Mortal Kombat Online's review cycle is drifting back from the current digital release schedule, but be warned: the following article will contain spoilers! Visit DC Entertainment to purchase Chapter 5 before continuing!

Mortal Kombat X: Blood Ties continues with Part 2 of the digitally divided "Caged" story. Note: This 2-part story will appear in its entirety in print editions of Mortal Kombat X #2.

Per the trifurcated nature of the digital series, this instalment picks up pretty much where Chapter 4 left off. In doing so, it quickly answers some of the structural questions raised by the last chapter, but does so again suffering for the limited space afforded by digital chapters. Fortunately, Chapter 5 starts to create the sense of story momentum, making it clear these aren't strictly disparate tales that will come together in crescendo at the end. For all the set-up, Raiden appears to be emerging as the through line fans have seen in previous incarnations.

The real meat of the chapter is Cassie Cage's continuing misadventures in the world of underground cage fighting. Last chapter ended with a Frost deathmatch bombshell, and that's picked up and concluded in Chapter 5.

Dexter Soy is really on point with the fighting that ensues and his energetic layouts. As observed previously, Shawn Kittelsen seems to be doing his best work when dealing with the introduction of new characters. These two chapters really tell us a lot about Cassie Cage, who emerges as an individual, as much as a product of her two iconic parents. This character is loud and obnoxious, but when it comes to the crunch, she's tough, gritty and a good soul. The challenge will be for the character in the games to live up to these expectations.

Surpassing all expectations is Frost - who will not yet be joining the dead pool!

An underground deathmatch involving a third-tier ice wielder seemed like a shoo-in for a cheap fatality -- especially when we're not even sure which Sub-Zero is making the cut -- but hope springs eternal as Cassie not only spares her opponent - but helps her out of another deadly encounter! The threat storming the MMA arena? Jarek & Tasia of the Black Dragon Clan!

Last year, a couple of folks took offense to MK Online's cheeky (and still infamous) Special Forces April Fools gag [full story]. Opportunity played a part in the choice, but the fact is, we went with MKSF because it's always been an under valued, valid piece of the canon!

The oddball MKSF villains who fleshed out the Black Dragon's supposedly international criminal organization have been waiting for a serial situation to finally make them work. The characters who came before them all had opportunities to be properly revamped in subsequent outings. This is a nice start for a couple of the easier options!

We're a little disappointed Jarek has his slightly baffling, bulky chested Armageddon design. Something closer to MK4, or completely new, might have been appreciated. The chances of Jarek & Tasia flip jumping their way back into the core games' spotlight is pretty slim, so there's not much use complaining. It reads like a cameo for cameo's sake, but here's hoping the Black Dragon get a chance to develop in hypothetical future appearances.

The chapter ends with Cassie Cage snapping smart phone selfies while running from her and Jacqui Briggs's pursuers. It's a pretty brilliant 'bread crumb' device that makes good use of Cassie's overtly millennial status. Momma Sonya Blade discovers the phone after Cassie & Jacqui are abducted in a portal. It looks like the Black Dragon are working for Kotal Kahn - as evidenced by another voiceless single panel appearance by the elusive Erron Black.

It turns out Kotal Kahn has himself a nifty portal stone, which he's clearly using to hop from place to place with relative ease. Does Erron Black have Black Dragon ties? Is he an Earthrealm gunslinger, or a survivor of a realm where the wild west is alive and well? Questions we will continue ponder as we count down to the April 14th release of the new game.

Mortal Kombat X is on sale now! Visit DC Entertainment to pick up all the digital chapters for 99c each! Bookmark the MKO Comics Directory for more previews, reviews and purchase links. Register to share your review and discuss other issues via the Media & Merchandise forum!