In fighting game lore, few properties carry as much nostalgic reverence as Mortal Kombat. Delightfully brutal, infinitely quotable and littered with pop culture mainstays, the series has long enjoyed an ardent and vocal fan base. With the franchise set to soon release its latest spine-splitting incarnation, Mortal Kombat X, NetherRealm Studios and DC Comics seek to sate the salivating masses with a prequel comic series of the same name. The book’s first volume offers bloodshed and bluster aplenty, but when it comes down to overall investment, this fight feels unfinished.
Writer Shawn Kittelsen dives right into his new playground, showing an immediate grasp of the series’ characters and mythologies. This same knowledge proves detrimental at times, as new characters and plot points are introduced with little to no guiding hand. Though initially jarring, there’s enough concrete story to be found to allow for new readers to learn on the fly. That same story feels right at home within the Kombat universe, largely revolving around a collection of cursed daggers that once united could lead to the end of all realms, Out and Earth alike. This singular focus leads a number of familiar characters to join the fray, in turn creating cause for a seemingly endless parade of bare knuckle beat downs. Kittelsen gets as much mileage out of these interactions as he can, utilizing a number of famed verbal cues and giddy one liners to further drive his heightened tone.