Monday, July 21, 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, two!

Since July 21st is my birthday, Dr. Strange has visited to grant me one time-bending wish, and with it, I bring you news of the latest announcements from San Diego International Comic-con, which include new cast confirmations: Jackson "Jax" Briggs, the Joker, Kitana, and Green Lantern! The quartet joins the previously confirmed cast of; Sub-Zero, Batman, Scorpion, Superman, Sonya, the Flash, Shang Tsung, Catwoman, Liu Kang, and Captain Marvel!

Along with the announcement of new feature characters, [which really trumped our decision to lead with a different Green Lantern, each week], the MK team announced a collector's edition comic book to accompany special releases, featuring artwork by prodigal Mortal Kombat co-creator, John Tobias!

Tobias famously left the brand during it's decline in the post-MK4 nineties, only to found the ill fated Xbox cult beat 'em up, Tao Feng. Prior to creating Mortal Kombat with Ed Boon, Tobias worked as a comics penciller, best known for art chores on Now Comics' licensed Real Ghostbusters series.

Credited by most as the lead creative force on the first four instalments of the game series; Tobias also wrote and drew collectors edition comics for MK, MKII, and MK4. Safe money would expect Tobias' chance to finally draw characters from one of 'the big two', but one wonders if this might not be an opportunity for Midway to initiate a new audience with MK history in the form of a recap book.

Either way, as fantastic as it is to see a new, and presumably more admirable addition to the MK comic book catalogue, it's hard not to be disappointed in the lack of investment in the medium. A mini-series boasting DC talent would have assured concerns that the exercise has been a passive experience for the comics giant, albeit, with contributions from Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.

A comic book certainly seems like the perfect place to elaborate on the grander effects the game's story will have on the DC Universe, and on that matter, we once again take a tour through some of the characters not mentioned in our previous Fantasy Fight entries. Continuing the presence of a loose theme, we've got a buffet of particularly super characters to rub against last week's street theme.

ARTWORK: Patrick GleasonGreen Lantern (Kyle Rayner)
Year One: [1994] Group Affiliation: [Green Lantern Corps]
Win Percentage: [33.33%] Cumulative Rank: [#66]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [65%]

Round 1!
When a grief stricken Hal Jordan became vulnerable to the sinister influences of the fear-creature called Parallax; he became one of the Lantern's most infamous aggressors, going on a rampage that left the entire Corps on the brink of extinction. The last surviving Guardian of the Galaxy, Ganthet, was forced to find a final barer of the torch, and did so in Kyle Rayner, a struggling artist from a lower-middle class upringing who would 'have to do.'

Rayner proved more than capable of upholding the virtues of the Green Lantern virtue. Drawing inspiration from heroes like Superman and Batman; Rayner faced many challenges in his formative years as a Lantern, triumphing against the assault of various super-villains, interdimensional interlopers, the death of loved ones, and the temptations of his Parallax-corrupted predecessor.

When Hal Jordan sacrificed himself in an act of redemption to reignite the Earth's extinguished sun, residual energies were absorbed by Rayner who approach godhood as the entity known as Ion. Struggling to maintain a sense of humanity, Rayner proved his worth by expelling the energies, recreating the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Oa power battery that had been destroyed.

Round 2!
During recent interviews it was revealed there would, for the time being, not be any alternate costume attire for characters playable in Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe. With confirmation of Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern playable in the game, an exercise of proposal for Kyle Rayner seems pointless, but the question of alternate character skins remains a tiny glimmer of hope for fans looking for quantity to compliment, or make-up for, quality, in the game.

While Jordan is undeniably the chief icon of the Green Lantern Corps, there's an argument that looks at Mortal Kombat as a series terminally associated with the nineties, and lines Rayner up with that period and attitude, quite nicely.

It might also be his frivilous tussles with other crossover characters, (Terrax, Silver Surfer), that has me more inclined to imagine the brash youngster in battle with the warriors of the MK world, than the traditionalist, Jordan. Not that I'm implying one is somehow more qualified than the other in the fighting department, because as we saw quite recently [Green Lantern #25], both can take and throw a punch!

Finish Him!
Over the past few weeks we've been making a big deal about the character drives that define each Green Lantern's use of the ring. This week is no exception!
Hal Jordan has his Silver Age tradition of giant boxing gloves and basic shapes, but like John Stewart, who's all about the construction of architectural forms, Rayner draws upon his vocation for inspiration, in his case, graphic art!

On reflection, it's probably Rayner's pop cultural references that make him seem a transitionally plausible Green Lantern for MK. His inclinations lean toward the same sorts of weapons and iconography that have defined Mortal Kombat for a decade and a half, ranging from medieval weaponry, to more overtly cultural references from animé, comics, video games, and beyond.

ARTWORK: ???Major Force (Clifford Zmeck)
Year One: [1988] Group Affiliation: [Deceased]
Win Percentage: [NR] Cumulative Rank: [NR]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [25%]

Round 1!
After achieveing the accidental process that created Captain Atom during experimentation with alien alloys; the US military attempted to repeat their successes by recruiting another Air Force soldier sentenced to imprisonment into their project.
Clifford Zmeck had been sentenced to life after being convicted of rape, but was offered a potential pardon for participating in the experiment that, this time, featured double the alloy used when inadvertently creating Captain Atom.

The project proved a success, thrusting Zmeck through the Quantum Field into the future one year prior to Atom's emergence, in the eighties. Dubbed Major Force; Zmeck initially served as an ally to Captain Atom, before succeeding him as a government enlisted hero. His brutality, however, soon became problematic, and Major Force became another rogue agent.

Force's villainous activities would eventually lead him to become an arch-rival of both Captain Atom, and the Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner. His feuds with the latter would result in the death of Rayner's girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, whose remains he stuffed into a refridgerator. Rayner would later decapitate Major Force, but the villain would not face demise until destroyed at the hands of Nathaniel Adam, who had become mentally unstable as Monarch.

Round 2!
Despite gaining his powers by tapping into a different portion of the Quantum Field, what you're basically looking at here is a skin swap for Captain Atom, albeit with some colour changes for in-game effects. I'm not especially fond of the idea, but in practise, that's just the fact.

As described in the previous character-entry; to the best of my knowledge there's still uncertainty surrounding the likelihood of skin characters. Likewise, the exact nature of the intertwining story mode has some ambiguity, leaving a slim hope for some of the characters we've been pitching as non-playable inclusions.
Although, to include a character build that can't be accessed as an addition to the twenty-something cast of core playables, seems more than a little odd.

Finish Him!
While Major Force isn't among the most inspiring characters, he does come ready-made with certain qualities palatable to an MK audience. The possibilities of a villainous counterpart to Captain Atom ring true to many of our previous observations, which suggest some justification for villains that play much the same as their heroic mirrors.

As if ripped straight from the kreate-a-fatality mode of 2006's MK: Armageddon, Major Force was recently seen ripping the arm off a Palmiotti/Gray creation [Major Victory #3], only to beat him to death with said limb. It's possibilities like this that make Major Force anything but a stretch of the imagination. Hey, and why not bring the Women in Refridgerators phenomenon to the young and often naive medium of video games? It's just as relevant! Google it, kiddos.

ARTWORK: Mike McKoneDr. Light (Arthur Light)
Year One: [1962] Group Affiliation: [The Society]
Win Percentage: [50%] Cumulative Rank: [#69]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [45%]

Round 1!
When Dr. Arthur Light accidentally killed his partner, who had designed a suit that granted him powers over light constructs, he opted to take the suit for himself, using it to enter into a life of crime. The Doctor forms brief rivalries with members of the Justice League, including Green Lantern, but ultimately resigns to battling the Teen Titans after many defeats.

The seemingly bumbling villain made a shocking discovery when the death of Sue Dibny, wife of Elongated Man, led the heroes to implicate Light. A familiar scene brought back the memory of another time when Light was a far more formiddable foe who, upon gaining access to the Justice League's satellite base, assaulted Dibny and uncovered the identities of the League. It was these unspeakable acts that led to the persuasian of Zatanna, who pacified his evil intent with magic.

Under the leadership of both Alexander Luthor Jr and Libra; the villain renews his rivalry with several heroes, becoming an inspirational recruiting tool for the uniting of villains. In this role, he is the catalyst for a new dawn of evils.

Round 2!
Since his elevation of status in Identity Crisis, Dr. Light has been a steady presence in the DC Universe! While still arguably far from a top tier villain, DC's done plenty of leg work to establish Light as a solid and marketable threat, making him a pretty good inclusion in any DC Universe scenario!

The issue of Dr. Light's status as a sex offender remains the elephant in the room with an Indian throw rug over it. Somehow that bastard of a situation has managed to blend in seemlessly with the surroundings, but given the already frivilous vernacular for rape in gaming culture, you wonder if this is the character to put in their pen. There's a good argument for contextual division, which is probably why the character can quite successfully appear in the Teen Titans cartoon without issue, let alone events like Final Crisis, but there's a question there. In games directed squarely at the socially awkward of early teens, I'm not sure it's a scenario DC (or MK) should be aiming for. Can you just imagine the online smack talk? Ugh.

Finish Him!
If I can stop alienating the readership with passive-agressive condescending, there's still a fact that Dr. Light's an opportunity to develop another interesting character.
The corny, finned costume might just be black enough to curb the outrage of culturally retarded MK fans, but will a literal light show be enough to distract from a fairly basic character?

Fatalities and flashy attacks offer the opportunity to play with graphical effects, but depth in the character's special move arsenal come from the less obvious, like holographic clones, and the inevitable teleport move. I think, the more we look at the translation of the superheroes, the more it becomes apparent a successful superhero beat 'em up really relies on the interactions between characters, moreso than broad representations of ideas. Pictured above; the effects of the Doctor's control over light, as uniquely applied to The Ray.

ARTWORK: Mike McKoneNeron
Year One: [1995] Group Affiliation: [Hell]
Win Percentage: [NR] Cumulative Rank: [NR]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [40%]

Round 1!
A powerful demon from Hell; Neron is a villainous creature intent on enhancing his powers through the consumption of souls. To achieve this goal his methods often involve faustian bargains with which he willingly grants the wishes of humans, in exchange for their eternal damnation.
It was just such a deal that granted enhanced abilities to the villains of the DC Universe, when Neron confronted them with an offer bordering on ultimatum [Underworld Unleashed].

Round 2!
Mortal Kombat's penchant for the dark and sinister requires very little shift in accepting characters like Neron. Though a little left of the central plotlines, dramas of the Netherealm have spawned franchise icons like Scorpion, and the transformed Sub-Zero, as well as characters like Shinnok, who lines very literally up with Neron's philosophy as a surrogate devil.

Like The Spectre; Neron has a scope that makes his involvement in events like a major crossover quite simple. While not necessarily crucial to the development of the core plot, it's not at all a stretch to imagine an allusion to subplots or perspectives that Neron represents. With a collector's edition comic book tie-in recently announced, there's a chance some of these characters, who are unlikely to appear in the game, might find an in through the broader scope of print.

Finish Him!
Neron's probably one of the more obvious names we forgot during our rundown of clues revealed by Undoubtedly an epic force; the suspension of disbelief that makes Superman's battles with Sonya plausible starts to fracture when involving characters so definitively elevated. It's a concession that's plagued the in-game involvement of Raiden, whose many appearances have often been justified through hamfisted transformations.

Neron, like Spectre, has a lot of graphic potential, but to debase a character to the level of other playables would be unfortunate. It seems unlikely that Neron would be iconic enough to match-up with an MK villain, or different enough, but as a fantasy scenario, the character probably looks a bit like Shinnok, in-game.
Tortorous infernal fatalities seem to be a very suitable possibility of big league, theological mystics like Neron, and Spectre.

ARTWORK: Mike McKoneZauriel
Year One: [1997] Group Affiliation: [Shadowpact]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#123]
Fighting Ability: [6] Appearance Odds: [40%]

Round 1!
A guardian angel of the Eagle Host, it has been Zauriel's ethereal charge for centuries to protect chosen subjects from harm. Among his many missions have been Cleopatra, Mona Lisa, and Joan of Arc, but in the modern era, it was a woman living in San Francisco, that truly inspired his love.

When Zauriel rallies for the right to live a mortal life to seek the affections of his charge, he uncovers a plot hatched by the Bull Host King Angel, Asmodel, to overthrow the throne of heaven. Hoping to succeed where Lucifer had failed, Asmodel allows Zauriel to become human, and sets his Bull Angels on him.
The resulting invasion of heaven raised the attentions of the Justice League, who accompanied the angel in thwarting Asmodel's plans. The alliance initiates Zauriel into the ranks of the League, and begins a friendship with Aquaman.

Round 2!
Y'know, one of the exercises of the Infinite Wars was to offer up a better sense of live-context for people researching certain characters. Zauriel manages to be a great example, I've found, of how the uninformed interpretations of cold information on Wikipedia leads would-be fans astray. To clarify: Zauriel is not Hawkman, but rather a detached facsimile created by Grant Morrison [and other] when he was denied use of the hero during a stint on JLA.

I have to admit, if I was going to have my choice, like Morrison, I would've gone with Hawkman. Still, there's a peculiar sort of attraction about the idea of building on the juxtaposition of the DC heroes by quite literally having the representation of an angel. Zauriel's far from a cotton-fisted boyscout! He can smash destructable clothing as well as any other brawler, but with MK's stock of demons, devils, evil magicians, and warlords, it's an interesting proposal!

Finish Him!
I'm surprised I haven't been seeing more from Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe's free fall combat mode. The feature, which seems like a bit of a distraction from a characterless basic fighting mode, promotes new applications of the game's heavy use of trademark specials, as well as button pressing quicktime struggles.

What feels especially absent is the variation of characters with the ability to fly. As with other characters, you'd expect Zauriel to bring some flight attacks and dominance in the air, on top of other specials revolving around more specific iconography, like the flaming sword and sonic scream.

ARTWORK: ???Parallax
Year One: [1994] Group Affiliation: [Sinestro Corps]
Win Percentage: [0%] Cumulative Rank: [#470]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [20%]

Round 1!
In an effort to recreate the power granted by the planetary construct, Warworld; Cyborg Superman recruited Mongul to attack the Earth. Together they destroyed Coast City with the intent of constructing a new process centre, and in doing so, tipped the balance for the entity known as Parallax to take posession of the city's hero, Hal Jordan!

Parallax, born at the dawn of time, was a parasitic entity that plagued the cosmos in an attempt to sew the seeds of fear and loathing that granted it power. The Guardians of the Galaxy were eventually compelled to put a stop to the creature, imprisoning it within the massive energies of their central Green Lantern power battery. In doing so, they inadvertently created an impurity in all rings created thereafter, leaving Green Lanterns unable to combat anything yellow.

Jordan's breakdown was the opportunity necessary to allow Parallax to extend it's influence into the world. His possession perpetuated his power as Jordan turned from hero, to villain, spreading fear and mistrust throughout the superhero community. In a final act of heroism, Jordan overcame the creature's influence to sacrifice himself to save Earth, but in doing so, initiated the eventual return of Parallax in it's true form, in a struggle that saw the return of Sinestro, and the resurrection of Jordan who had become host to the Spectre.

Round 2!
With talk of a "mash-up" villain posing the ultimate threat in MK vs DCU, you've got to wonder exactly what that entails. Popular logic would suggest something akin to the characters created during DC's battle with Marvel [DC vs Marvel] which gave birth to the Amalgam universe. On the other hand, there's always the option that a DC villain might form a more conventional bond with an MK villain.

Catering to the demands of popularity in characters being included, Brainiac is a more obvious choice for a villain who has been known to incorporate into the persona of another (popularly, with Lex Luthor). Still, for a no less iconic, but more obscure turn, there is always Parallax!

A popular tease in the MK universe has been the tainting of the protector god Raiden, whose intolerance has led to an interpretation bordering on evil. A fun thought might be the vulnerability the character might have to a Parallax (or Eclipso, for a broader example), but there are contradictions. It must be noted that premise text refers to two conquerors merging, which really suggests someone more obvious, like Darkseid. Still, we have already clarified that the purpose of these rundowns is not prediction, so much as elaboration on the DCU.

Finish Him!
Like Neron, Parallax is another very big concept with a basic form.
MK has developed a tradition of building it's boss battles around characters inherently more powerful than base players. Parallax has the potential to play into that, albeit as a more visually dynamic character, but also presents the possibility of a boss transformation - something MK hasn't explored in a conventional sense.

Character driven interactions could be particularly interesting with Parallax-influenced versions of destined enemies serving as the build for personalized boss battles. The opportunity to free that vessel and conclude the fight as a tag team ["endurance"] could be yet another opportunity to develop new and exciting ideas within the MK model. Otherwise, it's another functionally energy based character, this time with a more wirey, alien design.

Gog (William Matthews)
Year One: [2004] Group Affiliation: [Gog]
Win Percentage: [NR] Cumulative Rank: [NR]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [40%]

Round 1!
Instabilities brought about crisis in the DC universe raise the attentions of the cosmic embodiment of entropy, Imperiex! When the intergalactic destroyer heads for the centre of the inconsistencies, his march brings him to Earth, the centre of events. Superman and other heroes and villains band together in an attempt to avert Imperiex' plans of devestation, but before they succeed, several cities across Earth are destroyed, including Topeka, Kansas.

Topeka native, William Matthews, was among the survivors rescued by the Man of Steel from the mechanical incursion of Imperiex' Hollowers. Among the dead, however, were Matthews' parents, instilling in the young man a drive to develop technologies in time travel. As Matthews ages his experiments develop with finite results, leading to countless timejumps as he continues to introduce his younger-self to the advantages of his most recent research.

Eventually Matthews succeeds in developing his technology sufficiently to master time travel, as well as grant himself other superhuman capabilities. His cyclical travels, however, leave him embittered, and intent on exacting revenge on Superman, rather than averting the inevitable disaster that killed his parents. With his attentions shifted, Matthews becomes Gog, an army of one, born in an instant from multiple shifts in time.

Round 2!
In the interest of full disclosure: the Gog described in this entry is neither the only Gog, nor the most popular. He is, however, the most immediatley accessible, having suffered through the infamous scripting of Chuck Austen in what was, for better or worse, an intergration of the concept into the core DCU.

Post-52 a new multiverse comprised of fifty-two distinct Earths was canonized, making alternate reality tales like Kingdom Come, the revered tale from which Gog gained his prominence, tangential parts of the canon. From here, we've been able to have our Gog and eat it too, allowing skilled writers like Geoff Johns the opportunity to revisit alternate versions of the character, while developing a new mythos stemming from mysteries of the New Gods.

The new version is a story still unfolding in the pages of Justice Society of America, but for our Gog, his history lies mostly in one key story from Action Comics. Though not quite as majestic as his counterparts, this Gog has the delicious quality of being a literal one-man army! This, coupled with his immense tech-sponsored powers that rival that of a god, makes Gog a plausibly epic villain!

Finish Him!
While no less plausible than merging the likes of Darkseid with Shao Kahn, it just seems contextually counter intuitive to what we know. Gog neither has the mainstream recognition, nor the inclination, to be part of the forecast "mash-up" villain that will top the table of Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe.

There's an implication that a Gog should probably be a boss character, and while Austen's invention lacks the gravitas of others, there are functional capacities that make up for this. The most unique quality of this version of Gog is the time travelling doubles which could quite easily be expanded upon for a new invention of a tag-team. Possibly more trouble than it's worth, but still a character oddly befitting of the MK universe, if only because he was, at least initially, driven mad through time and vengeance.

It's probably worth mentioning that Gog, having succeeded in reducing Superman to a feeble slave, saw the error of his ways after a little persuasion from an unrelenting Doomsday - also a hero in the future that unfolded. Together the two reformed villains set time right, and in doing so, apparently erased the influences of the zealous, vengeful Gog(s). Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can elaborate further, because I have gone cross-eyed...

ARTWORK: Carlos PachecoDespero
Year One: [1960] Group Affiliation: [Injustice League]
Win Percentage: [100%] Cumulative Rank: [#146]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [45%]

Round 1!
As a tyrant from the planet Kalanor, Despero became one of the first enemies faced by the Justice League of America. This confrontation would come to shape the telepathic enslaver whose defeat eventually inspired his reinvention as an opponent just as capable as dominating the League physically, as he had mentally. Owed for this transformation, a dip in Flame of Py'tar; a phenomenon found on his home planet.

Despero maintains his fierce hatred of the Justice League through the decades that followed, experiencing many defeats at the hairs that included his apparent death, and even disembodiment. The powerful telepath has became a valued ally of DC's villains as they search for the achievement of a common goal: the League's ultimate destruction!

Round 2!
Despero represents one of the most iconic rivalries for the combined presence of the Justice League, but even with this strong tie to DC's greatest heroes, and a particularly expansive claim to the arch-villain clue [from Kotaku]; I just cannot imagine the character making the cut. Not because of any insuitability, but just for the miniscule numbers we're now dealing with for playable characters.

Despero is currently appearing in Trinity as an ally to the triumverant of villains formed to counteract the powers of the titular trio; Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. If there's any potential for expansion through the storymode of the game, Despero's odds increase dramatically, but that's a pretty big if!

Finish Him!
If you had to single out a particular member of the League that Despero might match up with, it would probably be the heart of the team, Martian Manhunter.
With that absence particularly noted, you might suppose that that's just another indication of the character's unlikelihood.

Telepathic application is something we've talked about in previous entries, and like the Martian Manhunter, Despero combines those mentallist skills with a superhuman strength. Though not really of the stature you'd expect of a boss, there's always the chance this bulk might contribute in some way to upper-level confrontations, or maybe even the mash-up as a telepathic influence.

ARTWORK: Adam HughesPowergirl (Kara Zor-L)
Year One: [1976] Group Affiliation: [Justice Society]
Win Percentage: [50%] Cumulative Rank: [#103]
Fighting Ability: [3] Appearance Odds: [60%]

Round 1!
When the creature known as the Anti-Monitor staged a destined battle to instigate a crisis of multiple earths, he changed the fabric of reality across time and space. The events of the crisis gave birth to a new unified world where the heroes coexisted in a new timeline, oblivious to the gravity of their history. But a select few escape the new history of the multiverse, and while some remain aware of it, Powergirl does not.

A Kryptonian survivor hailing from the original Earth-2; Powergirl finds herself grappling with an identity and origin she has no grasp on. Having lived through false hopes, finally Powergirl finds herself confronted by another survivor of Earth-2, the Psycho-Pirate. After tormenting her with the many fake histories of her past, finally the truth of her reality is revealed.

Despite a desire to return to the world she once called home, Powergirl becomes an integral member of New Earth's premiere superteams in both the Justice Society, and Justice League of America.

Round 2!
In keeping with a vague Superman theme, I had included Bizarro on this particular list, but in trying to squeeze some of the other names in, it occurred to me that the difference between Powergirl and Superman's #1 Fan is degrees of convolusion and confusion in their backstory.

Powergirl was a character floated for confirmation early in the rumor process of the game, likely a product of misinterpretations brought about the coinciding development of DC Universe: Online, an MMO boasting confirmed cast that indeed included Powergirl among it's early number.

Powergirl has risen through the ranks to become one of DC's premiere superheroines. Rivalled, perhaps, only by the iconography of Wonder Woman; Peegee has managed to buck the stereotypes by incorporating typical tropes of objectification into her arsenal. Humor-based references in particular to her bust have made her a particularly unique character, among the few to make any acknowledgment of the physical traits bestowed by popular pencillers.

Finish Her!
Unfortunately for fans; none of these details help minimize the fact that, in practise, Powergirl is a Superman build with a different skin and sinched waist.

It's a recurring theme that's plagued the game odds of many of the heroes derived from this archetypal model.
The presence of Bizarro on our original list just helped bring home the fact that a lot of characters, especially those directly related to Superman, live and die by the efforts of talented writers who craft a strong character beneath a borrowed facade.

ARTWORK: ???Lobo
Year One: [1983] Group Affiliation: [NA]
Win Percentage: [0%] Cumulative Rank: [#349]
Fighting Ability: [6] Appearance Odds: [40%]

Round 1!
Lobo is the sole surviving member of the planet Czarnia, having condemned the peace loving society that inhabited it, to a senseless death. Such is the purpose of Lobo, who, with leather jacket, spikes, and chains, spreads a plague of nonsensical violence across an unsuspecting universe.

"The Main Man" typically hires his services as a bounty hunter to an intergalactic clientele, revelling in the opportunity to be directed into new situations of extreme violence. Despite being bound by an obscure code of ethics, Lobo frequently devolves into undue violence, bringing him into conflict with opponenets including; Etrigan, his 4th grade teacher, Japanese whalers, Superman, Green Lantern, the Justice League, and Santa Claus (on commission from the Easter Bunny).

Round 2!
Initially conceived as a vehicle to lampoon the increasing popularity of mindlessly violent heroes; Lobo became an unlikely victim of his own success, building a fanbase to rival the likes of Wolverine, and Punisher, who were being mocked.

Lobo's accidental popularity was built on a self-awareness that escaped many fans blissfully unaware of the reflective comedy of the character, instead keenly involved in the tropes now recognised as some of the embarassing identifiers of the nineties.

A critical eye would recognise these similar qualities in details found in Mortal Kombat; a franchise that has struggled to successfully develop beyond many of it's original concepts and designs established in the early and mid-nineties.
Not surprisingly, this is reflected by a reasonably consistent interest in seeing the character finds his way to Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe, along with other questionably remembered 90's icons like Doomsday and Bane.

Supporting MK can be a bit like sticking with a sports team that never quite followed through on it's potential and is now lagging at the bottom of the league. Lobo once mocked the same sorts of concepts MK survived on, but developed into a character that could have effortlessly transition into that world. Fortunately, I think MK's actually come far enough to feel a bit awkward with a oversized leather-bound joke that forgot it's own punchline.

For all the design, mechanical, and conceptual elements worthy of critique, the brand's success in stepping into the next generation of it's existence is undenied. Recent efforts like 2002's Deadly Alliance remind us how well constructed the MK story and characters can be. With a renewed focus on asthetic, MK left much of the tongue-in-cheek violence that garnered similar results of shallow tittilation to Lobo.

Finish Him!
The Man Man with the mullet, chains, spikes, and bad ass 'tude might look a little out of place now, but there's still a commonality between the brands. Lobo brings a violence worthy of outcry from mother's groups that, while potentially unsafe for a T-rated game, has been diluted before for Saturday morning cartoons!

The options of base violence are seemingly endless, making Lobo one of the most likely characters to possess a variety of brutalities and fatalities. A memorable gaming experience, this does not make, but even I have to admit, it would be an interesting slice of transition diversity within the DC flock. I'm sure, once upon a time, I probably expected Lobo long before I did Captain Marvel!

ARTWORK: Barry KitsonMassacre
Year One: [1994] Group Affiliation: [NA]
Win Percentage: [0%] Cumulative Rank: [#514]
Fighting Ability: [6] Appearance Odds: [15%]

Round 1!
Massacre is a lone warrior whose travels across the universe are motivated only by violence. With a long list of defeated adversaries, this alien of unknown origin seeks only opportunity to test his might.

Possessing fantastic speed, strength, and durability; Massacre's greatest asset is his ability to read and observe nerve impulses in his opponents. Though this strange ability requires visual-contact, it gives Massacre the ability to anticipate and counter any offensive initiated by his opponents.
Massacre also employs technology to teleport as a beam of light, and wristbands that allow him a variety of high impact projectile attacks.

Round 2!
Okay, we're running absurdly late, so it's probably fitting that we end on an incredibly dubious character. Given my subdued assault on Lobo for his association with mindless gimmickery, even I have to admit it's a bit rich that I would make any attempt to suggest Massacre as a legitimate candidate.

Straight out of the nineties, Massacre is a character that fits the same sort of creatively stunted mould as Doomsday. With a Darkseid mini-skirt, Faarooq's old helmet, and some cheesy wrist-mounted tech straight out of the prop box for a digitized video game; Massacre has very little to impress with.

For me, I suppose the relative obscurity of the character is something I like.
Like many of MK's roster, there's a freedom of inspiration to a character with a basic concept, but very little elaborated on. As much as he's suffered the one-note indignities shared by Doomsday, this character hasn't buckled under the pressure of mainstream exposure, and that makes him fairly malleable.

I enjoy the purity of these corny Superman villains who, despite being war-mongering aliens intent on proving their combative superiority, usually have some melodramatical backstory to be uncovered. Good for a twenty-two page one-off, but probably not a great representative of the DC brand.

Finish Him!
Super-strength, durability, projectiles... It was repetitive two months ago!
Still, Massacre has some abilities other characters don't, namely an ability to 'read' nerve impulses. While not a straight forward concept to impliment, the edge of being able to manufacture anticipation of a character's movements is a pretty interesting concept for a side-to-side beat 'em up!

Slow-motion seems like an unimaginative cop-out for this sort of ability, but as it's still not exactly within the grasp of home consoles to anticipate human reaction, a substitute like that might have to do.

And that's a much needed wrap-up to this dangerously late entry.
We'll be laboring a conclusion to our MK/DC character enlightenment in the next entry, so be sure to stick around for the hotly anticipated Batman themed group.

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