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First Look – Mortal Kombat Series 1

Some properties seemed destined for greatness, don’t they? From the first time you snuck out to the arcade, or the first time your mom walked in on your first 16 bit heart-ectomy, you knew Mortal Kombat would be one that stuck with you.

Well, destiny doesn’t always agree with the video game industry. Mortal Kombat has had plenty of ups and downs. And none have been more down than the action figure attempts made in it’s name. While the games have always had a dogged progression of improvement, the toys have always struggled to keep up with their competitors. It’s old arcade-mate, Street Fighter, got lucky. While Capcom took their sweet time making ANYthing that wasn’t a port of an older game, SOTA got ahold of Street Fighter and made certain that it would remain entrenched in action figure history. Mortal Kombat never quite got their break.

Jazware picked up the license a few years back, and started to turn the tide a bit. Sure, the first series was regrettable, but with each subsequent release, things started to improve. By the time of the line’s fade out, it had grown into a respectable, inexpensive and fun line to collect. The fact that these figures that once retailed for $6.99 now go for $40-50 online is a testemant to just how under-rated these were for their time.

Now here we are again, some 4 years later, and Jazwares has decided to not resume, but more relaunch this line. I have to say, my hopes were high, and I really just wanted them to kind of pick up where they left off, making improvements as they go. The results are at once promising and a little discouraging for me, but, your mileage may vary:

First up, the packaging. Most of you know me- packaging is just crap that I have to rip off. But, it is nice looking figure jail. Displays the figure nice, blah blah blah. You can get a good look as far as paint goes, though.

Raiden

This makes only the second attempt Jazwares has made on the Thunder God, and while it’s much more impressive looking, I’m not feeling like it’s nailed yet. The sculpting on his gi looks really, really nice, and the more pvc-ish plastic makes for a lot less glossy, and a lot more sophisticated looking figure. The articulation, though, is kinda off. The shoulders and arms work great, and blend with the sculpt well, but the waist/ab joint is somewhat functional at best, and from there, it gets odd. He has hinged hips, not unlike the older figures, but the sculpt gets in the way big time here, limiting movement in just about every direction. the thigh cut is rendered unecessary by a socket above the knee, and this joint too is a bit restrictive. The ball-jointed ankles work fairly well, if a little loose. The plastic seems to work against him here, as the heaviness of certain parts makes getting a pose like this one very, very tough- he’s actually already falling as I shot him.

Sadly, all three of these figures share similar restrictions, so there ain’t going to be any front kicks in anybody’s future.

His coolie hat is really nice, and it fits his head well. I do recommend leaving it on, though.

Scorpion

Again, there is some great sculpting going on here. The textures on his suit, from the fabrics to the armor, are really nice.

The ninjas also beat Raiden out on accessories- Scorpion has two blades that store nicely on his back, and his spade-spear. Sub-Zero, of course, gets an ice sword. Scorpion’s blades are a little soft, but they do the job.

Like I said before, though, the articulation’s in all the right places, but just doesn’t quite work for the hips and knees. Some good wide fighting stances are possible, just be prepared to adjust to get them to hold. I think a more rigid knee, like the older hinged ones, would’ve been a better choice given the materials used.

Sub-Zero


This guy is probably my favorite out of the crew. The sculpt is just about perfect (the mask is great, I’m just not totally sold on the eyes) and the colors, especially the blues, are very striking in person. The silver detailings on the gi and armor also come across really nicely. I was fully prepared to replace my older Sub-Zero when I noticed…

…that he was in fact teenage Sub-Zero.

Sadly, this is indeed a relaunch, and as such it does not share the previous scale of the other Jazwares figures. The new Sub-Zero, along with the other two, are more along the lines of 6in tall, not 6in scale. As a result, they’re almost half an inch shorter than all the other Mortal Kombat figures.

And while I’m probably the only guy in the room that was hoping for this, my hopes of expanding my MK vs DCU display have been somewhat dampened.

So for an overall, I’m going with a modest 6 out of 10. The sculpting has really come along way, but in my opinion, the articulation and scale just don’t convey these being a lateral progression from some the solid older figures -like Kano, Noob Saibot and Reptile- that I was anticipating. The quality feels pretty solid on all three figures, but the joints tend to give them a floppiness that I think could’ve been avoided.

But, this is a reboot of sorts, so I think strongly if you weren’t tied to the previous line at all, I think you will enjoy them more on their own merit.

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9 thoughts on “First Look – Mortal Kombat Series 1

  1. Eh, despite the negatives, I’m still looking forward to these figures. Sure, there’s room for improvement, so I hope subsequent waves get better, but I’ll definitely support the line to begin with, and grab these guys.

  2. What saddens me a bit is that you see the awesomeness of Apache Chief from the DCUC line and then you know that a Nightwolf from here won’t be a patch on that.

    Joe is capable of some awesome things, like his Castle Grayskull amongst other things and I’m sure he’s running a good team, but its the faces that let the line down for me.

    I’d love these to be in scale with MOTUC. Hell exaggerate the muscles a bit, I mean no one has Jax’s build that can do the stuff he does.

    The colours also seem a bit unfinished too.

  3. I think they’re also doing a 4″ line.
    I really wish NECA had gotten the MK license. Their sculpts would’ve been mind-blowing, even though they do 7″ scale which means they definitely wouldn’t fit w/DCU line.

  4. seriously… i know amaro is trying to turn things around, but he’s been at this long enough… articulation that doesn’t move due to sculpt, or doesn’t hold due to materials might as well not every exist… these still show some pretty amateur mistakes. who do i have to blow to get the MK license in the hands of a capable toy maker?

  5. The way I see it, the difference between old Sub-Zero and new SZ is that the new one doesn’t have an over-extended neck. The hands still seem too big. And he probably is closer to 1:12 scale than most DCUC figures.

    The big problem with this line is the same as the last one. It’s at least a decade too late.

  6. ah,… I meant “Too bad the Kombat figures WEREN’T compatible with DCUC”….

  7. I agree with the vampire. I thought they were 3 3/4, too.

    Too bad the Kombat figures were compatible with the DCUC. I could use some Ninjas that would fit into that world. These COULD HAVE BEEN just right.

  8. Wow, those are pretty bad. The sculpts are so soft, I thought they were 3 3/4 scale. Jazzwares just can’t seem to get it together. Too bad.

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