Real Name: Kâli

Identity/Class: Hindu God

Occupation: Goddess of death, destruction, life and creation

Group Membership: Hindu Gods (Daevas)

Affiliations: Dakini (demonic servants);
Mahdi, Shakti (female principle of power, member);
Deathtoll, Raga-Shah, the Shroud;
various Cults of Kâli (See Comments) (worshippers)

Enemies: The Rakshasas

Known Relatives: Shiva (father/husband), Parvati (mother);

Skanda, Ganesha (brothers),
Brahma, Surya(?) (uncles),
Lakshmi, Sarasvati (aunts),
Himavat, Daksha (grandfathers),
Menahka, Ammavaru (grandmothers),
Kama, Padma, Dharma, Vach, Yudhishthara (cousins)

Aliases: "Black" (translation of Kâli), the Black One, Durga, "Fanged Deity," Kâli Ma ("Mother Kâli"), Kara-Kai, Shakti, The Ferry across the Ocean of Existence

Base of Operations: Kailasa in the Nirvana Dimension

First Appearance: Amazing High Adventure#5 (December, 1986);

(confirmed Earth-616) War Machine#6 (September, 1994)

Powers/Abilities: Kâli possesses the conventional powers of the Hindu Gods including superhuman strength (Class 25), speed and endurance. She is quicker and faster in agility than any other Hindu God probably because of her small, acrobatic and lithe body. As a goddess of war, Kâli is unparalleled in combat, being especially adept with swords. She tends to use dance-like movements as well as her accelerated agility in combat. Personified as fear of the unknown, Kâli possesses the ability to create and end fearful feelings.

Weaknesses: None known, unless you count giving power to an idiot like Deathtoll.

Physical Description: She appears as a four- to six-armed woman, and in each of the arms is traditionally held a different weapon. She is seen with either a necklace or belt made of skulls, and wears a tiara or crown.

History: (Hindu Myth) - Kâli is the daughter of the gods Shiva and Parvati. When she was born, she was already able to lift a sword and fight alongside her father against the Rakshasas, a demonic horde intent on conquering Nirvana.

(Amazing High Adventure#5/3) - <1870's> An Indian rebel called the Mahdi, seeking to destroy the British army, prayed to the Hindu gods, demanding the power to fight the British. In a vision, Yama, Ratri (goddess of night), Agni (god of fire, two-headed), Maya (goddess of dreams), and Kâli granted the Mahdi powers and weapons to fight the British. From Yama, the Mahdi gained a fiery sword; from Ratri, the power of "the night's shadows"; from Agni, sacrificial flame; from Maya, the power to drive his enemies to despair with illusions; and from Kâli, the wheel of destruction. The Mahdi then used these powers in battle--only to discover too late that he had offended the gods by trying to order them around. The Mahdi's weapons were only illusions, and he died in battle.

(Thor I#301 (BTS)) - Kâli was presumably present in Nirvana when the Asgardian god Thor came to Nirvana and fought her father.

(War Machine#6) - Kâli's religious zealots known as the Thuggees began terrorizing India by committing vast murders to please her. The Indian Government hired Saint Van Sant to wipe them out, but the taste of her dead worshippers pleased her so much that Kâli offered him eternal life if he continued feeding her souls. Van Sant embraced the pact and became the assassin called Deathtoll. He was killed later by War Machine.

Comments: Adapted by Bill Mantlo and Steve Purcell for Amazing High Adventure;

for War Machine by Len Kaminski & Gabriel Gecko

In myth, Kâli is described as having black skin, six arms, a long tongue, wild black hair and only wearing a garland of skulls. In some myths, she is considered an aspect of Parvat and a wife of Shiva rather than their daughter.

Will U. points out: "Many of the names given for Kâli also turn out to be goddesses of different parentages. Maybe she usurped their roles for the followers and added power ?"

Concerning Kâli's status as Shiva's wife/daughter, Kyle notes: "About the aliases, to clarify: Kâli, as an aspect of the feminine cosmic power known as Shakti, is also one and the same as other Hindu goddesses. This is the point that will be made in the "Shakti: Kâli's relationship to the Hindu Gods." As such, she is also the wife of Shiva, if not his "daughter."."

An odd mistake on the part of the author of the Amazing High Adventures concept. The concept of a Mahdi is a Muslim, not a Hindu concept. The Mahdi will serve as an assistant to Jesus when Muslims believe Jesus will return to stop the Anti-Christ, protect Muslims, and kill all pigs.
--John McDonagh

Other pop culture references involving Hindu gods

Besides comic books, Hindu gods have been used in other popular entertainment forms:

Thugee: Kâli's Cult

The Shroud from Super-Villain Team Up#5 received his powers from a Cult of Kâli in Nepal. Has this been depicted anywhere?
(I'm glad you asked, here's a brief history of the Cult of Kâli, also called Thugees:

The Shakti: Kâli's relationship to Hindu gods


Kâli's relationship to other goddesses

Kâli shares certain noteworthy characteristics with goddesses from different pantheons:

Kâli is referenced in the Hyborian era, @ 10,000 BC, in the pages of Savage Sword of Conan. Like many of the Gods mentioned in that era, it is uncertain whether this refers to the same Kâli of the modern day Hindu religion, or some other predecessor. See the discussion under Gods of the Hyborian era for further discussion.

Profile by: William Uchtman and caliban

Clarifications: Kâli is the namesake for, but should be distinguished from:

Last updated: 02/06/11

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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