Who’s the poster boy for Mortal Kombat? Well, there’s actually two. They are Scorpion and Sub-Zero, the most popular characters of the franchise. Whenever there’s a trailer or a first look at gameplay, you can always expect at least one of them to pop up. In fact, Ed Boon, the creator behind the franchise, has stated multiple times that Scorpion is his favorite character. He’s even voiced him in the early days of Mortal Kombat. Who do you think said his famous line, “Get over here!”? Hey, the man created the character, so it’s only fair he got to say one of the most famous lines. Now is Scorpion more popular than Sub-Zero? In a way, I would say yes, but Scorpion’s history isn’t as complicated as his fellow ninja/rival. But wait, they’re not rivals anymore, which is awesome. There’s a new deadly alliance of the franchise.
Now if you didn’t play the games, but saw the movie that was released back in April, you understand the bad blood that was between the two Mortal Kombat mascots. Hanzo Hasashi (Scorpion) was a Japanese ninja, but also a family man with a wife and son. Then one day, the Chinese assassin of the Lin Kuei clan known as Bi-Han (Sub-Zero), murdered Hanzo and his family. If you’re a fan of the games, you know this story inside and out. Hanzo was resurrected as a revenant by the evil sorcerer Quan Chi, which allowed him to pursue his revenge against Bi-Han. And in the first Mortal Kombat tournament, Hanzo (Scorpion at that point) did defeat and murder Bi-Han.
Little did Scorpion know, however, that Quan Chi was a the real killer of him and his family. The sorcerer simply posed as Sub-Zero so he could manipulate Scorpion into killing him. And we know what happened afterwards. It’s exactly what should happen in the sequel to the movie. Quan Chi resurrected Bi-Han as a revenant and he became Noob Saibot, although no one ever actually called him that because, well, it’s Ed Boon’s and John Tobias’ last names spelled backwards. It’s not a very intimidating name for a villain, so yeah, we get why no one ever calls him that in the games.
Oh, but the Sub-Zero character didn’t die with Bi-Han. Sure, he was the original, but his successor became the true owner of that name. That’s actually who I want to talk about, because I honestly think he deserves his own solo series. And yes, he needs to appear in the sequel to the movie that just came out. That’s happening, right? Boy, I do hope so.
So with the first Sub-Zero gone, Ed Boon solved the Sub-Zero-less problem by adding in another one. The second Mortal Kombat game was the debut of Kuai Liang the second Sub-Zero. What was the connection between Kuai Liang and Bi-Han? Well, it’s actually rather personal. While the identity of Kuai Liang was a mystery in the beginning, he was eventually revealed to be the younger brother of Bi-Han. His goal was to join the second Mortal Kombat tournament so he could avenge his brother. For us gamers, the rest is history. Sure, the history in Mortal Kombat lore always changes, but the rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero has been one of the most consistently prominent elements of the franchise. And yes, we all loved it, but we loved it even more when they finally buried the hatchet and became buddies.
Now I’ll be honest, Sub-Zero is my favorite character in Mortal Kombat. He’s a ninja with cryomancy powers. That’s awesome, not to mention he’s a far more honorable warrior than Bi-Han. Oh, and yes, he has beaten Scorpion on several occasions. That pretty much settles the debate, but at least they’re friends now.
So let’s just assume the second Mortal Kombat happens and Kuai Liang does make an appearance. He very well should, since he played a crucial role in the second game, but I believe he’s a character who is significant enough to carry his own series. Okay, so fifty percent of my reasoning is because he is my favorite character, but I know I’m not alone. There’s a reason why the second Sub-Zero has been one of the chief mascots of the franchise. Aside from just looking cool, Kuai Liang has a very intriguing backstory long before he participated in the Mortal Kombat tournament.
This is what should be covered in his solo series. Even when we play the games, the only interaction we get to see between Kuai Liang and Bi-Han is when they’re fighting. And what’s kind of unfortunate about it is that it was always when Bi-Han was Noob Saibot. Has anyone ever wondered what their relationship was like before Bi-Han’s death? Well, we know that the two brothers were abducted by the Lin Kuei when they were both children and trained to become deadly assassins. As they grew older, their cryomancy powers began to develop and they learned to hone those powers. Bi-Han became Sub-Zero and Kuai Liang took on the name Tundra.
Their time in the Lin Kuei sounded like it needs no explanation. The Lin Kuei clan is a clan of assassins and the two brothers would kill for them. Doesn’t sound too interesting on the surface, but I’m more interested in learning the history between Kuai Liang and Bi-Han. Just think about the contrast in their personalities and above that, their code of honor. Bi-Han was a cold-blooded killer who had no problem assassinating anyone for the Lin Kuei. Kuai Liang, on the other hand, didn’t kill indiscriminately and didn’t blindly obey the Lin Kuei.
Is anyone else curious as to why that is? I think that would be a perfect story to tell in a solo series. It could go deep into their relationship and show us why Bi-Han was more devoted to the Lin Kuei than Kuai Liang. Maybe it’s because Bi-Han was older and remembered his life before he was abducted by the Lin Kuei. Knowing that he could never go back to his old life probably led to him becoming a bitter and ruthless individual who felt like he had no choice but to embrace the Sub-Zero mantle.
This probably didn’t make him an ideal role model for his younger brother, but for some reason, Kuai Liang was loyal to him. He went through the trouble of taking up the Sub-Zero mantle to honor Bi-Han and joined the second Mortal Kombat tournament to avenge him. Even if Bi-Han wasn’t a good brother to Kuai Liang, that shows how much honor he has. But that’s why I’m interested to see how they trained together in their early days in the Lin Kuei. Not only would we be looking at how they became assassins, but how it affected their personal relationship. It would make for an interesting origin story and possibly humanize a character like Bi-Han.
And what can I say? Sub-Zero is my guy.
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