Kang the Conqueror

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Kang the Conqueror
Avengers 129.jpg
Cover of Avengers #129 (Nov. 1974), featuring Kang the Conqueror battling the Avengers.
Art by Sal Buscema.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance as Rama-Tut:
Fantastic Four #19 (Oct. 1963)
as Kang:
Avengers #8 (Sep. 1964)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego Nathaniel Richards
Team affiliations Council of Kangs
Cross-Time Kangs
Notable aliases Iron Lad, Rama-Tut, Victor Timely, Scarlet Centurion, Immortus
Abilities Genius-level intellect
Master tactician and strategist
Skilled armed/unarmed combatant
Access to advanced technology
Slowed aging

Kang the Conqueror is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. In 2009, Kang was ranked as IGN's 65th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[1]

Publication history[edit]

The character first appears in Avengers #8 (Sep. 1964), and was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Nathaniel Richards, a scholar born in the 30th century, becomes fascinated with history and discovers the time travel technology created by Victor von Doom.[2] Richards then travels back in time to ancient Egypt c. 2950 B.C., aboard a Sphinx-shaped timeship, to become the Pharaoh Rama-Tut, with intentions of claiming En Sabah Nur—the mutant destined to become Apocalypse—his heir.[3] Though briefly blinded in a crash, a radioactive herb restores his sight after frightening the Egyptians by firing his ray-gun. Richards's rule lasts for a time, until his defeat by time-displaced heroes from the 20th century, the Fantastic Four, who had traveled back in time (with some help from a time-traveling Doctor Strange[4] and Khonshu[5]). The Fantastic Four are placed under mind-control by Rama Tut's Ultra-Diode Ray; he makes Susan his Queen, puts Ben to work on the ship, plants Reed as a lookout for his armies, and makes Johnny Storm his court jester. The four of them escape in the Sphinx, while Tut flees back into time, and an explosive device destroys the Sphinx.[6] He eventually returns to rule in ancient Egypt, and encounters the time-traveling West Coast Avengers.[7]

Embittered by this defeat, he travels forward to the 20th century and meets his ancestor Doctor Doom, adrift in space near Jupiter. He returns him to Earth. They suggest they might be the same being, but at different points in time, so will not attack the Fantastic Four together, as they claim if one is defeated, the other will be unable to exist.[8] Richards then tries to return to the 31st century, but instead finds himself one thousand years further in the future due to an energy failure. This world is inhabited by warring factions that do not understand the technology created by their more advanced ancestors. Kang designs an armor based on Doom's using 40th century technology, and again travels to the 20th century, thus creating an alternate timeline: Earth-689. Calling himself the Scarlet Centurion, he manipulates the Avengers from this timeline — the original team — into apprehending all heroes and villains (following their first encounter with the Space Phantom). The Centurion transports the Avengers from Earth-616 to his timeline, hoping that they will defeat their Earth-689 equivalents, and can then be disposed of. They are able to force the Centurion from this timeline, after which Uatu reveals that he is Kang. He battles the Squadron Supreme on an alternate Earth.[9] The Centurion returns to his home century, and reinvents himself as Kang the Conqueror. Using the resources at his disposal he establishes an empire. But this world is dying, and so he decides to take over an earlier, more fertile Earth.

On Kang's first foray into the 20th century where he expects to meet Doctor Doom, he attempts to conquer this time period and meets the superhero team the Avengers, he reveals how he returned and battles them. He traps the Avengers in his ship using a tractor beam, although Wasp and Rick escape. He says the world has 24 hours to surrender to him. The Teen Brigade pretends they want to help Kang, but drop an energy cylinder to delay him after they gain access to his ship. Thor is freed and he then frees the other members. The Wasp gets Giant-Man a weapon that wrecks Kang's battlesuit and his missiles. Kang releases radiation that beings from the year 4000 are immune to, but Thor uses his hammer to absorb the rays and send them back at Kang, which not even his immunity can stand, after which he is forced to escape to another time.[10] Kang is furious and swears vengeance. He creates a Spider-Man robot while Iron Man is briefly away from the Avengers. The robot lures the Avengers to a Temple with a nerve gas to weaken them by claiming the Masters of Evil have kidnapped Iron Man and taken him to the temple and battles them to a stalemate. However the real Spider-Man had found out about the robot with his spider-sense and destroys the robot after deactivating it during an aerial battle. The Avengers realize Kang was behind this.[11]

Kang returns, attempting to win the hand of Princess Ravonna of a puppet kingdom, by demonstrating his power to her father by battling the Avengers, who he kidnaps using a time machine he disguises as part of their mansion. The Scarlet Witch uses her power to break out of giant jars they are imprisoned in. She pulls a lever to free the others. However they are paralyzed by a device of Kang, though Quicksilver evades it with his speed. Captain America reveals himself to Kang outside the Mansion, so is sent to the future. The Avengers reform and attack Kang, who gives a signal to his army. His men attack the kingdom and finally get to the Avengers, who are defeated. Later after one of his commanders (Baltog) rebels when Kang refuses to execute Ravonna he frees the Avengers to fight with him. They get the support of a group of citizens and break into the armory. The rebellion succeeds, and Baltog is captured by Quicksilver. Kang then transports the Avengers back to their own time. However, Ravonna is mortally wounded by Baltrog, when she leaps in front of the blast meant for Kang, realizing she loved him. Baltrog is then executed, while Kang laments Ravonna.[12] Kang was unable to revive her, so kept her body in stasis.

Later he came from the 25th century and after defeating and imprisoning Merlin he attempted to take over King Arthur's Court and change history by attacking the rest of the world. He defeated King Arthur and many of his knights, sending them into exile. But Uatu the Watcher sent the Human Torch and Thing back in time. They battled his army and the Torch released Merlin. After his army was turned against him by Merlin, Kang was forced to flee. The Watcher then sent the two heroes back to their own time.[13] In an encounter with the Thunder God Thor while utilizing his Growing Man to test it, Kang's disguised time travel vehicle is destroyed by Mjolnir as he attempts to get back to his own time period.[14] Kang returns and enters into a wager with the cosmic entity Grandmaster in hopes of restoring life to Ravonna, and uses the Avengers as his pawns against the Grandmaster's newly created champions, the Squadron Sinister.[15] This also ends in a stalemate thanks to the intervention of the Black Knight; in a second round, the Grandmaster transferred three Avengers - the Vision, the Black Panther and Yellowjacket - to Paris in 1941. The Grandmaster then summoned the Sub-Mariner, Captain America and the android Human Torch from that period as his unwitting pawns to battle the Avengers. When the Avengers won the battle, the Grandmaster returned the Torch, Sub-Mariner and Captain America to where they had been and returned the Avengers to Kang's citadel. Since Kang won only one round of the game, he did not win the power of life and death - to save Ravonna and defeat the Avengers. He had to choose one or the other, so he requested the power of death to kill the Avengers. Since the Black Knight was not a member of the Avengers, he was not killed and was able to defeat Kang. The Grandmaster removed the power of death and revived the Avengers.[16] Kang later has a brief encounter with the Hulk, who he utilizes in a scheme to change Earth during World War I, as he is unable to enter 1917 due to a time-storm. Kang attempts to trick the Hulk into killing his own ancestor by stopping the Phantom Eagle destroying a cannon that was about to attack the Allies—and thus potentially negate the formation of the Avengers. The Hulk stops the Eagle, but accidentally destroys the cannon himself, and when Kang tries to keep the Hulk in 1917, he is hurled into the 'limbo between the millennium'.[17] Later he tried to invade the 23rd Century, time period of Zarrko, and tries to capture the Avengers once more. Spider-Man and Iron Man are taken forward by Zarrko so he can get into Kang's facility. Zarrko then sends back three devices which will reverse the natural state of humanity all over the World except for an American nuclear base, making it easy for him to steal weapons from there, with which he can defeat Kang and rule his time. This scheme is foiled by Spider-Man and the Human Torch. With the help of the Inhumans Spider-Man returns to the 23rd Century and defeats the two villains.[18]

Several months later Kang reappears, seeking the Celestial Madonna for a mate, whom he believes is on Earth. The discovery that it is the Avenger Mantis leads to another confrontation with the Avengers. The Avengers are aided by a futuristic version of Rama-Tut, who had returned to ancient Egypt in his old age and ruled for ten years, and then placed himself in suspended animation to revive in the 20th Century. This Rama-Tut has abandoned his identity as Kang and seeks to counsel and change his younger, conquering self. While Kang is foiled in his quest for the Celestial Madonna, Rama-Tut is unable to prevent the accidental death of the Avenger the Swordsman.[19] As Kang escapes, the Avenger Hawkeye chooses to pursue him (courtesy of Doom's time-travel machine), which results in a final battle in the Old West in 1871. Aided by the futuristic Rama-Tut once more—who has evolved after a journey to Limbo and a study of time into Immortus[20]—Hawkeye, Thor, and ally Moondragon confront Kang, with the help of the Two-Gun Kid. In trying to defeat Thor, Kang draws on an excessive amount of energy and destroys himself.[21]

Resurrection[edit]

Years later the Hulk has an encounter in the future with Kang's still-devoted minions,[22] and the Beyonder plucks a living Kang from his timeline to participate on the villains' side in the first of the Secret Wars.[23] He was revealed as a possible descendant of Nathaniel Richards from the 31st Century of an alternate Earth.[24] It was then revealed that while the original Kang was dead, his constant time-traveling had caused the creation of a number of other flawed "Kangs", and so the three stable versions of the villain form a council to eliminate the others and stop a proliferation of still more of their number from Limbo. The first Kang to reach Limbo had been drawn there after his time-travel vehicle was destroyed by Thor. He found the fortress of Immortus and the remains of Immortus, causing him to take the devices used by the Lord of Limbo for viewing different time peroids. He realized his creation of alternate realities after he took Ravonna from the moment before her death to Limbo, and then saw he had created an alternate reality in which he was slain. He destroys thousands of Kangs from many realitites, with two other cunning divergents who with him form the Council of Kangs, though he is really plotting to destroy them. When one of the divergents finds out more about the first Kang, he is destroyed. The Avengers are drawn into the conflict by Kang trying to use them to destroy another Kang, and they are all captured and held under a paralysis ray while Kang explains his history to them. However Hercules overloaded the system when he tried to use his great strength to break free, allowing the Avengers to escape. The other Kang is delayed by Ravonna, who tells him if he truly loves her he must not kill his other version, but despite his love for her he still goes after the other Kang. He is destroyed when he tries to fire a weapon at Kang that had been tampered with. Once again with the help of Immortus the Avengers triumph. Immortus reveals he was behind these events and caused the temporal difficulties that sent Kang into the 20th and 41st Century, along with faking his death. Now most of the Kangs have been destroyed, with only one "Prime" Kang remaining, who falls into nothingness in Limbo after being driven insane while trying to absorb the memories of the Kangs that were destroyed when Immortus tells him these make him Lord of Limbo. Immortus then sent the Avengers back to their own timeline.[25]

Another Kang was later revealed to have survived, and is invited to join the Crosstime Kang Corps (or, the "Council of Cross-Time Kangs"), which consists of a group of various aliens posing as Kang, searching for a Celestial "Ultimate Weapon". This version of Kang calls himself "Fred" (by his own admission a humorous nod to Fred Flintstone, with a prehistoric name being appropriate for a time-traveler) and has a brief encounter with the Avengers while trying to stop the female space-pirate Nebula from interfering with a timeline.[26] The Prime Kang then attempts to manipulate the Avengers from a time vortex [27] and later encounters the Fantastic Four in a bid to capture Mantis and use her to defeat a Celestial and defeat the other Kangs,[28] while "Fred" is incinerated by a Nebula-possessed Human Torch during a later battle with the Fantastic Four in the timestream.[29]

Kang first battles the Avengers on the cover of Avengers #8 (Sep. 1964). Art by Jack Kirby.

Immortus reappears and reveals in a battle with the Avengers West Coast that he desires to be master of all time and plans to use the Avenger the Scarlet Witch as a nexus in order to control time. Immortus' plan is foiled when a group of beings called the Time Keepers—who charged Immortus with responsibility for the period of time from 3000 BC to 4000 AD—appear and use him as the nexus point to stabilize the damage done to the timestream by his interference.[30] Prime Kang then makes a brief appearance as an ally of Dr. Doom when the latter tries to steal the Infinity Gems.[31]

New Empire[edit]

The Prime Kang then appears and takes the android Avenger the Vision prisoner, and battles both the Avengers and a new foe—Terminatrix—who is revealed to be Kang's old lover Ravonna. Kang is critically injured when he intercepts a blow from Thor's hammer Mjolnir that was meant for Ravonna, who is distraught over his sacrifice and teleports away with him.[32] Terminatrix then places Prime Kang in stasis to heal and assumes control of his empire. However, she finds the empire under attack by a chronal being called Alioth, and is forced to summon the Avengers to assist. Terminatrix also revives Kang, who assists the Avengers in defeating Alioth, but not before allowing the entity to kill the entire Crosstime Kang Corps.[33]

A recovered Prime Kang later aids the Avengers and their companion Rick Jones against another scheme implemented by his future self, Immortus, who is now allied with the Time Keepers. When Immortus betrays the Time Keepers they kill him, and are in turn killed by Kang, though not before resurrecting Immortus by "splitting him off" from Kang. This then allows Kang to be free of Immortus as he has now fulfilled his destiny of becoming Immortus without being trapped by it.[34] After some months Prime Kang embarks on an ambitious scheme (the Kang War) to conquer the Earth, this time aided by a son, Marcus, who now uses the alias of the Scarlet Centurion. Kang first promises any who aid him on Earth a place in his new order, which puts Earth's defenses and the Avengers under strain as they fight off villain after villain. Kang then takes control of Earth's defense system, and after destroying the city of Washington and killing millions, forces a surrender. The Avengers continue to battle the forces of Kang's new empire, and eventually he is defeated by Captain America in personal combat. Although imprisoned, Kang is freed by his son Marcus, who is revealed to be only one of a series of clones. Kang then reveals that he is aware of Marcus' betrayal (Marcus fell in love with and aided the Avenger Warbird in defeating the Master of the World, thus indirectly aiding in his father's defeat as control of the Master's technology allowed the Avengers to defeat Kang) and kills him before retreating from Earth.[35]

Some time later, the hero Iron Lad is revealed to be an adolescent version of Kang who learned of his future history when Kang tried to prevent a childhood hospitalization. Attempting to escape his destiny, the young Kang stole his future self's advanced armor and travelled back to the past, forming the Young Avengers based on a security protocol acquired from the databanks of the now-dead Vision when he was unable to contact the now-disassembled Avengers to help him stop Kang. However, when his attempt to reject his destiny results in him killing Kang, the resulting destruction caused by the changes in history forces Iron Lad to return to his time and undo the damage by becoming Kang.[36]

Kang established a small, quiet town called Timely in northern Illinois around 1910, as a private retreat from the daily stresses of the Empire, where he occasionally resides as mayor Victor Timely.[volume & issue needed] It was during one of his vacation times that he took an interest in a young visiting college graduate named Phineas Horton, providing Horton with some insights during their talks which led him to eventually create the original Human Torch.[volume & issue needed]

Realm of Kings[edit]

Kang came to assist the Guardians of the Galaxy when they barely halted the spread of the space-time tear referred to as the Fault. He informs them that Adam Warlock has become Magus.[37]

The Apocalypse Twins[edit]

Kang later returns to kidnap Eiman and Uriel, the twin children of Archangel and Ichisumi.[38]

During the Age of Ultron storyline, Kang the Conqueror brings the Apocalypse Twins from concentration camps to his palace in the year 4145 AD. They are then dispatched on a mission to murder Colonel America at the time when history was altered by Wolverine and the Invisible Woman. The Apocalypse Twins' mission fails, but they succeed in killing that reality's Havok and Rogue who became the first lives they ever took. As punishment for their failure, Kang the Conqueror sends the Twins back to the concentration camps.[39]

Kang travels the multi-verse and recruits Stryfe, Earth-X Venom (May "Mayday" Parker), Doom 2099, Iron Man 2020, Ahab, Magistrate Braddock, and Abomination Deathlok to save the multi-verse and possibly restore the universes that have already been erased.[40] He appears to the remaining members of the Avengers Unity Squad after Earth has been destroyed by a Celestial leaving only the mutants, offering to help them save Earth by projecting their minds back into their past selves so that they can defeat the Celestial that attacked Earth,[41] but subsequently attempts to steal its power for himself,[42] requiring Sunfire and Havok to put themselves at risk by absorbing some of his energy themselves so that they can force him to expend his stolen power.[43]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Kang has no superhuman abilities, but is an extraordinary genius, an expert historical scholar, a master physicist (specializing in time-travel), engineer, and technician. Courtesy of 40th century technology, he has mastered combat and tactics, and is thoroughly versed in the principles of time travel. Kang wears highly advanced battle armor that enhances his strength; is capable of energy, hologram and force-field projection, has a 30 day supply of air and food, and the ability to control other forms of technology. It is made from alloys found in the 40th century. Via his "time-ship", Kang has access to technology from any century, and he once claimed his ship alone could destroy the Moon.[volume & issue needed] He is also far more resistant to radiation than humans from the present.

As Rama-Tut, he used an "ultra-diode" ray-gun, able to sap the wills of human beings; at high-frequency, able to weaken superhuman beings and prevent use of their superhuman powers. They can be freed from its effects if the gun is fired at them a second time.

Notes[edit]

  • In the original JLA vs Avengers 1980 canceled crossover by George Perez, Epoch (DC Comics) and Kang the Conqueror were the main instigators in the plot against the JLA and Avengers.[citation needed] The artwork was reincorporated in a panel of the 3rd issue of the new JLA/Avengers crossover in 2003 to suggest a false timeline made by Krona's time distortions, in which the two battled each other in the Quest for the World egg.

Other versions[edit]

Spider-Ham[edit]

In the Spider-Ham reality, Kang the Conqueror is depicted as a kangaroo named Kangaroo the Conqueror.[44]

X-Men/Star Trek[edit]

In the X-Men/Star Trek crossover Second Contact, an alternate universe version of Kang disrupts a number of timelines, and is defeated by the combined effort of the mutant X-Men and the crew of the Enterprise-E.[45] His timehooks - the means the two teams used to travel in time - later draw the X-Men into the Enterprise's timeline when the hook the Enterprise used becomes exposed to verteron particles, creating a link to the other hook due to Nightcrawler being similarly infused with verteron particles when he teleports.[volume & issue needed]

Heroes Reborn[edit]

In the Heroes Reborn universe created by Franklin Richards, Kang and his lover Mantis travelled to the modern era on Counter-Earth in order to battle the greatest heroes of all time, the recently formed Avengers. Kang wished to utterly defeat them as a token of love to Mantis.[volume & issue needed]

Kang's assault on Avengers Island led to the capture of all the Avengers, with Kang taking Thor's hammer, Captain America's shield, Swordsman's swords, Hawkeye's bow and arrows and the android Vision as his trophies. However, Thor freed himself and his fellow Avengers and easily bested Kang in a rematch, forcing the villain to flee the scene, after ejecting the severely damaged Vision from his ship.[volume & issue needed]

Kang and Mantis hid out in Peru where they plotted to get revenge against the Avengers. This plot would never come to fruition as Kang and Mantis were absorbed into Loki in his bid to take over the Earth.[volume & issue needed] Loki was ultimately defeated and while many of the super-beings that he absorbed were seen active following the battle, Kang's ultimate fate was not depicted.[46][47]

Ultimate Kang[edit]

A female version of Kang appears in the Ultimate universe, claiming that she has a plan to prevent the destruction of Earth. She recruits Quicksilver, the Hulk and Reed Richards as part of a plan to steal the Infinity Gauntlets, and destroys the Triskelion in the process.[48] Kang eventually reveals her identity as Sue Storm.[49]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Kang's Rama-Tut persona features in the 1967 Fantastic Four episode "Rama-Tut", voiced by Mike Road.
  • Kang (in the persona of Immortus) appears in a cameo in the X-Men: Animated Series four-part episode Beyond Good and Evil.
  • Kang appears in The Avengers: United They Stand episode "Kang", voiced by Ken Kramer.
  • Kang's Rama-Tut persona has a cameo in X-Men: Evolution's third season as part of the origins of Apocalypse in the series.
  • Kang appears in the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episodes "Meet Captain America", "The Man Who Stole Tomorrow", "Come the Conqueror", "The Kang Dynasty", "Welcome to the Kree Empire", and "New Avengers", voiced by Jonathan Adams.[50] Kang travels back as his era is being erased from existence, he realizes Captain America is connected to an event that will leave Earth devastated. Kang attempts to conquer the present, hoping to save Earth, but is captured by the Avengers and imprisoned.

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kang the Conqueror is number 65, IGN.
  2. ^ Mentioned in Avengers #11 (Dec. 1964)
  3. ^ The Rise of Apocalypse #1 - 4 (Oct. 1996 - Jan. 1997)
  4. ^ Doctor Strange Vol. 2 #53
  5. ^ West Coast Avengers Vol. 2 #20-23
  6. ^ Fantastic Four #19 (Sep. 1963)
  7. ^ West Coast Avengers #22 (Jul. 1987)
  8. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #2
  9. ^ Avengers Annual #2 (Sep. 1968)
  10. ^ Avengers #8 (Sep. 1964)
  11. ^ Avengers #11 (Dec. 1964)
  12. ^ Avengers #23 - 24 (Dec. 1965 - Jan. 1966)
  13. ^ Strange Tales #134
  14. ^ Thor #140 (May 1967)
  15. ^ Avengers #69 - 71 (Oct. 1969 - Dec. 1969)
  16. ^ Avengers #71 (Dec. 1969)
  17. ^ Hulk #135 (Jan. 1971)
  18. ^ Marvel Team-Up #9 - 11 (May. 1972 - Jul. 1973)
  19. ^ Avengers #129, 131-132 (Nov. 1974) and Avengers Giant-Size #2 (1974)
  20. ^ Thor #282
  21. ^ Avengers #141 - 143 (Nov. 1975 - Jan. 1976)
  22. ^ Hulk #286 (Aug. 1983)
  23. ^ Secret Wars #1-12 (May 1984 - April 1985)
  24. ^ Fantastic Four #273
  25. ^ Avengers #267 - 269 (May - Jul. 1986)
  26. ^ Avengers #291 - 297 (May - Nov. 1998)
  27. ^ Avengers #300 (Feb. 1999)
  28. ^ Fantastic Four #323 - 325 (Feb. - Apr. 1989)
  29. ^ Fantastic Four #337 - 341 (Feb. - Jun. 1990)
  30. ^ Avengers West Coast #48 - 62 (Sep. 1989 - Sep. 1990)
  31. ^ Infinity War #1 - 6 (Jun. - Nov. 1992)
  32. ^ Captain America Annual #11; Thor Annual #17; Fantastic Four Annual #26 and Avengers Annual #21 (all 1992)
  33. ^ The Terminatrix Objective #1 - 4 (Sep. - Dec. 1993)
  34. ^ Avengers Forever # 1 - 12 (Dec. 1998 - Dec. 99)
  35. ^ Avengers #41 - 55 (Jun. 2001 - Aug. 2002) + Avengers Annual 2001
  36. ^ Young Avengers #1-#6 (2006)
  37. ^ Guardians of the Galaxy #19
  38. ^ Uncanny Avengers #5
  39. ^ Uncanny Avengers #8AU
  40. ^ Uncanny Avengers #14
  41. ^ Uncanny Avengers #19
  42. ^ Uncanny Avengers #21
  43. ^ Uncanny Avengers #22
  44. ^ Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham #15 (May 1987)
  45. ^ Second Contact (1998)
  46. ^ Avengers Vol. 2 #2
  47. ^ Avengers Vol. 2 #8
  48. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #25
  49. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #29
  50. ^ "Twitter / Christopher Yost: @VenomMelendez Maria Hill". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 

External links[edit]