will be hosting a panel between 11:15-12:15 to reveal: new gameplay elements, key characters, and answers to fan questions! So get there early, fanboys!

A complete revamp to the official website has preceded SDCC updates, and offered an intriguing opening line to it's plot description: "When a cataclysmic force merges conquerors from two universes, conflict is inevitable." Could a merged conqueror allude to a literal amalgamation of existing characters?

On that bombshell, let us turn our attentions back toward the heroes and villains of the DC Universe. Leading with a Green Lantern in each instalment, we're taking a tour through some of the names not mentioned in our fantasy fight rundowns. Good, bad, or indifferent, let's roll with John Stewart:

ARTWORK: Zach HowardGreen Lantern (John Stewart)
Year One: [1971] Group Affiliation: [Green Lantern Corps]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#65]
Fighting Ability: [2] Appearance Odds: [65%]

Round 1!
When the emergency Green Lantern of Sector 2814, Guy Gardner, was mortally wounded; the Guardians from Oa set about seeking out a suitable emergency replacement for their official representative, Hal Jordan.
Initially the relationship between the two generations of Lantern proved strained, but Stewart quickly proved himself in the field, overcoming racial tensions to display an initiative and drive that has made him one of Earth's great heroes.

A marine-cum-architect; Stewart intergrated himself successfully into the militant Corps with very a unique perspective, his architectural expertise a keysign for the methods by which he constructs objects with the energy of his powerring. It was these skills that led him to briefly become the first human Guardian when, after failing to save a planet from destruction, he found redemption in aiding those displaced by interplanetary violence.

When Hal Jordan was driven mad by the fear-entity, Parallax; Stewart was among the few survivors of the destruction of the Guardian's planet, Oa.
He held short tenure with alternate law enforcers, the Darkstards, before returning to the fold when he accepted a ring guarded by the last Lantern, Kyle Rayner, who had received it from a time displaced Hal Jordan. He was present during the return of Hal Jordan from the dead, and has since rejoined the resurrected Green Lantern Corps and the Justice League of America!

Round 2!
For comic fans there are certain factors that define their experience, and as generational divides become increasingly evident in a maturing genre, the Green Lantern became a symbol of entry for fans. The Silver Age GL, Hal Jordan, was for a long time the icon of a generation, but for many fans, the Green Lantern of the nineties - Kyle Rayner - has earnt his place as their defining piece of the canon.

Despite making his first appearance in the seventies; as part of a legendary and confronting era of writing by Denny O'Neil; it was this decade that belonged to John Stewart thanks to mainstream exposure provided by the 2001 debut of a Justice League cartoon series (from the makers of Batman and Superman)!

Despite token motives that saw the inclusion of Stewart in an ethnically shallow series, the character has successfully built a fanbase around strong characterization, and a mythology that has fed back into the comics. It's this mainstream exposure that makes Stewart an incredibly plausible choice for MKvsDC, although, one wonders if this company-sponsored push for Hal Jordan, as a core icon of the DC Universe, might not trump that success. Ultimately, it's splitting hairs. For gamers, a Green Lantern's a Green Lantern, and with the game promising little story, there won't be a lot to seperate choices.

Finish Him!
Under the watchful eyes of creators like Geoff Johns, Ethan Van Sciver, and Ivan Reis, the way in which the Green Lanterns generate their power-constructs has become a real identifier for the characters! It's this that, potentially, represents the only distinction between any of the Lanterns vying for the spot.

Speculation of unlockable character skins represents an opportunity for all the Green Lanterns to make an appearance through this vehicle, but for a truly next generation experience, one would really want a graphical and creative distinction to set them apart. To that end; Stewart would seperate himself with unique animations for his energy projections, taking a tactile approach that reveals the minute assembly within rapidly forming constructs.

As mentioned in our previous entry [Bonus Round 1]; the Green Lantern Corps recently initiated an initiative to instate Lanterns with rights to lethal force. One would find it difficult to imagine the MK characters establishing noteriety as intergalactic threats on the suitable level, but you never know!

ARTWORK: Zach HowardBlue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)
Year One: [2006] Group Affiliation: [Teen Titans]
Win Percentage: [0%] Cumulative Rank: [#244]
Fighting Ability: [2] Appearance Odds: [20%]

Round 1!
Decades ago, an archaeologist named Dan Garrett discovered a mysterious artifact whilst on a dig in Egypt. The mystic scarab had actually been used to imprison a evil pharoah, but Garrett was able to unlock the secrets of the scarab to transform himself into the superheroic dynamo, the Blue Beetle! With the cry, Kaji Dha, the Blue Beetle battles crime with his powers.

Garrett would eventually entrust the artifact to Ted Kord - his successor as the Blue Beetle, but a technologically powered hero who proved unable to harness the mystic properties of the scarab. Upon Kord's death, the scarab would find it's first suitable host since Garrett in the teenage Texan, Jaime Reyes!

After the scarab became energized it was ultimately entrusted to the Wizard Shazam, who, in a twist of fate, was destroyed by the rampaging spirit of vengeance, the Spectre. It was these events that brought the mystic artifact to the desert where it was found by Jaime Reyes, and became fused to his spine! Unable to seperate the scarab, Booster Gold initiated the youngster into the superhero fraternity, where he proved vital in destroying the rogue sentient satellite designed by Batman, Brother Eye. Despite his reluctance, Jaime continues his education as an eventual member of the Teen Titans!

Round 2!
I like to try to drift around the internet to try to pool perspective and inspiration, but it's proving surprisingly difficult these days. I'm becoming increasingly shocked by the prevelance of persons who would resign even their fantasy to the restrictions implied by historical reference. It seems, certainly in gaming, people have quickly given up a desire to excel, content with the industry standard that facilitates very little change in successful franchises.

Elaborate animation and frame structure isn't really what I tend to think when I think of a Mortal Kombat game, but oh to imagine the potential of the current Blue Beetle. His... armor... possesses a variety of animated transformations and abilities that not only serve up a wealth of options for trademark special moves, but also a visual feast for the frame-rate fanatic!

While not especially iconic a mere two years after his first appearance; this Blue Beetle has already expanded his franchise into membership with the Teen Titans, and well promoted appearances on the new Brave and the Bold animated series!

Finish Him!
Blue Beetle has a range of plausible abilities that could make him a very unique character. I don't think I could offer adequate insight into his abilities, but the possibilities seem to range from conventional energy projection, to interesting transformations in the suit, like shields, or wings for diving moves.

The possibility that Sub-Zero - an ice wielding warrior - could be immune to the effects of Superman's dubiously present freeze breath adds an interesting level worth considering. While unlikely to be a widespread phenomenon; MK has toyed with these types of unique interactions in the past; like [Blind] Kenshi's immunity to blasts that effect sighted characters. Such an innovation could lend interesting results to confrontation between Blue Beetle and a Green Lantern, which has garnered some interesting results [ie; Blue Beetle #1]!

ARTWORK: Zach HowardCaptain Atom (Nathaniel Adam)
Year One: [1987] Group Affiliation: [Deceased]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#143]
Fighting Ability: [4] Appearance Odds: [40%]

Round 1!
Framed for a murder he did not commit, Nathaniel Adam, a Vietnam era Air Force officer, was sentenced to death. As an alternative, Adam's expertise as a pilot offered him the opportunity to take part in an experiment that could earn him a Presidential pardon, should he survive it. Despite the odds against survival, Adam agreed to take part in durability tests on the hull of an alien craft, that included the detonation of a nuclear bomb.

As it happened, the nuclear discharge did not kill Adam, but rather, fused the strange alien alloy to his skin, coating him in a chromatic veneer. The excess energies of the blast also displaced Adam in time, throwing him twenty years into the future, to 1986. With a pardon never issued to the believed dead subject, Adam found himself forced to work for the man who condemned him to death, who was now a General within the military ranks.

Captain Atom was ultimately able to clear his name whilst in the service of the treacherous General Eiling, and subsequently resigned from the Air Force, to strike out on his own. At the request of the US Government, this led Atom to take up membership with America's premiere superhero team, the Justice League!

Round 2!
When you mention the military and DC comics, if it isn't Sergent Rock that springs to mind, it's probably Captain Atom. Such was the immediate thought when attempting to interpret the cryptic clues on offer for remaining reveals. In reality, it's probably a vague reference to another militant hero who once served as a test pilot, but now champions an intergalactic guard: the Green Lantern!

As interesting a visual as the chrome design of Captain Atom might serve, he isn't exactly the most mainstream of the Justice League heroes. In fact, even as far as cult favourites goes, he probably hasn't had a solid following since the early nineties. I'm not sure his recent appearances revamped as the infamous Monarch did the character any favours, either. Suffice to say, those of you not in the know shall have to investigate the history of that villainous turn, on your own.
It involves an abandoned concept, and it's resurrection in Countdown, where the repercussions of Atom's journies through the multiverse resulted in a paranoid awarness of the machinations of The Monitors, and a zealous plot to stop them. In this form he might actually make for an interesting conflicted presence in Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe, but it would be quite an unnecessary stretch!

Finish Him!
As Monarch, Captain Atom seems far more likely to indulge in the specialties of the fatality system. Unfortunately, this probably does very little to differentiate a character who, despite having an interesting chrome model, would otherwise very much mirror the archetypal abilities of Superman.

Like many other heroes, the point of difference comes from Atom's characterization, design, history, and interactions with other portions of the DC Universe. While an interesting character on the page, MKvsDC probably offers very few avenues for these sorts of characters to shine.

ARTWORK: Zach HowardCyborg (Victor Stone)
Year One: [1980] Group Affiliation: [Teen Titans]
Win Percentage: [NR] Cumulative Rank: [NR]
Fighting Ability: [4] Appearance Odds: [35%]

Round 1!
Born to a pair of scientists; Victor Stone was the subject of experiments in intelligence enhancement, designed by his parents. It was this that led Stone to develop a relationship strained by resentment toward his parents, leading to an association with elements unapproved by his parents, such as athletic indulgences, and street miscreance.

During a visit to his parents at STAR Labs, Victor was present to witness his mother's death when a creature emerged from an experimental interdimensional portal, and murdered her. Victor himself suffered at the hands of the beast, which severely mutilated him before his father was able to contain the threat. As a result, to save his son's life, Dr. Stone fitted his son with advanced cybernetic prosthetics that replaced his damaged limbs.

Victor eventually overcame suicidal depression to accept his fate, despite suffering rejection from his pursuits in athletics, and love. When his wayward friend attempted to use him in a racially motivated terrorist attack on the United Nations, Victor Stone made a decision to use his enhancements for good, embarking on a journey that would lead him to a senior role with the Teen Titans!

Round 2!
While a part of the relatively segregated world of the teenage superheroes, Cyborg has developed a considerable following. Over the years the character has successfully matured into a more senior hero, quite suitable for entering into the world of Mortal Kombat, where the mystic regularly meets the mechanical!

Having a lot in common with iconic characters like Jax and Cyrax might actually work against Cyborg, even though it develops a clear understanding of the conceit of these types of heroes. As more is revealed about the game, a greater sense of disconnect appears to be emerging between the two creative forces, setting up a juxtaposition between the superheroes of the DCU, and the warriors of the Mortal Kombat realms.

Finish Him!
At this point we've well and truly covered the potential prospects of over one hundred DC heroes and villains, which makes dealing with subjects of in-game capabilities somewhat reptitive. When you break the special abilities of characters into the arbitrary rulesets of a video game, you tend to start to develop a severe case of reptition. For the sequential form of comic books, the origins, nature, and application of powers offers a wide variety of creative possibilities. For video games, however, lacking in scope of narrative, the side-to-side shuffle offers limited function in what is essentially an issue of presentation.

Cyborg has a lot of abilities that could be appropriately tailored to make him an individual. We also know the MK team have been quite forthcoming in their intent to borrow existing special moves from the MK cast, for DC inclusions. Not that this is necessarily a negative, because, in the pursuit of individuality, some MK characters have been granted abilities far from intrinsic to their character -- ie; Kabal, whose use of a super speed dash is dubious, even when not compared to the claims of the Flash!

The possibility of playing around with Cyborg's unique sensor technology is perhaps the most obvious point of originality. Even cyborg characters like Sektor and Cyrax have never featured this capability, which they may or may not have reason to possess. Cyborg, on the other hand, brings that, along with many other standardized projectiles and strength enhancements.

ARTWORK: Alex RossMr. Terrific (Michael Holt)
Year One: [1997] Group Affiliation: [Checkmate]
Win Percentage: [0%] Cumulative Rank: [#306]
Fighting Ability: [4] Appearance Odds: [15%]

Round 1!
With an uncanny aptitude for scientific process, a junior Michael Holt proved capable of not only absorbing the works of some of the world's greatest theoretical scientists, but understanding them. Holt's status as a prodigy grew as he embarked on an academic career that blossomed into degrees in a multitude of fields, including many of the sciences. This led Holt to become a self-made millionaire with the design of advanced technologies he sold to WayneTech.

When his pregnant wife was killed, the genius Holt considered suicide, upon which he was visited by the Spectre. A former member of the Justice Society of America; the spectral spirit of vengeance recounted the tale of his teammate, Terry Sloane, Mr. Terrific. Inspired, Holt turned his mechanical genius to developing an arsenal for his own career as a new generation of the fairplay hero.

Mr. Terrific quickly asserted himself as one of the foremost intelects in the superhero community. His intelligence leads to a speedy ascension to the role of chairman of the JSA during squabbles between Hawkman and Sand, and eventually leads Alan Scott to personally select him as his successor as a senior ranking delegate of the United Nations endorsed agency, Checkmate.

Round 2!
In only ten years Mr. Terrific has set himself up as one of the most important figures in the DC universe, which is no mean feat, and earnt him the ambiguously defined credit of "third smartest man" in the DCU! Not bad!

Though not a terribly well known figure outside the fanbase, members of the DC Nation would surely compell me to remember the importance of the character. Mr. Terrific showed great capability to play above his street level station when he proved vital to defeated the sentient rogue satellite, Brother Eye, his unique abilities giving him the edge in the deadly orbital battle of Infinite Crisis!

I'm not sure his Infinite Crisis credential are enough to justify a crossover with the Mortal Kombat universe, but with Joker's inclusion a formality, I'm not sure those logical requisites have much to play. Which actually works against Mr. Terrific, because, let's face it. This is an all-stars game, and Mr. Terrific ain't one of them!

Finish Him!
The underlying theme of this week's entrants is a slant toward the street level characters whose relevance in cosmic confrontation might be questioned. Curiously enough, in the world of one-on-one, single plane combat, many of these characters actually start to make a lot of sense!

Mr. Terrific has the unique ability of being completely invisible to any technology. I'm not sure it's the most tactile superpower ever devised, but it could provide some interesting character interactions should characters like Cyrax, Sektor, or Smoke turn up in the game! In fact, given that Midway is the company behind both the Mortal Kombat franchise, and the recent Justice League Heroes game, it's hard not to press that ability further, particularly if the game was able to rise to the more inviting player controlled conceit of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and the X-Men Legends
games! However, I digress...

Mr. Terrific is a proficient hand-to-hand fighter, but what could be his most interesting trait would be his T-Spheres. These multi-purpose hovering globes resemble the training device from Star Wars and have the potential to not only be a unique visual cue as a presence during battle, but also specials waiting to be activated -- unless the opponent can destroy them first?

ARTWORK: Zach HowardSandman (Wesley Dodds)
Year One: [1939] Group Affiliation: [Deceased]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#156]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [25%]

Round 1!
Wealthy sociallite, Wesley Dodds, dedicates himself to fighting crime as one of the world's premiere mystery men: the Sandman!

A street level force against the criminal elements that plague New York City; Sandman wields a variety of self-engineered toxins and weapons. The most identifiable of his arsenal: a gas gun used to render villains unconscious, or forced to confess the truths to Sandman's inquiries.

As his career continues, Dodds initiates a sidekick, Sandy Hawkins, and joins the Justice Society of America, where he would rank among the senior members of America's greatest superhero team during the Second World War.

Round 2!
I suppose this second section of each character spotlight is supposed to be the argument of whether or not they could appear in MK vs DCU. At this point, we kinda know the characters with the best chances, and Sandman won't be among them. That's not a problem, I just thought I could save some time getting that out in the open.

Despite his relative absence on the site, Sandman's a personal favourite of mine. It's something MK gamers are probably going to struggle to understand, because, their cultural references don't go much farther back than the nineties. In fact, to be frank, MK fans are not only limited in their scope, but have also been initiated and weened on many of the particularly lazy, mediocre tropes of the nineties.

The matured medium of comics, of which the genre of superheroes have dominated, has held it's history close over a seventy year history of comics. For me, this history was a very important part of my own work, which stemmed in part from a childhood of characters like The Phantom, Dick Tracy, The Shadow, and sure, even the Sandman!

The importance of this history carries through from the pre-comics era of the pulps, where The Shadow lived, and characters like Sandman and Batman were borne from. To this end, I hope the more industrious MK fans will find a coming of age through the DC association, seeking out information and issues starring some of the characters we're featuring, because, as has been mentioned, a lot of what we've been doing here is trying to bridge the gap, more than just predicting.

Finish Him!
MK's resident sandman, inspired moreso by the Tusken Raiders of Star Wars, is Kabal. I suppose it's here that fans can find soft reference for a human character garbed in a strange mask, and trenchcoat. It's a distraction from the aura that makes these golden age characters so beloved, but it's a start.

Sandman falls inline with Kabal and other Black Dragon characters in their nature as street level crooks. Though less flashy than his modern counterpart [Sand], and less inclined to adopt established MK special moves, Sandman presents some interesting asthetics. The trenchcoat/fedora look brings a darkness and noir inspired macabre well suited, but not yet seen, in the MK universe.

A fighting style inspired by stiff vintage boxing and limited kung fu accurately represents elements established within the character's canon, while also making for a unique fighting experience. That, coupled with specials designed to recreate the effects of his gas gun, could make Sandman a very enjoyable character, if entirely unexpected!

ARTWORK: Alan DavisAtom Smasher (Albert Rothstein)
Year One: [1983] Group Affiliation: [Not Applicable]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#113]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [25%]

Round 1!
Albert Rothstein inherited metahuman physiology allowing him to consciously manipulate his molecular structure, from his villainous grandfather, Cyclotron. It was, however, the legacy of his godfather, Al Pratt, that led Rothstein down the path of the hero, first as a member of Infinity Inc and the Justice League under the guise of Nuklon, and let as Atom Smasher, a legacy member of the Justice Society of America!

Rothstein's association with Pratt, the golden age Atom, led him to feel a brotherly kinship with the hero Damage, but failed to maintain his path on the side of good. When his mother is the victim of a terrorist attack orchestrated by Kobra; Atom Smasher becomes a changed man, intent on vengeance.
The vulnerability of his anger leaves him susceptible to the influence of the equally vengeful, Black Adam. Together they staged a violent coup against the dicators of Adam's native Khandaq, but ultimately, while reluctant to condemn his counterpart, Atom Smasher aids in defeating the renegade revolutionary.

Round 2!
While not terribly iconic, or well known, Atom Smasher isn't without his arguments! A duplicitous sense of morality aside; Albert Rothstein's abilities of molecular manipulation have made him DC's answer to Marvel's better known size-changer, Giant-Man.

Arguably a staple of the superhero genre, this size-changing archetype has been largely unrepresented by characters of great significance in the DC Universe, making Atom Smasher a curiously unique character. To now factor in a conflicted willingness to indulge in lethal force, one starts to recognise the viability of the character in a situation of Mortal Kombat.

Finish Him!
The MK team received a bitter response when the infamously announced power-ups that would see the stars of 2002's Deadly Alliance increase in size. What eventuated was a brief morph signifying a renewed strength in a character, but one need only look back to MK3 for precedent for giant-size heroes, prevelant through playful finishers in Jax' arsenal.

Big boss villains like Onaga, Blaze, and Goro, have all had the opportunity to tower over the opposition as what many would describe as cheap, super-powered bosses. Atom Smasher offers an opportunity to graft functionality onto this feature, perhaps offering players the chance to temporarily power-up their fighter for a few seconds enjoyed as a cheap, overpowered player!

Other specials surely revolve around grappling grabs and bone breaking bashes, all derived from Atom Smasher's ability to transition from mortal man, to atomic giant! The fatality window likewise remains open, although, I would be inclined to favour something a little less damning, perhaps even stealing away a plausible incarnation of Jax' super-sized stomp!

ARTWORK: Zach HowardRagdoll (Peter Merkel)
Year One: [1942] Group Affiliation: [Deceased]
Win Percentage: [NR] Cumulative Rank: [NR]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [15%]

Round 1!
A villain of the golden age; Peter Merkel was born with a rare condition that bestowed upon him elongated and elasticated ligaments, resulting in a condition best described as as triple-joints.
His unique skills earnt Merkal a career as a circus performer, but when the show collapsed, he soon turned his unique skills to devising a criminal persona, disguised as a ragdoll seemingly incapable of commiting crimes.

When the Ragdoll's legendary travelling villainy arrived in Keystone City, he had his first encounter with then Flash, Jay Garrick. This feud with the Flash would eventually cross generations to include confrontations with Barry Allen, as well as subsequent iterations of the Justice Society, and Justice Leagues.

Ragdoll met his timely demise as an agent of a reformed Injustice Society, albeit under a cloud of betrayal that would likely have seen the villain return to The Society of Supervillains, had he survived.

Round 2!
Initially an exceptionally quaint villain, typical of the lighter comics of the silver age; Ragdoll was a fairly unintimidating presence. As the character aged into the modern era, however, he became what you see in the avatar pictured above, something far creepier, and more sinister than before.

Like the Sandman, there's a beleiveable macabre about Ragdoll that makes him far darker and spookier a character than more overtly monstrous villains. I'm not sure that makes him any better a representative of the DC Universe, particularly give his current, and likely permanent status as deceased, but you never know.
The Ragdoll is survived by a resentful son, who underwent complex surgical operations to recreate his disapproving father's abilities. The harlequinesque son of Ragdoll is left hideously scarred by his operations, but with a far kinder soul than his predecessor.

Finish Him!
The real attraction to Ragdoll, either generation, is the potential for a truly unique fighting experience. The gawky fluidity implied by their super-posable limbs makes for the kind of innovation experienced by gamers delighted by the three-dimensional axis of active fighting styles like capoeira, and drunken boxing, famously seen in the Tekken series.

References to the afformentioned styles, as well as others, would make for a conceptual base of what should be a thoroughly unique experience. Animation framework should allow for free flowing movements that could factor in to evasive maneuvers, defensive absorption, bizarre offensive attacks, and anaconda-like grappling! Potentially a truly unique character

ARTWORK: Zach HowardBrick (Danny Brickwell)
Year One: [2004] Group Affiliation: [Not Applicable]
Win Percentage: [0%] Cumulative Rank: [#553]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [10%]

Round 1!
When demonic forces isolated Star City from the outside world, the threat forced the criminals and police to band together under Green Arrow in an effort to quash the infernal threat. The ensuing battle cost many their lives, and created a power vaccuum within the ranks of the underworld.
This was the opportunity needed for a mutated gang leader called Brick, on account of his rock hard exterior, and stoney apperance.

An inate penchant for criminal strategies meant Brick's rise to the top was fast, matched only by his fall from grace. Green Arrow was able to shame the villain in street combat, and eventually Brick was arrested. This did not, however, prevent his return to the streets of Star City, where he continues to plot against the emerald archer.

Round 2!
Brick doesn't really have a lot going for him in a beat 'em up context. His greatest strengths are his strategical mind and apparent strength and invulnerability. Issues of balance usually prevent base playable characters possessing any kind of strength or durable advantages, making Brick a visually dull, and unattractive character.

I have to admit, it's my own soft spot for the character that gets him a spot on the list. As with other inclusions, Brick could probably more easily find relevance on the streets in a free-roaming adventure mode, dueling or teaming with the likes of the Red and Black Dragon clans of Mortal Kombat lore.

The miss rate of new villains is pretty high, so Brick's a rare exception, having enough character to be a candidate for arch-rival to Green Arrow. I tend to think there's something TMNT about him, but that is not meant as a disrespect.

Finish Him!
As far as the reveal that fatalities will be included within the game -- Brick is a man willing to kill. Perhaps the most intriguing use of the character has been his involvement in attacks where his invulnerability has allowed him to be present during the deaths of his opponents. Talking about unique interactions, there might be some way to utilize this trait as a defensive special move.

I don't doubt the character would be happy to kill, but again, I'm not sure there's enough of a gimmick there to really fit into the model of a Mortal Kombat video game. I'm not sure if this reflects negatively on the versatility of Brick, or the the mechanic used by MK to divert attentions from variation in the basic combat.

ARTWORK: JustinianoCheetah (Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva)
Year One: [1987] Group Affiliation: [The Society]
Win Percentage: [33.33%] Cumulative Rank: [#233]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [40%]

Round 1!
A wealthy English aristocrat; Barbara Ann Minerva was a neurotic academic born into old money. When a car accident killed her parents and left her lame in one leg, she used the money to fund her continued education, resulting in a doctorate in anthropology. Her career, and finances, allowed her to seek out the medicinal aid of a veiled African tribe dedicated to the worship of a powerful cheetah-powered guardian.

By consuming the blood of a human and the berries of the Urzkartaga tree, Minerva was able to gain immortality and the restoring powers of the cheetah warrior in a ritualistic ceremony. Unfortunatley for her, the gift of the cheetah was intended only for virgins pure, and instead, her transformation into a powerful hybrid being came with the curse of pain and ferocity.

Cheetah succeeds her predecessors, Priscilla Rich and Deborah Domaine, when she seeks possession of Wonder Woman's lasso of truth, earning her ire. Since, Cheetah has become a staple member of the villain community, gaining valuable insights from the likes of Zoom, whilst building new rivalries with Catwoman.

Round 2!
Having grown her stock as a member of The Society; Cheetah gets great milage as an arch-foe for both Wonder Woman and Catwoman, characters expected to feature in the ten-strong cast from the DC Universe!

The mutated qualities of the modern Cheetah have arguably made her a far more suitable headlining villain for the likes of Wonder Woman, even if there's still a sense of mismatch there. Surpassing her costumed predecessors, Cheetah has a range of abilities that also make her an attractive prospect for a fighting game, calling upon the skills not only of her cat-like reflex and agility, but of the lithe fighting style that could accomodate.

Finish Her!
Cheetah follows in the footsteps of mutant creatures like Baraka and Mileena, obviously quite prone to the fatality mechanic. Cheetah also lends herself more specifically to animalistic slashing attacks and frenzys that we might expect, rightly or wrongly, to see from Catwoman.

Speed and agility are the ticket for Cheetah!
Claw gauges, slashes, eviscerations, and maulings are all on the tables, if not disembowlment and cannabilistic feastings for gorey finishers. Well, at least as gorey as a T rated video game can allow in it's cartoony scope for violence.

ARTWORK: Roberto FloresLethal (Unknown)
Year One: [1995] Group Affiliation: [Not Applicable]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#105]
Fighting Ability: [4] Appearance Odds: [0.5%]

Round 1!
The man called Lethal is a ruthless vigilante whose methods buck against a prison system that all too often sees the same crooks back on the streets to reoffend. In an effort to stem the flow, Lethal boasts what his name suggests.

Wearing a suit that includes bladed weaponry, wrist-mounted projectiles, and a variety of other technologies; Lethal combines his small arsenal with fight training and a well conditioned body. Little more is known about him.

Round 2!
Chances are you're currently puzzling over the identity of Lethal, which is probably fair of fans of both MK and DC. To the best of my knowledge this was a character not nearly successful enough to even be referred to as a one hit wonder!

It's probably some sort of sick perversion that leads me to include the character on this list, if not an unwilling acceptance that he's exactly the kind of hero fans of Mortal Kombat would love to see. He's a ruthless killer; bad attitude quipping bastard; martial arts expert; and possessor of shoulder pads, spikes, and all things pointy and extreme. He's exactly the kind of character that comics fans are embarassed by from the nineties pantheon, but he's the kind of obnoxious in-your-face anti-hero the MK kids love.

It might be the continuity junky in me that wishes Lethal would actually come back, and maybe server a purpose. As far as I know it was a single issue of Steel [#20] that had the indignity of suffering his existence, which was ambiguously tossed aside as he surfed a demonic villain out of a highrise window, only to teleport away with a stupid one-liner and a pixelating grin.

Finish Him!
... I think I already did!

Kidding aside, I have to awkwardly accept that this character actually makes a lot of sense within the mechanics of a beat 'em up. I'm almost ashamed to say it, maybe because I'm not even sure I really loathe the character. I'm almost inclined to accept him on a matter-of-fact basis. Frightening!

This is a character inclined to kill, and enjoy every moment of it.
His single appearance featured Van Damme style athletics with a vertical-splits foot choke, and various other tight pantsed imagery that alludes to a fighting competence. Also on the menu are spikey protrusions worn on his wrists, hidden weaponry, and a bunch of other colourful crap.

It seemed like a fun idea to include Lethal on the list, but now I'm just feeling a whole lot of self-loathing. I'd go out on song, but all I can think of right now is acid wash tracks by Guns N' Roses and Metallica. *groan*

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