By Jim Beard
|Kang the Conqueror|
He’s been called one of the greatest comic book villains of all time, and we’ve no reason to argue that. He’s the man who can be anywhere, at any time and when you least expect it. He’s got a million schemes and as many evil dreams and some of them exist before he’s even made them up. He’s Kang the Conqueror and he’s to be feared.
Now, with Kang rearing his blue-and-purple head in "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!" beginning this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. ET on Disney XD, we bring you a look back at the storied history of this time-travelling conqueror!
The Avengers, the Fantastic Four--they’ve all gone up against Kang, and though he’s faced many a defeat, his unique nature as a time despot means he keeps coming back for more. Sometimes before the moment he was just defeated.
We’ve tried to collate all available data on Kang here in this handy guide, but warning: everything you read may be false. In fact, it may not have even happened…yet.
Just in Time
As near as we can determine, Kang began existence as Nathaniel Richards, a descendant of Doctor Doom. Born in the 30th century, he dabbled in time travel and set up shop in ancient Egypt as Pharaoh Rama-Tut and from there began a reign of evil. The Fantastic Four whipped his asp and he escaped through time. Eventually, he refashioned himself as the Scarlet Centurion, but the intervention of the Avengers and the alternate-Earth Squadron Supreme sent him packing once again. It just wasn’t his time.
Then, back in the 30th century, the time-traveler hit upon a winning idea, and took on the identity of Kang the Conqueror. In time, Kang set about making sure no one ever forgot the name.
The FF first encountered Pharaoh Rama-Tut in FANTASTIC FOUR Vol. 1 #19, collected in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 2 and ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 1, while the Scarlet Centurion first menaced Earth's Mightiest Heroes in AVENGERS ANNUAL #2, collected in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: AVENGERS VOL. 6 and ESSENTIAL AVENGERS VOL. 3.
Time to Kill the Avengers
|Kang's first appearance|
Out of time he sprang to confront the original Avengers in the 20th century as Kang the Conqueror. After several encounters with Earth's Mightiest Heroes led to failure, he began to feel as if victory just wasn’t on his timetable. Kang then wooed the Princess Ravonna in the far-future but seemingly lost her to the mists of time and a killer’s blast. Seeking to revive her, he encountered many more heroes who all sought to stop him. Kang then hunted high and low for the so-called Celestial Madonna but the Avengers had much to say about that and Kang once again suffered defeat.
Then, making a trip to the Old West era of Earth, the Conqueror refused to give the time of day to a futuristic version of Rama-Tut and his allies the Avengers. Kang’s time was up, unfortunately and the dastardly villain died in blast of his own energy.
Kang first appeared in the present day in AVENGERS Vol. 1 #8, collected in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: AVENGERS VOL. 1 as well as ESSENTIAL AVENGERS VOL. 1, while his quest for the Celestial Madonna spanned AVENGERS #129-135 and GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #2-4, and may be found in ESSENTIAL AVENGERS VOL. 6. As for Kang's time in the Wild West, check out AVENGERS #141-143, collected in both AVENGERS: THE SERPENT CROWN and ESSENTIAL AVENGERS VOL. 7.
Time to Live…Again
|Kang lives again!|
A good villain never dies, though, and Kang’s no exception. The beauty of a time-traveling baddie is that you can pick him out from anywhere on his time-line and watch him cause trouble. That’s just what the Beyonder did, and he plopped the new Kang into his Secret Wars. Soon, many Kangs sprang up but the Avengers put in time-and-a-half to insure that only one remained--Prime Kang!
If that didn’t qualify as a disaster, then the existence of a Council of Cross-Time Kangs did. Kang, never a time-killer, then went up against the Avengers, the West Coast Avengers and the Fantastic Four in several spectacular battles across time and space.
Hold onto your timepieces! Here comes another lovely list of the Kang issues you need to possess for the full story of the Conqueror’s second-hand life: SECRET WARS #1-12, collected in the trade paperback of the same name, while our heroes and the Council of Cross-Time Kangs tussled with Immortus in AVENGERS #267-269, collected in AVENGERS - KANG: TIME AND TIME AGAIN.
Time in a Bottle
|Kang conquers Earth|
Kang’s beloved Ravonna returned as the villainous Terminatrix and Prime Kang found himself mortally wounded by a blow from Thor’s mighty hammer. His timing all wrong, Ravonna put Kang into stasis but revived him when his time-empire came under attack by a chronal entity. The result? Bye-bye, Council of Cross-Time Kangs!
Checking his timetable once again, Kang saw an opportunity to once again invade Earth of the 20th century and instituted the horrible event called the Kang War. Alas, he’d make no victory and yet again wound up on the wrong side of the Avengers’ fury. To make matters worse, his own son Marcus stuck a knife in Kang’s back. But hey, let’s do the time-warp again, eh, Mr. Conqueror?
Last time we saw Kang he’d fallen into step with the Guardians of the Galaxy to hold off the spread of the rip in spacetime called the Fault. And then…oh! Time’s up!
Don’t you just love our timely assists? Get caught up on all things Kang with AVENGERS: THE TERMINATRIX OBJECTIVE #1-4, and AVENGERS FOREVER #1-12, collected in its own trade paperback. Kang and his son, Marcus, succeeded in taking over the world for a short time in AVENGERS Vol. 3 #41-55, found collected in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE VOL.5. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #19, collected in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3: WAR OF KINGS BOOK 2, saw the villain team up with the galactic heroes.