We’re seven issues into the MK series, meaning it’s time to talk about Goro: Prince of Pain. Yes, indeed. Here comes the pain. As you might remember from the last article, Goro was last seen beating up other MK characters until vanishing with no explanation. From there, the story split into Blood and Thunder #4-6 and Goro: Prince of Pain #1-3.
Prince of Pain starts off with Goro wandering around a major US city at night. He comes across a couple cops, who are too stupid to shoot him. Suddenly, a talking crow named Rook appears out of nowhere and vaporizes the cops with green laser vision.
We’re only just getting started. Rook lures Goro to the being that summoned him. He is Zaggot, a green-bearded wizard with a love for all things chaotic. He is completely insane and screams pop-culture nonsense that Goro isn’t meant to understand. Somehow, he’s still not awesome by any stretch of the imagination. I can’t understand it either.
Zaggot, by the way, is good friends with Zomosexual and Zudge-Packer.
Meanwhile, other stuff goes on. Shang Tsung tells some of Kahn’s henchmen (Baraka, Kitana, Mileena and Reptile) that he expects Goro to appear in Outworld soon. Somewhere else, Kung Lao beats up a tree. And also, Jax tries to retrace his good friend Sonya’s steps and gets in a major boating accident. Later on, he finds Shang Tsung’s island and makes a scene, prompting Tsung to send him to Outworld.
Goro and Zaggot strike a deal where Goro will accompany Zaggot to Outworld and help him take over the realm. Goro ends up turning on the wizard and tries to eat Rook the Crow. Zaggot gets angry and starts getting his magic mojo flowing. He admits that he really didn’t have any intention of having Goro rule with him. No, his plans were a lot more soul-shattering. Not to Goro, I mean. I’m talking about soul-shattering to the reader. Let me just quote what Zaggot had to say:
“That is enough! I did not bring you here to rule, Goro. I brought you here for inspiration. You see… I create things. I’m making something right now. Something with the fighting spirit of Johnny Cage… With the determination and single-mindedness of Sonya Blade… With the blood-thirsty cunning and cruel intensity of Kano… With the speed and dexterity of the Order of Light’s Liu Kang… With the subterfuge and skill of Sub-Zero… With the supernatural abilities of the one called Scorpion… With the raw energy of the Thunder God Rayden… With the multi-faceted skill and guile of Shang Tsung… And with the incredible size and strength of the mighty Goro.
“He is everything and the all. The sum of the greatest warriors ever known. He will storm through Outworld and destroy everything in his path. And then I shall unleash him on the Earth realm.”
Folks, if it wasn’t for all the porn I have to look forward to in my life, I would’ve jabbed my eyes out with a pen after this page. Sweet Jesus, good lord and great Scott.
The Kombatant. The motherfucking Kombatant.
This new character — obviously thought up by a nine-year-old — easily thrashes Goro with the use of different MK character moves, such as freezing and using the Scorpion spear. It’s goofy and a bit ironic that Scorpion doesn’t get a spear in this comic, but his lame hybrid clone does.
After his defeat, Goro is teleported away again, this time to the Library of Order. It is there that he meets Abacus, the brother of Zaggot. As it turns out, the two are gods and rivals in the way of order and chaos. Incidentally, Midway adopted an idea like this with their characters Hotaru and Havik in MK: Deception years later.
Abacus can’t fight Zaggot, since that would result in chaos and would cause Zaggot to gain power. Instead, Abacus decides to use Goro as a pawn. But he first gives Goro a weapon designed to help defeat the Kombatant. Goro seems pleased at it, but without seeing what it looks like, my inner gut gives me a bad, bad feeling.
Kombatant comes across Kitana and the others, leading into a fairly one-sided fight scene. Though Baraka does succeed in cutting off one of the Kombatant’s arms. Still, the Kombatant beats all four of them and prepares to challenge Shao Kahn. That’s when Goro shows up with his brand new weapon. Brace yourselves.
MAKE IT GO AWAY! OH PLEASE MAKE IT GO AWAY!
Well, one issue left to go. The only thing that can make this worse is if that Kiki Chansamone guy was doing the art.
Oh, goddamn it.
*sigh* Well, anyway, Goro immediately vaporizes the Kombatant with his giant gun, followed by Zaggot destroying it. Goro and Baraka get into a random fight, but then Jax shows up and punches Baraka for zero reason. They battle for a few pages and Jax eventually wins. During this, the other characters just stand around and do absolutely nothing. This is when Shao Kahn’s spell kicks in and the various characters are teleported to Shang Tsung’s throne room.
Everyone, that is, except Goro. He still has to deal with Zaggot. Zaggot and Rook merge together to create some kind of evil crow man. Goro decides that he only fights to serve the purpose of remaining MK champion, so there is no reason to give in to Zaggot’s challenge. Without the chaos of battle, Zaggot’s power starts to diminish and he shrinks down enough that Goro simply picks him up and eats him. He then teleports away.
As an epilogue, Abacus and Zaggot are shown playing chess with Abacus winning. Zaggot insists that he will get revenge on Goro, but thankfully that never happens.
Instead, things start to look up. We get a one-shot called Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition, that is more or less one 60+ page action sequence. Among the big crowd of warriors, Kano starts shit and a large fight breaks out.
The fights are very well done. We see matches such as Kitana vs. Scorpion, Sonya vs. Mileena, Liu Kang and Kung Lao vs. Kano and Jax vs. Sub-Zero.
Shang Tsung steals the Tao Te Zhan book from Raiden and tries to decipher the last riddle. He has trouble concentrating as there is a rather entertaining fight between Johnny Cage and Baraka going on nearby. Part of the fight involves Baraka not even flinching when Johnny Cage does a split and punches him in the nuts. Finally, Shang Tsung has had enough.
The very next thing we see is an angry Shang Tsung is getting knocked through a railing, as he falls down to the floor below. He and Raiden fight over the Tao Te Zhan, but a three-fingered hand reaches out and picks the book up. Goro solves the final riddle and gains the infinite power that it rewards. He proceeds to dominate everyone in the room.
Being completely desperate, Shang Tsung and Raiden join forces. They hold hands and somehow sap the power out of Goro. As Goro screams angrily at the betrayal, the power reforms into the book, now with new locks created by Raiden.
From there, everyone goes home. Apparently, they forgot that there is supposed to be a tournament to finish. It isn’t a total loss, as Sonya and Jax cuff Kano and take him into custody. Meanwhile, Shang Tsung explains that he has another plan: there will be another Mortal Kombat.
Not that we ever see it. In later issues, it’s mentioned that at some point Liu Kang defeated Goro to become the new champion of Mortal Kombat, but it’s never explained when or how. So it seems the writers decided that giant hybrid Goro robots are more important than the actual story of the fucking game itself.
Let’s see what’s next on the agenda…
No. No, absolutely not. I am not reading this shit.
Kano escapes from prison. That’s all you need to know.
Next in the chronology is Mortal Kombat: Kitana and Mileena. In the story, Kitana and Mileena are believed to be Shao Kahn’s daughters, but they both feel that something is off. Kitana can’t explain a tortured feeling in her soul while Mileena doesn’t truly believe that Kitana is actually Kahn’s daughter. When walking through one of Kahn’s dungeons, Kitana gets in a confrontation with Kahn’s #1 suck-up, Reptile. Kitana knocks him through a wall and uncovers a series of treasures, along with a book of the history of Outworld.
She finds that it was once ruled by a king named Jerrod and his queen Sindel. As they ruled over Outworld, it more strongly resembled Eternia of He-Man fame. One day Jerrod and his daughter Kitana found an abandoned baby. They took him in and took care of him. But then one day, the baby turned on Jerrod and killed him. As it turned out, it was all a trick. The baby was really the shape-shifting Shang Tsung in disguise and he was working under the orders of Shao Kahn, the new ruler of Outworld.
I should note that this is one of the very few appearances of Shao Kahn’s iconic skull mask in the Malibu comic run. For some reason, they decided to show his unmasked and demonic form throughout most of the series. I don’t know. It just loses something.
Upon remembering the truth, Kitana takes out her frustrations on Reptile until Kahn appears. Kahn had messed with her mind all those years ago, but did it because he truly loves Kitana as a daughter. Fearing that Kitana could never truly be his, he had his henchmen create an imperfect clone, which he named Mileena. Mileena doesn’t know the truth about her being, but is completely loyal to Kahn.
Due to her physical flaws (which are obvious to anyone who knows about Mortal Kombat, yet is never actually shown in the comic series), he can trust her, but he cannot truly love her.
Kahn brainwashes Kitana again and tells Reptile to seal off the room and destroy the book. He carries his faux daughter off and explains that she just had a bad dream.
“Now close your eyes and rest. You are safe with me once more. Safe from all who would do you harm. Safe from those who would fill your head with lies. Safe from the past…”
I figure this would be a nice place to stop. Truth be told, the series is about to get a bit easier to read. No more Kombatants or Special Forces comics. There is another original character yet to be introduced, but surprisingly, he’s quite pleasant.