Real Name: Kaa

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Shadow Realm)-see comments

Occupation: ...Warlord

Group Membership: Leader of the Shadow Men/Soldiers/Warriors

Affiliations: Kuma Rhan (possible god, invoked in times of astonishment), Yandroth

Enemies: Alpha Flight, Champions of Los Angeles (Angel, Black Widow, Darkstar, Ghost Rider/Blaze, Hercules, Iceman), Hawkeye, Hulk, Phillip Lawson, Two-Gun Kid, Dr. Yamane

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: The Living Shadow

Base of Operations: Shadow Realm;
    formerly the Mesa of Lost Souls (aka la Mesa de las Almas Perdidas) in the deserts of Arizona;
    plains of Oklahoma

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#79 (December, 1960)

Powers: Kaa is a two dimensional life form. Kaa can alter his appearance to become solid black and take the form of a person's or object's shadow, enabling him to get close to a victim and strike unexpectedly.
He learned to project his mind into and control his victim's shadow, gaining the abilities of that victim, to use against them. Initially, this required that his victim first be exposed to a certain type of radiation. While in possession of a shadow, Kaa could alter its density, becoming immaterial and intangible, even able to pass through darkforce fields. He could maximize his density to a physical form possessing the durability of the being whose shadow he inhabited. While he did this, his body remained in a secure location, such as his ship.
Later, Kaa learned to take control of a victim's mind after merging with his or her shadow. His shadow form can be temporarily destroyed (or perhaps shunted back to Shadow Realm) by bright light that eliminates any shadow.
Kaa leads an army of
Shadow Soldiers, who possess similar abilities. They used saucer-like ships which could fly in an atmosphere, in space, or between dimensions.

History: Kaa is the warlord of Shadow Realm, which exists parallel to Earth in another dimension.






(Strange Tales I#79/1) - Phillip Lawson, a mystery author and avid believer in U.F.O.s, made an appearance on television, where he insisted in the existence of men from other worlds.

Interviewer:"How do you account for the fact that nobody has ever seen a saucer up close?"

Lawson:"When the saucers land on Earth their crews probably hide them!"Interviewer:"Well, what about the crews-- why haven't we seen them?"

Lawson:"They're most likely invisible!"

Interviewer:"But if the crew are invisible, why don't they make their ships also invisible?"

Lawson:"I don't know! The saucers must exist or so many people wouldn't have claimed to see them! And if there are saucers, there must be crews to fly them!"

Given his...horrible...defense of flying
saucers, Lawson was justly ridiculed, but he remained confident that they do exist. Some time later, while smoking his pipe outside (as our monster book heroes are want to do), Lawson spotted something shiny in the sky--could it be...a flying saucer? (No, it's a shooting star. What do you think?) Lawson chased after the saucer in his jeep, ready to snap pictures. But he could not find the spot where it had landed. Just then, he noticed the shadows about him were moving...and they rose up into men! Before he could turn and run, there were shadow-men all around him, and he had no escape!

Kaa:"I am the warlord Kaa! These are my warriors! We come from a planet opposite Earth on the other side of the sun! Our two-dimensional race is warlike...and for ages we have wanted to conquer the Earth, but it was only recently that we found the way to do it! It was when we discovered how to change our shape!"

Having gained this power, the people of the parallel Earth decided it was time to attack our Earth, and would land their saucers and then bury them underground. Assuming the form of shadows, they have been able to move about unseen, unnoticed. Finishing his story, Kaa had his men lock Lawson up inside a cave.

Kaa:"In front of you is this locked gate...behind you is an opening in the mountain. But there's a sheer drop down to the ground! And in case those aren't enough to keep you here, I'm leaving one of my guards with you!"

Kaa and his men left to conquer the planet (they must not intend on inflicting casualties, given that they let Lawson live), but Lawson was determined to save his planet. When the guard got close to him, Lawson pulled him through the bars, and pulled both of them over the side of the mountain! Folding the guard into a parachute, Lawson was able to land safely, and headed off to warn the world! At the U.N. building, he alerted the men there to the menace, and they captured the shadow men within the room! Soon, the word had gotten around the world, and only Kaa remained at large! He managed to escape in his flying saucer, but left a message in the sky: "I will return--next time I shall succeed."

You know, any warlord who uses correct punctuation in his sky-writing is all right by me.

Anyway, Kaa was gone, everyone believed in flying saucers, and the world had learned to be more trusting of nut-jobs.

(Incredible Hulk II#184) - Kaa apparently remained on Earth waiting for the opportunity to gain his revenge on humanity. When the Hulk smashed a supply truck, he was covered in radioactive chemicals that altered his "gamma-warped aura," enabling Kaa to gain psychic control of his shadow. Kaa attacked the hulk, but because their powers were evenly matched, they battled inconclusively for hours. Kaa eventually hid and ambushed the Hulk and threatened to choke the life out of him. However, at that moment, as the sun set, the brilliant lights of a nearby oil field came on. The powerful lights dissolved the Hulk's shadow, and Kaa, weakened by the sudden light, found his mind was trapped within the shadow, and apparently died.

(Champions I#11 (fb) ) - Months later, Kaa was able to reform (the bright lights did not dissipate him entirely). He contacted Shadow Realm and had them send a ship to rescue him. He later returned with a new army of Shadow Soldiers, planning to establish a beachead for their final, all-out invasion. They made a base in what would be referred by the local natives as "The Mesa of Lost Souls," due to the alien forces and dark energy which exuded from it. He and his soldiers discovered how to possess humans' minds by inhabiting their shadows. Hoping that mankind would be unwilling to harm their own people, Kaa planned to use his human pawns as warriors. The activities of the Mesa of Lost Souls disturbed the native people and animals, and drew the attention of Hawkeye and the Two-Gun Kid (its a long story of what they were doing there..go read Avengers I#142 and 143 for starters).

(Champions I#11) - Johnny Blaze unwittingly drove his cycle near the area affected by the Mesa, and ended up joining with Hawkeye and Two-Gun to investigate. The other Champions saw footage of Ghost Rider riding towards the Flying Saucers flying from the Mesa, and they flew out to assist. Kaa's human pawns cornered Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, and Two-Gun who, as predicted, were fearful of injuring the innocent pawns. The other Champions arrived and contained the human pawns, but had little luck against the Shadow Soldiers. The Shadow Men began trying to possess the Champions, who struggled to fight off their control. Kaa attempted to control the Angel, who fought against him, and flew so high that his shadow shrunk out of sight, at which point it was too small to preserve Kaa's life essence, seemingly killing him. The Ghost Rider charged one of Hawkeye's arrows with hellfire, and he shot it into the Shadow Soldiers' saucer. The saucer exploded in a blinding flash that destroyed the remaining Shadow Men.

(Defenders II#1 -BTS) - Warlord Kaa and his Shadow Warriors were summoned to Earth by Yandroth, using the power of Gaea, along with numerous others as part of a worldwide attack. Kaa's forces arrived in Ontario, where they battled Alpha Flight. They most likely were sent back to Shadow Realm after Yandroth's defeat.

(Dark Reign Files) - Quasimodo researched Kaa for Norman Osborn.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.

    At some point, the Shadow People also took the alias Kaa...
(Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan#3) - Several of Kaa's people (all referred to as "Kaa") encountered the Fantastic Four and Iron Man as one of their number was about to be sacrificed in order to bring about the arrival of the Apocalypse Beast. When Dr. Yamane killed the Kaa, reality was torn apart, and the Apocalypse Beast appeared.

Kaa initially claimed to be master of a planet eternally orbiting the far side of Earth's sun. This space was occupied by the original Counter-Earth, and no race or planet of two-dimensional beings was to be found. The OHotMU Deluxe Edition#13 Appendix to other dimensions clarifies this by naming the previous description as euphemistic. It named Kaa's home as the Shadow Realm, which occupies the same relative space as Earth, but in another dimension. This realm was seen in Marvel Spotlight II#4.

So what happened to the Shadow Men who were originally captured during the first invasion?
    This fits...
(Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan#3 (fb) - BTS) - A group of Shadow People (also known as the Kaa) established a base in the frozen wastes of the Arctic where the dimensional barriers were thinnest between Earth and the realm of the Apocalypse Beast. In 1966 (or, if that date is topical, 40 years before the main story in Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan), a group of humans known as the Kayama Expedition (a cult worshipping giant monsters) sought out the base, knowing that the Apocalypse Beast would need sacrifices to be let in to Earth's realm. While it was 40 (or so) years too earlier for the Apocalypse Beast's arrival, the Shadow Men skinned the men and saved their skins for the appropriate time. Realizing they were to be sacrificed, one of the cultists fled, rejecting the burden that was his to bear.

Also, I realize that there's no reason to assume Kaa is a male, but it's easier to write in terms of "him" than "it."

Strange Tales#79 was reprinted in Where Monsters Dwell#31.

Prime Eternal, regarding Strange Tales #79. Surprise, surprise, I don't like this story much. Not only for its blandness, sameness and plot-holes, but for wasting it's alien threat. Here we've got aliens who can assume any form. But they remain shadows the whole time. Bah.
I say give them a break. I don't know that they could ever turn into anything three dimensional, and they were just learning their abilities at the time.

Strange Tales I#79 ("I Was in the Clutches of the Living Shadow!") synopsis courtesy of Prime Eternal

I think the extradimensional Living Shadows from Yellow Claw#4/1, nearly identical in appearance and origin to the ones seen in Strange Tals I#79 and beyond, might reasonably be of the same race.
--Dale Roberts

Clarifications: Warlord Kaa is has no known connection to:

Shadow Realm is also the home of Mister E, the Screamers, and the Soul Masters, @ Marvel Spotlight II#4
..and who knows, maybe it's the home of the
House of Shadows, as well!

The Shadow Men and Shadow Soldiers of Shadow Realm have no known connection to:

images: (without ads)
Incredible Hulk II#184, Cover (Warlord Kaa main image)

Strange Tales I#79 (December, 1960) - Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#184 (February, 1975) - Len Wein (writer), Herb Trimpe (pencils/inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Champions I#11 (February, 1977) - Bill Mantlo (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Bob Layton (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Defenders II#1 (March, 2001) - BTS - Kurt Busiek & Erik Larsen (writers), Erik Larsen (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan#3 (February, 2006) - Zeb Wells (writer), Seth Fisher (artist), Cory Sedlmeier, Axel Alonso (editor)
Dark Reign Files (February, 2009) - Michael Hoskin & various others (writer), Jeff Youngquist (editor)

Last updated: 03/23/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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