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Comic Book / Malibu Comics' Mortal Kombat

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So what's weirder to point out about this, Sonya about to marry Shao Kahn, or Kahn not wearing his famous skull helmet?

Malibu Comics' adaptation of the infamously violent Fighting Game series by Midway, Mortal Kombat lasted surprisingly longer than their previous adaptation attempt based off of Street Fighter, most likely because the bar of controversy was set so high by Midway. In effect, the comics ended up being tamer than the games.

The comic stated in October 1994 with the Mortal Kombat: Blood and Thunder miniseries with a prequel, Issue '0 released in December. Although the series first adapted the story of the first game, it would later go far down its own route and forge its own storyline for the first two games.

This article is about the Malibu series. For the official comics based off of 1, 2, 4 and Deception, click here.


Tropes used in this series:

  • Achey Scars: Sub-Zero has a throat injury from when he first battled (and killed) Scorpion. It flares up whenever Scorpion is nearby.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Zaggot uses this trope to create the Kombatant, a huge malevolent construct of chaos that uses the entire Mortal Kombat cast's powers.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Well, Anti-heroism, but in any case, Baraka. In the games he's Shao Kahn's (and sometimes Mileena's) loyal soldier and killer. In the comics, he's instead part of a rebel group consisting of himself, Kung Lao, Sub-Zero and Kitana. At the end of Battlewave, this leads to the completely paradoxical sight of Baraka being counted among the heroes' roster. That said, his belligerent, anti-social nutbar nature put him at odds with the others more often than not. He even willingly protects a baby, if only so he has something to fight for. Eventually, Baraka snaps and goes off on his own.
    • Played utterly straight with Noob Saibot, who in the comics is not a corrupted resurrected Sub-Zero the older, but a separate being who appears in Baraka's oneshot issue, tells Baraka of the baby Nania's great destiny he has ahead of him and takes Nania away when the immediate danger (Scorpion) has passed.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Scorpion seems to be a far more evil character here, willingly becoming one of Shao Kahn's generals.
    • Played straight with Jade and Smoke, who are Shao Kahn's assassins as well as a deadly duo. At the time, neither character had an official backstory, although Smoke does make an appearance as one of the younger Sub-Zero's Lin Kuei comrades in the official Midway comic tie-in to Mortal Kombat II, but one could easily miss the single line in which his name is said.
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  • Artifact of Doom: The Tao Te Zhan, a book that grants incredible power to whoever solves its many riddles.
  • Badass Normal: Bo doesn't seem to have any supernatural fighting abilities at all save for his incredible endurance and strength. For one thing, he helps fight off Goro in his debut, and in Tournament Edition #2, he beats Reptile with a broken freakin' arm. The only reason he didn't win the whole thing? He knew he couldn't go on and sat the rest of the medallion race out...using Reptile as the seat.
  • Balls of Steel: In Tournament Edition #1, Johnny Cage tries groin-punching Baraka, who doesn't even flinch.
  • BFG: Abacus provides Goro with one to destroy Zaggot's Kombatant.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ultimate conclusion to the Rayden & Kano three parter. Kano blows his chance at redemption by allowing Shao Kahn to destroy the Ebbonrule, a sword powered by redemption, is imbued with incredible power as his reward and betrays Raiden. At the very least he deprives Shao Kahn of the chance to finish Raiden himself by throwing the Thunder God through a portal back to Earthrealm and implies that Raiden's gambit could have in fact worked, but now they'll never know. Raiden himself also comes to hate the Balance Between Good and Evil, making this an Early-Bird Cameo of sorts to Raiden's changes in Deception, Armageddon and MKX.
  • Blood Knight: Baraka. His one-shot issue plays with this in that protecting the baby Nania was the greatest thing he ever had to fight for, and he feels alone and sad after Noob Saibot warps Nania to safety after rescuing her from Scorpion.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The violence was toned down, though less so than the cartoon or Conquest TV series, as some deaths got quite violent including Scorpion killing Siang and Kano killing Sparky.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Johnny Cage apparently anticipated the sort of crowd that would gun for Liu Kang's head once the latter became MK champion and, whether Liu needed one or not, assigns him a bodyguard named Bo. Bo is thankfully pretty damn badass himself even if he's facing down golems, demons and magical ninjas, so Liu's still in good hands.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Happens to Sonya courtesy of Reptile. She ends up forced to marry Shao Kahn to provide a way for him to enter Earthrealm.
  • Canon Foreigner: Several, such as Bo, a bodyguard that Johnny Cage sends to protect Liu Kang after the latter becomes the Champion of Mortal Kombat, Hydro, Sub-Zero's Lin Kuei partner who ends up killed by Scorpion, and Sing and Sang, two Shaolin monks who were originally chosen to represent the Temple of Light in the tournament, who could fuse into a far more powerful warrior called Siang.
  • Canon Immigrant: Jerrod, the late king of Outworld (later retconned to Edenia) before Shao Kahn's conquest, made his first physical appearance in the Kitana and Mileena one-shot, after being only mentioned by name in one ending in Mortal Kombat 3 (which came out only months before the one-shot comic). The design from the comic made appearances in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance concept art and in the current mobile game.
    • Hydro was created for the comics, and went on to make an appearance as a Cyber Lin Kuei in Mortal Kombat: Legacy and even a cameo in Mortal Kombat 11 as a modifier in the Towers of Time mode.
    • Not a character but a concept: The Goro: Prince of Pain miniseries features a chaos god called Zaggot and an order god called Abacus. While Abacus and Zaggot themselves do not show up, the idea of Order vs. Chaos would later feature in Mortal Kombat: Deception.
    • Another concept that would later be introduced would be Jax's bionic arms. In Blood & Thunder, Sonya's partner Lance was equipped with one bionic arm. In the later Special Forces comics (not related to the video game of the same name), there was also Torque, who had two fully robotic arms. Torque's robotic arms would later be the basis for Jax's arms in the reboot.
  • Catchphrase: Smoke's "Toasty!"
  • The Chosen One: Surprisingly not Liu Kang at first. The Shaolin Monks first place their hope in Sing and Sang, but Liu Kang convinces them to let him join the tournament as well.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Sub-Zero faces a six-armed Shokan called Grum...and beats him in about half a second by freezing and kicking him into a million pieces.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Goro decides not to fight the chaos god Zaggot and turns his back on him, choosing instead to fulfill his duty as MK Champion and get back to Shang Tsung's island. Without the chaos of battle to thrive upon, Zaggot shrinks and shrinks 'til Goro simply eats him. Not that this kills Zaggot, but still.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Apparently Scorpion risks an eternity of oblivion for coming back to get revenge on Sub-Zero. This doesn't stop him coming back even after Sub-Zero defeats him, despite Scorpion himself saying earlier that if he loses to Sub-Zero again, it's oblivion for him.
  • Fusion Dance: Sing and Sang could fuse into the warrior Siang. When Sang is killed during Goro's forceful separation of the brothers in Blood & Thunder. Sing eventually decides to permanently fuse with him thereafter.
  • Get It Over With: A heroic example from Sub-Zero in the last issue of Battlewave. When he sees Scorpion bearing down on him, he pretty much dares Scorpion to kill him dishonorably, since Sub-Zero's already pretty tired out from beating frigging Goro. Unfortunately it doesn't stop Scorpion immolating Sub-Zero...and THAT doesn't stop Sub-Zero from securing victory for Earthrealm by claiming Shao Kahn's dragon medallion.
  • God of Order: Abacus is the God of Order, who resembles an old librarian and is in opposition to God of Chaos Zaggot.
  • Heel Realization: Johnny Cage, on the cusp of solving the last riddle of the Tao Te Zhan, has one of these courtesy of Raiden. Cage had joined the tournament to prove he wasn't a fraud and if he did indeed solve the book's last riddle and take for himself the ultimate power of that book, he really would be the fraud the press made him out to be.
  • Hulk Speak: How Baraka talks.
  • Hypnotize the Captive: Shao Kahn attempts to use one of these to conquer Earthrealm. When he learns a marriage between an Earthrealm human and an Outworlder such as him will be enough to weaken the dimensional barriers, he has Reptile brainwash Sonya. Thankfully the heroes foil this just in time. This would later be revealed to not have been the first time he did something like this.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Played with in Kung Lao's oneshot. After having some fun harassing Kung Lao by morphing into some of his allies, Shang Tsung decides to twist the knife further by morphing into Lao's ancestor, the Great Kung Lao. This backfires on him since suddenly, GKL's own soul begins to take charge and beg his descendant to "free him", which Kung Lao does by kicking the morphed Tsung's neck in. This finally frees GKL's soul allowing him to go to heaven at last. So in essence its not so much Kung Lao trying to rouse his ancestor's spirit from inside his ancestor's own body so much as GKL instead being somewhere inside Shang Tsung's own body and acknowleding he's inside Tsung, asking Lao to "free him" the old fashioned way but the effect is much the same.
  • In-Universe Nickname: Goro is usually nicknamed "The Prince of Pain."
    • Raiden is also referred to as "The Storm Warrior" from time to time.
  • Mirror Match: Hilariously tried to justify the first game's concept in Blood & Thunder by having Sonya and Johnny Cage meet an Outworld village leader who looked exactly like Sonya. And her name is Aynos, to boot! Now, while her looking the same isn't unreasonable, what's truly ridiculous is that she wears the exact same outfit for no discernible reason.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Small scale one: Sing fusing with his dead brother Sang forever might have helped if not for the fact that being half-dead still meant Siang was controllable by Shao Kahn's Deathstone relic. In the end, Scorpion decides to break the Deathstone, thus freeing Siang...and then killing him because "only the dead are free."
  • Only Smart People May Use The Tao Te Zhan: And even then Shang Tsung had to brute force the book open.
  • Off-Model: Some issues were drawn by Kiki Santamone/Chansamone and they tend to look...rather bad, even by 90's standards. Squished faces, bad proportions and other such errors abound in his artwork.
  • Order vs. Chaos: The premise of the Goro: Prince of Pain Comics, where Goro's trapped between the machinations of Order God Abacus and Chaos God Zaggot.
  • Purple Prose: Most issues have a narration written in this style about whoever's on the first page. And they always seem to state the same facts. As 4thLetter puts it, they really want you to know that Goro is eight feet tall.
    He is just what he appears to be: a 2,000 year-old half human dragon. Over eight feet of muscle and power and destruction, he has remained undefeated in battle for over 500 years. He won the title of grand master by defeating Kung Lao, a fighting monk from the ancient Order of Light. Those are the facts, but there is one more thing to know about Shang Tsung’s monstrous servant: to know him is to fear him.
  • Redemption Quest: The Rayden & Kano miniseries, which focuses on Rayden trying to use a legendary sword used by the founder of the Black Dragon Clan to purge the evilness within Kano and banish the Emperor of Outworld. It is averted near the end when Shao Kahn and Kano agree to exchange the sword for Kano gaining the Emperor's almost godlike power in order to fight Rayden.
  • Refused the Call: Goro in issue #0 is given an offer by Raiden to join the good guys which he refuses.
    Goro: I've told you before, Storm Warrior. I am a creature of darkness. The light bothers me. You bother me.
  • Riddle Me This: The Tao Te Zhan's entire gimmick is seven riddles.
    • "You may swallow me, but I may swallow you." Answer: Water. Solved by Liu Kang.
    • "Ten men’s length, ten men’s strength. Ten men can’t bear it, yet a little boy walks off with it." Answer: Rope. Solved by Scorpion.
    • "What is it that overcomes you and you never see it?" Answer: Sleep. Inadvertently solved by Johnny and Sonya.
    • "What bridge is built without any stone or wood?" Answer: Ice. Solved by Sub-Zero.
    • The fifth riddle was unknown, since Sub-Zero had solved it off-panel.
    • "What is it that is larger than a house, and yet seems much lesser than a mouse?" Answer: A star in the sky. Solved by Johnny Cage.
    • "What belongs to you, but others use it more than you do?" Answer: One's own name. Almost solved by Johnny Cage before he had a change of heart. Solved afterward by Goro.
  • Scary Black Man: Jax, naturally, as well as Bo. They're both good guys.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Sonya's doppelganger mentioned in Mirror Match is called Aynos. Yep.
  • Secret Diary: Kitana & Mileena has Kitana uncover a secret journal written about King Jerrod (who ruled Outworld instead of Edenia as later canon would state) that chronicled what happened before Shao Kahn's takeover. Surprisingly, Shao Kahn not only doesn't mind this, but he further explains how he not only killed Jerrod but also molded Kitana to be his assassin and how he made Mileena. He then removes her memories of this entire incident and tells her that It Was All A Dream.
  • Sibling Fusion: Sing and Sang are brothers who can fuse together into one being.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Interestingly, the Sub-Zero in this comic series is the older Sub-Zero brother, Bi-Han, who survives the events of the first game. He eventually dies at the hands of Scorpion in the last issue of Battlewave but not before securing a vital victory for Earthrealm. The younger Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang) is only seen at the very end of Tournament Edition #2, vowing to honor his brother's legacy.
  • Sssnaketalk: Reptile.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: The Mortal Kombat Super Book is about a kid who gets sucked into an MK II arcade machine after swearing to beat Raiden with his next continue. He pretty much gets his ass kicked by a chunk of the cast, including Kano, who wasn't in the game.
  • Third-Person Person: A rather concerning amount of characters use this at one point or another, making it all the more unintentionally ironic when the answer to the Tao Te Zhan's last riddle, "What belongs to you yet others use it more than you do" is "your name." And it's solved by Goro, who was one of the most frequent users of this trope.
  • Two Beings, One Body: Comic-exclusive character Siang is made by the fusion of twin Shaolin Monks Sing and Sang. This does get tampered with when one of the twins dies, forcing them to be merged permanently. When a dead-controlling stone gets introduced, Siang becomes partially under its control because of the merger.
  • The Unchosen One: Liu Kang starts off as this in the comic series. The Shaolin order have assigned Sing and Sang to fight in the tournament thanks to their fusion power, but Liu convinces them to let him tag along as well. Then Sing and Sang bite it, fasttracking Liu's promotion to Chosen One.
  • The Worf Effect: Siang (Sing and Sang fused) is built up to be the ultimate warrior of good and light over Blood & Thunder. Once he's introduced... Goro kills him in about 2 pages flat.