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Ulysses Klaue

Black Panther
by yo go re

When describing yourself as an "arms dealer," try not to take that too literally.

An arms dealer obsessed with vibranium, Ulysses Klaue infiltrates the secret nation of Wakanda to steal the sacred metal and sell it for a hefty profit.

Marvel movies are famous for their comicbook Easter eggs, but there's one that flies completely under the radar, because while they gave us the set-up, they (purposely?) left out the payoff. When Klaue meets Agent Ross in Korea, he starts to enthuse about the mixtape he has coming out soon. It seems like it's just a goofy moment for the character, meant to show us that he has hobbies beyond robbing museums and somehow frittering away $2,640,559,239 in a little over a year; but remember that no one releases music under their own name, and that comic characters often have bynames in addition to their supranyms ("the Man of Steel," "the Sentinel of Liberty," and so forth). So we'll bet you anything that if that conversation had continued, Klaue would have proudly announced his DJ name was "The Master of Sound."

Ulysses is played by Andy Serkis, for once being allowed to step out from behind his CGI makeup and appear as himself. The figure uses Hasbro's "Photo Real" paint process, so it looks very much like the real human being. He's got a mustacheless beard and is smiling in a manner most sinister. There's a cut on his forehead and dirt on his face, and the sides of his head are shaved.

Apparently at least some of Klaue's trillions of dollars went to buy him a new wardrobe, because he no longer dresses like a tour guide on the Jungle Cruise ride, trading his camo pants and khaki shirt for something more stylish. The figure uses the suit legs, but the chest is covered by a new PVC sleeve that creates his vest and tie. That does make him look a bit too bulky in the chest, it must be said. The arms are new, with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows; the right arm is painted with his big scorpion tattoo, while the left is paler and has sculpted lines to make clear it's a prosthetic.

But just looking the part isn't enough. The toy comes with an alternate left arm that has the prosthetic split open to reveal the Wakandan mining tool he concealed within - aka his sonic blaster. The arms swap at the elbow, and though the weaponized one was slightly warped when I took it out of the tray, a dip in hot water straightened that right out.

This is the older version of the suit body, meaning the feet point inward at an inhuman angle. Also the chest hinge is effectively blocked by the vest (you can get it to move, but not far, and it doesn't want to stay in place). But the arms have swivels both in the biceps and at the elbows, and the fake arm has a swivel hinge for its wrist. (The gun arm does not.) Considering both arms are new molds, it's surprising they didn't choose to hide the right wrist joint under that leather cuff he wears.

Klaue comes with the biggest part of this series' Build-A-Figure: the entire torso of M'Baku, which itself has two separate pieces of clothing. With that, we can forgive that he has a little black pistol, but no suitcase full of diamonds or lump of vibranium.

After years of Caesars and Gollums and Snokes, it's cool to finally get an "Andy Serkis" Andy Serkis. Klaue was a highlight of both Black Panther and Avengers: Blood and Chrome, bringing some fun while other characters are taking themselves seriously. This series is half filler, but Ulysses Klaue is all killer.

-- 05/13/19

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