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Kaluu is possibly the most powerful living human black magician. Kaluu's magic derived from four major sources. Three of these sources are the same ones utilized by Doctor Stephen Strange and other practitioners of "white" magic: personal powers of the soul and mind (such as mesmerism, astral projection, and thought-casting), powers gained by tapping this universe's ambient magical energy and employing it for specific effects, such as teleportation, illusion-casting, and energy projection), and, finally, powers gained through the tapping of extradimensional energy by invoking entities or objects of power residing in mystical dimensions tangential to our own. The latter means of power is usually gained by the recitation of spells; either ritualized ones found in various mystical texts or by original spells invoking extradimensional assistance.
Kaluu has knowledge of a host of sorcerous spells and incantations invoking the names and aspects of various otherdimensional objects and beings of power. Kaluu is able to call upon these extradimensional power sources for very specific effects without taxing his own personal abilities. As a practitioner of black magic, Kaluu has no moral qualms about invoking demonic beings such as Ch'thon or Satannish for power. He has considerable knowledge of the spells contained within the Darkhold, the most infamous and powerful known volume of black magic. Kaluu has also learned many of the spells contained in the Book of the Vishanti, a volume of white magic.
The fourth major source of Kaluu's power is the tapping of the life forces of living beings and the manipulation of the environment in certain ways. These methods are used only by practitioners of black sorcery. Kaluu can derive the mystical energy to perform certain magical feats by slaying a living being. Kaluu also deals in necromancy, sorcery that derives its mystical forces through the summoning of the spirits of the dead. Kaluu can also mystically manipulate environmental forces in ways that have destructive side effects. For example, he can travel through the air by harnessing the power of the storm and lightning, but by doing so, he deprives an area of the world of rainfall that it would otherwise receive. All of these methods of wielding magic are abhorred by practitioners of white magic as forms of black sorcery.
Kaluu has used mystical means to render himself immortal. He does not age, but he can be killed by external means.
Kaluu was born over five hundred years ago in Kamar-Taj, a small area in the Himalayan Mountains in the land now known as Tibet. Kaluu and a youth now known only as the Ancient One became fellow students of the mystic arts.
Varnae, the eldest of the true vampires, met with Kaluu and imparted to him knowledge from the primeval compendium of black magic known as the Darkhold. Subsequently, Kaluu set about to make himself ruler of Kamar-Taj. While the youth continued his studies, Kaluu used his sorcery to influence the minds of the people of Kamar-Taj. Eventually, Kaluu and the youth together cast a spell that eliminated disease, poverty, and suffering from Kamar-Taj and granted its people immortality. Shortly thereafter, the people of Kamar-Taj, responding to Kaluu's magical influence on their minds, crowned him as their king. For over a year Kaluu organized the men of Kamar-Taj into an army of conquest. (Kaluu has since claimed that he was only trying to bring a lasting peace to Kamar-Taj by making it so powerful none of the Asian conquerors of that time would dare attack it.) Meanwhile, Kaluu slowly increased his mystic control over the minds of the people of Kamar-Taj so that they become little more than his placid puppets. The youth attempted to warn the people of Kamar-Taj about Kaluu, but Kaluu's magic prevented them from heeding him. Kaluu struck the youth with a magical bolt from behind which paralyzed him. Then Kaluu had his soldiers conquer a neighboring village and reduce it to slavery.
While Kaluu plotted further conquests and the people of Kamar-Taj fell into decadence, the paralyzed youth, whom Kaluu had placed in the public square as an object of ridicule, mentally called upon mystical forces to defeat Kaluu. However, the youth was not yet a master of the mystic arts, and, although he did not intend it, the mystic forces he summoned created a pestilence that wiped out virtually the entire population of Kamar-Taj. Kaluu fled to the dimension of Raggadorr, where he remained for five centuries, increasing his mystical knowledge. With Kaluu gone, the youth was freed from his paralysis. The population of Kamar-Taj, however, was no longer immortal, and the youth himself would now age, although at a greatly slowed rate.
The youth eventually became the sorcerer supreme of the Earth dimension known as the Ancient One. In his final years he trained the disciple who would become his successor, Doctor Stephen Strange.
In the years just before the Ancient One’s death, Kaluu returned to Earth to destroy the Ancient One and to steal from him his greatest tome of mystical knowledge, the Book of the Vishanti. Doctor Strange and the Ancient One battled Kaluu, who stole the Book of the Vishanti from them, memorized its spells (apparently possessing a total recall memory), and hurled it back through time to the point of its origin in ancient Babylonia. Strange and Kaluu traveled back through time and recovered the Book, and returned to their own time with it. Doctor Strange then confronted Kaluu, who cast a spell to place Strange into suspended animation. But Strange used the Book of the Vishanti to turn Kaluu's spell back upon him, casting him into suspended animation instead. The Ancient One then hurled Kaluu into another dimension.
Years later, after the Ancient One's death, Doctor Strange attempted to destroy his own talisman of power, including the Book of the Vishanti, in order to keep them out of the hands of the evil alien sorcerer Urthona. In actuality, the talisman and mystic volumes were not destroyed but were transported by the mystical entity Agamotto to his own dimension. Strange, however, believed that the volumes and talisman were destroyed. The disappearance of these volumes and talisman broke the ancient spells protecting Earth from invasion by various demonic entities. Many of these spells had been put into effect through the use of black magic. Moreover, the disappearance of the Book of the Vishanti from the Earth dimension broke the spell holding Kaluu in suspended animation. Awake once more, Kaluu returned to Earth.
Doctor Strange fell into despair over the dangers that he had released upon the Earth through destroying his objects of mystical power, and over the fact that he had already used black magic in struggling against them. It was then that Kaluu came to him and offered him his assistance. Claiming that he no longer sought vengeance on Strange, Kaluu said he would help him combat the demonic forces now menacing Earth if Strange would become his disciple. Strange refused to become Kaluu's disciple, but agreed to fight by his side against the demons, believing he had no other choice.
Together Kaluu and Strange battled and defeated the demon Gharszaszh Ny'rh of the Old Ones, who had enslaved the populace of a famine-stricken area of Africa. As Strange had feared, he was forced to use black magic in the course of this combat. Kaluu and Strange journeyed through the dimensions toward the realm of the most powerful of these demons, Shuma-Gorath. Kaluu exhausted himself and was unable to complete the journey, but Strange continued and finally entered Shuma-Gorath's otherdimensional realm. There Strange defeated Shuma-Gorath and apparently destroyed him.
Since then Doctor Strange has purged himself of the corrupting effects of black magic and has once again become the master practitioner of white sorcery in the Earth dimension. Kaluu's present whereabouts and activities are unknown.
First Appearance: Strange Tales (1951) #147
View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Captain America & the Mighty Avengers (2015)
Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme (1988)
#1 Essential Doctor Strange (2001)
- 'Love is the Spell, The Spell is Death'
Loki: Agent of Asgard (2014)
Marvel Treasury Edition (1974)
Mighty Avengers (2013)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A To Z Update (2010)
#5 Strange Tales (1951)
- 'Beetles to Witness'
Strange Tales (1987)
The Marvel Encyclopedia (2006)
HC The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Master Edition (1990)
- 'The Marvel Encyclopedia'
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Update '89 (1989)
- 'Human Torch to Mannikin'
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