Since the beginning of the series - a towering shadow has loomed large over the Mortal Kombat tournament! Boss characters have come and gone, but the image of Prince Goro remains a classic symbol, as emblazoned in player's minds as the silhouetted dragon logo!

The arcade icon is set to make his playable return in Mortal Kombat X - announced as a pre-order DLC bonus at the beginning of September! To celebrate Goro's triumphant return, we look to the artistic talents of the Fan Submission Archive to pay tribute to the Shokan Champion!

Art of Kombat is a monthly Mortal Kombat Online kommunity feature spotlighting the artists who've contributed their talents over the past decade and a half! Registered users can submit their work to the longest curated MK fan art archive for future spotlight consideration!

It takes a powerful image to capture the "Prince of Pain" and GONZZO does a fine job with "GORO - Mortal Kombat 4". His frame of reference is apparently the 1997 polygon debut for the series - a game already on our minds - but this is Goro at his most definitive. MK4 brought the legendary sub-boss back with the same simple design that made him an icon. The flex of muscles and a bellowing roar is every bit the image of the original model - but forced perspective gives extra gravitas befitting Shokan royalty!

At his best - Goro possesses an intimidation factor that chills the bones of any fighter caught flat footed. Close quarters kombat with a four-armed Shokan is never a promising position - demonstrated with devastating brutality by ! He's kept the perspective tilted upward in "Goro 2", but put simple emphasis on the blunt hand-to-hand grappling strength of the powerful sub-boss. Poor Jax is disarmed by the sinister, gloating man-dragon. A simple, but well achieved graphic image!

Artist TimKelly describes Goro as one of his all-time favourite gaming characters. It shows! "Goro-inks" captures the genetic brute, but does so without inflecting any evil intent, or animalistic ferocity. This reads like a contemporary Goro. One who looks every bit the fighter, rather than a mere monster. The splash of inks imbues the image with a fusion of Kevin Eastman by way of ancient Eastern calligraphy. It's a wonderful depiction of the character. Truly unique!

If references to the excesses of modern 20th century comic book art tickles your fancy - kicks it to a whole new level! "Goro - The Monster" leaves mutant teens in the dust - his hulking behemoth far more exaggerated than the photo-realism of MK's digitized sprites would ever have allowed! These veiny, bulging muscles would make even Sam Keith blush - but that's why we like it! For capturing the mountain of muscle to such an absurd degree - we tip our hat! We're not sure if that tipping is out of intimidation, or just the baffling mechanics of how he moves.

Of course, when it comes to mind boggling mechanics and the excess of the comic book image - MIDWOOD surpasses all contenders! This Japanese cult favourite is, as always, a divisive artist, whose manga interpretations take an extremely stylized view of the American regulars. True to form; MIDWOOD favors an unusually armored Goro in this featured image. It was a concept not seen until Goro's 2005 Nintendo exclusive return in Deception - and even then, the armor was very minimal. Like other featured works from the artist [see; MKO AoK #4], the minutely detailed linework defies NetherRealm Studio's design simplicity - wholly impractical for games, and individual in vision. This is why we love his work! Beneath it all, that's clearly Goro in there. Another shade of a character typically understated in his appearance, yet demonstratively diverse in character!

Check out more interpretations by clicking the thumbnails below by: , Khazen, , MeaT-Artworx, & !

Art of Kombat has become a regular feature for Mortal Kombat Online! Register to submit your own works for future consideration! We love spotlighting artists from around the web, but take special notice of those hosted in the Fan Submission Archive! Don't have anything to submit? Don't worry! You can get involved by posting words of critique and encouragement on the forum! Check out more works in previous installments:

We're always on the look out for our next potential theme. Help inspire our direction by submitting new works or making suggestions with the #ArtOfKombat hashtag! We want all your wild and wonderful pieces based on classic characters, obscure favourites, or the new fighters introducing themselves in MKX!

By submitting work to Mortal Kombat Online you become part of an archive of thousands and will be automatically featured in the Fan Submission forum upon administrator approval! Fans can discuss each of the featured MKO submitted Art of Kombat works by clicking the piece to enter the forum. We hope you'll wave the flag for MKO and the individual artists whose work we enjoy! Remember: When sharing with friends, credit the original artist and include a link back to the source where you found it!