Take 10

Take 10: Time-Travelers

Heroes and villains who defy time periods as limitations to their coolness



Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.

In the Marvel Universe, threats don't just come from today, they can attack from tomorrow, yesterday and all points in between.

Fortunately, salvation originates in every era as well.

As we speak, Kang the Conqueror has once again made his way back from the far-flung future to menace the Avengers while Cable and X-Force have moved forward several decades in hopes of rescuing the mutant race from extinction.

This week, the Secret Cabal counts down their favorite Marvel time-travelers, good, evil and otherwise.

For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!


First Appearance: YOUNG AVENGERS #1 (2005)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: When a young boy learned he was fated to become the megalomaniacal Kang the Conqueror, he sought desperately to avoid that consequence, going back to the time of the Avengers and forming his own team of super-powered teens to try and thwart his destiny while doing good in the mean time. Unfortunately, Iron Lad's future would catch up to him in the form of Kang himself, who forced the young hero to choose between his own happiness and the fate of those he had come to care for.
Spotlight Comic: YOUNG AVENGERS #2-The secret origin of Iron Lad!

First Appearance: ASTONISHING TALES #25 (1974)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: There have been many incarnations of Deathlok through the years, but all have stood in the shadow of the original: Luther Manning, a brave soldier mortally wounded and placed in the body of a killer cyborg to survive. Though many in his dystopian future and eventually in our present would attempt to use Deathlok as a mere weapon, Manning's inner strength would always overpower his other half's programming and do the right thing.
Spotlight Comic: PARADISE X #9-In the complex future of Paradise X, Deathlok finds possible salvation!

First Appearance: NEW MUTANTS #86 (1990)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: A dark mirror reflecting Cable's tortured heroism, the clone Stryfe would make the life of his "brother" miserable in the future age where they were raised, even poisoning his son's mind against him, before jumping backwards in time and plating seeds to revenge himself on the parents he felt abandoned him: Cyclops and Jean Grey of the X-Men. Stryfe has been thought dead or destroyed more than once, but like the proverbial bad penny, he always turns up again, the question is simply when.
Spotlight Comic: X-FORCE #14 (2009)-Stryfe returns and strikes out against Cable and Hope!

First Appearance: MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #18 (1969)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Following a thousand-year journey into deep space, Major Vance Astro returns to find his galaxy overrun by the alien Badoon and gathers a team of freedom fighters, each the last of their kind, to oppose the reptilian conquerors. The Guardians of the Galaxy would expand their ranks and bring heroism to the 31st century, becoming not unlike the Avengers who inspired Astro's youth. Eventually, Astor and his team would meet their inspiration on more than one occasion, journeying back in time to aid Marvel's heroes against threats such as Korvac.
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS #167-The Guardians find themselves opposing Earth's Mightiest Heroes!

First Appearance: AVENGERS #10 (1964)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: An incarnation of Kang from far down the Conqueror's personal lifeline, Immortus has seemed both friend and foe to the Avengers, but ultimately his behind-the-scenes orchestrations have done Earth's Mightiest Heroes more harm than good and proven to be for his own selfish ends. The ruler of Limbo, Immortus bartered with the near-omnipotent Time-Keepers for immortality, in exchange becoming their agent in preserving timelines at all costs, no matter how many lives get disrupted, ruined, or erased.
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS WEST COAST #61-Immortus' machinations involving The Scarlet Witch begin to unravel!

First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #191 (1985)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: A super Sentinel from the future, Nimrod came back in time and clashed with the X-Men in pursuit of the fugitive Rachel Summers. Connecting with humanity through everyday people, Nimrod became something of a community hero before a battle with Master Mold and the X-Men blasted him through the Siege Perilous. The Nimrod/Master Mold amalgamation would later return as Bastion while another version of the robot appeared later to William Stryker and ended up creating a time loop that reasserted his creation.
Spotlight Comic: NEW X-MEN #31-The reconstituted Nimrod battles the New X-Men!

First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #282 (1991)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Like so many others, Lucas Bishop came back in time hoping to improve the era he came through, in his case by preventing a betrayal that would destroy the X-Men. While he couldn't catch the traitor-who turned out to be Professor X-he was able to help stem the after-effects and hold the group together to fight another day. While most would think this experience would teach Bishop nothing is certain when it comes to destiny, years later when the supposed mutant messiah surfaced, he ironically betrayed the X-Men himself and attempted to destroy the child, burning relationships and loyalties in a relentless quest that has come to a pause momentarily but will no doubt resume in due time.
Spotlight Comic: CABLE #4 (2008)-Bishop continues his dogged pursuit of Cable and the mutant messiah!

First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #141 (1981)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Growing up in the nightmarish future where the Sentinels nearly eradicated mutantkind, Rachel Summers thought everything in her life would fall into place if she could just escape her trappings and reunite with her loved ones. However, traveling to the glory days of the X-Men would not solve Rachel's woes, as her future parents, Cyclops and Jean Grey, didn't know what to make of her, and the portents of her home continued to haunt her as she did her best to prevent it. Rachel would return to the future and found the Askani, helping to raise her younger brother Cable, before again emerging in the present and inheriting the power of the Phoenix; yet no amount of running has ever allowed the current Marvel Girl to fully break free of her past-or our future.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #189-Rachel teams with Magma against the sinister Selene!

First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #201 (1986)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Throughout his life, Cable has become almost like a trucker who uses time travel as his personal highway. As a child, Nathan Christopher Summers was shanghaied by the order of the Askani into the future where he was raised as the chosen warrior to oppose Apocalypse's tyranny. As he grew up, Cable would bounce back and forth between the present and other periods, establishing footholds and making connections to further his service to the greater good. After spending a significant time with X-Force and the X-Men, Cable would jump forward one last time to raise the mutant messiah, Hope, away from threats, while also eluding Bishop. Ever the soldier, Cable has gone when and where he was needed without question and never shirking his duty.
Spotlight Comic: CABLE: BLOOD & METAL #1-The time-tripping X-Man books a return trip to the future!

First Appearance: AVENGERS #8 (1964)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Bored with a life of luxury in the idyllic 30th century, the man who would be Kang returned the art of war to his home era and then took to the past intent on becoming Alexander the Great but in regards to all of time. Over the interminable years, Kang would carve out an impressive empire with only one roadblock preventing his absolute mastery of all he could survey: the Avengers and their stubborn insistence on refusing to let their time period slip into his control. The Conqueror has evolved beyond his simple desire to thwart melancholy and battled for love, for pride and sometimes even for the good of the multiverse; Kang's refusal to yield and penchant for finding a way to win has made him an implacable foe for all-time.
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS FOREVER #9-The life story of Kang!


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I agree with the Kang thing, he is great and all, but 3 times on 1 list is a bit much, even if they are distinct versions of the character. cable and stryfe in a different entry is ok with me, a clone is different than just a version of a character from a different time-line. but overall, this is one of the better lists they have made, I don't see much that I can't understand why it made the list.


I know it makes a certain amount of sense because he's a time traveller and he's actually fought himself in these different personas... But did Kang really need to be listed three times? Kang, Iron Lad and Immortus? Stryfe could have shared an entry with Cable, as well.Doctor Doom could have gotten an honorable mention because his time platform was one of the earliest published Marvel time travel stories and is still used in stories. His 2099 stories weren't bad either. Reed Richard's father has also been all over the time stream.