Friday, November 13, 2015

Watch Your Back


Name This Marvel Villain??

If this cover of Incredible Hulk gives you a sense of déjà vu:'s probably because you recall when the Hulk once battled a different shadow being.

Yes, Nebulo, one of the "evil" band of Inhumans often used in the schemes of Maximus. Of course Nebulo's strategy has one flaw--the Hulk could easily leap away with a "Bah!", and Nebulo suddenly finds himself taunting nothing.

Nebulo would also likely be incensed that our mystery villain, Warlord Kaa, predated him in the shadow foe department--arriving on Earth in late 1960 with the rest of his race and using a liquid substance to change themselves into shadow beings that allowed them to infiltrate humanity until the moment came to strike.

But it turned out that Kaa and his "warriors" were helpless when faced with... with... yes, that's right, DISCOVERY.

We see you, therefore you're helpless. Good grief.

But the Hulk isn't so lucky, since Kaa has added a new wrinkle to the use of shadows to pave the way to Earth's conquest: the ability to take psychic control of the Hulk's own shadow. How that equates to the Hulk's shadow having the same level of strength that the Hulk has, I have no idea; but at least this time Kaa doesn't have to worry about some blabbermouth exposing him to others, since he can now fight back. As for the Hulk--well, he may have picked the wrong time to take comfort in the fact that, with all the forces on Earth that attack him without provocation, at least he never had to worry about his shadow wanting to smash him.

While Kaa is magnanimous enough to divulge to the Hulk his identity as well as the fact that he's using the Hulk's own shadow against him, it's nevertheless a tactical blunder, since, to the Hulk, Kaa is now a foe like any other--a foe that must be crushed, no matter how long it takes.

At this point, it's difficult to see Kaa making any more headway against the Hulk, though a near-endless battle might make for an interesting test of the Hulk's stamina since Kaa's shadow-form doesn't appear to suffer from battle fatigue. But we'll never know, since a combination of the day's cycle as well as intense artificial lighting brings an end to Kaa's scheme--as well as his consciousness.

Somehow, however, Kaa survives the experience, and later returns to Earth in force with more warriors, again picking up a new ability which THIS time, ABSOLUTELY, no doubt about it will give them the edge they need to conquer the planet. And this time it's the Champions (along with Hawkeye and the Two-Gun Kid) who beg to differ.

And indeed Kaa and his warriors give the Champions a run for their money, since the heroes' minds are just as vulnerable to possession as the rest of humanity. That is, almost.

Astonishingly, it wouldn't be the last we'd hear from Kaa and his "shadow warriors," once again surviving certain death and going on to appear in a few more stories before finally--and appropriately--fading from sight.


Colin Jones said...

So Kaa comes from a planet on the opposite side of the sun - with Counter Earth there too it must have been getting a bit crowded on the other side of the sun. The notion of Counter Earth or Kaa's planet being undetectable because we couldn't see them seemed perfectly logical when I was ten but of course I realize now that their gravity would affect Earth and the other planets so they'd be spotted immediately - things were much more fun when we were ignorant about science :) I love the British U.N. delegate (I assume he's British) who says "Tommyrot !!" - yep, we all say that here - I say it all the time in fact :D

Comicsfan said...

Colin, yes, the people of Kaa's homeworld must have been delighted to have seen the creation of Counter-Earth--a duplicate of Earth, right on their doorstep and ready to conquer. But perhaps it was the fact that our own Earth challenged them to such a degree that they felt obliged to make the trip to the other side of the sun in order to keep trying their hand at conquest here, rather than shift their focus and risk taking on the High Evolutionary--"let sleeping dogs lie," as it were.

demetrius kaleb said...

I think maybe a roy thomas (?) " system patch " was that counter-earth was at a different dimensional frequency ( apologies to earth-1 at DC ... didnt anyone sue for plagiarism back then ) so in *theory* both could exist in same space or both could be invisible but I nver understood how the lightswitch got randomly flipped to make counter-earth zip back into our dimension when it was handy --- I do love marvel science ( or nonscience ) its so much more fun than the alternative. -- Logan

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