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Guide to the Injustice Roster: DLC Appendix 3

June 3rd, 2013 Posted by Gavok

I was going to work on the next update of the Top 200 Fighting Game Endings, but then it was revealed that the next downloadable character for Injustice: Gods Among Us is none other than Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. Not just any Scorpion, but Scorpion as designed by Jim Lee. Which essentially means he’s wearing overly-elaborate armor and he doesn’t have any underwear over his pants. Not that he did already, but now he DEFINITELY won’t.

Talking about Scorpion is still on-topic, so waiting a little longer for the next countdown update isn’t so bad, right?

Alias: Hanzo Hasashi
First appearance: Mortal Kombat (1992)
Powers: Pyrokinesis, resurrection, teleportation, enhanced strength
Other media: Appeared in movies, comics, the Mortal Kombat animated series, live-action web series, a novel and an episode of Drawn Together

Time to explain Scorpion to people who… don’t… know comics? Well, this is awkward.

Scorpion first appeared in the first Mortal Kombat game as a palette swap of Sub-Zero, originally played by Daniel Pesina. In his profile, little info was given on him. Just that he was a mysterious ninja who didn’t seem to like Sub-Zero, which suggested they’re from rival clans. Through his Fatality, it revealed that he wasn’t human due to his skull head under the mask and his ending revealed his origin: Sub-Zero killed him and he was reborn as a spectre, bent on revenge. He also left a wife and son behind, but could never see them again because why not just rip off all of Spawn while you’re at it?

Wait, they came out the same year? Huh. Snark retracted.

Scorpion succeeded in killing Sub-Zero and returned to Hell. Then he popped back up for some unknown reason and figured it had something to do with Sub-Zero being seen walking around. He entered the second tournament to take care of Sub-Zero once and for all, but then got weirded out when he saw Sub-Zero defeat an enemy and spare their life. He figured out that this was the younger brother of Sub-Zero, who had taken up the mantle and was a bit on the pure-hearted side. Scorpion let Sub-Zero live and decided that he’d make amends by becoming something of a guardian angel to him.

Despite being the most popular character in the franchise, Scorpion was nowhere to be seen in Mortal Kombat 3. It still bewilders me. When they upgraded it with Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Scorpion was brought back into the fold, as well as a myriad of other ninja characters who were all just the same actor in different colored sprites. Joining him were Reptile, Classic Sub-Zero, Ermac, Noob Saibot and in the next follow-up, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Rain and Chameleon. Scorpion’s deal was that Shao Kahn recruited him for his siege on Earthrealm, but Scorpion realized that Sub-Zero was one of his targets, so he turned on him. Then he went back to Hell, because that’s where he keeps his stuff.

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Ghost of the Revenge of the Son of the Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

October 22nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Another year and another trip to the Jacob Javits Center for New York Comic Con. My fifth NYCC. And now you have to hear about it. Unless you came here by accident or you’re one of the 90% who only come here to read the David Brothers posts. If so, I apologize and understand.

I mean, for one, you won’t see this kind of crap in a Brothers post.

Maybe in an Esther post. Probably maybe.

DAY ONE: THURSDAY

This is the first year of NYCC where they had Thursday open, as far as I know. The place was only open for three hours, so it was mainly about getting the lay of the land and enjoy being able to breathe on the show floor. Shortly into my trek, I met up with my B&N coworker Jody. He was nice enough to hold the camera as I made this terrible, overplayed visual joke.

I spent a couple minutes at the Capcom area of the floor, where I briefly got to try out Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken. Then they had a weird little spot where they promoted the upcoming game Asura’s Rage by sticking people in a glass booth and having them scream as loudly and angrily as possible to see where they rate on the rage meter. When it was my turn and the host asked why I’m so angry, I told him I had been fighting with my eating disorder, which he didn’t know how to react to. I ended up with a 95%, which is just fine. I also got a strained throat, a promotional wig and a poster that I left in the hotel. I didn’t even see what the game looks like.

I found a booth selling comics in batches based on runs. I tend to like those better because a lot of the time, the weird shit I’m on the look for isn’t available in trade form. I bought a handful of stuff, including both runs of Seaguy and the original run of Rocket Raccoon, but one thing I had to get based on the cover was Superman vs. Terminator from 1999-2000.

Can Superman stand up to the Skynet Masterlock Challenge?! Really, though, I was too enthralled by the concept. I don’t care how many Terminators you have. It’s a bunch of faceless villains vs. a guy who will casually eat a robot if someone dares him.

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The Top Ten Most Ridiculous Things to Come Out of Mortal Kombat

June 22nd, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Recently, Mortal Kombat has been making another push into the consciousness of gamers everywhere. Two weeks ago, a video was released based on the treatment for a movie revamp that would reimagine the series’ story as more urban and somewhat more down-to-Earth. Then a few days later, a new trailer was shown for the new game, simply entitled Mortal Kombat. Much like Street Fighter IV, it’s an attempt at a nostalgic return to glory by emphasizing the franchise’s best game.

While the footage has a definite Mortal Kombat II feel, it’s actually a skewed retelling of the first three games thanks to divine time travel. You see, sometime after Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Shao Kahn curbstomps Raiden so hard that Raiden realizes how screwed the entire series has gotten. I mean, before the DC crossover, the game’s story was about an over-inflated cast having to climb the Aggro Crag. So he sends a message back to his younger self to cause a massive butterfly effect (butterfly effekt?) and redo history right this time. It’s like the last episode of Mighty Max but without Bull from Night Court being eaten by a giant spider. Or maybe it does have that. I don’t know. The game won’t be out for a year.

I’ve always been a fan of the series. It’s cheesy, violent fun and – as stupid as it sounds – I’ve always loved the mythology that comes with it all. From the beginning, it’s been Enter the Dragon mixed with Big Trouble in Little China mixed with Iron Fist with a dash of Godfrey Ho. I’ve been following the series far longer than I have comics and I’ve experienced many of the nuances of its excessive success. I remember when digitized actor Daniel Pesina rebelled against Midway by appearing in a magazine ad in support for the game Bloodstorm while wearing full Johnny Cage gear. I remember the Mortal Kombat GI Joe figures. I remember the awful knockoff videogames like Way of the Warrior, War Gods and the never-released Tattoo Assassins. I remember how the ARCADE version of Mortal Kombat 3 got its own nationally televised commercial. I remember the Mortal Kombat 3 Kombat Kodes that weren’t even worth the effort. I even read that mediocre prequel novel where Scorpion was revealed to be the ghost of a murdered ninja merged with his son’s body.

That said, I’ve seen the weird stuff come out of the trademark that still causes me to scratch my head. I figured a trip through the stranger and more unfortunate pieces of output from the Mortal Kombat series might be worth the time. Though first thing’s first, I’m not going to go the gameplay route with this list. I don’t care about how it lacks the refined tournament play of Virtua Fighter 5 or how the Run button is the Holocaust in videogame form or how Human Smoke has an infinite. I really just do not care.

Let’s start off the list by getting the most obvious one out of the way.

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We Care a Lot Part 18: The Sammy Hagar of Cannibalism

October 13th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

“Oh, no. No no no. That’s—that’s Venom. That’s Venom as me. That’s—and it’s not even the good one. It’s Mac Gargan.”

– Spider-Man, New Avengers #50

Due to popular demand, I guess I have to dedicate one of these installments towards Mac Gargan, the current Venom. First, a quick refresher on who Mac Gargan is and what he was up to before donning the hungry goo spandex.

Mac Gargan used to be a greedy private investigator, doing just about any job as long as the price was right. Jonah Jameson hired him to figure out the link between Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Mac wasn’t getting anywhere due to Peter’s spider-sense indicating when to slip away, so Jameson pulled out the big bucks for more desperate measures. Using an experimental serum and a cybernetic suit, he transformed Mac into the Scorpion. On the plus side, he was granted strength and agility to counter Spider-Man, along with a cool tail that shoots stuff. On the minus side, it drove him completely mad.

I think we need more villains who are only evil because whatever gave them powers also made them fucking crazy. A lot of the early Spider-Man villains had that going for them.

Scorpion existed for decades as a B-list Spider-Man villain. He was one of the many, many villains who in some way existed as the dark shadow of Spider-Man. Due to his insanity and his insatiable hatred for Jameson, Gargan tended to fail as a team player. Also, some of his insanity came from his inability to remove his costume.

Mark Millar reinvented Gargan for the better during his run in Marvel Knights Spider-Man, which I covered earlier in this series. At some point, Gargan had become a top henchman for Norman Osborn. His armor was gone, though with many operational scars left behind, and his sanity had been more or less restored. Sure, he was still a bad guy, but he was a coherent bad guy. Under Osborn’s orders, he orchestrated the kidnapping of Aunt May as a way to mess with Spider-Man and get Osborn out of prison.

As we know, the Venom symbiote – having skipped on its latest host – decided that Gargan was ideal. Perhaps it was how Gargan’s Scorpion powers are notably comparable to Spider-Man’s. Perhaps it was Gargan’s hatred of Spider-Man, spiked with his lack of Eddie Brock’s morals. But by the end of the day, Mac Gargan had become Venom.

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Test Your Speculation

June 6th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

I’ve joked about the upcoming Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game a lot and I don’t expect it to be an especially good game, but at the same time, I’m drawn to the lead-up. As a crossover, it’s such a unique concept that I can’t help but wonder about the final product. In other words, at the moment, I’m enthralled by the speculation.

As of now, only four characters have been revealed: Superman, Batman, Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Series bigwig Ed Boon said that there will be 20-22 characters on the game’s roster. On one hand, I get that this is because the game has a brand new engine working for it. On the other hand, it doesn’t bring in the fun factor that comes with the obscure characters.

Capcom’s crossover games initially had the same problem, which is why the sequels had more going for them. With the foundation in place, the creators got to move outward and be more creative with the character spots. That’s when we got guys like Marrow, Tron Bonne and Chang Koehan. So if there is a sequel to this game, only then will we get Noob Saibot vs. The Shade or Moloch vs. The Shaggy Man. Myself, I’m all for Stryker vs. Azrael in the battle of who fanboys hate the most.

For the fun of speculation, I’m trying to make some educated guesses on who will be in the game. The low character count helps. The need to include the more marquee characters from both sides helps too. Boon also mentioned that each character pairs into a rivalry with the crossover counterpart.

That means you have to figure out first who Midway wants to put in the forefront. That means most of the MK1 cast and a handful of the other more memorable fighters. Then you mix and match while making sure to stick in all the well-known DC heroes. To be optimistic, let’s say that there are 11 characters on each side.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: The Finale

March 28th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I feel kind of silly making this article since it was supposed to be done months ago. There are several things that kept me from finishing it, but I’m going to take the easy way out. All the time I usually use to write these What If articles was really used to pretend I was writing for Lost. I love writing Sam the Butcher’s dialogue the most.

Starting it off, here’s a series of sig images I made for the Batman’s Shameful Secret sub-forum at Something Awful. I guess they worked.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 18

October 30th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

It’s a good time for a new What If article. Not only does What If: Avengers Disassembled come out this Wednesday, but Halloween’s right around the corner. What If and Halloween go together hand-in-hand. On Halloween, children dress up as their favorite superheroes. In What If, Frank Castle dresses up as Captain America. On Halloween, the theme is horror and gore. In What If, characters die by the dozen if you ask them politely. Halloween is represented by a bald kid with a big head, whining about how all he got from trick-or-treating was a rock. What If is represented by a bald guy with a big head, telling us about times when Ben Grimm didn’t get covered in rocks.

Okay, this is going too far. Let’s get to the article.

15) WHAT IF NOVA HAD BEEN FOUR OTHER PEOPLE?

Issue: Volume 1, #15
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Simonson Wiacek, Infantino Springer, Andru Giacoi and Perez Palmer
Spider-Man death: Yes
Background: The Green Lant—I mean, Nova got his powers when the previous Nova Rhomann Dey was mortally wounded while around Earth’s atmosphere. He transferred his powers and spot in the Nova Corps to a human at random. That human turned out to be Richard Rider, who continues to fight as Nova to this very day as the main hero of Annihilation. So if he was randomly picked, that opens up a lot of possibilities.

The first story begins with a mugger killing a man and running off in a panic. The victim’s wife, Helen Taylor, screams a vow that she’s going to find this guy and kill him. Months pass and Helen stands at her husband’s grave, sad that the police are no use and there’s nothing she can really do to help him. Only a miracle can set things right.

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Malibu Kombat: Part Gold

October 2nd, 2006 Posted by Gavok

We’re almost done with the Malibu MK series. When we last left our heroes, Sonya was kidnapped by Kintaro, who claimed Shao Kahn had plans for her. Liu Kang and his new friend Bo defended against ninjas that repeatedly came out of the fucking blue. Johnny Cage and Jax were challenged by Smoke and Jade on an airplane. And Bullwinkle signed a contract to be a lounge singer, not realizing that his agent is really the nefarious Boris Badenoff!

Oh yeah. That too.

Smoke and Jade try to attack Jax and Johnny with their own strategies. Smoke uses the strategy of turning into pure smoke while Jade uses the strategy of having her tights hiked way up her buttcrack. The heroes counter this by making a couple Gone with the Wind references before knocking them through a hole in the plane. That… might make more sense if you read the comic.

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Malibu Kombat: Part 3

October 1st, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Next up on the Mortal Kombat tour is the 3-issue series Rayden and Kano. Definitely an interesting pairing. In fact, it almost seemed like a poor man’s Cable and Deadpool, with the over-powered hero god and his odd relationship with a less-powerful, vile criminal smartass. On one hand, I did like the story of this arc. On the other hand, two of the three issues were done by one Kiki Santamone. Fuck.

So Kano gets broken out of prison and is punished by the Black Dragon. He escapes his death sentence, but blacks out. Raiden has him taken to his pad, where Kano awakens to meet Raiden’s servants, two Asian ladies named Wynd and Rayne. I’d give props to Raiden for that, but at no point do we get to see art that makes them look like more than ugly, lumpy freaks.

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Malibu Kombat: Part 1

September 29th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

In the last article, I covered Malibu’s horrific attempt to do a comic based on the hit fighting game Street Fighter 2. As some of you might know, that wasn’t Malibu’s only attempt at a fighting game comic. Along with their forgotten attempt to make Virtua Fighter’s story look appealing (cancelled after the first issue), Malibu tried some of their magic on the Mortal Kombat series. As a series of mini-series and one-shots, the Malibu Mortal Kombat run went on for 26 issues in total. All-in-all, that’s nothing to laugh at.

But there is stuff to laugh about. Oh, believe me. There is plenty of stuff to laugh about.

This series isn’t to be confused with Midway’s promotional one-shots that came out as prologues for their respective games. Series co-creator John Tobias wrote and did the art for comics based on the events prior to Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2 and Mortal Kombat 4. You might remember seeing advertisements for these during the demo mode on old MK and MK2 arcade machines (ah, nostalgia), while the harder-to-find MK4 comic came with a pre-ordered copy of the PC version of MK4. These three comics were all decent enough and succeeded in what they were trying to do.

The MK2 one also had a fantastic depiction of the second Sub-Zero, who was shown as being less of a mysterious assassin and more of a tech-savvy businessman with a heart of gold.

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