When we first met Ulysses Klaue during Avengers: Age of Ultron, he was essentially a glorified easter egg -- he was a signifier of things to come in the next phase of Marvel films. He was heralding Black Panther, Vibranium and Marvel’s willingness to explore new villains and characters. We even saw a portion of his origin story, specifically how he came to lose his hand. But once Andy Serkis makes his appearance in Black Panther, he’s a strangely charismatic killer rather than a slightly cheesy comic book villain.
He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty when it comes to running operations and murdering whole groups of people but in the comics, he has a very different role to play that is more fantastical. We saw his sonic weapon during Black Panther, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the talents that come from Klaue’s backstory make him one of the weirder comic book characters that have graced our pages. With a large skill set, large ambitions and a very distinct obsession with Vibranium, Klaue still manages to be a formidable character. You’ll see which parts they’ve pulled into the MCU from his character and which they left behind.
15 HE WAS ALREADY ON S.H.I.E.L.D.’S RADAR
Before Klaue had even appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he was already being watched by S.H.I.E.L.D. We all know he’s a huge terrorist threat with access to some questionable resources and connections, with Tony Stark being one of them -- the billionaire playboy philanthropist was an arms dealer for a while, remember.
But after Klaue had been branded a thief, quite literally, his grudge against the Wakandans only worsened. So when someone offered Klaue ten million dollars to kill the Wakandan King, T’Chaka (T’Challa’s Father), he jumped at the chance. His willingness to assassinate royalty firmly placed him on the S.H.I.E.L.D. watch list. Although we’re surprised he wasn’t on Hydra’s either during The Winter Soldier. Either way, Ulysses Klaue isn’t someone to mess with, unless you’re Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens that is.
14 HE’S PURE SOUND
Ulysses Klaue has a long history in Marvel Comics, first causing trouble for the Fantastic Four back in Fantastic Four #53 in 1966. But after his run-ins with Wakanda, T’Chaka and T’Challa, Klaue begins experimenting with his sonic devices, and figures out a way to transform himself completely.
One of the many devices he tinkers with turns him from a normal human being, into someone purely comprised from sound. He is made up of millions of soundwaves compressed together rather than muscles, bone and flesh. It does come at a price, because if he doesn’t stay in a humanoid form, it turns him temporarily insane. Doom saw this during "Secret Wars", in which Klaue had the mentality of a child after being without a physical sound state for quite some time.
13 THE KLAW/KLAUE DIFFERENCE
One of the most confusing things about Ulysses Klaue, is the difference between his two names. Because he’s most commonly known as Klaw, some people are understandably confused when he’s referred to as ‘Klaue’. Klaw is an easier supervillain name for children to pronounce, and it makes him a great parallel as a Black Panther villain.
But there is a specific narrative reason behind the name change. When Klaue’s father moved back to his home country of Belgium after the Second World War, he anglicized his name to Klaw. He then raised his son, Ulysses Klaw, with stories of the time he spent in Wakanda and the Vibranium he discovered there. His father is one of the reasons Klaue/Klaw is so obsessed with Wakanda, Vibranium and Black Panther.
12 KLAUE IS TECHNICALLY IMMORTAL
Essentially, the comics version of Ulysses Klaue can’t die. Since he’s made completely out of soundwaves, his physical body isn’t affected by aging or normal illnesses that the rest of us come into contact with. That doesn’t mean that he can’t be hurt, or even killed in a way.
If his soundwave body becomes too damaged or too spread apart, he and his consciousness become a part of something larger in the universe. But if he does so, it would be extremely difficult to put his body back together. However he wouldn’t actually be dead, his soundwaves would just be spread out. Although what would a dispersed unconscious supervillain actually sound like? Klaue probably just a lot of threats as well as screaming about Vibranium, Black Panther and Wakanda.
Klaue has many abilities that come with being a being made up of sound. One of which is being able to replicate his soundwaves and creating multiple versions of himself. These are called ‘Echoes’. They’re kept ‘alive’ by his sheer will, and they exist for as long as he wants them to. They’re quite useful in fights or as a distraction.
Weirdly, he can also fuse these echoes with actual people, meaning that they last for longer than they usually would. They also act as a beacon for other sound constructs, pinging Klaue’s thoughts and commands to them via the host. At one point, Klaue had Daredevil as one of his Echo hosts. He didn’t have control over the Man Without Fear for very long however, as Daredevil managed to break free and defeat Klaue.
10 KLAUE’S MCU HAND
We got our first live action look at Ulysses Klaue played by Andy Serkis during Avengers: Age of Ultron. The arms dealer was operating out of an old shipping tanker, and housed his stolen Vibranium there when Ultron came calling. But when Klaue compared him to Tony Stark, Ultron cut his arm off in a fit of rage, and now he’s an arms dealer.
But when Klaue came back to the MCU during Black Panther, he wasn’t quite as vulnerable as he had been when Ultron attacked him. He uses a prosthetic arm that houses a Wakandan mining tool, retrofitted into a sonic pulse weapon. He uses it with a devastating effect during the Korea sequence. It pays homage to the classic vision of Klaue, whilst still bringing him into the 21st century.
9 VIBRANIUM HURTS HIM
For a villain so obsessed with the mysterious metal from Wakanda, it’s quite ironic that in the comics it’s one of his biggest weaknesses. When he comes into contact with the metallic substance, it can cause him to lose the coherent physical body made from sound.
This is mainly down to the unique nature of the metal. It absorbs sound, so when Klaue goes near it, the metal starts to throw him off balance. But when he’s struck by it, he loses stability with the solid sound form he’s maintaining. He doesn’t vanish into thin air however, Klaue is absorbed into his own sonic device that is attached to his arm. Although when the Vibranium cancer was causing the metal to explode, he did attempt to absorb all the sound to make him stronger. But shouldn't getting close to such a large sum destabilize him? Hmm.
This is actually quite funny for two reasons. One: BitTorrent exists in the Marvel Universe. Two: Klaue managed to upload himself as a file onto BitTorrent so that he could be downloaded in his raw sound form. What? It’s crazy. But it’s actually quite smart, because once he’s on the internet, it’s like his own private refuge, unless someone deletes him that is.
He was later downloaded by the Wizard so that he could rejoin a group of villains in their fight against the Fantastic Four. But imagine that, just having a supervillain on your iPhone. “Siri, play Klaw”. It’d be a great way of communicating with him discreetly though, just plug your headphones in and voila, a private conversation to plan all your supervillain schemes. You’re welcome, Marvel.
7 HE CAN ONLY EXIST IN CERTAIN PLACES
Since Klaue in the comics is a being made up of solid sound, it places some restrictions on where can and can’t go. He’s able to move around quite freely on Earth, but there are the occasional spots that render him unable to use his physical form. If he stepped in to a vacuum for example, he would very quickly lose his shape.
A.I.M. did make some enhancements to his sonic arm that allowed him to exist in a vacuum, as it managed to hold the villain in place. Although how that device actually holds on to a being made of sound is a little beyond us to be honest -- it just doesn’t make much sense. Essentially, that device is the only thing keeping Klaue alive at times.
6 HE'S HELPED THE AVENGERS
Like all good villains, occasionally they have a crisis of conscience and attempt to do some good in their lives every so often to atone for the crimes. For a brief moment, Klaue actually worked with the West Coast Avengers. At first Klaue was working with the Pacific Overlords, led by Doctor Demonicus. But it quickly transpired that Doctor Demonicus was under the influence of a demon called Raksasa.
Imagine that, a supervillain called ‘Doctor Demonicus’ being controlled by an actual demon? They should’ve seen that one coming. But Klaue came to his senses and saw how much of a threat Demonicus actually was, and worked with the West Coast Avengers to defeat the other villain. He wasn’t the only villain to do so, it clearly doesn’t matter what side of the law you’re on, demons are bad for business.
5 HE'S A SON OF A NAZI
Evil runs in the family. Klaue’s Father, Fritz Klaue was a Nazi Commander and long-time enemy of the Howling Commandos. And mirroring his son’s dismembered hand in later life, he had a steel hand of his own. Each finger had a different gadget hidden inside of it.
It was Fritz Klaue that originally started his son’s obsession with Vibranium and Wakanda. He had crash landed there when searching for the country to bring Hitler back some Vibranium. And even though he was helped by the Black Panther of that time, his greed became too much and tried to scheme his way into possessing some of the metal. He ended up killing the Queen of Wakanda and was chased out of the country. Oh. Great father figure.
When Dazzler volunteered to test the sound elements of her powers for Project Pegasus, Klaue managed to manipulate her into freeing him. To stop this from happening, she used her powers to absorb his entire consciousness inside of her. Gross. But later on, she happened to be involved in an adventure aboard Galactus’ ship.
And when she unleashed an incredible wave of energy inside the ship, this also released Klaue from being trapped inside Dazzler’s body. However, since Galactus’ ship is automatically programmed to absorb such energy as a food source, it instantly brought Klaue inside the mechanics of the ship. So although Galactus might not have done it intentionally, Klaue has been absorbed by the Destroyer of Worlds. That is until Doom revived the villain during "Secret Wars".
3 THE SOUND WALL
During a particularly violent fight with the symbiote Carnage, Klaue found himself being pushed onto one of the building blocks of the universe. His essence and mental consciousness was transferred onto the ‘Sound Wall’ of the universe. Since his physical form was disrupted in a previous attack from the symbiote, Klaue found it difficult to keep his soundwaves together.
So as he became part of the ‘Sound Wall’, he managed to muster up some of the waves and formed a lightning bolt that he struck Carnage with. This separated the symbiote from Cletus Kassady. It is another moment where Klaue does something vaguely heroic and selfless, which shows that deep down he does a capacity for good… somewhere. Or was it done out of revenge?
2 KILLED BY CARNAGE
Yes, Klaue might be technically immortal. But if his mental essence is spread so thin that he can’t even think or realize where he is, what he’s doing or even know that he’s alive, is he really living? Because that is what happens when Caranage launches a brutal attack on Ulysses. He impales Klaue on his biggest weakness, a spear made from Vibranium.
This causes a devastating sonic explosion that flings Klaue’s soundwaves into something called the ‘Sound Wall’ of the universe. And after Klaue separates Carnage from Kassady, he feels himself fading. His conscious state begins spreading across the wall with all of the other soundwaves and he begins losing himself. He might not be completely dead, but it is definitely quite close.
1 HE MURDERED T’CHAKA
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was Helmut Zemo that set off the explosion killing T’Chaka, whereas in the comics it’s tied to Ulysses Klaue. There are two versions of the former King of Wakanda’s death. The first sees T’Chaka refuse Klaue and his invading mercenaries any Vibranium whatsoever. Obviously angering Klaue, he has his minions kill T’Chaka.
But during Black Panther Vol.3, his death is changed slightly. A Cabal of countries wanted their own supplies of Vibranium, and since T’Chaka stubbornly stood in their way, they hired Klaue as their work-around. Once the villain was in the palace, he got to the throne room and managed to kill T’Chaka. It’s here that T’Challa jumps into a fit of rage chasing Klaue and wounding his arm.