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Media & Merchandise

Discussing Mortal Kombat in Movies, Television, New Media and Merchandising.
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Mick-LuciferPosted: 03/13/2014 12:10 AMStatus ::
Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

When you consider the importance of comic books to the history of Mortal Kombat -- it's a wonder there haven't been more of them!

Beginning in 1994; now defunct publisher Malibu Comics served a catalogue of interconnecting mini-series inspired by the hit games. Since then, the pickings have been slim. There have been official comic book tie-ins related to key game releases, but even a crossover with DC Comics -- and subsequent acquisition by DC parent company: Warner Brothers -- has failed to turn up any significant progress.

The success of Injustice: Gods Among Us and its comic book tie-in has led to a flood of requests for Kombat comics. News of an impending new Mortal Kombat game [full story] may be the catalyst fans have been waiting for -- but in the mean time, those hungry for four-colour Kombat may find refuge in an obscurity published back in 1998.

Our substantial South American readership may already know the material well, but for a vast majority of fans, the mere existence of a 4-issue mini-series based on Mortal Kombat 4 has gone completely unknown!

The subject was raised by MKOmmunity User GusLan back in 2009 -- and since that time, Mortal Kombat Online affiliate and former staffer ]{0MBAT has been on a grail quest to uncover the mysteries of the little known series. At the end of last year, he completed the series, and with the help of User Zentile, has translated it into MK's native language of English [read more]. Published in Brazil in 1998 by Trama Editorial; the series is primarily written by Rogério Saladino [of Panini's localized Marvel Comics] and drawn by Eduardo Francisco.


Irredeemable: Jarek is Aussie Black Dragon scum!

Though not necessarily the best remembered of the games, [MK4 Is] arguably the most fertile period for serial story exploration. The trilogy prior has been adapted into several cross-media platforms and games, including a deviating adaptation for the most recent 2011 reboot. The games that followed had more scope, but also more pieces of the puzzle delivered in the games themselves.

A substantial backstory was spun-off of MK4 into the cult classic platformer: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero -- but the contemporary story of a fallen Elder God's rise from the Netherrealm was only glossed over in game materials, and a single Collector's Edition comic. Original writer and series co-creator John Tobias told Mortal Kombat Online, "I actually think I lost my way a bit in that era. I remember thinking that while I was writing the story for the MK4 comic. I had all of these ideas for the story I should've done for MK4 and thought I'd have an opportunity to tell them in some future iteration. Sadly that never happened..."

What eventuated in Brazil - as far as we know - had little to no input from Tobias himself. That casts the series in its own unofficial bubble, to be accepted and appropriated per the individual reader. On the surface, it's a very respectful and serviceable embellishment of the official story. In summary, it compliments the plot well, even if specifics are subject to debate. With the 2011 reboot behind us and prospects of an all new, all different telling of the Mortal Kombat 4 mythology, one starts to wonder how much it matters. A depressing consideration for the present and future, but not what we're talking about here.


Get Over Here! Scorpion drives the plot as heroes assemble!

Trama's Mortal Kombat 4 #1 surprises in a few ways. Opening in the "streets" of Australia; the story begins in particularly pedestrian fashion, following Jarek as he flees from the US Special Forces. This is in contrast to the official MK4 comic, which dwells much more heavily on the supernatural machinations that are the backbone of the story. In no small way, Paladino seems to be echoing the earliest chapter of the original game and comic, which began with Kano's escape.

Told with big, single page splashes and spazzy kinetic artwork, there's little doubt that you're reading something from '98. Anyone entrenched in the manga-infused art that was popular at the time will recognize the style that was prevalent in American comics, as well. With exaggerated poses and sometimes absurd anatomy; Francisco's pencils are reminiscent of the most excessive art by Joe Madureira at the height of his popularity, if not artistic powers.

To a modern eye, the bombastic and colourful abandon of this comic may look unrefined, but with present day equivalents like Mortal Kombat: Legacy taking these same elements to a plodding, generic end - it's tough to be too critical.

Where Legacy pitched the Special Forces as a grounded core of the story, imitating the aesthetic of other material as if to apologize for the supernatural mania that makes the MK iconic: the Mortal Kombat 4 comic cranks it up as high as it will go, whilst still using the mortal side of things as an entry point for the virgin reader.


The Sequel: Johnny Cage Returns - and this time it's personal!

Like Legacy; there's clearly a desire to address a lot of disparate elements in almost episodic order. A key difference is in the sense of a balanced, painterly approach to how they're laid out. The mortal realm unfolds to the reader with an escalation of supernatural elements. As the hero of the familiar story, Liu Kang may have been expected sooner, but as second he's another step into the fantasy beyond the earthbound military institution of Sonya and Jax.

Some fans may grouse at the arrival of Scorpion -- but knowing that the other characters are present and/or soon to be accounted for, I defy anyone not get a little thrill out of the ninja spectre's arrival! All things considered, it's also an economic way to introduce some of the converging Earthrealm forces -- notably Sub-Zero, who hasn't always been readily connected to the heroes.

In ramping up the thrills: Raiden emerges in fine form, taking the next step up the heroes' chain of suspended disbelief. Those who remember MK4 will know he was key to resurrecting Johnny Cage -- who returns here in an abrupt, but gleefully over-the-top sequence. This is a comic of the nineties, and if your primary focus is action -- you are catered to!

Given the procession of heroes that has been the first issue, there are no prizes for guessing who makes a dramatic entrance on the last page. Given the minimal screen time Fujin has had in anything baring the Mortal Kombat name, this is going to be the kind of introduction thrilled fans have been waiting almost 10 years to see!


Confessions: Tragic drama grants Tanya credibility like never before.

Of course, if a kick-ass introduction for Fujin wasn't titillating enough for a die hard fan: there's a four-page back-up at the end of the issue called Tanya: Confessions.

Joe Prado takes over the art for the short, which uses Tanya's written manifesto as a framing device for her backstory. It's a level of credibility the character has almost never been seen to possess in any official material!

The montage shows Tanya's transformation from ambassador's daughter to kickass warrior, while illuminating key plot points to the larger story. The economy and design of this complimentary piece really defies expectations of action comics of the era, of Mortal Kombat 4, and of tie-in products. It's validating for one of the least interesting characters of the franchise. The special breed that is a Tanya fan will finally have something to convince sceptics of her value!

Mortal Kombat Online really must thank ]{0MBAT & Zentile for making this review possible. Check out Mortal Kombat 4 #1 for yourself, and share your review on the forums! Stay tuned to the Media & Merchandise forum as we look ahead to issue #2!

hankypanky1Posted: 03/13/2014 12:52 AMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::1638
Nationality::United Kingdom
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

Nice read, I'm gonna chase up one of artist u mentioned so he can draw Khrome in my image. I'm gonna pay for drawing :)

ChromePosted: 03/13/2014 02:26 AMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::15999
Nationality::Hungary
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

Ehhh, the art is horrible. Symptomatic of the Liefeldian dark age. It's like proportions are anathema to drawers.

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RazorsEdge701Posted: 03/13/2014 02:34 AMStatus ::


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Visits::20795
Nationality::United States
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

The art ain't great. And if I recall correctly, a lot of characters die during it so any continuity verisimilitude goes the way of the dodo pretty quickly. The "rubbery anatomy" quality of it reminds me more of some modern Marvel artists like Humberto Ramos than it does of the Liefeldian 90's though. The thing about the dark days of the Image boom is that those guys did have poor anatomy, yes, but it was more angular and the linework was much, much more scratchy and rough-pencils looking.

hankypanky1Posted: 03/13/2014 08:43 AMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::1638
Nationality::United Kingdom
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

Chrome Wrote:
Ehhh, the art is horrible. Symptomatic of the Liefeldian dark age. It's like proportions are anathema to drawers.


The art for MK comics aren't that good to be honest. But Mick mentioned one artist Joe Prado, he has some good art. I'm chasing him to see if he can draw Khrome.

ChromePosted: 03/13/2014 02:49 PMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::15999
Nationality::Hungary
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

Johnny Cage and his wonderfully elastic three foot long thigh. Gumby Kombat.


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seanayPosted: 03/13/2014 05:52 PMStatus ::


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Visits::9273
Nationality::United Kingdom
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

Tanya looks bad ass I love it

tgrantPosted: 03/13/2014 05:54 PMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::61670
Nationality::England
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

This was a good read and an interesting take on events. I especially appreciated Tanya's backstory. It's a shame we never got an official one for her.

Project MKK: Coming soon...

Currently working on: MKD & MKA - The One Ring Theory
SwingBattaPosted: 03/13/2014 06:17 PMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::1720
Nationality::United States
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

The artwork is fairly abysmal, with Jarek being the worst of the bunch. All the guys have waists smaller than Kate Moss.

Strangely, Tanya looks the best and she's one of my most despised characters.

]{0MBATPosted: 03/14/2014 07:44 AMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::13777
Nationality::United States
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

So happy to see this is up here!

My sister-in-law being Brazilian was a huge help in being able to acquire these. It is not easy for an American to get ahold of these comics otherwise.

While it may be non-canon, as a stand-alone story, I thought the plot was excellent. I loved the rivalry between Quan Chi and Shinnok, Tanya's vendetta against Liu, and especially what they did with the "character" Meat.

I was thrilled to be able to make this happen, it's been years since there's been any MK comics and to be able to go back and read a rarity such as this has been a real treat for me. I hope the rest of the community feels this way too (even if the artwork isn't perfect). And a huge thanks to Zentile for translating this into English so we can all enjoy it!

Dragon Points:
ChromePosted: 03/14/2014 08:52 AMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::15999
Nationality::Hungary
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

OK, Jarek saying sure thing n***a is profoundly funny. The rest, not so much.

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Spider804Posted: 03/14/2014 03:21 PMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::6938
Nationality::United States
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

Shitty artwork, despite Tanya looking really fine. All I've got.

RazorsEdge701Posted: 03/16/2014 07:57 PMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::20795
Nationality::United States
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

Page 19's dialogue has a few errors. One line is untranslated and another says "A new Mortal Kombat will begun."

The_MKFreakPosted: 04/21/2014 07:40 AMStatus ::


Rank ::
Visits::2312
Nationality::United States
RE: Review: Mortal Kombat 4 #1 (Brazil, 1998)

Thank you for this amazing find (and for sharing it with us).
MK comics are indeed a rarity (and very special) so in my book you have found a holy grail. The journey in finding these must have been a great one!

I for one dig the art (it's not a realistic, but very dynamic style). And the story of #1 leaves me wondering for more! Bring the rest of the issues up!

Ed Boon and John Tobias. THE creators of MK
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