DC Comics

“Kombat Time!”: A Mortal Kombat Comics Retrospective (Part 2)

Hello, my friends.  With so many bloody battles behind us, the biggest fight is yet to come and it shall be as harrowing as the four-cornered panels can contain.  On that note, I welcome you to the final part of my special series called…

In the initial part of this historical look back upon the franchise’s expansion into the realm of comics, we’ve had a pair of collector’s editions that helped lay the initial groundwork for its first two outings, a now-defunct company doing its own expansive take on those two exact games while also adding some creative touches upon it and a pair of prequel comics that came within the same games that they were promoting.  For our last look at books serving as tie-ins to this series, we now venture into the 2010s as we start to focus on one singular game.  Before we get there however, we need to quickly mention one entry in particular.

2011’s “Mortal Kombat” (a.k.a. “Mortal Kombat 9”) was a major reboot to the series.  Initially picking up right where “Armageddon” left off, it turns out that every fighter had lost their lives with Shao Kahn smiting Blaze and emerging as the ultimate victor.  With him fully-powered up, he’s about to finish Raiden off for good.  Fortunately, the Thunder God uses his shattered amulet to send a message back to his past self (particularly from the events of the first game) that says “He Must Win”.  From there, that version of Raiden slowly tweaks what originally happened during the events of the initial Mortal Kombat trilogy, like saving Smoke from his automated fate though at the cost of the Kuai Liang version of Sub-Zero, before he ultimately realizes that it’s not Liu Kang who’s supposed to emerge victorious during the events of MK3, but it’s actually meant to be Shao Kahn.  Due to the evil emperor attempting to merge Earthrealm into Outworld without having to go through the whole Mortal Kombat procedure, the Elder Gods then imbue Raiden with the power to smite Shao Kahn from existence.  Afterwards, he begins to help Earthrealm rebuild from the attacks.  Now, we get to our featured game for this article: “Mortal Kombat X”.  It originally came out for iOS on April 7, 2015, the PlayStation 4, X-Box One & Microsoft Windows one week later and finally on Android around the world in May.  In that game, Shinnok has returned and is looking to corrupt Earthrealm’s life force called the Jinsei.  Not only that, but he has his own revenant warriors that consists of familiar faces that’ve previously fallen in battle.  As such, it’s going to take some familiar fighters and even a younger generation of combatants to stop this scheme.

From January to November 2015, DC would publish a 12-issue tie-in series for the game.  Shawn Kittelsen would write every single chapter of this tale, while the artistic duties would be spread amongst various people.  Dexter Soy would work on Issues 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, & 11.  With Igor Vitorino, he would share his duty with Oclair Albert for Parts 3 & 12, work with Daniel Sampere on Issue 6 and handle Part 10 by himself.  As for Sampere himself, he would go solo for Issues 7 & 8.  So, how will this comic handle the fatal stakes within this entry?  Let’s step into the ring one last time and find out.

We open with the prelude to the initial story arc called “Blood Ties” as many years ago, a young boy named Takeda is being carried by a blind swordsman named Kenshi.  As they dash through the Himalayan Wilderness, the child notices several arrows flying towards them.  Kenshi manages to telekinetically use his sword (known as the Sento) to slice through the incoming projectiles.  Unfortunately, one of the arrows manages to strike him in his leg as they’re soon met upon by Hsu Hao and his fellow men.  After he tells Takeda to run, Kenshi is told that he’ll pay for betraying the Red Dragon before they proceed to fight each other.  Back with Takeda, he’s ultimately met upon by an enemy agent whose father apparently left a scar on his face.  Just as he intends to send him to an Outworld slaver for a hefty pay, he gets killed by a familiar kunai spear and chain piercing through his neck.  Back with Kenshi, he gets defeated as Hsu Hao mocks him for hiding within the wilderness.  However, Kenshi says that he was actually trespassing before the kunai spear & chain flies in and pierces Hsu Hao in his cybernetic heart.  He then gets pulled in before Scorpion shatters his head with a fierce punch.  Hanzo then tells the opposing men to leave, since they’re trespassing on the Shirai Ryu’s territory.

Later, Kenshi and Takeda get brought to the group’s temple.  Kenshi asks Hanzo how he’s found all of these fighters, to which he explains that he brought in those who lost their loved ones in the “NetherRealm War” and molds them into better fighters.  Kenshi then introduces Takeda as his son, but Scorpion tells him that he doesn’t have a kin of his own.  However, Kenshi says that he actually does before he explains how he found out.  During a flashback, he explains that he went undercover in order to find the Red Dragon’s leader named Daegon.  Unfortunately, his cover got blown.  Later at a hidden temple within Japan, he would spend the next several weeks cranking a generator in order to charge up his satellite phone that only one other person is able to call him on, which turns out to be Lt. Sonya Blade.  She would inform him that the Red Dragon had a message about him having a son who lived over near Lampang, Thailand, which had facts that added up to him.  While he tried to get there as soon as he could, the Red Dragon arrived as the mother named Suchin manages to fight back.  Though she’s more than capable of slaying the opposing agents, one of them was able to shoot her in the chest and kill her.  He would ultimately arrive too late and acquire his son as we shift back to the present.  Later, Takeda is being put to bed as the boy in unsure about his safety while in Scorpion’s care.  Kenshi assures him that Hanzo has been wrestling his own demons before he’s forced to tell the kid that his mother is never returning.  Sometime later, Takeda is asleep as Kenshi tells Scorpion that he’s leaving in order to find Daegon and learn about the boy & his murdered mother.  He also wants the kid to think that his mom died accidentally out of fear that he would run away with vengeance in his heart.  Hanzo tells him that it’s wrong for him to lie, while Kenshi say that it’s entirely for the boy’s safety and that they’re aware of what can come when someone has some “vengeance without discipline”.  We then shift to the next morning as Takeda tries to run away, but Scorpion manages to reach him and tells him that he’s a survivor.  However, no one in his clan is allowed to run away and that they must fight.

Over at a Red Dragon temple near Linxia, China, the group finds themselves under attack due to someone wanting a knife that they own.  Soon enough, it’s discovered that the perpetrator is Sub-Zero as he demands for the lone surviving figure to let him into their vault.  Once he gets inside however, he notices that the chamber is completely empty.  He then demands for a certain dagger so that he can give it to Raiden.  Suddenly, he gets blasted by a particular eye beam as Kano captures him and uses said dagger on Kuai’s facial scar before he thanks him for taking care of the Red Dragon for him.  He then says that the Thunder God lied to him and that he should know about the curse that lies within the blade known as the Kamidogu.

We then shift to several years ago over at the Shirai Ryu Temple as Scorpion looks over a fight between Takeda and Fox.  The latter proceeds to lay a bloody beatdown upon the boy before he helps him back up.  However, they immediately get back to their brawl.  Years go by as their constant fights against each other has molded them into better fighters.  During one match-up, Takeda is able to dodge some hits and manages to briefly get the best of him.  However, Fox ultimately puts him in a hold and orders him to submit, despite taking a hit to his nose.  Ultimately, Hanzo stops the fight in favor of Fox.  He then asks Takeda if he’s satisfied with losing.

Despite the young man mentioning that he’s gotten agile, Scorpion tells him that he’s not taking advantage of striking first.  He then tells Takeda that if he’s not going to train as a warrior, then he’ll get sent into the wild in order to fend for himself.  Fox then says that such a survival situation would help their comrade rise to the occasion, to which Hanzo assigns him as Takeda’s protector.  Just as Fox agrees, he starts to hear a devious voice in his head.  Later, Scorpion talks to Takeda about how he had a visitor to his temple.  It turns out that Raiden stopped by during a moment when Hanzo had the particular dagger that was given to him by the Thunder God.  He then warns Scorpion that the recent NetherRealm invasion has damaged cosmic barriers that protects Earthrealm.  Before he was able to fix them, a powerful demon managed to break through.  Not only that, but it’s looking to disarm their champions, especially since recent events has left them with much fewer fighters.  From there, he heads out to go warn their remaining combatants.

Back in the present, Hanzo tells Takeda that if he ever comes across said demon, then he should refrain from hesitating with his own kill strike.  After Scorpion takes his leave, Fox tells Takeda that he’s serious and that they should be safe hanging out with the rest of their fellow warriors.  Laer on, night has fallen as the entire clan sleeps in their quarters.  Suddenly, Fox gets snapped out of his slumber by the same devious voice who tells him to fulfill the “Blood Code”.  He ends up getting consumed by said voice as he breaks into the vault and takes the dagger.  Not only that, but he proceeds to cut away at his face.  Afterwards, he returns with his face completely cut off and holds Takeda up at knife point.  It’s also revealed that he’s executed all of their comrades before he tells the young man that they’re going to find Scorpion and prove that they’re “not afraid of death”.

It’s eventually revealed that the possessed Fox has captured Hanzo via mental entropy that’s powered by his own poison collection.  Fox then says that because Hasashi has spent so many years trying to maintain control over his vengeful spirit, him losing his own clan of warriors would be devastating.  As such, Fox wants Takeda to put him out of his misery.  Meanwhile, we cut to “a lifetime ago” in Japan as Scorpion fights off several opposing members of the Lin Kuei.  Ultimately, he finds out that his wife Kana and his son Jubei were frozen to death.  Afterwards, their bodies get shattered by the Bi-Han version of Sub-Zero as he tell Hasashi that he’s lost everything and he also wants to know how that makes him feel.  Fortunately, Hanzo realizes that even though his adversary has meticulously recreated this personal low-point, he knows that his frosty foe had never asked him about his “feelings”.  As his surroundings wrap around him, he then says that it’s just a painful memory to him.

Back in reality, Takeda refuses to execute his master.  Fox argues that Scorpion has favored all of his other fighters before he chastises him for not being one.  Fox even says that his Scorpion side is far worse, yet Takeda grabs a nearby whip and uses it to attack him.  However, Fox simply blasts him away.  Fortunately, Hanzo breaks out of his state and grabs Fox by his neck, even stripping him of the dagger.  From there, he spits some fire from his mouth and stabs Fox in his heart.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t phase him as he also blasts Scorpion away.  He then says that he grows stronger with every drop of spilled blood before he chastises Hanzo for not knowing about the dagger’s true power or even its connection to Quan Chi.  Suddenly, Takeda returns and slices him in half, bringing his terror to an end.

Afterwards, Scorpion reclaims the dagger before he silently acknowledges Takeda’s actions against their foe.  From there, he proceeds to burn the temple down before they head out.  During their journey, Takeda asks him why they’re honoring their fallen comrades this way.  Hanzo says that they will rebuild, but they must find Raiden and make that that particular God “beg for mercy” for giving him said dagger.  We then cut over to the Sky Temple as Raiden tells Fujin that the particular blade is causing so much trouble across the realm and that he’s having trouble finding it.  The Wind God says that it’s too much of a price for him to pay, yet Raiden takes out the Kamidogu of Order as he cuts himself in order to find the opposing demon.  Suddenly, Issue 1 ends with him getting potential visions of things to come.

Issue 2 begins with the Thunder God coming out of his multitude of future visions.  Unfortunately, he discovers that Fujin was gravely harmed by the residual blast.  Raiden manages to heal his godly comrade before he helps him up.  The Wind God then notices that the cut that his ally made on his arm hasn’t healed, to which the Thunder God explains that it’ll stay that way for a while as a result of him “invoking the Elder Gods with Black Magik”.  Raiden then says that he saw both Earthrealm & Outworld falling into chaos and that the bloodshed will begin with the daughter of Johnny Cage & Sonya Blade.  From there, we shift over to Johnny’s Condo over in Venice, California where Cassie Cage is hanging out with Jax’ daughter named Jacqui Briggs.  They decide to test their fighting skills against each other, as Jacqui lands the initial hit before Cassie strikes back with her inherited Shadow Kick.  Ultimately, Briggs hits her into a nearby bookcase and causes several of Johnny’s belongings to fall over.  They notice that his “Blueberry Award” got damaged in the process, to which Cage says that he won’t mind too much when compared to her strict mother.

Over at Special Forces headquarters, Cl. Sonya Blade is on her way to interrogate the captured emperor of Outworld.  An assistant named Goodman reminds her that their general doesn’t want her to spark an inter-realm war, to which he also informs her that her daughter has crept out of the base and that they could send a team to Johnny’s place in order to get her, but Sonya says that Cage can deal with their baby girl.  From there, she enters a secure cell where the current Outworld emperor named Kotal Kahn is being held alongside his first minister named D’Vorah and a mercenary named Erron Black.  Kotal Kahn says that he’s spent the last decade fighting Mileena for the Outworld throne, leaving the realm in devastation as a result.  Now, she’s aligned herself with the Red Dragon on Earthrealm and that he’s come here alongside his comrades to wipe them out.  As such, he asks for their help in accomplishing this mission or else their realm will meet the same fate.  However, Cl. Blade says that his request is coming off more like a threat.  D’Vorah tells her to not turn her back on her emperor before she breaks out of her chains and attacks.  Fortunately, Sonya was able to react in time in order to strike back.  Kotal Kahn then says that he & his group aren’t here to fight them while he and Erron also break out of their chains.  The Special Forces agents then aim their guns at them and order them to stand down, while the emperor says that they must join forces in order to prevent their realms from falling into disarray.

Back in Venice, Cassie and Jacqui are making their way towards a mature club.  Cassie manages to use her connection with her father in order for both of them to get in.  Once they’re inside, it’s then revealed that it contains a mixed martial arts arena for its patrons to watch fights.  Cage heads out to go sign up, while Briggs notices that a current brawl has ended with one fighter fatally defeating her opponent.  She tries to warn her friend that she’s signing up to take part in a deathmatch, but Cassie doesn’t initially believe her.  However, the ring announcer makes that fact clear to her as she gets placed into the ring.  Cage starts off acting cocky towards the crowd, but then her opponent gets revealed as the chilly combatant known as Frost.

Back at Special Forces headquarters, Sonya holds D’Vorah up at gunpoint and warns Kotal Kahn to stand down.  Just as the emperor is about to respond, Raiden makes an electrifying entrance and tells everyone there to stop.  Kotal Kahn then tells Cl. Blade and her fellow agents that Earthrealm will suffer just like their home realm before he uses the Portal Stone in order for himself and his allies to head out.  Sonya tells the Thunder God that she had this situation in her control, yet Raiden just wants to know where he can find her daughter.

Back in the club’s arena, Frost is delivering a severe beatdown upon Cassie.  She then chastises her opponent for her spoiled upbringing, while she had to earn her current spot as club champion as an orphan.  Fortunately, Cage manages to retaliate before she brings an effective takedown.  The announcer then tells her to kill off her fallen foe, but Cassie refuses.  With the crowd demanding for bloodshed and the announcer telling her that she’s not allowed to leave until she finishes her opponent off, Cage still doesn’t give in to their grim demands.  Suddenly, a pair of guns get aimed at her and essentially tells her that if she doesn’t comply, then Jacqui will get shot.  With no other choice, Cassie places her foot upon Frost’s neck and reluctantly prepares to execute her foe.

Suddenly, an explosion bursts into the club as Cage thinks that her mother has arrived to bail her out.  However, it’s soon revealed to be two lethal assassins as they proceed to mutilate the patrons.  Briggs tries to tell the man holding her that his fellow guards are going to get killed, but he refuses to let her go.  As such, she beats him up before she takes the keys to the arena and lets her friend out.  From there, they proceed to carry an unconscious Frost into a nearby alleyway before they place her near a dumpster for her to rest by.  Cassie then apologizes to Jacqui for bringing her into this messy situation in the first place, but they’re soon met upon by the two killers as they say that the Black Dragon has a need for them.  Our two young ladies then proceed to run before Cage eventually realizes that they’re not going to get away.  As such, she gets her cell phone from Briggs and uses her selfie camera to record their pursuers’ identities.  Suddenly, a portal opens as the two young ladies head into it while Cassie purposely leaves her phone behind.  Later, it gets found by Sonya as she discovers (for some reason) Erron Black in the footage.  She then gets informed that the club’s security footage revealed that the two assassins who were chasing after her daughter were identified as Black Dragon members Jarek & Tasia.  As such, Issue 2 ends with Cl. Blade telling her fellow agent to contact her husband and to assemble a squad that they’ll take into Outworld in order to make Kotal Kahn pay for messing with her.

We’re not quite done with this issue yet, since it’s time to delve into the origin of Outworld’s newest emperor named Kotal Kahn.  Ages ago, a race of beings called the Osh-Tekk proudly ruled with its leader Kotal K’etz.  Because his warriors had conquered their enemies, they eventually became complacent.  It ultimately left them at a disadvantage once Shao Kahn and Goro arrived as they managed to easily massacre their people.  Kotal K’etz ultimately surrenders and pledges his obedience to him, to which Shao Kahn permits him to keep his “treasure”.  Within their private cavern, Kotal Kahn chastises his father for sacrificing his people’s dignity all for a simple gem.  K’etz says that it’s not an ordinary gem and that it’s a Portal Stone.  As he uses it to open a portal, he tells his son that he’s sending him away in order to fulfill his own rite of Realmwalk.  He tells his kin that if he survives in Earthrealm, then he can ultimately inherit his rule.  Kotal Kahn asks him what’s the point if it’s under Shao Kahn’s thumb, to which his dad tells him that Earthrealm’s people are in their own “eternal war” and that he’s not ready to join them.

Once he’s been sent to Earthrealm, Kotal Kahn proceeds to wander around the planet with his father’s words constantly ringing in his head and thinking that his dad wants him to conquer this world.  He ultimately reaches the Mayan temples within the Amazon Rainforest as he comes across a native family who immediately run away from him.  Unbeknownst to all of them, a group of Spanish conquistadors have shown up as two of them manage to kidnap a native child.

Fortunately, Kotal Kahn shows up and slams their heads together with enough force to utterly shatter them into a bloody pulp.  With the kid safely returned to her parents, they proceed to humbly praise him.  Ultimately, he leads a group of Mayan warriors against their Spanish oppressors before he manages to blow up some approaching enemy ships.

Kotal Kahn then molds the Mayan people with his Osh-Tekk ways as they even feast on the bloody remains of their enemies, with him even getting called Buluc, The War God.  Despite emerging as the ultimate ruler of the Mayan race, their enemies dwindled to utter non-existence, causing him to become restless.  As such, he decides to use the Portal Stone in order to return home and show off his accomplishments to his dad.  Once Kotal Kahn returns however, Kotal K’etz calls him a disappointment since he abandoned the people that he ruled over.  As such, he orders his son for the return of his Portal Stone.  However, Kotal Kahn assaults his dad and tells him that he can keep his conquered realm, since he has his own to rule.  Once he returns however, he finds out that he’s been gone for too long.  During that time period, his entire Mayan tribe was wiped out.  It turns out that the same flesh and blood that they feasted off of their enemies contained foreign diseases that they weren’t remotely prepared to counter.

We then shift ahead to the present time as Kotal Kahn rules over his slice of Outworld called Z’unkahrah. It turns out that he was telling his people how he came into power, since it was a time before Shao Kahn fell and Mileena took control of Outworld, yet nearly drove it to the brink of utter ruin.  Thankfully, he came along to drive her off the throne.  Over the course of a decade, he & his forces have driven her and her own allies so far underground that it may seem like she’s no longer a threat.  Not wanting to take any chances, he rallies up his troops to help him search every inch of Outworld in order to hunt her and every single one of her co-conspirators down.  We then shift over to her hideout within the Golden Desert as she learns from Gen. Reiko that the Red Dragon has agreed to their plans.  After she dismisses him, she then asks Goro if he’ll join forces with her in taking her usurper down.  As such, the story ends with him agreeing to do so with every intent of her restoring absolute glory to his race while he personally defeats Kotal Kahn himself.

Issue 3 opens in Outworld as Kotal Kahn tells his people that Goro has vanished in the Golden Desert while going after Mileena.  As such, his father will lead a search party to find the Shokan prince while also going after the fiendish female.  To help his dad out, Kotal Kahn will equip him with Shao Kahn’s Wrath Hammer.  With the crowd in mass approval, they head inside their palace as Kotal K’etz praises his son’s commanding use of speech.  Kotal Kahn then informs him that Reiko has wiped out their northern trade route mere days before the harvest, threatening to stave their people.  Kotal K’etz promises to bring Mileena back to him so that he can execute her in front of their people, but Kotal Kahn says that she’s not the true threat.  He then explains that he and Reiko used to serve Shao Kahn for decades.  As such, Kotal Kahn says that Reiko has seduced Mileena into becoming his closest advisor and that his spies have discovered their location.  To that extent, Kotal Kahn tells his father to slay them both on sight.

Over at a temple within the Golden Desert, Reiko describes Kotal Kahn as someone who’s foolishly “devoted to his family”.  Not only that, but he mentions a key detail that he learned about him during a past mission of theirs.  Namely, it’s that Kotal Kahn draws in loads of power from sunlight.  Once he’s in darkened areas, he gets significantly weaker.  It’s soon revealed that Reiko was explaining this to Goro as the Prince of Pain says that he’s brutally beaten an Osh-Tekk figure before.  Reiko reminds him that he did just that when he used to work with Shao Kahn and his Imperial Army.  Nowadays, he has to “rely on patience & strategy” and that for them to win, they must start with making their enemies falsely believe that they have the edge.

As Kotal K’etz leads his group towards the temple, Reiko says that he’s purposefully leaked their location.  Once they arrive, Mileena will have the weather-manipulating ninja named Rain take away their sun-filled advantage.  Ultimately, Kotal K’etz arrives at the Temple with his group as they’re met upon by Goro.  As Kotal K’etz realizes that the Shokan warrior has turned on him and his people, he proceeds to fight him.  Kotal K’etz leads off by delivering a vicious hit upon Goro’s face with the Wrath Hammer.  However, the Prince of Pain gets back up and retaliates.  Unbeknownst to Kotal K’etz, his group was discreetly killed off by Mavado and the Red Dragon assassins, especially since they had cloaking technology that was used by cybernetic Lin Kuei ninjas.  Back in the main battle, Goro finally overwhelms Kotal K’etz before he takes the Wrath Hammer and hits his foe’s head with enough force to utterly obliterate it.

Later, Kotal Kahn learns of his father’s grim fate from Reptile, as well as Goro’s heal-turn and Reiko’s hiring of the Red Dragon.  As such, Kotal Kahn cuts himself as he perform a service to the “Gods Before Gods” as he asks to have his soul binded to the Blood Code in order to receive the strength to go up against Goro.  Over at the Temple within the Golden Desert, Goro tells Rain that Mavado has informed him that Kotal Kahn is on his way to fight them by himself.  Meanwhile, Mileena is looking forward to reclaim her title of “Kahnum of Outworld” once Kotal Kahn is smited.  However, Reiko warns her that Goro is potentially planning on murdering her for said title once he kills his foe.  She finds this hard to fathom, but he says that he’s never trusted the Shokan warrior and his betraying past.  As such, Mileena confirms her trust in Reiko as he says that they must take their leave while Goro and Kotal Kahn fight.  Afterwards, he’ll personally kill the surviving winner.

Meanwhile, Goro, Rain and several Red Dragon agents await the arrival of their foe, especially since it was their scheme to drive Kotal Kahn into this form of madness.  Once the Shokan warrior sees him approaching, he has Rain block out the sun with some thunderstorm clouds.  However, Kotal Kahn simply cuts himself and gets some otherworldly help from above as Rain gets incinerated.  With the clouds completely parted, the Red Dragon agents get sent in, yet Kotal Kahn easily massacres them before he finally reaches Goro.  The Shokan warrior tells him that Shao Kahn would never let an Osh-Tekk rule over Outworld, while Kotal Kahn calls him out for loyally serving Mileena.

As they proceed with their brawl, Goro delivers a severe beatdown while he says that he would’ve killed off his foe’s people a long time ago if Shao Kahn didn’t prevent him from doing so.  The Shokan warrior then grabs his opponent by the neck and begins to strangle him.  However, Kotal Kahn uses his newly-acquired advanced strength to rip off half of Goro’s arms.  Afterwards, he picks up his sword and slices off the Shokan warrior’s remaining limbs, finally bringing the Prince of Pain to his knees.  Afterwards, Kotal Kahn reveals that he didn’t come here alone as Reptile camouflaged himself along with D’Vorah, Torr and Ferra.  While they proceed to execute the remaining Red Dragon agents, Goro begs for his foe to finish him off.  However, Kotal Kahn declines since it would go against Shokan tradition for “an act of kindness” to be performed.

Later, the temple gets set ablaze as Reptile informs his master that Goro will be brought to Kuatan.  Sadly, both Reiko and Mileena were able to retreat.  D’Vorah even tells Kotal Kahn that she didn’t like that he was willing to take an unnecessary risk to reach this point, to which he agrees since it was an extreme measure for him to take.  Because the dagger drained a lot of his strength via its “magik”, he must return to Z’unkahrah in order to rest up.  Suddenly, he gets shot by Sonya as she arrives with her team and demands for her daughter’s location.  Reptile tries to retaliate with his tongue, but it gets grabbed by Johnny as he tries to defuse the growing tension between both sides.  He even offers to provide some medical aid to Kotal Kahn, but D’Vorah uses some otherworldly bugs to crawl into the wound and eat the bullet while also secreting some coagulant oils.  Once Kotal Kahn gets to his feet, he says that he’ll talk to Cage.  Johnny then informs him about what happened to his baby girl and her friend, to which Kotal Kahn says that they think that he’s somehow connected since the Black Dragon had sold some technology to his army.  He says that because he’s recently suffered a loss within his own family, he would never hire Kano to kidnap other kids.  Johnny then presents his daughter’s cell phone and reveals that Erron Black was the last figure captured by the device’s camera.  Kotal Kahn says that he’s never directly talked to either Kano or the Black Dragon, since Erron acts as his in-between man.  D’Vorah then realizes that because of their recent failed attempt at teaming up with Cl. Blade’s group, Black decided to act on it.  Sonya then blames the emperor for this, to which Kotal Kahn says that Erron used to be a mercenary and that he didn’t ask for his permission to follow through on his act by himself.  Unbeknownst to all of them, Mavado and his Red Dragon agents are watching them from afar as he tells his men not to engage them, especially since he has “a new objective” in mind for them.  Back with our main group, Sonya wants to know where they can find Black.  Kotal says that he’s securing the northern trade route, to which he allows D’Vorah and Reptile to escort them there.  From there, Cl. Blade agrees before she tells him that Outworld’s problems will stay with Outworld.

Meanwhile, Cassie and Jacqui are being taken away by a group of Black Dragon agents.  They try to carry out an escape as Cage starts off by feigning a sprain.  She then begins to fight off the enemy agents, but her plans falls apart when she gets blasted by Kano’s eye beam into Briggs as both ladies get knocked out.  Afterwards, Erron tells him to leave them in tact in order for them to receive a bigger payment.  Kano them mentions that his current eye beam was recently installed before he explains how he acquired it in the first place.  We then flashback a few years ago to the Red Dragon temple where he’s cutting into Sub-Zero’s facial scar with a cursed dagger before he attempts to tell him about “the curse of the Kamidogu”.  Kuai Liang tries to fight him off, yet Kano doesn’t relent as he mentions that the dagger will curse anyone that gets cut by it.  He also mentions that the only way the curse can be lifted is if the one who’s possessed gets killed.  However, Sub-Zero retaliates by freezing the mechanized side of Kano’s head before he acquires the dagger and escapes.  We then shift back to the present as he and Black notice that somethings approaching them.  Suddenly, the two Black Dragon agents carrying the unconscious Cassie & Jacqui get mutilated as Mavado and his Red Dragon agents arrive to take the young ladies for themselves, while also wanting to leave a message for Kotal Kahn.

Back over on Earthrealm, Scorpion and Takeda are on the outskirts of the Sky Temple as the young boy wants to try and go in right now.  However, Hanzo wants them to wait before he notices that the storm clouds are getting too close to them.  Suddenly, Issue 3 ends with Raiden popping in to attack him while saying that they shouldn’t have come here.

Issue 4 begins with the scuffle between Hanzo and the Thunder God.  Scorpion tells him that he’s not acting like himself and that this newfound rash behavior amongst the various fighters is being caused by those familiar daggers called the Kamidogu.  However, Raiden says that it’s opened him up to the Blood Code’s secrets and its power before he electrocutes his opponent.  He then mentions that the demon that entered this realm just wants to “set us free” before he get attacked by Takeda who shoves his sword into the Thunder God’s back.  However, it proves to be ineffective as he simply shocks the young fighter.  We then transition to a few ago where Scorpion and Takeda were traveling through the Himalayas.  The youthful figure talks about Hasashi’s impressive skillset as he wishes to learn how to one day perform them.  However, Hanzo says that those abilities aren’t from a honed fighting style, but that they came from a curse.

We then transition to “a lifetime ago” when he and his family were murdered by the Bi-Han version of Sub-Zero.  With his clan massacred and his village burning to the ground, he had hoped that the surrounding blaze would somehow melt the ice surrounding his wife named Kana and his child named Jubei.  Ultimately, he’s met in the NetherRealm by Quan Chi while being strung up by chains.  With the fiendish spellcaster noticing that Hanzo is resistant to the realm’s extreme heat, he manages to release Hasashi before allowing him to be transformed by the Hellfire.  He ended up becoming Scorpion and fought alongside Quan Chi over the course of numerous battles, yet not a single fight was able to extinguish the vengeance within him.  We then shift back to the Himalayan trek as Hanzo says that after all of the people that he’s murdered, he deserves to die via suicide.  He then says that “a wise man” recognized his Hellfire as a representation of the “shame”, “pain”, and “loss” that he’s been carrying ever since he lost his family and clan.  In order for him to use it, he must relive that horrid past.  However, he can’t remain hot for too long or else he’ll run the risk of destroying himself.

We then shift back into the present as Scorpion manages to save Takeda from his electrocution and teleports him away.  We briefly head back into the Himalayan hike as the young fighters asks him who was the wise man that helped him, to which Scorpion says that it’s the boy’s father himself: Kenshi.  Back in the present, Raiden is looking to unleash some chaos upon Earthrealm.  Suddenly, Hanzo teleports in and steals his Kamidogu dagger before he delivers a fierce facial punch.

With the “Sekret Origin” of Scorpion out of the way, we resume the “Blood Ties” arc as Hanzo wraps his chains around the Thunder God and subdues him.  As Hanzo blames him for killing Takeda, he then sees the young fighter wearily standing off to the side.  Shortly after Scorpion runs over to the boy, Raiden overcomes his Kamidogu-induced rage and offers to help save the kid.  Takeda is ultimately placed within the Jinsei Chamber as the Thunder God hopes to use “Earthrealm’s life force” in order to heal the young warrior’s wounds.  After going through the process, Takeda still hasn’t woken up as Hanzo inquires about it.  Raiden says that the Netherealm is trying to claim the boy’s soul, yet he’s fighting back.

Thankfully, Takeda regains his consciousness and feels even better than before as a result of the Jinsei.  The Thunder God then apologizes for trying to kill them both before he explains his situation.  Years ago, he asked his fellow Elder Gods to have Shinnok’s amulet destroyed in order to prevent the disgraced God from returning once again.  However, they tell him that its destruction would allow Shinnok to escape.  Raiden then tells them that it must be locked away within a dark dimension, to which they agree and that it’ll be locked up with the help of some mystical blades known as the Kamidogu.  The Elder Gods explain that they’ve “tasted the blood of the one being” and that their “essence dwells within them”.  Only when they’re combined will they be able to lock Shinnok away for good.  To take effective care, several blades get plunged into Raiden in order for the ritual to take hold.  Back in the present, Scorpion places a Kamidogu dagger inside a vault before the Thunder God seals it away.  He then says that those blades weren’t safe within one location, so he gave each of them to “a deadly champion”.  Even though he was one of them, Hanzo says that he & those select few were never informed of the fact that those daggers were possessed and that they can turn their users into raging murderers.  While Raiden said that it was for the best that they thought that those daggers were nothing more than sacred relics, he didn’t anticipate a demon corrupting the Blood Magik.  Scorpion asks if Quan Chi is behind this, yet the Thunder God doubts it.  Despite that, he mentions that Fujin is looking over the NetherRealm border in order to be sure.  From there, Hanzo asks who else could have a Kamidogu in their possession.

We then cut over to Bukittinggi, Indonesia as the Kuai Liang version of Sub-Zero is jumping across the rooftops while being chased by cybernetic Lin Kuei ninjas.  They ultimately surround and demand him to rejoin the clan, but Kuai Liang takes out his Kamidogu (which was mentioned as the unaccounted one that was stolen years ago), cuts his face and uses the strength of the Blood Code to encase the cybernetic ninjas within a vast spread of ice.  Back with Raiden, he tells Scorpion that he sent Sub-Zero to return the Kamidogu to him, yet he hasn’t returned.  Scorpion tells him that he’s been betrayed, to which the Thunder God says that whoever was behind the Kamidogu’s corruption is looking to acquire Shinnok’s amulet.  While Kuai Liang continues to get consumed by the blade and the demon’s Blood Code, Raiden asks for Hanzo’s help.  With Takeda reminding his grandmaster that the Shirai Ryu never runs from a fight, Scorpion agrees to assist in the pursuit of the chilly ninja.

Over in Outworld, Reiko learns from a figure within the shadows known as “Cleric” that Goro’s failure was a small setback, yet it did help them learn about the Blood Magik that gives Kotal Kahn his strength.  Reiko says that despite doing what he’s been told, it will take many years just to obtain every Kamidogu dagger.  However, the cleric says that he knows where they are.  Reiko then asks how long he has to put up with Mileena before he can finally claim the throne for himself.  From there, the cleric assures him that once all of those daggers are united, then he’ll become a Blood God.  Meanwhile within the Outworld jungles, D’Vorah & Reptile are leading Sonya, Johnny and their Special Forces on a search expedition for Cassie & Jacqui.  Suddenly, Cage notices some blood dripping on him before the group discovers a brutally beaten Erron Black tied up in the tree.  Once they get him down, they ask him what has happened to him as well as the young ladies.

From there, the group learns about what went down.  Kano, Ebbon and their Black Dragon agents refused to hand over Cassie & Jacqui over to Mavado and his Red Dragon agents.  Meanwhile, the two captured ladies decide to wait until the fight begins before they try to escape.  Mavado warns the opposing group that his forces outnumbers them, yet Kano simply executes an enemy agent with his eye beam.  From there, a massive scuffle breaks out.  Just as Cassie and Jacqui are about to run, Black manages to untie their bonds and says that he can get them out of here.  However, they have to fight.  Briggs agrees as she decides to assault Ebbon.  Meanwhile, Kano manages to stab Mavado while mentioning that he’s heard about Hsu Hao’s demise.  Just as he’s about to finish his foe off, a Red Dragon agent hits him in the head and saves his master.  Back with Jacqui, she continues to beat Black up.  Just then, Kano hits her before he acquires the Portal Stone from Ebbon.  He then chastises Black for wanting to save the young ladies instead of exploiting them as he escape through a portal, just as Mavado catches up.  From there, he brutally slices Ebbon with his swords before he looks to claim the young women for Reiko.  Thankfully, Cassie and Jacqui managed to acquire a pair of guns from some fallen Black Dragon agents as they open fire on him.

While his fellow agents getting gunned down, he manages to dodge their shots before they ultimately run out of bullets.  From there, he jumps in to attack.  Fortunately, Briggs manages to subdue him in a full-nelson before Cage delivers a fierce kick to his leg.  Afterwards, she puts him down for good by slicing his chest open with his own sword.  Back in the present, Johnny and Sonya are amazed by their daughter’s handiwork.  Unfortunately, Black tells the group that were too many Red Dragon agents as they were able to kidnap the young ladies.  They also left him alive in order for him to inform them that they can head over to Shang Tsung’s island.  And so, Issue 4 ends with them learning that with the fiendish sorcerer vanquished, Reiko has set up base there and also has his own cleric there named Havik.

Issue 5 opens within Z’unkahrah, Outworld as a captured Erron Black begs for mercy from Kotal Kahn.  The emperor scolds him and even wants to execute him for his actions.  He then wonders how he’s going to fix this abhorrent offense towards Earthrealm, to which Sonya says that he can help her and her fellow agents reach Shang Tsung’s island with the hope that the young ladies are still alive.  She starts to get mournful over the potential thought that her daughter and her friend won’t survive this before Johnny tells her that they’ll deal with this.  He then tells her to keep herself together, but she acts rude to him and causes an mini-argument with him.  Kotal Kahn gets them to stop before he tells D’Vorah and Reptile to imprison Erron Black within their dungeon.  He then tells Cl. Blade and Cage that his people were slaughtered by both Reiko & Goro and that he’s the lone survivor of his race.  Johnny offers sympathy before he lets him know that he and his group will do what they can to get their family home.  Kotal Kahn then offers his fastest ship to help them reach the island alongside his own group of warriors and make Reiko pay.  Sonya then asks for his catch, to which he says that they “must survive the coming dawn” as he goes on to explain why.