Tomorrow DC Comics is releasing a compilation of their digital-first series called Mortal Kombat X Vol. 1: Blood Ties, created in association with Chicago's NetherRealm Studios.
The 144 page book collects the first batch of comics designed to bridge the 25-year gap between the events of NetherRealm's 2011 reboot Mortal Kombat, and the upcoming Mortal Kombat X.
Polygon's has exclusive concept art and cover sketches below.
It should go without saying that some of the following panels will contain spoilers, and be NSFW.
Blood Ties Vol. 1 tells the story of the search for six ancient relics called the Kamidogu daggers, blades charged by Blood Magick of the One Being. These weapons are capable of both capturing and creating a god. Fan favorite Scorpion seems particularly interested on finding them.
The cover for the first volume, including this sketch, was done by Ivan Reis while Igor Vitorino and Dexter Soy handled the interior art.
DC Comics' digital-first strategy mirrors their approach to the Injustice: Gods Among Us series. Shorter sections of the whole Mortal Kombat book have been released regularly through digital portals prior to the publication of a physical book, which will be released tomorrow.
As the title suggests, many of the new characters are actually descended from the old ones. Among them is Cassie Cage, the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, who appears in the first book in the midst of an illegal MMA deathmatch.
The entire series is designed to promote and play off of the upcoming console and PC game, releasing for current and previous gen systems later this month.
Polygon has had hands-on time with the upcoming Mortal Kombat X, and you can watch the first 30 minutes of the single player campaign here.
Blood Ties is writer Shawn Kittelsen's DC Comics debut. He's previously worked for HBO, NBC, and for Esperanto Filmoj — the producers of Pan's Labyrinth and Children of Men. He's no stranger to the video games industry, having contributed to Batman: Arkham City, DC Universe Online and NetherRealm's previous title Injustice.
Polygon recently visited NetherRealm, and spent the day with the team behind the upcoming fighting game. You can read more in our feature, Two Decades of Mortal Kombat: Inside NetherRealm Studio.
To some, Mortal Kombat's gore has become a kind of quaint anachronism, a throwback to a simpler time when the industry was young and fearless. Largely clear of the moral panic of the past, NetherRealm's challenge today is to cater to two audiences. One, a relatively small, hardcore community of tournament players who have grown up with the game. The other, relapsed fans with fond memories of slapping down quarters in the early 1990s arcades.
By serving those two audiences the very best Mortal Kombat game possible, NetherRealm wants to breathe life into their franchise, and make it more relevant than ever for a new generation of players.