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Kotal Khan

Mortal Kombat X
by yo go re

It's been a long time since anyone made Mortal Kombat toys, but now Mezco is trying their hand at it.

Kotal Khan is a warrior from the realm of Osh-Tekk. After Shao Khan was killed in the war with Earthrealm, Kotal served his heir, Mileena. However, her instability eventually led him to overthrow her and assume the emperorship.

So this guy is an Osh-Tekk and his father's name is Kotal K'etz, and yet when he came to Earth he met the Mayans and they called him Buluc Chabtan. Just for the record, there are thousands of miles and thousands of years between the Aztecs and the Mayans - they're not the same culture by any stretch of the imagination. But I didn't care about any of that, or about this guy's Mortal Kombat backstory - I just wanted a cool Mesoamerican-type action figure, and in that regard, it delivers.

Kotal seems like an expy of Ogre from Tekken 3, but only because they're both based on Huitzilopochtli, the hummingbird war god. Kotal wears a full-head helmet shaped like a bird's beak, tying him in with the Aztec cuāuhmeh, or eagle warriors. There are feathers sticking out the back of the mask, done in black, tan and brown.

One of Huitzilopochtli's titles is Xiuhpilli ("Turquoise Prince"), which explains why this figure's skin is pale blue. The tie-in comics suggest that's the natural color of his people, while one of his alternate skins suggests it's just body paint. Not that it matters for this toy. His layered metal armor really only covers his neck and shoulders, leaving his entire chest bare - nothing wrong with a little fanservice for the ladies, for a change. His ankles and shins are wrapped up, with feathers draping over the top. The really cool feature, though, is his loin cloth: it's decorated with a cloven human skull and three jawbones split in twain hanging below that; it both creates a cool pattern and offers protection, while befitting the brutal world the character comes from.

He has some raised patterns on his skin, suggesting ritual scarring, but much more squared off and geometric. They're the same color as the rest of his body on this toy, though in the game they can change color - you can choose to customize him with Sun God, Blood God, or War God combat variations (each with correspondingly different special moves), and his lines glow yellow, red or blue, respectively. There's a Previews-exclusive variant figure that paints the lines red, and also splatters blood all over his face and chest. The bright tattoos are nice, but it does keep us from appreciating the golden tones of his armor.

The articulation is great! Kotal Khan has a balljointed head; swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows and wrists; a balljointed waist; balljointed hips; swivel thighs; swivel/hinged knees; and balljointed ankles. All the joints move easily, and hold their poses well. This is much better than any previous Mortal Kombat toys have gotten!

He even gets a few accessories. We start with an alternate pair of hands, more tightly closed than the ones he's wearing in the tray. But more importantly, he comes with a macuahuitl sword, which is basically a wooden plank with obsidian blades in a groove around the edges. This one is red with a sculpted snake motif on both sides, and the spikes are legitimately sharp! Be careful with it. He also comes with a sacrificial knife, though both it and the macuahuitl fit better in the "open" hand than in the ones specifically designed to hold them. If you get the variant, the knife is bloody and there's a heart for him to hold. I'll have to bust out Julia if I want that here.

Kotal Khan means nothing to me as a Mortal Kombat character: I wanted him just because of his Huitzilopochtli design. And yet the thing is, he's so good that it makes me want to get the other MK toys Mezco has made. If they were easier to find, I'd be loading up!

-- 03/27/16

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