150 million years ago, an Elder named Shinnok coveted the Earthrealm and sought to take it as his own, defying his duties as an Elder God since Elders are supposed to remain out of mortal affairs when possible out of fear from awakening the One Being. A great battled ensued where a great deal of life went extinct on Earth, but Raiden was able to defeat the Elder and cast him into the Netherealm. At some point he was appointed the protector of the Earthrealm by the Elder Gods. He took his duty seriously and aided Earth’s warriors as much as possible, giving them advice and guidance since he wasn’t allowed to interfere directly. Before the current Mortal Kombat tournament, Raiden became aware that Sub-Zero was hired by Quan Chi to steal a magical amulet once belonging to Shinnok. Raiden appeared before Sub-Zero and informed him of his folly and gave him the chance to redeem himself, offering him guidance and later saving him from Shinnok’s grasp.
When the Earth warriors defeated Shang Tsung and Goro in the 10th Mortal Kombat tournament, Shao Kahn, being a former champion, challenged Liu Kang himself. However since Shao Kahn is not allowed entry into the Earthrealm, the Earth warriors had to venture to Outworld, Shao Kahn’s domain. Raiden went with them, however the Elder Gods made him give up his godhood to do so.
Raiden and the Earth warriors would come to learn that Shao Kahn had tricked them and when Raiden returned to the Earthrealm he regained his power and protected many warriors from getting their souls taken by Shao Kahn, allowing them to fight back, but Raiden himself couldn’t help any more since the Earthrealm was merging with Outworld.
Raiden was a Malibu comics character. The character of Raiden was originally created to be a part of the video game fighting game franchise Mortal Kombat. His character and the game itself created by John Tobias and Ed Boon. Raiden makes his debut into comics with the 1994 comic series Mortal Kombat Blood & Thunder, appearing in the first issue. His debut in comics written by Charles Marshall and drawn by Patrick Rolo.
Major Story Arcs
Shinnok Attacks the Heavens
After Shao Kahn’s defeat, Shinnok attacked the Heavens with his Netherealm army. This time Raiden needed the aid of Earth’s warriors and together they battled against Shinnok in Edenia. Raiden was once again able to defeat Shinnok and the Elder Gods decided to make Raiden an Elder God. But as an Elder God he could no longer protect the Earthrealm, so he appointed his younger brother Fujin to watch over the Earthrealm.
He witnessed Shang Tsung and Quan Chi’s advance to conquer the realms, but was forbidden to interfere due to being an Elder. Realizing the true threat if the two sorcerers go too far, he gave up his position as Elder to ensure the Earthrealm’s survival and gathered various warriors to aid him. They found the sorcerers but one by one they were defeated. In the end only Raiden himself stood between Earthrealm and total annihaltion, defying the Elders’ wishes he alone challenged Quan Chi and Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat. Although he put up a good fight, the combined might of the two socerers was too much for him and he was defeated.
But their victory was short lived when Onaga, the Dragon King, former ruler of Outworld, had arrived, and Raiden and the two sorcerers desperatly joined forces to defeat him, but he would not fall, so Raiden released his thunder essence causing a huge thunder explosion… but it was all in vain, as Onaga was litlle effected by the blast, now obtaining Quan Chi’s amulet, he has what he needs to conquer the realms.
However, Raiden was not truly dead and he reconstituted himself back in Earthrealm. Raiden was aware of a mortal named Shujinko whom was tricked by the Dragon King into reviving him and became enraged and disgusted with mortals, deciding to ensure Earth’s protection with force. He reanimated Liu Kag’s souless corpse to be his enforcer, killing anyone Raiden saw as a threat to the Earthrealm.
The new darkness that enveloped Raiden would catch Shinnok’s eye and he appeared to Raiden offering a partnership, agreeing to help Raiden ensure Earth’s protection in exchange for Raiden not allowing Taven, the Edenian prince, to achieve the prize on top of the Pyramid of Argus. Raiden didn’t trust Shinnok but agreed so he could keep an eye on him. However in the final battle of good and evil in Edenia, Raiden is seen fighting along side the Forces of Light, and fighting Shinnok himself. This could hint that because Raiden was uncesseful in stopping Taven from getting to the pyramid, he felt no reason to partner with Shinnok.
- Height: 6’7”
- Weight: 260 lbs
- Nationality: God (Former Elder God)
- Age: Eternal
- Martial Art: Nan Chuan, Jujitsu, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Among others
- Preferred Weapons: Lightning Staff, War Hammer
Powers and Abilities
Raiden is the god of thunder and lightning, and as such, he is immensely powerful and has complete control over electricity. He usually keeps behind the scenes in the games and rarely fights, although one notable exception was in Deception, where he fought both Quan Chi and Shang Tsung, and was able to hold his own for most of the fight. Using the element of lightning, Raiden can fire torrents of lightning or concentrated blasts.
He also has the ability to fly, which he uses to fling himself at an opponent and shove them into a wall. He also has the ability to teleport to another destination by transforming his body into an ethereal state. Despite his godly status, he is not indestructible and has limits, though it is unlikely he can ever truly be killed. Raiden, like any other god, will have his powers taken away should he enter a domain not native to him, with Outworld being the most prominent example of this. His powers can return to him once he returns however. It is also because of his godly status that he is forbidden to directly participate in any Mortal Kombat tournaments unless he takes on a mortal form.
- Teleport: At will Raiden vanishes and reappears behind his opponent. (MK, MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:D, MK:A, MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Sparkport and will have Raiden appear behind the opponent and quickly teleporting back in front.
- Electricity: Raiden sends a bolt of lightning flying at his opponent. In MK 2011 this is known as Lightning. (MK, MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:DA, MK:D, MK:A, MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Bolt. Raiden fires two bolts, one behind and one in front of him. The one behind him wraps around the map hitting the opponent in the back.
- Torpedo: Raiden flies at his opponent and pushes them against the wall. He could perform the move in the air. In MKvsDCU it’s called The Superman and in MK2011 the move is named Electric Fly. (MK, MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:D, MK:A, MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Thunder Fly. This increases the attack’s speed and damage.
- Shocking Touch: Raiden grabs his opponent and holds them in the air while electrocuting them, then punches them to the ground. In MK 2011 this is named Electrocute. (MK:DA, MK:D, MK:A, MK 2011)
- Shocker: Raiden grabs his opponent and electrocutes them. In MK 2011 this is the enhanced version of Electrocute. This lets Raiden grab the opponent one step farther. (MKII, MKT, MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
- Vicinity Blast: Raiden performs a closer range version of his lightning, but with more knockback and a wind effect to it, which can be charged up. In MK 2011 it can’t be charged. (MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Vicinity Burst. This knocks the opponent back.
- Projectile Cancel: Raiden cancels out his Lightning or Vicinity Blast when charging it. (MKvsDCU)
- Reverse Electricity: Raiden sends a bolt of lightning in the other direction hitting an opponent from behind. This appears partially as the enhanced version of Lightning. (MKT, MK 2011)
- Electric Slide: Raiden slides across the floor and hits his opponent with his shoulder, electrocuting them in the process. (MK:DA)
- X-Ray Move – Shock Therapy: Raiden sends a beam in close range, when connects blinding the opponent. Then he teleports behind the opponent and elbows their back damaging their spine, heart, and ribs. Raiden then teleports in front of them and delivers a chop directly at his opponent’s forehead, damaging the skull. Raiden finally sends a bolt of electricity through his opponent’s head making them fall down. (MK 2011)
- Throw: Raiden punches his opponent several times before electrocuting them. He then blasts them backwards with a bolt of lightning, or he teleports behind them and knocks them to the ground with an electrical blast. (MK 2011)
- Electric Decapitation: Raiden sends a surge of electricity into his opponent’s head and it explodes. In the Super Nintendo version of MK, the electricity reduces them to a pile of ash and a skull. In MK 2011, this move has become a part of his grab. (MK, MKT)
- Invisible Electrocution: In the Game Boy version, Raiden teleports into the ground and rises as a mass of electricity. He then proceeds to cover and shock his opponent, electrocuting them to death. (MK)
- Explosive Uppercut: Raiden crouches down and sends a vicious electrically-charged uppercut to his opponent blowing them into pieces. (MKII, MKT)
- Electrocution I: Raiden grabs his opponent, holds them a few feet off the ground, and sends electricity into their body which causes them to explode. (MKII, MKT)
- Electrocution II: Raiden lodges his hands into his opponent’s chest, lifts them over his head, and sends surges of electricity into their body making them explode. (MK4, MK:DA)
- Staff Shock: Raiden calls for his staff, lodges the end into his opponent’s chest, lifts them up and shocks them until they’re dead. This was also Raiden’s first in-game use of a staff. (MK4)
- Godly Essence: Raiden charges up a ball of energy similar to the intro of Mortal Kombat: Deception. He then fires it at his opponent thus blowing him and his opponent into pieces. (MK:D)
- Lightning Strike: Raiden calls down lighting until it strikes his hand and he fires lighting out of his other, shocking his opponent until his opponent blows up. (MK:D)
- Electrocution III: Raiden charges electricity into his hand and grabs his opponent, sending it through their body. The electric shock burns off all the opponent’s flesh, leaving behind their burning skeleton. (MKvsDCU)
- Electric Slam: Raiden grabs the opponent, zaps them for a while, then flies up in the air with them. A couple seconds later, the opponent falls back down and lands headfirst in the ground. (MKvsDCU)
- Just A Scratch: Raiden charges two bolts of lighting and fires them at the opponent’s arms, blowing them off, causing the victim to look at their stumps in a dazed shock, then he fires another two at his/her legs, blowing them off, causing the victim to fall to the ground still upright. He then grabs his opponent and slams his/her head onto the ground behind him, crushing it. (MK 2011)
- Transplant: Raiden teleports behind the opponent and rips out the brain and heart from the torso. He then charges them and puts them back into place. The head begins to glow, and blows up, Then the torso explodes shortly afterwards. (MK 2011)
- Friendship: Raiden generates a miniature version of himself named Kidd Thunder. (MKII, MKT)
- Animality: Raiden turns into an electric eel and electrocutes his opponent until they explode. (MKT)
- Fergality: After inputting a code on the Sega Genesis version of MKII, Raiden would turn the enemy into a smoking version of Probe Ltd. employee Fergus McGovern, who worked on that port of the game. (MKII)
- Hara-Kiri: Self Electrocution: Raiden charges himself with electricity until he explodes. (MK:D)
- Babality: Raiden lifts his hands up and lighting appears from it until a thunderbolt almost strikes him, making him curl into a ball and causing him to cry in fear. (MK 2011)
In the first Mortal Kombat movie, Raiden is portrayed by Christopher Lambert and remains the guiding god of thunder, bent on doing all within his power to help the warriors of Earth gain victory.
According to the movie, Raiden is forbidden from directly interfering in the tournament of Mortal Kombat. Raiden also possesses a sense of humor which the other characters seem not to share, often prompting him to apologize after making dry remarks.
In the 1997 sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Raiden is portrayed by James Remar and is revealed to be low in the hierarchy of the gods, as he must seek their guidance when the emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, begins his invasion of Earthrealm.
Raiden had a tattoo of a dragon on his right shoulder blade that was given to those who carried his family’s bloodline. (It also allowed its bearers to travel between realms.) Shao Kahn also carried this same tattoo, and was revealed to be Raiden’s brother while Shinnok was Raiden’s father (This is a non-canon event created specifically for the film.). Mileena and Cyrax sported temporary versions that flew off when they were defeated. Many fans dismissed this as just another example of how far-fetched Mortal Kombat: Annihilation was from the games.
Raiden does not have his movie tattoo in either Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance or Mortal Kombat: Deception; this can be seen on his alternative outfits as both have one of his shoulders bare, and in the games, his status among the Elder Gods varies so much it could be said he had attained the power to traverse realms at some point and never needed such a mystical tool. In Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, however, Raiden’s bio states that he and Shao Kahn are brothers, although the game itself is not canonical.
Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm and The Journey Begins
Clancy Brown provided the voice of Raiden in the 1996 animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm. Like many of the other characters, Raiden is based on his movie incarnation and often speaks in a tone of sarcastic wit. While still the leader of the defenders, Raiden will not hesitate to fight alongside his allies to give them the fighting edge. The episode Resurrection in particular is the first time in the franchise to show Raiden’s overwhelming fighting experience, almost defeating Shang Tsung single-handedly without the need for his ethereal powers.
Raiden also appeared in the animated film Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins. He instructs Liu Kang, Sonya and Johnny Cage about the nature of Mortal Kombat as well as the background of Shang Tsung’s minions, including that of Goro, the Great Kung Lao, Scorpion and Sub-Zero while ordering Tsung not to try to kill the Earthrealm warriors before the tournament begins.
Mortal Kombat: Conquest
Jeffrey Meek played an oddly, less-serious yet still wise Raiden in the live-action series Mortal Kombat: Conquest.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy
Canadian actor Ryan Robbins portrayed Raiden in the 6th episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy. In the episode, Raiden arrives to Earth to participate in the Mortal Kombat tournament, but is taken into custody by the personnel of an asylum, who mistake him for an inmate. Declaring himself “Raiden, the Thunder God and protector of Earth” only confirms to the psychiatrist his mental “disease”, and he starts a therapy by force, continuously drugged in order to lower his “unusual physical strength”.
When Raiden, after three months, still refuses to admit he’s just a normal human, the psychiatrist has him lobotomized. Raiden, however, heals immediately after, and, after asking the help of an inmate girl, Blue, starts a riot, during which the personnel hits him with tasers, having the only effect of recharging him and making him more powerful. At the end, the psychiatrist hits him in the forehead with a tranquilizer gun, thus incapacitating him.
Raiden is lobotomized once again, and left on the hospital’s table. In there, he’s reached by Blue, who, under his previous instructions, stabs him with a surgical instrument, so releasing Raiden from his actual physical form and allowing him to incarnate himself somewhere else. After a thunder storm, Raiden appears in China, ready to take part in the tournament.
Video Game Appearances
- Mortal Kombat
- Mortal Kombat II
- Mortal Kombat 3 (cameo)
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy
- Mythologies: Sub-Zero
- Mortal Kombat 4
- Mortal Kombat Gold
- Mortal Kombat Advance
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat (Puzzle Kombat)
- MK: Deadly Alliance
- MK: Tournament Edition
- MK: Deception
- MK: Shaolin Monks
- MK: Armageddon
- MK vs. DC Universe
- Mortal Kombat (2011)
- Mortal Kombat X
- Injustice 2