Tag Archives: erron black

MKK: Drahmin & Moloch & Mokap & Nitara

Look out!

Drahmin and Moloch are a couple. To be specific, they’re a couple of oni. Oni are a specific “breed” of demon in the Netherrealm (home to Scorpion, Quan Chi, and Adolf Hitler). They have a codependent, Jay and Sadistic Bob-esque relationship. Their place in the story was that they assisted Quan Chi in escaping the torture of Scorpion, but were left behind when Quan Chi actually made his way out of that literal hell. Shang Tsung, ever scheming to have a backup plan (because he fails so often), decided to keep the oni on speed dial, and turn their feelings of betrayal against Quan Chi should the need ever arise. Of course, Shang Tsung is an equally awful employer, so he just kept Drahmin and Moloch in the basement, waiting for a revenge that ultimately would never come. Sorry, guys. Other than tossing Scorpion into the Soulnado during their lunchbreak, Drahmin and Moloch didn’t do much for anybody, least of all themselves.

Drahmin is the more mundane of the two oni. Apparently he was born a human, but became the most hated of all creatures in this or any other realm: a landlord. He was damned to the Netherrealm for holding people’s homes as a commodity, and eventually mutated into an oni. He wears a magical mask that restores rational thought, but if he removes the mask, he becomes a mindless, vicious monster that posts on Reddit about the graphical fidelity of high-definition consoles well into the morning hours. He also has a spiked club permanently bonded to his right arm, and is constantly circled by a swarm of demonic flies. He has a tinder profile, but no one ever swipes right.

He's got a ball!

Moloch is the “monster” sub-boss of MK: Deadly Alliance. Like Goro, Kintaro, and Motaro before him, he is meant to be a brick wall before facing the real final boss(es) of the title. Moloch was born an oni (I have no idea how that works) and he has a gigantic stature, three eyes, blue skin, and a wrecking ball that he holds in the palm of his claw. As of this writing, he is the last “giant monster” sub boss that was introduced in the franchise, as future games either used gimmicky humans (like a team of Noob & Smoke), reused previous big bosses (say hello to Goro again forever), or saved their big guy for the real finale (behold the glory of Blaze).

Drahmin and Moloch both return for MK: Armageddon, but no one bothers to explain where they’ve been since MK: Deadly Alliance. I guess they just hung out in the basement when the temple exploded? Or they went back to Hell for some… Hell snacks? Whatever. The franchise doesn’t care, and neither do I. Drahmin and Moloch both seem to exist as an excuse to wedge some more visually interesting kharacters into the roster, but there isn’t much there beyond “Hell’s enforcers”.

He lost his ball!

Mortal Kombat 9 and onward seems to agree with me, too. Moloch and Drahmin are beheaded at Quan Chi’s behest in the MKX comics. This might be kanon, as Moloch’s severed head is tossed out as an opening taunt by Quan Chi during some Mortal Kombat X intros. But Moloch’s corpse also appears in Goro’s Lair in Mortal Kombat 11. And he’s got a head! This is so confusing! Maybe that’s just some other, somehow less interesting oni. Though I don’t see how any creature could be less interesting than Moloch…

Oh, wait, my bad. There is a kharacter less interesting than Moloch. Here’s Mokap.

Flawless

Mokap is a motion capture (get it?) actor that is inexplicably pulled into Mortal Kombat tournaments. He’s the super-secret kharacter of MK: Deadly Alliance, and he’s pretty much just there as a goof. Apparently he’s a tribute to Carlos Pesina, the motion capture actor for Raiden in the original MK Trilogy. This is kind of amusing, as Carlos is the brother of Daniel Pesina, the actor who played Johnny Cage (and Scorpion/Sub-Zero), who became such a persona non grata at Midway, the writers revenge-killed Johnny Cage like sixty times in two games. Oh, dang, I guess this trivia does make him more interesting than Moloch.

Regardless, Mokap is technically, kanonically present for two Mortal Kombat games (MK: Deadly Alliance and then MK: Armageddon), but he doesn’t actually impact anything. Given he doesn’t seem to be dead, he probably didn’t actually fight anybody, and just got the heck out of dodge once he saw a dude chuck a fireball across the arena. Smart guy.

Anybody left in Deadly Alliance? Hopefully somebody actually interesting? Oh! I remember now! The vampire lady!

ORB!

Now, this is entirely conjecture, but I’ve always had the floating theory that MK: Deadly Alliance was originally conceived as a Vs.-style tag-team fighting game. I’ve never seen any real evidence of this being the original intent, but it seems like nearly all of the fighters have thematic or general reasons to be paired up in duos across the roster. To wit:

· Shang Tsung and Quan Chi are the titular Deadly Alliance
· Kung Lao and Kitana are the “good” opposite numbers to the Deadly Alliance
· Johnny Cage and Raiden are the other obvious heroes in Liu Kang’s absence
· Sub-Zero and Frost are master and student
· Bo’ Rai Cho and Li Mei are Outworld buddies that wind up as master and student
· Sonya Blade and Jax are Special Forces comrades
· Mavado and Hsu Hao are the Red Dragons
· Kenshi and Kano are both being hunted by the Red Dragons
· Drahmin and Moloch are the oni duo
· Mokap and Blaze are the secret fighters
· And Reptile and Cyrax are the “masterless” wanderers that have teamed up at the behest of a vampire

These pairings account for the entire roster save two kharacters: Scorpion, the eternal loner (until he becomes un-undead later in the series), and Nitara, the vampiress that has successfully tricked Reptile and Cyrax into doing her dirty work. Do Scorpion and Nitara have anything to do with each other? Not in the least. Am I implying that there should have been some contrived reason for these two to team-up? Of course not. But what I am saying is that if Nitara did have a partner in some way, maybe she’d be part of the MK mythos for more than about thirty seconds.

ORB!

First of all, Nitara is definitely a vampire. It’s her race. She’s got wings, she drinks blood, and the Sun of Earthrealm will kill her. But she is allowed to wander around Outworld’s purple haze with impunity. Unfortunately, she’s pretty much stuck in Outworld, because her home realm, Vaeternus, was conquered some centuries ago. But there is a way out! Apparently some glowy orb hidden in lava is the only thing keeping Vampire World tethered to Outworld! If Nitara could find a way to shatter this orb, she’d be able to return to Castlevania with impunity. And Nitara had a plan for that! She just needed one robot, and a lizard man to help control the robot. Where was she going to find one of those…

Luck smiled on Nitara the day she found Reptile. She bribed the cold-blooded warrior with a sword of his ancestors (she actually found the thing in a Cracker Jack box, and Reptile knew this, but he was just happy to receive a gift from anybody), and demanded he incapacitate Cyrax, a robot man that had wandered into Outworld in pursuit of something to do. Reptile obeyed, and this left Cyrax damaged and without a way home, so Nitara made a deal with the cyborg: retrieve this orb dealy in a lake of lava, and I’ll send you home. Cyrax trusted Nitara completely (robots and vampires always get along [it’s in the Bible]), performed her task, and was sent home without so much as a kiss on the robo-cheek. Nitara destroyed the orb, her realm was instantly separated from Outworld, and she awoke back on the (presumably not at all sunny) shores of Vaeternus. Happy ending all around!

Nitara then found an excuse to return for Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, as she had to defeat Ashrah, a demon from Mortal Kombat: Deception that was making it her job to kill anything demonic or demon-adjacent. Apparently vampires qualified. Nitara set off to defeat Ashrah, but, like everybody else in MK:A, she died in the melee. And she didn’t even get to be revived in the new Mortal Kombat universe or comic book. Her last known whereabouts involve MK11 Erron Black casually noting that they used to date. Hey! There would be a good tag-team partner!

Oh, and that orb thingy? Turns out that was the incubation “egg” for the revival of the Dragon King. When Nitara broke it, she freed her realm, but she also released a spirit that possessed Reptile and transformed him into Onaga, the Once and Future King of Outworld. How did that work out? Well…

Next time: Onaga and his favorite idiot.

MKK: Mavado & Hsu Hao

Mortal Kombat Special Forces nuked the Mortal Kombat franchise. This fact was not lost on the producers of the next MK game to come down the pike, Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance. While Jax and Sonya were always going to be iconic heroes in the franchise, the villains of the piece, Kano and the Black Dragons, needed to be punished (why is Kano smiling?). Someone had to pay the price for leading that trash, and it may as well be the gang that was already a bunch of losers.

And if there’s one thing Mavado is good at, it’s punishing losers.

SPROING

To explain Mavado (original design name: Malvado Q. Badguy), we have to look at the two crime syndicates of the MK universe: the Red Dragons and the Black Dragons. The Red Dragons were started thousands of years ago by a wayward immortal godling that was starting his incredibly convoluted plan to eventually take over the universe(s) and show his brother that mom loved him best. That dork gets an entire game to himself, so we’ll cover that nonsense later, but for now just know that the Red Dragons have been around for a long, long time (and there was an actual dragon involved). And in that time, they earned a reputation of… not having a reputation. In a move that shows just how stealthy and professional they are (and is not at all a complete asspull used to explain why no one had ever heard of these dudes before MK: Deadly Alliance), the Red Dragons operate in complete shadow and subterfuge, so even entire organizations tasked with their eradication don’t know for certain that they exist. They are ghosts, and not big silly braggarts like all those ninja clans running around. Red Dragons are the real deal, and they’re so much better than any Black Dragons you may have heard about.

In fact, the Black Dragons used to be Red Dragons, but the two clans split sometime around the early 1900s (and MK lore actually claims this was thanks to real-life dude Morihei Ueshiba, who threw in with a [real] Japanese nationalistic political party… the Black Dragons). There isn’t much of an explanation for the split, but the official word is that the Red Dragons wanted to remain secret and elusive, while the Black Dragon faction wanted to be out and proud. So, basically, it was a managerial disagreement over the marketing department. It happens. Whatever the case, a hundred years later, Kano wound up leader of the Black Dragons, and Mavado was the leader of the Red Dragons. They had apparently maintained an uneasy truce up until around the time of the first Mortal Kombat when Kano kind of disrupted the alliance when… Okay, I’m not going to get into details, but long story short, Kano had this overweight St. Bernard, loaded it up with hotdogs and laxatives, and then invited the puppers to the Red Dragon HQ. It was unpleasant for everybody, and Mavado never forgave the wannabe cyborg for the transgression (and the fact that they had to buy a whole new couch, and Mavado really liked that couch). Mavado vowed to kill every last Black Dragon.

SPROING

And, ya know what? He didn’t have to try very hard at that. Turns out Mortal Kombat tournaments and Kano’s piss poor management style (uh, he literally pisses on poor subordinates) had whittled down the Black Dragon ranks to a mere two members. Actually, it was just one member, as MK3’s Kabal had officially left the organization of his own accord. This didn’t matter to Mavado, though, as he killed Kabal anyway, and took his signature hookswords as a prize. This left Kano as the only surviving Black Dragon member (/leader/treasurer/janitor), and Mavado decided to step out of the shadows to end the Black Dragons once and for all. Mavado struck up an alliance with Shang Tsung to kill Kenshi in exchange for Kano’s whereabouts (and, spoilers, Kano was also on Shang’s payroll).

So Mavado joined the fray for Deadly Alliance. As befitting a debonair and elusive criminal, Mavado attacked primarily with… slinkies. They’re fun for a girl or a boy! Okay, technically he’s supposed to have some kind of “grappling hook” thing going on for his signature moves, which is supposed to be evocative of cat burglars and alike. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite come across in his moves or animations, and what we have here is less Batman’s trusty grapple, and more like Dampé’s stretching, shrinking keepsake. Mavado, complete with black trench coat and most-competent thief ever backstory, seems like he was conceived to be the coolest cat in the franchise (after they ditched the whole “matador” angle that appeared in some design documents), but failed at the finish line when all his best moves were more appropriate for Clayfighter.

SPROING

So Mavado didn’t survive Deadly Alliance. He was successful in nearly killing Kenshi (at least wounding him to the point that he wouldn’t decapitate Shang Tsung this week), and the Deadly Alliance was true to their word, and handed over Kano. Mavado escorted Kano to his natural habitat (a dungeon), and then… died. Mavaod’s previous prey, Kabal, was revived by a random chaos cleric (is there any other kind?), and extracted a revenge on Mavado that was so complete, Mavado’s corpse appeared as part of Kabal’s bio screen. That really should have been the end of Mavado, but he did return for MK: Armageddon, as literally everyone returned for that game. There, he died again, for the final time.

Mavado hasn’t been seen since in MK proper, but he did appear in the MKX comics. He’s still got a major mad-on for Kano and all Black Dragons, and he largely sneaks around the borders of the story as a tricky, scheming criminal. And then he makes his appearance known to the heroes… and Cassie Cage bisects him with his own hookswords. Hey! Guess he still had one more death left in him!

While we’re talking about Black Dragons, we may as well cover Hsu Hao. Hsu Hao is one of Mavado’s subordinates, and the man tasked with infiltrating Jax’s Special Forces, and pointing any investigations away from Red Dragons, and squarely onto Black Dragons. So far, so good, right? Pretty typical story here: the mole. The viper in the garden. The criminal that is so good at infiltration and deception that he has successfully tricked the forces of good into believing that….

Wait a tick.

I’m sorry, it’s this guy?

Right in the glowys

Holy crap, Jax. You guys trusted a bloke with a glowing weakpoint on his chest? I mean, dude, I don’t want to sound racist or anything, but don’t do that. You hire a jackass with a shining, red cybernetic on his chest, and you’ve clearly hired a boss monster. And you know what boss monsters do? They fight you! They blow up your base! Who the hell is in charge of hiring at Special Forces?

Whatever. Hsu Hao, possibly because he was the worst double-agent ever, possibly because of his lame "wrestling" fighting style, or possibly because his design was kind of vaguely racist from the get-go (is he seriously yellow?), is one of the most hated and ignored kharacters in the franchise. John Vogel, half of the Johns that developed the first Mortal Kombat, almost pulled a Poochy by stating during MK: Deception’s development that Jax killed Hsu Hao, and that’s kanon, and he’s never coming back. He, of course, did return for MK: Armageddon, but he has literally no plot, and he’s theoretically only there for completion’s sake.

Hsu Hao did resurface in the Mortal Kombat X comic. He got in a pretty good sneak attack on Kenshi, and was then immediately speared in the weakpoint by Scorpion. Dude never had a chance. His corpse cameos in Mortal Kombat 11 as a head in a bag.

Right in the glowys

And, give or take the previously mentioned founder of the Red Dragons that is introduced in MK:A, Hsu Hao is the only other named member of the Red Dragons in the franchise. Way to establish that team of champions, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance! Let’s just stick to ninja next time.

Next time: Bloodsuckers and boogey men