Thursday, November 06, 2008

Catastrophic events in the MK and DC Universes have brought together these two unlikely nemesis in a battle for self-preservation! MK vs DCU offers up a cast of iconic characters from each game, but just what is it telling you about them? The Infinte Wars serves up the 101 basics on the opposing teams!

DC Universe Top 25
#1 Batman (R10)
#2 Superman (R10)
#3 Black Adam (R7)
#4 Flash (B1)
#5 Catwoman (R8)
#6 Steel (R9)
#7 Green Lantern (B1)
#8 Green Arrow (R6)
#9 Hawkman (R2)
#10 Nightwing (R7)
#11 Flash (DNR)
#12 Martian Manhunter (R1)
#13 Aquaman (B1)
#14 Red Hood (R8)
#15 Wonder Woman (R10)
#16 Robin (DNR)
#17 Zatanna (R8)
#18 Demon (R2)
#19 Hawkgirl (R4)
#20 Spectre (B1)
#21 Green Lantern (B2)
#22 Green Lantern (B3)
#23 Dr. Light (B3)
#24 Deathstroke (R6)
#25 Black Canary (R9)
Since April we've been keeping close tabs on the game, but now that it's finally here, lo and behold, we've fallen apart! The Infinite Wars might have missed the opportunity to excite you in the days leading up to the game's release, but as it turns out, our interest in summing up key details for characters has become even more relevant post-release!

In our Q&A with Jimmy Palmiotti, the writer revealed that much of what lies within MK vs DCU was yet to be revealed, up to eighty percent! It seemed there was every chance this might happen, but those who followed the lead-up closely will be shocked to find very little they didn't already know about in the game. Sure, Mr. Palmiotti (and Mr. Gray) did their jobs in providing dialogue scripts for a forked story mode, but what surprises have we actually found?

Perhaps the biggest shock -- a redux of past mistakes!

The absence of any artwork has been accounted for, but short and inconsequential one paragraph endings have returned from 2006's conceptually abbreviated release, MK: Armageddon. Likewise, creative fumblings seem to completely undermine the game's potential as a thorough introduction for new fans, using character biographies to borrow cumbersome misinformation connected to the reviled film sequel, MK: Annihilation.

This type of lax attention to the spotty facts of the series canon has earned harsh criticism of the past few years' releases.
Like many details found in MKvsDC, the consistency of plot and characters seems to fall well short of the promise delivered in the 2002 revival, Deadly Alliance.

The "details" enhance an already looming sense of absence felt by those not sufficiently distracted by mini-modes and online play. Expected heroes like Johnny Cage, Reptile, Goro, or even Quan Chi, who makes a prominent cameo in the story mode, are all absent from the disc. Numerically DC is no better, but gestures like Catwoman and Deathstroke are appreciated like bread to the starving. Persistent references to downloadable content feel presumptuous and offensive should any cost be attached to items quite rightly expected of any modern video game release in the genre.
Even the heavily nostalgic Street Fighter IV; (which looks to trump MK/DC's story with massive amounts of traditionally animated sequences as well as an hour-long DVD movie); goes the extra mile with it's referencial cast, stretching two ahead with an expected announcement of Rose (making twenty-five total).

After having the opportunity to conduct interviews with Midway it's difficult to be so negative, but the integrity of response seems more important. Being a Mortal Kombat fan has always been a bit like supporting the local team during their worst season. Being a fan from the beginning, criticisizing diminished plot might seem counter-intuitive to less astute fans, but therein lies one of the key problems. As both I and the industry have grown, MK has struggled to do the same, and that feels as evident as ever in game and concept.

By no means consider this a discouragement from purchase.
While I would personally be inclined to wait for a more reasonable/appropriate price - I certainly don't begrudge anyone who might find the "new" fighting mechanics enjoyable, and shred of plot, satisfactory.
I'm a fan of the series for a reason, and as much as those ideals that attracted me way back in 1992 remain unfulfilled with any consistency, hope springs eternal! Series director, Ed Boon, has already acknowledged brainstorming for the next game. Teases like these are becoming a bit of a tradition, and critics of MKvsDC certainly know how unreliable these forecasts can be, but we watch on with interest!

At it's peak, Mortal Kombat was a pop culture phenomenon around the globe, familiar to casual and hardcore gamers alike. Initially combining mythology with the tropes of martial arts cinema - the series asthetic has since developed it's own unique flavour, spawning multiple films and television series of their own.
Though a lonely bunch, the eleven characters chosen to represent the game are all worthy additions!

NOTE: Though brief, the game's arcade endings do contain some fun, Amalgam-esque concepts that we will be spoiling in our character spotlights. If you don't want to know, look away, and come back when you've unlocked them yourself! The DC characters will receive a similar treatment in next week's scheduled featues.

Sub-Zero (Good)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat II]
Year One: [1993] Group Affiliation: [Lin Kuei]
2008 Rank: [#107] Cumulative Rank: [#242]
Win Percentage: [50%] Our Odds: [100%]

Translation: Mr. Freeze with go-faster stripes, a few lessons at the local dojo, and built-in air conditioning.

Secret Origin...
The mantle of Sub-Zero has been held by many warriors throughout the ages, each descended from a lost race with the innate ability to manipulate and generate ice. These cryomancers were each a member of the Lin Kuei clan, secluded warriors whose tactics resembled that of the ninja.

When his elder brother was killed during the Mortal Kombat tournament by his undead arch-rival, Scorpion; the younger took up the role with the intent of completing his brother's mission of assassinating Shang Tsung. During Shao Kahn's sham tournament in Outworld, Sub-Zero proves himself a force for good.

Konquests & Mythologies...
Initially Sub-Zero found himself inheriting not only his brother's identity, but also his vendettas. When the ninja spectre, Scorpion, failed to be released from the anguish of his undead curse, he returned to the realm of the living in search of vengeance anew. Sub-Zero proved himself to be a different, more honorable warrior than his brother, earning a brief alliance with his undead foe.

The rivalry between the two would be stirred one more time, however, when Scorpion was manipulated into believing his initial suspicions true. It was in MK4 that the duo finally learnt that Quan Chi was in fact responsible.

In MK3, the redeemed Sub-Zero was at odds with his own clan, as the corrupt Lin Kuei began the forced mechanization of it's warriors in anticipation of an invasion by Shao Kahn. The cybernetic fighters were devoid of soul and escaped detection by Kahn's exterimnation squads, allowing Smoke, Cyrax, and Sektor to pursue Sub-Zero freely, until he defeated them, and reprogrammed Cyrax to attack Shao Kahn and his invading forces.

When threats posed by Shao Kahn (and Shinnok) were finally thwarted, Sub-Zero was free to make attempts to rebuild the Lin Kuei clan, who had been slaughtered by a now independent Sektor, as a forced for good.
Tournaments held by Sub-Zero, whose powers had grown with the possession of an ancient Dragon Medallion, presented him with another cryomancer called Frost. Though she intended only to steal the powerful medallion for herself, she proved a brief ally to the new Lin Kuei and forces of Earth, when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi formed the Deadly Alliance.

When Frost returned to the Lin Kuei headquarters, she slaughtered many warriors, forcing Sub-Zero to freeze her into an icey tomb within the temple.
When the demi-god Taven arrived some time later in search of mystic armor hidden centuries ago, he inadvertently freed Frost. Sub-Zero was unable to pursue her as Noob Saibot and Smoke, with an army of cybernetic-oni warriors, attacked the temple. With Taven's help, Sub-Zero defeated the duo.

Like his brother before him; Sub-Zero remains dedicated to liberating the oni, Sareena, from the control of her master, Quan Chi. Though a demon, the assassin has shown an inner goodness that has seen her aid both the elder, and younger Sub-Zero in their journeys.

When Worlds Collide...
Having fought alongside the heroes of the Mortal Kombat and DC Universes; Sub-Zero opts to leave the corrupted Lin Kuei clan, renouncing his ways as a cold-hearted assassin. Despite his heroic turn, he finds himself uncomfortable alongside the forces of light, deciding instead to follow the inspiration of Batman, to become a solitary force for justice enshrouded in the cold of dark.

In the core MK universe, Sub-Zero left the Lin Kuei when they began forcing total cybernetic conversion on their warriors. For his betrayal he was pursued by mindless, programmed mechanical incarnations of his former allies.

Allies: Sareena, Kenshi, Raiden
Enemies: Quan Chi, Sektor, Noob Saibot, Smoke, Frost

Scorpion (Neutral)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat]
Year One: [1992] Group Affiliation: [Shirai-Ryu]
2008 Rank: [#287] Cumulative Rank: [#263]
Win Percentage: [20%] Our Odds: [100%]

Translation: Imagine Bruce Wayne died with his parents and came back from hell with devilish powers and a lust for revenge!

Secret Origin...
Hired to retrieve a map from the Himalayan mountains, the ninja called Scorpion did not know he was competing against a rival warrior, Sub-Zero, from the Lin Kuei clan, sworn enemy of the Shirai Ryu to which he belonged. When the pair met in combat, it was Sub-Zero who emerged victorious, leaving Scorpion's dishonored body as his soul plunged into the Netherealm. There; the ninja was given the opportunity to avenge both his death, and the apparent slaughter of his family and clan in his absence.

Scorpion subsequently emerged in the realm of living as a spectre embued with bizarre hellspawn powers and a lust for revenge. He used this to pursue Sub-Zero to the Mortal Kombat tournament where he succeeded in killing his rival, but little did the ninja know, his vendetta was with another -- the necromancer who secretly pitted him against his killer for personal gain -- Quan Chi!

Konquests & Mythologies...
As a vengeful spirit motivated by personal desire, Scorpion's initial role was minimal. After avenging his death by defeating Sub-Zero in the Mortal Kombat tournament, he promptly returned to the Netherealm. When his spirit did not pass, however, he soon learned of Sub-Zero's apparent return in the realm of Outworld, prompting another return for revenge.

In Outworld, Scorpion discovered a new Lin Kuei warrior whose technique and soul was honorable. He pledged an allegiance to the fighter that he is said to have repaid during Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm, during MK3. The relationship quickly dissolved, however, when the Netherealm master, Shinnok, returned to wage war on the gods that banished him to his infernal fate.

Scorpion, duped into believing Sub-Zero had in fact murdered his family and clan, resumed his quest for vengeance. Upon defeating Sub-Zero, however, he learnt of Quan Chi's deception. In an act of revenge and retribution, Scorpion turned the necromancer's magic against him, dragging him into the Netherealm with him.
There Scorpion pursued his nemesis with unwavering determination, forcing Quan Chi to enlist the aid of two oni, Moloch and Drahmin, in an effort to by himself time. During this period he discovered a portal leading to the lost tomb of the Dragon King where he discovered ancient runes telling of an invincible army.

Following to Outworld, Scorpion became involved in the battle with the Deadly Alliance. During his hunt for the necromancer, Scorpion was again forced to battle the combined powers of Drahmin and Moloch, who overpowered him, and thrust his hellacious body into a tunnel to the heavens, formed by Shang Tsung.

Though the purity of the realm nearly destroyed him, Scorpion was taken in by the Elder Gods, who offered a promise of resurrecting his family and clan should he succeed in serving as their new mortal champion. In Armageddon, the Shirai Ryu returned as undead, inspiring a new quest for vengeance in Scorpion, who felt he had been cheated by the Elder Gods.

When Worlds Collide...
Though the merged Dark Kahn entity was defeated, it's consciousness survived the destruction of it's body. The vengeful ninja spectre, Scorpion, proves a perfect vessel for the powerful spirit, something Scorpion appreciates as he undergoes his agonizing transformation.

The implication of Dark Kahn taking possession of Scorpion's body as a new vessel is reminiscent of a similar scenario proposed by a Deadly Alliance ending that had the Dragon King reborn into the body of Reptile.

Allies: NA
Enemies: Quan Chi, Noob Saibot

Sonya Blade (Good)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat]
Year One: [1992] Group Affiliation: [Special Forces]
2008 Rank: [#9] Cumulative Rank: [#34]
Win Percentage: [75%] Our Odds: [100%]

Translation: Checkmate foot soldier makes good!

Secret Origin...
Lieutenant Sonya Blade was a dedicated member of the US Special Forces when her partner was murdered during the pursuit of international career criminal, Kano. The loss drives Sonya the already fiercely dedicated lieutenant to pursue the Black Dragon leader with a personalized zeal. It is a loss that her reassigned partner, Major Jackson Briggs, can relate to.

When Sonya's vendetta takes her to Shang Tsung's island, she becomes involved with the Mortal Kombat tournament as one of Earth's chosen protectors. The battle results in her eventual abduction in Outworld, where she is reunited with partner, Jax. Together, their experiences with the other realms makes them perfect founders for the secret Outerworld Investigation Agency.

Konquests & Mythologies...
After Shang Tsung is defeated in Mortal Kombat; Sonya becomes part of a larger plot that sees both her and her nemesis, Kano, dragged into the dark plane of Outworld after battling Goro. A prisoner of the Emperor, Shao Kahn, the stubborn Sonya is forced to await aid from the forces of Earth, namely her partner, Jax.
When the Emperor is seemingly defeated, Jax and she attempt to arrest Kano, but the wile crook escapes to Outworld, where he pledges allegiance to Shao Kahn and offers to aid in the Emperor's plans of invasion.

When Kahn launched his attack on the Earthrealm, Sonya was protected from the decimation of souls, along with several other "chosen" warriors. As a soldier for Earth she was granted theportunity to battle Kano once more, famously tossing him from a skyscraper rooftop in a seemingly fatal encounter.

With Kano defeated, and Shao Kahn fought off, Jax and Sonya's Outerworld Investigation Agency dedicates itself to the broad task of protecting Earth from interdimensional threat, while also seeking to eradicate the remaining presence of the Black Dragon clan. When Shinnok began his war on the Elder Gods, Sonya and Jax were again thrust into combat, bringing her face-to-face with Kano's right-hand man, Jarek. The duo emerged victorious and inducted a new member into the OIA, a restored Cyrax.

Sonya and the OIA were forced once again to spring to action when the Earth's protectoral god, Raiden, delivered news of the Deadly Alliance between Shang Tsung and Quan Chi. The villainous pair's victory over Earth's warriors included the deaths of Sonya, Jax, and their comrades, who were all resurrected as the pawns of the newly returned Dragon King, Onaga. Sonya and her allies were freed from the monster's control by the spirit of Liu Kang, and the soul legion, Ermac.

With Onaga defeated, Sonya and Jax resume their roles with the OIA, bringing them into conflict with the newly formed clan of cyber-warriors, the Tekunin.
When Jax disappears on a recon mission, Sonya begins tracking the demigod, Taven, who had been captured by Sektor when she battled his Tekunin warship. Their encounter ends in antagonism, but Sonya's concern remains with the predicament of her missing partner. The conclusion of these events, which occur in 2006's Armageddon, remain unknown.

When Worlds Collide...
When a Green Lantern died during the merging of realms, the ring sought out a new host of worth and will -- special forces lietuenant, Sonya Blade! Though the ring grants her fantastic power, with the realms restored she is forced to use it sparingly, having no access to the central battery of Oa.

As distasteful as the balance of quality and quantity in the final product has been, the vague conceptual endings remain a highlight. Scenarios that bring together ideas from both universes, like Sonya as a Green Lantern, really is a very fun notion, and great fodder for a convicted sequel!

Allies: Jax, Johnny Cage, Cyrax, Kenshi, Raiden
Enemies: Kano, Mavado, Sektor, Jarek

Shang Tsung (Evil)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat]
Year One: [1992] Group Affiliation: [Outworld]
2008 Rank: [#2] Cumulative Rank: [#19]
Win Percentage: [71.43%] Our Odds: [75%]

Translation: Mordred with a higher success rate, and adult enemies!

Secret Origin...
Said to have been taught the mystic arts by the Emperor himself; Shang Tsung has maintained his existence and youth for hundreds of years through the regular consumption of souls. This greedy pursuit has brought the sorcerer into conflict with many warriors, such as the expert swordsman, Kenshi, whom he fooled into unlocking a family crypt within which held the souls of many powerful fighters.

As Shao Kahn's servant in Earthrealm, Shang Tsung oversaw the tournament during Outworld's most promising age. Observing the victory over then-champion, Kung Lao, by the Shokan warrior-prince, Goro; Tsung was responsible for bringing Outworld to the very brink of victory over five hundred years of fighting.

When Liu Kang defeated the champion in the vital tenth tournament of Outworld's tally, he ensured the safety of Earthrealm for at least another ten generations, by law of the Elder Gods. The treacherous sorcerer would not be so gracious in defeat, however, and retreated to Outworld where he and the Emperor began a manipulation to lure Earth's warriors to their dark realm, while plotting an invasion free from the rules of the tournament.

Konquests & Mythologies...
When Goro suffered his first defeat as champion of Mortal Kombat, Shang Tsung faced Liu Kang in battle, only to be defeated, also. The sorcerer fled to Outworld, where Shao Kahn and he plotted to lure the fighters into another tournament, this time staged on the grounds of the Emperor's dark realm. Shang Tsung pursued a plot of revenge, but once more failed to defeat Liu Kang in battle.

When Shao Kahn launched a full scale invasion on the realm of Earth, Shang Tsung was granted a final opportunity at redemption. Despite the turmoil of Outworld's invasion, Liu Kang again emerged victorious, forcing the sorcerer and his master to return to their realm defeated. Sometime after this, Shang Tsung was offered an alliance by Quan Chi, who proposed they combine their unique skills to resurrect the long forgotten invincible army of the Dragon King.

Together they succeeded in defeating and seemingly killing Liu Kang, Shao Kahn, and the forces of Earth, despite their suspicions of each other, but were challenged by Raiden, in the final hours before the return of Onaga. Upon the resurrected Dragon King's arrival, the trio formed a new alliance in desperation, but overwhelmed by Onaga, despite their combined powers and a suicidal expulsion of energy by Raiden.

The god's sacrificial blast inadvertently killed Shang Tsung, but returned his spirit to Shao Kahn, to whom he had pledged his soul hundreds of years before. Kahn's apparent death was in fact inflicted upon a decoy, and upon his resurrection, Shang Tsung pledged allegiance to Shao Kahn, awaiting an opportunity to harness new abilities, perhaps those of Blaze, to free himself. Until then, he would be bound to Kahn's alliance of evil, formed with Quan Chi, Onaga, and Shinnok.

When Worlds Collide...
Defeated by the powers of Shazam; Shang Tsung uses the blood on a torn piece of Captain Marvel's cape to embue a Tarkatan test subject with the same powers. The evil sorcerer uses his magic to create an army of mystically powered, savage warriors, with which he will dominate the realms.

I'm not sure I'm particularly comfortable with the implied pseudo-science of blood, or even Shang Tsung's ability to actually replicated powers conceived by the Wizard Shazam, but it's a fun ending, none the less! In a way, it almost seems to recall the ambitions of Shang Tsung's desire to aid in the resurrection of Onaga's invincible army, combining it with references to experimentation that gave birth to the fleshy minor character, Meat.

Allies: -
Enemies: Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Quan Chi, Onaga, Shao Kahn, Raiden, Kenshi

Liu Kang (Good)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat]
Year One: [1992] Group Affiliation: [Shaolin Monks]
2008 Rank: [#150] Cumulative Rank: [#354]
Win Percentage: [0%] Our Odds: [100%]

Translation: Think seveneties Richard Dragon, when a martial arts characters actually had a purpose! (Not quite as smart as Rich)

Secret Origin...
Trained by legendary Outworld drunken master, Bo' Rai Cho; Liu Kang was a Shaolin monk of the Temple of the Order of Light destined as one of the last descendents of Kung Lao to represent the Order in the sacred tournament of Mortal Kombat. Chosen to defend the final generation from a tenth victory by the forces of Outworld, Liu Kang not only faced the undefeated champion, Goro, but also the treacherous sorcerer, Shang Tsung, who had corrupted the competition.

Konquests & Mythologies...
Liu famously put an end to Goro's reign as champion of Mortal Kombat, defeating both the Shokan Prince, and his master, Shang Tsung, as well. His victory served to delay Shao Kahn's invasion plans only briefly, resulting in an attack on the Shaolin Wu Shi Academy by Baraka and the Tarkatan hordes. Both he and his martial arts brother, Kung Lao, fend off the assault before joining Raiden and the forces of light in Outworld to take the fight to the Emperor.

Aided by the Emperor's adopted step-daughter, Kitana, the forces of light triumphed over Shao Kahn. Despite Liu Kang himself defeating the Emperor, the villainous warlord would survive to launch a full scale invasion on Earth using a technicality facilitated by the resurrection of the Queen of Edenia, on Earth.
Kitana joined the fight against Shao Kahn and her resurrected mother, who had been corrupted in the Netherealm. Victory was once again Liu Kangs when he challenged and defeated Shao Kahn in kombat for a second time, forcing he and his armies to return to Outworld.

When the fallen Elder God, Shinnok, returned from banishment in the Netherealm to wage war on the gods through the liberated realm of Edenia - Liu Kang once again returned as champion of Mortal Kombat. Driven in part by a desire to rescue the captured Princess Kitana, Liu battled the powerful god as he had other warriors, proving victorious in kombat once again. The brave victory earned him a marriage proposal from the flirtatious princess, but with the burden of being champion of Earthrealm, Liu declined the royal invitation.

When Quan Chi proposed an alliance between he and Shang Tsung, the pair hatched a scheme to ambush Liu Kang whilst he trained at the Wu Shi Academy. Disguised by magic as Kung Lao, Tsung launched his attack, gaining the upper hand by way of intervention from Quan Chi. As the Deadly Alliance, their second act was to murder Liu Kang, allowing Shang Tsung to obtain the soul of his mortal nemesis.

When Raiden sacrificed himself in battle against the resurrected Dragon King, he inadvertently succeeded in killing Shang Tsung, and freeing the many souls he had consumed. While Kang's spirit wandered Outworld, his body was reanimated by a darker reborn Raiden, used as a tamed zombie pawn.
His spirit-form finds an ally in the legion being, Ermac, who aids him in his quest to save the forces of light who were killed by the Deadly Alliance and resurrected in servitude to Onaga. Despite his best efforts, he is unable, however, to find a way to be reunited with his decaying, enslaved body.

Liu Kang's fate beyond Armageddon remains unknown.

When Worlds Collide...
Upon unlocking the secrets of the Rock of Eternity, Raiden comes to understand the functionality of it's powers. He uses them to create a champion fashioned in same vein as Black Adam and Captain Marvel, using the powers of Earthrealm's pantheon of gods as inspiration. Liu Kang, embued with these new ethereal powers, need only cry his secret phrase to be enhanced, "Mortal Kombat!"

As with the Shang Tsung ending, I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of influences other than the Wizard Shazam's (or appropriate designate) divvying out the Captain Marvel powers. Still, as with the other endings that collide characters with a concept from their opposing realm, it's quite fun!

Allies: Kung Lao, Raiden, Kitana, Bo' Rai Cho, Kai, Nightwolf
Enemies: Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Goro, Quan Chi

Jackson "Jax" Briggs (Good)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat II]
Year One: [1993] Group Affiliation: [Special Forces]
2008 Rank: [#262] Cumulative Rank: [#588]
Win Percentage: [0%] Our Odds: [80%]

Translation: A militant version of Cyborg if he voluntarily had his daddy glue big pieces of metal to his body! Awwww yeeeeah!

Secret Origin...
Major Jackson Briggs was assigned to work alongside Lieutenant Sonya Blade after losing an entire Special Forces unit during a prison escape by members of the criminal organization, the Black Dragon clan. Having battled the clan's leader, Kano, into other realms, Jax is fuelled with a similar desire to his partner's to see justice done, but his method is far less impulsive.

When Sonya's pursuit of a once again escaped Kano inadvertently connects her to the ancient tournament of Mortal Kombat; Jax is forced to begin a search and rescue. When Shang Tsung's tournament island disappears, it is the surviving Johnny Cage who helps Jax return to Outworld, this time to rescue his partner.

Konquests & Mythologies...
Utilizing prototype cybernetics, Jax was among the first Special Forces agents to engage in interdimensional travel while pursuing the Black Dragon after an escape that costs the lives of multiple Agents. Jax succeeded in picking his way through No Face, Tasia, Tremor, Jarek, and eventually Kano, but both the Black Dragon leader, and his right-hand man, would prove difficult to detain.

Sonya's disappearance leads Jax back to Outworld where she and Kano were taken prisoner by the Emperor, Shao Kahn. The Major succeeds in discovering his partner, and upon their return to Earthrealm, they begin taking measures to prepare for an expected fullscale invasion by the forces of Outworld. Though ignored by their superiors, the pair prove right, and join Raiden and his forces of light in defending the survivors of Kahn's exterimnation squads.

Fitted with a new model of cybernetic arm enhancements, Jax, and Sonya, succeed in helping fend off the assault, earning the recognition of their superiors and peers. As a result of the event they become founding members of the Outerworld Investigation Agency, set-up to defend and anticipate threat of an interdimensional concern. Jax again follows his partner into trouble when the OIA become involved in defending Earth and Edenia from the fallen Elder God, Shinnok's, rise from the Netherealm.

The conflict of Shinnok's war against the gods brings the Special Forces duo into a brief alliance with Kano's successor, Jarek. The alliance is short lived and Jax comes into conflict with the criminal, who ultimately escapes. The OIA also make a discovery of a converted cybernetic Lin Kuei warrior called Cyrax, whom they aid in the restoration of his humanity and independent consciousness.

When the Deadly Alliance rise to threaten the realms, Jax finds himself distracted by the disappearance of his agents, Kenshi and Cyrax, and the revelation that Hsu Hao, a Mongolian recruit, was in fact a kamikaze double-agent working for the Red Dragon clan. Jax aids in combatting the forces of the Deadly Alliance, while also finding time to brutally kill Hsu Hao with the removal of a cybernetic heart implanted to disguise weaponry. Despite the victory, Jax is among the Earth heroes to perish at the hands of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, only to be resurrected in the service of the Dragon King upon his return.

Jax was liberated by the spirit of Liu Kang and Ermac, but later disappeared during a mission to investigate the crash site of a Tekunin Warship. The implication that the Tekunin leader, Sektor, might have used Jax' cybernetics to possess him, is but one possible outcome of an as yet undetermined fate.

When Worlds Collide...
Jax was mortally wounded in battle with the warriors of the DC Universe.
In order to survive he submits himself to mass cybernetic reconstruction, endowing himself with new, fully cybernetic enhancements. Though armor plated and more powerful than ever, Jax' gambit comes with the cost of his humanity.

The cost of humanity seems to be being interpreted in a quite wide range of ways online. While it might simply allude to the radical physical (and mental) change of reaplacing so much organic matter with metal, there is the MKA-esque conclusion that suggests some sort of more literal characterization.

About all I can offer is that he has not become a Teen Titan, which strikes me as peculiar, but presumably sponsored by some sort of cartoon episode.

Allies: Sonya, Cyrax, Kenshi, Johnny Cage, Raiden
Enemies: Kano, Jarek, Tremor, Hsu Hao, Sektor

Princess Kitana (Good)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat II]
Year One: [1993] Group Affiliation: [Edenia]
2008 Rank: [#105] Cumulative Rank: [#240]
Win Percentage: [50%] Our Odds: [85%]

Translation: Ares conquers Themyscira; drives Hippolyta to suicide; raises Wonder Woman as his own; lives to regret it. Karma, bitch!

Secret Origin...
Tens of thousands of years old, Princess Kitana is the daughter of King Jerrod and Queen Sindel, former rulers of the realm of Edenia. When she was but a child the warlord Emperor Shao Kahn invaded the realm, successfully merging it to become but a forgotten memory in the darkness of Outworld.

Her father died by Shao Kahn's hand, but her mother, who was forced to marry the Emperor in an associative political sham, eventually committed suicide.
This act allows Kahn to later see to the corruption of her soul, facilitating a resurrection that allows him to enter the Earthrealm. Kitana's knowledge of the events appear sacattered, but upon the arrival of Earthrealm's warriors in Outworld, she is granted the opportunity to rise up against her tyrannical step-father, and begin a battle to free Edenia.

Konquests & Mythologies...
When the warriors of Earthrealm arrive in Outworld, Kitana aids them, finally revealing her loyalties to truly lie with her lost homerealm of Edenia. Caught out by her conniving "sister" Mileena; truthfully a hideous doppelganger; the Princess is forced to join the battle proper, fighting her clone to a brutal defeat.

When Kahn finally launches his fullscale invasion on the realm of Earth, Kitana joins Raiden, Liu Kang, and the forces of Earth in attempting to curb his efforts. Kitana is able to sway the loyalty of her former bodyguad, Jade, while also using her connection to her mother, Sindel, to bring about an end to the battle. With Kahn driven back into Outworld, the forces of Edenia are able to capitalize, liberating their own realm from the tyrant's clutches. Celebrations are short lived, however, as the restored realm becomes a launching pad for the fallen Elder God, Shinnok, to begin a war against the gods who banished him to Netherealm.

Kitana is briefly taken prisoner, raising the ire of Earth's champions, but the Edenian Princess soon rejoins the fight. She defeats her surviving doppelganger, Mileena, once again, while aiding the forces of light in driving Shinnok back to the depths of his hellacious domain. The defeat ensures the continued prosperity of Edenia and while Kitana's proposal for Liu Kang to become her royal husband goes unfulfilled, she succeeds in ushering in a truce with the powerful Shokan and their Prince, Goro.

Peace proves shortlived, however, as Shinnok's minion, Quan Chi, returns as part of the Deadly Alliance with Shang Tsung. Kitana seeks training from the Outworld master, Bo' Rai Cho, whilst joining the warriors of Earthrealm in avenging a murdered Liu Kang and protecting the integrity of the realms from the pair of sorcerers. Alas; her efforts prove fruitless as she joins the other warriors in their death, only to be resurrected as a pawn of the Dragon King, upon his return in Earthrealm and defeat of the Deadly Alliance.

Kitana is restored by the efforts of Liu Kang's unwavering spirit, and the soul creature, Ermac. Kitana returns the favour by dedicating herself to the protection of Liu Kang's soul, seeking a way to reunite it with his body.

When Worlds Collide...
After suffering mass losses in Outworld; the surviving warriors of Edenian seek asylum in Earthrealm. Raiden grants them jurisdiction over Shang Tsung's island, where Kitana and her people can remain unseen by humanity. In honor of the Edenian god they rechristen their home, the former grounds of the Mortal Kombat tournament, Argus Island.

I don't think the parallels between Wonder Woman and Kitana were lost on anyone, but this strikes me as one of the least interesting endings. Other characters, like Baraka, suffer fairly brief concepts, but for MK fans, the already convoluted positioning of well known details is further complicated by the use of Shang Tsung's previously lost island. It's a minor quibble, but one that's there. Of all the endings, Kitana's inspires some of the least intrigue for a sequel.

Allies: Liu Kang, Sindel, Jade, Raiden, Kung Lao, Bo' Rai Cho
Enemies: Shao Kahn, Mileena, Onaga, Tanya, Rain

Raiden (Good)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat]
Year One: [1992] Group Affiliation: [Heavens]
2008 Rank: [#31] Cumulative Rank: [#54]
Win Percentage: [40%] Our Odds: [80%]

Translation: Black Lightning becomes a New God! Bzzzttt!

Secret Origin...
Among Raiden's secrets is his post at a previous realm that was lost during the fall of the Elder God, Shinnok. This indescretion is one that earns Raiden a special rivalry with the banished ruler of the Netherealm, whose path has crossed Raiden more than once, and informs his zealous defense of the Earth.

A god of thunder and lightning - Raiden is the chosen protector of the realm of Earth. Though sworn not to interfere in the destiny of mortals, the compassion Raiden experiences for humanity has characterized his tenure as one tumultuous ride. Ready to sacrifice godhood (or Elder godhood) for the sanctity of the human race, Raiden has often fought among the humans as a mortal himself.

Raiden gathers the greatest warriors of Earth, not only to fight in the ancient tournament of Mortal Kombat, but to meet head-on threats from other domains, as well.

Konquests & Mythologies...
Prior to obvserving him in Outworld's attempt at a tenth tournament victory; Raiden had dealings with the Lin Kuei warrior, Sub-Zero, as he struggled with the moral quandry of serving his clan and their employer, Quan Chi, and the greater good demanded by Raiden in his attempts to prevent the schemes of Shinnok.
The treachery of Shinnok's necromancer would ultimately bedevil both Raiden and Shinnok as replica medallions entered circulation to distract from the true amulet said to have been created by Shinnok millenia ago.

As one half of the Deadly Alliance, Quan Chi would use the true amulet in his attempts to control the invincible army of the forgotten Dragon King. Unbeknownst to all, of course, was a plot being hatched by the spirit of the very ruler, who would return to life to steal victory and reclaim his amulet and army.

Raiden accompanied the warriors of Earth to Outworld upon the Emperor's sham challenge after Liu Kang proved victorious over Goro and Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat. Though the forces of light would emerge victorious, Raiden's ignorance allowed Shao Kahn for hatch a plot to launch a fullscale invasion on the Earth upon the resurrection of a corrupted Sindel in that realm. When the Elder Gods refused to intervene, it was then that Raiden made a sacrifice of his immortality.

The gambit would pay off as Raiden's champions once again succeeded in fending off the forces of darkness, but an invitation to ascend to the status of Elder God is short lived. Raiden is among the few gods to escape Shinnok's wrath when he begins a war on the gods who banished him to the Netherealm -- an assault that nearly costs Raiden's wind manipulating counterpart, Fujin, his immortal life.

When the Deadly Alliance succeeded in killing the warriors of Earthrealm, Raiden was the only one left to stand against them. He proved a match for the pair, but when the resurrected Dragon King returned to reclaim his throne in Outworld, the protector god opted to forge an alliance of desperation with the two sorcerers.
Their combined might proved insufficient against the Dragon King, even when Raiden gathered his ethereal energies to performed a suicidal attack.

Though he would reform in the Heavens, Raiden's sacrifice has corrupted him with a new darkness. This new attitude cast ire in the direction of the manipulated warrior, Shujinko, who accidentally unleashed Onaga on the realm of the living once more, and saw Raiden desecrate Liu Kang's grave to raise his body as a zombie pawn to his whims. This corruption leads to a brief alliance with the Earth's nemesis' in an effort to protect the realm from Armageddon and any further attacks from the evils concerned.

When Worlds Collide...
His time in the DC Universe had somehow changed Raiden, who, upon returning to Earthrealm, found himself greatly weakened beneath the glare of Earth's yellow sun. Quan Chi seized on the opportunity, offering the god an amulet containing a mysterious green stone that could restore his power, in exchange for his servitude. The choice forces Raiden to decide between mortality, or evil.

Yes, this reaction to Earth's son is polar opposite to Superman's, but that does not make Raiden Bizarro. This conclusion, like some other details, manages to be a surprising throughline from recent iterations of the Mortal Kombat franchise.
Raiden's dance with the dark side has been an on-again/off-again relationship dating back to his sardonic condemnation of the Earth in the original 1992 game. Apparently all it took was the merging of Shao Kahn and the "real" Darkseid to push him over the edge, although, I'm sure Quan Chi had a hand in it, too, what with the convenience of his suspiciously kryptonite-esque solution.

Allies: Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Fujin, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Jax
Enemies: Shao Kahn, Shinnok, Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, Onaga

Kano (Evil)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat]
Year One: [1992] Group Affiliation: [Black Dragon]
2008 Rank: [#29] Cumulative Rank: [#91]
Win Percentage: [20%] Our Odds: [80%]

Translation: A little Dr. Light attitude; a little Deadshot fashion sense; a little Tasmanian Devil accent; a lot irredeemable bastard!

Secret Origin...
Involving himself in crime from a young age, Kano was an orphan who grew to become one of the world's most wanted men. His role as the leader of the ancient Black Dragon clan earnt him the attentions of the US Special Forces who he made special attempts to embarass. Kano was responsible for murdering the partner of Lt. Sonya Blade, and an entire unit overseen by Maj. Jackson Briggs. Kano's rivalry with the pair, particularly Sonya, has continued to influence his path, which ultimately involved bargaining his way into a position as General within the Outworld armies of Shao Kahn. Kano's expertise in weapons, technology, crime, and fighting, all prove as invaluable as his inherent penchant for survival and cunning.

Konquests & Mythologies...
Pursued by Sonya; Kano entered the Mortal Kombat tournament to escape his jailers and seek the legendary treasures said to be stowed on Shang Tsung's island. The irony of Kano's predicament was a situation that forced him to form a brief alliance with his arch-rival, Sonya, in a bid for survival against Prince Goro, and the savage wastelands of Outworld.

Captured after being trapped in Outworld via Shang Tsung's portal, Kano and Sonya became prisoners of the Emperor, only to be liberated by Sonya's partner, Jax, and the forces from Earthrealm. Kano, taken into custody, was able to escape deeper into Outworld, where he convinced the Emperor that his knowledge of Earth's weaponry would be valuabe in the invasion he was planning.

During the decimation of Earthrealm, Sonya Blade would have her chance to gain revenge against the Black Dragon warrior. Their infamous battle was said to have taken place atop a skyscraper roof, where, after seemingly gaining the upperhand, Kano was plunged to his doom by a head scissor that launched him to the streets below. Near death, fortunate smiled on Kano, as the centaur warrior, Motaro, was nearby to administer mystic healing.

Kano was to be one of the few men to witness the apparent downfall of Shao Kahn when the Deadly Alliance of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi launched an attack on a decoy. Despite proving to be a competent General for the Emperor, responsible for driving off the armies of Edenia, Kano pledged immediate allegiance to the new Outworld powers. Unknown to Kano, Quan Chi had employed the services of rival clansman, Mavado, with the promise of an opportunity to battle his Black Dragon counterpart.

Mavado's victory would force Kano into imprisonment once more, this time within the scientific fortress headquarters of the Red Dragon clan. There, Kano was subjected to torturous experiments researching the merger of man and dragon. Kano proves able to escape, benefitting once again from an unpleasant situation, now in the possession of strange new abilities.

When Worlds Collide...
Though the manipulative rage energies released into the chosen warriors of each realm was dissipated upon his defeat, they had already driven Kano to madness. Fuelled by the insanity of his anger, Kano distances himself from his allies and enemies alike, donning a Joker-esque mask of make-up, and a mantra that calls for the death of the sorcerer Shang Tsung.

Again, this conclusion, while not very expansive, offers a very interesting opportunity to blend certain concepts from the two universes. In our lead-up hype to the game, we saw fit to match some of the street level criminals of the MK universe with DC counterparts [ie; Round 7]. Jokano could surely be an interesting twist for a sequel game, and it's always interesting to see the villains of each universe squabble amongst themselves!

Allies: Jarek, Shao Kahn, Quan Chi
Enemies: Sonya, Jax, Daegon, Mavado

Baraka (Evil)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat II]
Year One: [1993] Group Affiliation: [Outworld]
2008 Rank: [#120] Cumulative Rank: [#280]
Win Percentage: [0%] Our Odds: [50%]

Translation: Bizarro would am sure to hate Baraka!

Secret Origin...
In the wastelands of Outworld roam a species of nomadic violent warriors called the Tarkata. Born of relations between oni demons and denizens of Outworld, these mutant creatures possess savaged organic weaponry - such as retractable blades in their wrists - and an insatiable lust to use them. Though unrefined, the Tarkatan warrior called Baraka has proven his worth against the greatest warriors from across the realms -- even a descendent of the great Kung Lao!

Despite his erratic and savage nature, Baraka leads the other Tarkata in the service of the Emperor, Shao Kahn, making up a value number of his vast army.

Konquests & Mythologies...
After Liu Kang's victory in his first Mortal Kombat; Baraka led the Tarkatan hordes in a slaughterus assault on the Shaolin Temples of the Wu Shi Academy. The attack sent a vile message to the warriors of light, who were then duped by Shao Kahn into attending a challenge in the realm of Outworld. The plot would ultimately end in the Emperor's defeat, as would a subsequent invason on the Earthrealm, in which Baraka plays a minimal part.

Baraka travelled alone, only to return during Shinnok's ascendance in Edenia, where the Tarkatan warrior accepted Quan Chi's attempts to lure him into his service. Baraka clashed with the Shaolin Monk, Kung Lao, only to ultimately turn on his new master.

Upon the Dragon King's return to the realm of Outworld, the nomadic warrior would find yet another new master. Seemingly a passenger to events once again, Baraka would unwittingly have significant influence on the battle in Outworld, freeing the mutant clone, Mileena, who would in turn delay Edenian forces by posing as the woman she was created after, Princess Kitana. The act is but one of Baraka's love-hate encounters with the mutant clone.

When Worlds Collide...
Dark Kahn's defeat seemingly puts an end to the permeating rage his dark energies inspired in the chosen warriors. This, however, proves untrue for Baraka and the endless hordes of Tarkatan warriors. In them the rage grows, inspiring a new level of bloodlust that inspires a tradition of smearing the blood of their enemies across their mishapen foreheads. Red is their colour as they march across the realms, destroying indescriminitely.

Even in a hypothetical ending in a game of little consequence, Baraka struggles to really get a break. Despite being one of the most vivid creations unique to Mortal Kombat, the Tarkatan warrior just never seems to get a break. His original ending described his turn on Shao Kahn that led to his reign as King Baraka, master of mutants. While the aspirations have remained, it seems Baraka is stuck in an endless cycle of meaningless servitude and betrayal.

Here he manages to avoid playing the betrayal-monkey, but loses identity in the mass of Tarkatans whose design disappointingly took on unexpected similarity post-MKII. Should "MK8" find it's way to shelves sometime in the next couple of years, we can only hope Baraka gets a shot at a more involving and individual role. He is an icon to be sure, but one that deserves more.

Allies: Shao Kahn, Mileena, Onaga
Enemies: Kung Lao, Mileena, Quan Chi

Shao Kahn (Evil)
First Appearance: [Mortal Kombat II]
Year One: [1993] Group Affiliation: [Outworld]
2008 Rank: [#7] Cumulative Rank: [#26]
Win Percentage: [80%] Our Odds: [70%]

Translation: Lives in a nightmarish world merged with a paradise and spends his time plotting Earth's destruction from afar. A match made in heaven for Darkseid!

Secret Origin...
Shao Kahn's true history remains unknown, but as an advisor to the Dragon King, it is known that he was responsible for poisoning the ruler before he was able to attain immortality through the blood of an infant dragon. It is said that Shao Kahn was once a force for something resembling good, but since taking the throne, his reputation has grown as one of the fiercest conquerers in all the realms.

As ruler of Outworld he succeeded in merging many realms, most notably the paradise world of Edenia. After killing the Edenian King, he took their Queen as a wife and adopted her daughter, Kitana, but drove the mother to suicide. Despite this, Kahn raises Kitana as his own, until her ultimate betrayal.

Konquests & Mythologies...
Forbidden to enter the realm of Earth by the Elder Gods; Kahn is forced to send his emmisary, Shang Tsung, to represent his desires in the act of Mortal Kombat. For decades a great warrior named Kung Lao defended the realm, but when Shang Tsung assumed great power over the tournament, the induction of Goro saw an undefeated streak for Outworld over nine generations -- five hundred years!

With the vital tenth tournament providing Shao Kahn and his armies free entry into the realm of Earth, it is the emergence of Kung Lao's descendent, Liu Kang, that puts an end to Outworld's campaign. Despite the defeat of Goro and Shang Tsung; the Emperor launches several contingencies, namely a challenge to the warriors of Earth, whom he provokes with assaults on the Shaolin Temples, and convinces must attend or suffer a defeat through forfeit.

Kahn would ultimately taste the same defeat dealt to his minions, but the Emperor's grand schemes included a deal with Shinnok to resurrect the corrupted soul of his dead Queen, Sindel. The mystic plot allowed Kahn to breach the threshold to reclaim his wife from Earthrealm and lay waste to it, in the process.
His extermination squads spread across the realm as all but a protected few are consumed in the relentless destruction of body and souls.

Liu Kang succeeds in defeating the Emperor once more, while Princess Kitana, reunited with her mother, frees Sindel of the Emperor's influence. This not only forces Kahn back to Outworld, but facilitates a rebellion that finally seperates Edenian from the dark realm of Outworld. The defeat weakens Kahn greatly and forces him to refocus his attentions on retaining the throne of Outworld.

When Shang Tsung and Quan Chi form the Deadly Alliance, Shao Kahn is their first target. Seemingly killed by the two; Kahn secretly hid in his weakened state, leaving a decoy to be destroyed by the sinister sorcerers. After tempting the Shokan Prince, Goro, back into his service, Kahn returns to reclaim his title, now taken by the resurrected Dragon King. Kahn proves successful in capitalizing on the successes of the Earth warriors, but come Armageddon, is forced to forge an alliance with all who would seek to steal his throne.

When Worlds Collide...
Too powerful to remain left unchecked, Shao Kahn is banished the limbo prison of the Phantom Zone. There, the energies of this strange universe embue the Outworld Emperor with an increasing strength. Kahn easily breaks free from the prison realm, bringing with him the countless Kryptonian criminals imprisoned throughout time. Grateful for their release, this army of powerful warriors pledge swarn allegiance to kneel before Shao Kahn.

It was the militant parallels of Shao Kahn and General Zod that led to our pairing in the speculative lead-up to the game [Round 10], so it seems all too fitting that Kahn's final fate lie in the Phantom Zone. An ending like this might be too expansive to follow-up on under conventional approach, but like others, it's an intriguing prospect. Those interested in the implications of an army of potentially evil Kryptonians could check out Geoff Johns' New Krypton storyarc currently running in issues of Superman, Action Comics, and Supergirl.

Frankly, I'm still a little disappointed one of Superman's "heroic brutalities" wasn't the summoning of a wacky two-dimensional pyramid portal to the Phantom Zone, but what're you gonna do? Fight mechanics just aren't MK's thing!

Allies: Reiko, Reptile, Baraka, Goro, Kintaro, Motaro
Enemies: Raiden, Shang Tsung, Onaga, Quan Chi, Liu Kang

For more on Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe, check out the official website, our Q&A interviews with Jimmy Palmiotti and Hans Lo, and our series of character spotlights and discussions: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, clues special, dark kahn, bonus one, two, three, & four!

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