November 28, 2021

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #353: Warlord Kro

The Deviants may have long battled the Eternals, but there is this one who sometimes switches sides.

The Eternals are the latest Marvel characters to hit the big screen, and as it often the case, the characters were altered to be something a bit easier to explain in a two or so hour movie as opposed to who knows how many issues of a comic book series.

I mean, look at Kro, sometimes called Warlord Kro, frequent leader of the Deviants.  I don’t think he even got referred to by name in the movie.  So, what is his whole deal anyway?

Kro first appeared in Eternals #1 in July of 1976.  Created by Jack Kirby, at first glance, he sure did look like a villain as the leader of the Deviants when those guys attacked New York, prompting the Eternals to come out and stop them.  The thing is Kro is a bit more complex than a simple villain.  The second is, well, he often looks like the devil.  On purpose.

See?

Kro, unlike other Deviants, was immortal.  He was also a shapeshifter.  He often posed as his own son to hide his immortality, and while he sometimes fought for the baddies, he also at times worked with rebellious good guy Deviants.  Kro, it seems, had a sense of honor, even when he was fighting on the wrong side.  He could feel shame for bad actions, and it seems when he apologized to heroes for such behavior, it was often accepted.  That’s probably why he was able to have a longstanding relationship with one of the Eternals, namely Thena.  And while the relationship didn’t quite work out, they did produce a pair of twins named Donald and Deborah Ritter.

Granted, the twins came along much later and were not Kirby creations.  They apparently have, among their many powers, the ability to merge into one being.

Like so…

Now, the movie is still a bit new, so I won’t say too much about Kro’s full story there, but it is a little odd that the Deviants there at least start off as little more than mindless beasts.  The one that more or less is Kro is the only one that really talks, and it’s the voice of Bill “Pennywise the Dancing Clown” Skarsgard.  Neither he nor Thena seem to really know each other, and if that dude had horns, I sure didn’t see ’em.  If anything, the Deviants were not given much in the way of personality, and what little the character that was meant to be Kro had, well…I don’t think he came across as all that honorable.   He was mostly mad.

Regardless, in his comic book appearances, Kro is one of the many leaders of the Deviants vying for power, and he may be the best of the lot of them.  I suspect the movie’s reflection of him was mostly of the funhouse mirror variety.

You know, this entry turned out much shorter than I thought it would be when I decided to write this guy up.  That comes in part from not just wanting to list all of his various comic appearances, especially since Wikipedia lists a number of things he’s done without saying when and where those actions took place.  The movie’s version is, well, disappointing compared to the character that inspired him, and after I got started, I quickly realized I did not have a whole lot to say.  He’s probably the most complex of the various characters Kirby created when he whipped up the Eternals, and while the one who appeared in the movie did have a somewhat understandable motivation, he likewise was not particularly deep.  Most stories show him fighting for power, often with other less savory or outright villainous Deviants, plus he has the complicated romantic history with Thena.  Regardless, that’s all I have to say about this guy.

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