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Mortal Kombat 11
by yo go re

You asked for it, you got it!

"Scorpion" is the alias of Hanzo Hasashi, formerly one of the finest warriors of the Shirai Ryu, a Japanese ninja clan. After he was killed by Sub-Zero, a member of a rival clan of Chinese assassins known as the Lin Kuei, Scorpion became a hell spawned revenant residing in hell (later the Netherrealm) and seeking vengeance against those responsible for the destruction of his clan and the death of his family, including his wife and his son. Although essentially neutral in allegiance, Scorpion will join forces with anyone who can assist his plans of revenge.

Wow, that's a super wordy way to say "yellow ninja." McFarlane Toys has the Mortal Kombat 11 license, and they started with Sub-Zero and Scorpion, because of course they did.

We've come a long way from the days when the MK ninjas were all straight palette swaps of a costume picked up at a Chicago costume shop. Scorpy's colors are still yellow and black, and he still has a vest that angles down from his shoulders to cross at the waist, but everything is a lot more complex these days. Look at his layered belt, or the metal armor on his lower legs, forearms, and shoulders - there's no way that stuff would have made it onto the original game sprites, not with this high level of detail.

As of Mortal Kombat X, Scorpion is no longer an undead spectre, so don't expect this one to pull his hood off and reveal a skull head beneath it. He still has blank white eyes, though, and rather than a cloth mask covering his nose and mouth, it's a metal guard, sculpted to look vaguely skeletal, in a highly stylized and abstracted way.

The figure's paint does its part to accentuate the intricte sculpt, rather than overwhelm it. While his over-vest is yellow, the straps covering his chest beneath it are a vibrant red - matching the patterns on his skirt-flaps (which are actually raised, molded elements with a different texture than the "cloth" they're set upon) and the interior of his black hood. The wraps on his arms are yellow, but it still stands out from the color of his skin. Al the heather straps that hold his armor on get their own apps, and the armor itself is a dingy grey.

Buying a McFarlane toy carries with it a certain predictable level of quality when it comes to the articulation. In the past we would have said that and meant his toys were all plastic garbage lumps (not like that), but in a post-Fortnite world it means you can generally expect things to be seriously good. No, it's not always perfect, but it's a far sight better than what we were getting a few years ago. This figure moves at the toes, ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, biceps, and neck. There's also a chest joint, but it's so buried beneath the vest that you can't really move it - which is fine, because the waist balljoint has as much range as you'd need.

Mortal Kombat has generally been a game about punching and kicking, but Scorpion comes with some weapons: a pair of swords and scabbards to carry them in. Both his hands are open, so he can wield them, but plugging the scabbards into the soft PVC belt can be tough; you've got to do the bigger one first, but it's easier to get the little one in when the belt is empty. More importantly, he has his spear, with a long chain that will wrap around his forearm, feed through his hand, and still stick way out in front of him to point at whoever he's fighting.

If you're interested in Scorpion but aren't thrilled by this colorscheme, you may prefer the GameStop-exclusive "Smolder" variant. Based on an alternate skin from MK11, the variant is still yellow, but lighter: blacks become greens, yellows become white, and the armor changes from grey to gold. Plus, his mask is different, his swords are green, and his spear has a different kind of blade on the end. It might actually be worth getting both, they're different enough.

There's apparently some company called "Storm Collectibles" that does Mortal Kombat figures in a similar scale, but those cost nearly $100 and can only be ordered online; Todd's are 7" scale (meaning they'll blend perfectly with any NECA characters you might want to have them fight), cost $25, and are available in actual stores you might go to. Hopefully this first pair does well enough that we might see some more characters for a change.

-- 11/21/19

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