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Liu kang

Liu Kang as a mortal human

Liu Kang was a Shaolin monk of the White Lotus Society in the Mortal Kombat video games. While he has most frequently been regarded as the series' foremost heroic character, there have been times when he has been corrupted to the side of evil. In both the original and current timelines of the series, Liu Kang has been killed only to be revived as an undead creature. Most recently, he has ascended to godhood after saving all of reality from total destruction.

History

Original timeline

An exceptionally skilled warrior and one of the few chosen by the thunder god Raiden, Liu Kang became the Grand Champion of the Mortal Kombat tournament by defeating the demonic sorcerer Shang Tsung and saving Earthrealm from being absorbed into Outworld. Liu Kang has stood among Earthrealm's strongest defenders for years, protecting his world from conquerors such as Shao Kahn and Shinnok. However, he would one day fall victim to the Deadly Alliance of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, losing his life and his soul to the villainous sorcerers.

Not long after his murder, Liu Kang's corpse would be reanimated by Raiden. In a confrontation with the newly reborn Onaga, Raiden had sacrificed his own life as he released a blast of celestial energy. This blast killed Shang Tsung - who had consumed Liu Kang's soul - causing Liu Kang and the thousands of other souls Tsung had stolen to be released. However, when the thunder god was reborn, he returned as a dark, corrupted version of his former self. This twisted version of Raiden attacked the Wu Shi Academy of the White Lotus where Liu Kang's body had been buried and reanimated the corpse as a mindless zombie.
Zombieliu

Liu Kang as a zombie

Under Raiden's control, Liu Kang's undead corpse went on a brutal rampage, murdering many of his fellow Shaolin monks and anyone else who stood in his way. Liu Kang's spirit would come to learn of Raiden's dark reformation and how he was using his body, allying himself with the mysterious ninja Ermac so that they could stop Raiden and also free Liu Kang's allies who had been enslaved by Onaga. Liu Kang was successful in saving his friends, but Raiden still had control of Kang's body.

As Armageddon loomed, the spirit of Liu Kang, now anchored to the mortal plane by Nightwolf, intended to confront Raiden and regain his body. During the final battle, however, Nightwolf was slain and Liu Kang's soul could no longer maintain its presence in the physical world. As for Liu Kang's body, in a fit of mindless fury, it attacked and killed Shang Tsung. Raiden released his control of the corpse prior to his final duel with Shao Kahn.

Alternate timeline

In the current timeline of the series, Liu Kang participated in Mortal Kombat in Earthrealm and Outworld as he had in the original timeline, achieving victory in both tournaments. However, during the Outworld Invasion of Earthrealm, Kang's destiny takes a most dire turn. His mentor and friend, the thunder god Raiden, is plagued by troublesome visions of a future where Shao Kahn brings about Armageddon. Repeated over and over in these flashes is a message sent by Raiden's future self, stating "He must win".

With the Elder Gods refusing to intervene and more Earth kombatants falling to Kahn's forces, Raiden decides to meet with the Netherrealm sorcerer Quan Chi and request his help. This decision greatly shakes Liu Kang's faith in Raiden and the monk fears that the thunder god's desperation has driven him mad.

Raiden soon returns from the Netherrealm, having deciphered the meaning of his message from the future. "He must win" actually refers to Shao Kahn; when the Outworld emperor sets foot in Earthrealm, the Elder Gods will be forced to intervene as Kahn did not achieve victory through Mortal Kombat. Liu Kang, however, believes that Raiden has snapped and that this decision will surely doom Earthrealm. He attacks his former mentor but Raiden casts lightning to protect himself. The lightning burns Liu Kang's flesh and leaves him gravely wounded. With his final breaths, Liu Kang curses Raiden, then dies in the thunder god's arms.
Liu Kang Revenant

Liu Kang as a revenant

Due to a pact forged between Shao Kahn and Quan Chi, the souls of any warriors slain during the Outworld invasion descend into the Netherrealm and fall under Quan Chi's control. With his powers of necromancy, Quan Chi uses the souls of the dead kombatants to create a force revenant servants, among them being Liu Kang. The revenant Liu Kang, along with the revenant versions of his other fallen comrades, later join Shinnok's army of demons as they invade Earthrealm.

While Shinnok's invasion is thwarted, Liu Kang and the other revenant kombatants retreat back to the Netherrealm. It is only twenty-five years later that they reappear again as Quan Chi, before he is slain by Scorpion, reacquires Shinnok's amulet and releases the fallen god once more. Liu Kang and the other undead warriors then accompany Shinnok as he heads for the Jinsei, the source of Earth's life force. While Shinnok enters the Jinsei Chamber, Liu Kang and the revenants hold Raiden at bay. During this time, Raiden attempts to make peace with Liu Kang, stating that Kang's death has continued to haunt him. The corrupted Liu Kang dismisses Raiden's apologies, claiming that he has been freed in death. Former master and student fight, with Raiden emerging victorious and proceeding to follow Shinnok to the Jinsei Chamber.

After Shinnok is defeated by Cassie Cage and Raiden has purified the Jinsei, Liu Kang and the other revenants retreat back to the Netherrealm. With his master beaten, Liu Kang takes the throne of the Netherrealm in his absense. He and his queen, the revenant Kitana, are later greeted by Raiden, who has been corrupted after purifying the Jinsei. Raiden throws Shinnok's still-living head before Kang's feet, stating that there are worse fates than death and warns that he will no longer merely 'defend' Earthrealm, threatening to take more aggressive actions should anyone dare to endanger his world again.

Months later, Raiden follows through on his threat and leads the Special Forces in an attack on the Bone Temple, which Liu Kang has made his palace. While it appears that the attack is successful, Raiden's victory is undone when Kronika, the Keeper of Time, enacts a plot to create a new, perfect timeline. Appearing before Kang and Kitana, Kronika restores the Bone Temple before enlisting the revenants' assistance with her scheme: to create a timeline where Raiden doesn't exist. Having long since been twisted towards vengeance against his former master, Liu Kang agrees to help Kronika.

Liukang timewarp

Liu's past self appears in the present

As the past and present collide, Raiden is erased from the timeline, though his uncorrupted past self appears in Outworld along with past versions of Liu Kang, Kitana, Jade, Sonya Blade, Jax Briggs and Johnny Cage. Following the initial battle against Kronika's allies in the Koliseum, Kang learns about the events that led to the creation of his revenant self. Despite all this, he maintains his trust and faith in Raiden, determined to avoid falling down the path of darkness that his counterpart had.

After returning to Earthrealm, Liu Kang and Kung Lao head for the White Lotus Temple, beneath which rests the Dragon Grotto where the Jinsei springs forth. There, they manage to stop Scorpion and the revenant Jade from reaching the grotto. Kung Lao expresses fear they will run into their revenant selves, which becomes true as the revenant Liu Kang and Kung Lao arrive to impede them. The revenants mock their younger selves for trusting Raiden, as he was responsible for their deaths, but Liu Kang defends Raiden. The revenant Liu Kang challenges his younger self, commenting on how blind he was in the past. The younger Liu Kang overwhelms his revenant counterpart, commenting on how deluded he has become in the future just as Kung Lao defeats his revenant counterpart. They then confront Geras and defeat him, but Kronika halts and reverts time to collect the Jinsei.

After all of the heroes' bases in Earthrealm are compromised, along with the deaths of the Elder Gods, Liu Kang and Kung Lao return to Outworld to help Kitana prevent Shao Kahn from reclaiming his throne. After recruiting both the Tarkatan hordes and the Shokan, they march on the Koliseum where Shao Kahn is about to execute Jade and Kotal Kahn. Ultimately, the battle is won as Shao Kahn is crippled in battle against Kitana. However, Kotal's spine was damaged during the battle and he decides that he is unfit to rule, abdicating the throne to Kitana.

When Liu Kang returns to the Shirai Ryu Fire Gardens, he finds Scorpion there, but it is the past version of Scorpion who had sided with Kronika. Scorpion states that his future self was killed, but he wishes to redeem himself by helping Raiden's forces. Raiden does not trust the spectre, but Liu Kang believes that they should hear him out. Raiden refuses and becomes increasingly aggressive, which Liu realizes is the effect of Shinnok's amulet on Raiden's mind. The two fight, and in the heat of kombat, Raiden experiences multiple visions of he and Liu Kang fighting across multiple battlefields in multiple timelines, realizing that Kronika has been manipulating them into fighting across different timestreams. However, just as Raiden and Liu Kang decide not to continue fighting, Kronika appears and abducts the Shaolin monk, taking him back to her keep.

Fire god liu kang

At the keep, Liu Kang once again meets his revenant self, who has now gained the power of soul magic. The revenant Kang uses his new ability to consume the soul of his past self, becoming even more powerful. When Raiden's forces later traverse the Sea of Blood to reach Kronika's keep, Kang joins the battle and boards Kharon's ship where he battles Raiden once more. After a lengthy battle, Raiden emerges victorious. Instead of killing his former student, however, he attempts to merge his own godly essence with both the revenant Kang's body and past Kang's soul. This endeavour succeeds and Liu Kang awakens as a Fire God, his past self's mind becoming dominant while retaining his revenant's memories.

With his new godly powers and the knowledge about the Hourglass and Kronika's plan, Liu Kang is able to combat her forces and her time-manipulating abilities. The armies of Earthrealm and Outworld begin their assault on Kronika's keep with Liu Kang's new abilities wiping out several legions to get through. Once inside however, Kronika reverses time, sending Liu Kang's allies back to Kharon's ship and forcing Kang to battle the revenant counterparts of his friends alone. Liu eventually defeats the revenant Kitana, Kung Lao, and Jade, then battles Cetrion and defeats her. Kronika then reverses time for the final time to the Prehistoric Age.

The final battle sends them to the dawn of time itself. Fortunately, Liu Kang succeeds and defeats Kronika, using his fire to turn her to glass and destroy her body, including her crown. Raiden is separated from him leaving Liu Kang a God and the latter a mortal. During his conversation with Raiden, the former Thunder God bestows the title of protector of Earthrealm and the Keeper of Time to Liu Kang. When Liu Kang describes the task as hard to carry alone, Raiden promises to advise him for as long as he lives. Liu Kang agrees, and they began to reshape the timeline.

Abilities

Liu Kang is a master of many fighting styles including Karate, Jun Fan, Pao Chui and Monkey. He also possesses pyrokinetic abilities and can sheathe his fists in flames as well as cast fireballs. He has retained all of these abilities even in his different undead forms.

  • Flying Kick - Liu Kang leaps into the air with his foot extended, delivering a mighty kick to his opponent's head.
  • Bicycle Kick - Rather than a single kick, Liu Kang delivers multiple kicks to his opponent as he flies at them.
  • Dragon Fire - Liu Kang launches a fireball in the shape of a dragon's head at his foe.
  • Dragon Fist - Liu Kang concentrates his chi into his fist, setting it aflame and delivering an exceedingly powerful punch.
  • Dragon Form - Liu Kang is capable of transforming into a dragon. He typically does this when delivering fatalities, incinerating enemies in dragon fire or crushing in his powerful jaws.
  • Demon Control - As a revenant, Liu Kang was granted control over Netherrealm demons. His authority was only succeeded by Quan Chi and Shinnok.
  • Lightning Magic - After Raiden merged with him, Liu Kang gained all of the Thunder God's powers. As a Fire God, he could cast fireballs and also lightning bolts at enemies.
  • Immortality - After transcending to godhood, Liu Kang became immortal and was no longer bound by the mortal laws of life and death.
  • Temporal Manipulation - After acquiring Kronika's Hourglass, Liu Kang gained the power to shape time as he saw fit.
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