KANG: Page 5 of 11

Publication Date: 30th Apr 2018
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.


This page deals with the Kang who embraced his destiny and first became KANG the CONQUEROR.

Proceeding onwards, a time storm caused Nathaniel to overshoot his own time and crash into the year 4000 (calendar unknown). Nathaniel discovered civilization had collapsed over the centuries. Vast technological advancements had been achieved, but planetary warfare reduced Earth to near-barbarism between the surviving feudal factions. Wonders of technology and scientific achievement lay to rust because the population no longer knew how to use them. Seeing opportunity among the ruins, Nathaniel found a vault filled with technological marvels and locked himself away with them. Inspired by his meeting with Victor von Doom, Nathaniel retrofitted a biohelmet and timesuit of his own design with new and advanced technology to protect him from attackers and summon forth weapons and devices with the flick of a finger. With this success, he crafted a new identity as Kang, the Conqueror. [Avengers (1st series) #8]

To finance his campaigns, Kang uncovered the tomb of a long-forgotten ruler, said to be in possession of great riches whose legend outlasted their owner's. He discovered the forgotten ruler was himself, and vowed to change future history and prevent his fate. [Avengers (6th series) #4]

Beginning on Earth, Kang became the most successful despot in human history. His first small band of marauders expanded into a vast army, directed by his strategic genius, warrior's code and greater comprehension of the era's technology than even those born to it. The only kingdom of Earth that still resisted Kang's rule was that of King Carelius. Kang initially spared Carelius from conquest because of the fire shown by his daughter, Princess Ravonna. Despite the kingdom's defenses having no hope against Kang's armies, Ravonna remained proud and defiant, assuring that her people would defend their freedoms to their last breath. Taken by Ravonna's beauty and will, Kang held back from devastating the tiny kingdom, hoping in time he could win the heart of Ravonna and bring the realm willingly under his sway. Though Ravonna rejected his advances, claiming that all the conquests in history would not bring one of her royal blood to marry a commoner, Kang nonetheless persevered. [Avengers (1st series) #23]

With Earth firmly under his boot, Kang remained unsatisfied. He did not wish to rule Earth as a devastated wasteland, but as a young and vital world in the prime of its existence. To that end, Kang decided to time travel back to the Heroic Age. Kang's own personal accounts of this expedition vary as to whether he intended to confront the Avengers or his own alleged ancestor, Doctor Doom. His time-ship arrived in the early days of the Avengers, in a timeline unaffected by his machinations as the Scarlet Centurion. The relatively inexperienced heroes fell before Kang's superior technology in a confrontation he arranged, and were held captive by his tractor beams. He issued an ultimatum to the people of Earth, demanding that they surrender to his authority within 24 hours or suffer his wrath. Kang underestimated Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade, however, inviting them into his time-ship when they expressed a desire to serve him. Rick turned off Kang's equipment and freed the Avengers, who rallied in defense of Earth and overcame Kang's weapons now that they were prepared for them. Kang tried to eliminate the Avengers with pure radiation from his armor, but Thor turned the attack back on the Conqueror, driving him into retreat for the first time since he assumed the identity of Kang. [Avengers (1st series) #8]

Infuriated, Kang the Conqueror watched the Avengers from a distant point in time and space, waiting for the next chance to strike. At this point, it should be noted that Kang's personal timeline began to diverge, both subtly and radically. Each instance of time travel or momentous decision made a split in Kang's timestream, creating divergent counterparts of the Conqueror. The non-linear nature of Kang's attacks and the continuing divergence of his history makes it impossible to say for certain how much history each iteration of Kang shares with the last or next appearance by Kang. Even death was not the end for Kang -- one version of the Conqueror developed cross-temporal body-hopping technology, letting him escape his own body at the moment of death and project his consciousness into a cloned duplicate back at his temporal fortress, ensuring his survival. Other Kangs may have developed this technology independently (and indeed, a new divergent copy of the Kang who made this discovery would manifest each time he used the device) and at least one Kang copied the idea for this "escape valve" by observing his counterparts with the device and reverse-engineering the idea. [Avengers Forever #9]

One version of Kang decided his conquest of the 20th century should be played as a long game, and established a beachhead from which he could manipulate the length and breadth of that century to suit his needs. So, on January 1st of 1901, Kang arrived in rural Wisconsin in the assumed identity of inventor Victor Timely. Under Kang's guidance, a small community and town was founded on that spot with him as mayor, creating Timely, Wisconsin. Victor Timely arranged for the town to support itself in the fledgling mechanical industry, introducing very basic innovations for the townspeople to assemble and distribute from the town factory, Timely Industries. As time moved on, Victor Timely occasionally introduced "new" discoveries and innovations, keeping Timely Industries at the forefront of the emerging field of robotics. Indeed, a young Phineas T. Horton studied robotics under Victor Timely in the 1930's, before going on to create the first android of the modern age, the original Human Torch. Through Timely Industries, Kang established his company as THE major distributor of robotics and engineering parts in the United States so that, by the Modern Age, everyone from Stark Industries to the Fantastic Four employed equipment at least partially composed of Timely technology.

Kang himself did not reside in Timely, Wisconsin, full time. Rather, he used robotic duplicates of Victor Timely to organize day-to-day activities as factory owner and town mayor. The robots were designed to appear older over time, leading to the public introductions of Victor Timely Jr. and Victor Timely III by the 1980's. Future events in Kang's personal timeline would lead to a version of Ravonna, calling herself Rebecca Tourmenet, arriving in Timely by 1903 as Victor Timely's bride. Circumstances which will be detailed later in this article make it difficult to say how long "Victor" and "Rebecca" spent living together in Timely, relative to the 20th century or relative to their own timelines.

While Timely, Wisconsin remained this Kang's beachhead into the 20th century, it was ultimately only one small corner of his empire. Kang was able to annex a corner of Limbo and shape it into a sprawling Chronopolis that served as the crown jewel of his domain. Through the power of the Heart of Forever, a trans-chronal engine of Kang's design, Chronopolis was able to exist in timeless Limbo and temporal reality simultaneously. The circular metropolis maintained a foothold into multiple time periods besides Timely, Wisconsin. In fact, each block of Chronopolis coincided with a different era of history, from the Cretaceous Era to the height of the Roman Empire. Thus did Kang declare all of time to be within his domain. [Citizen Kang crossover, Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #1-4]

As "Victor Timely" plotted and schemed for generations, another incarnation of Kang chose to act against the Avengers again almost immediately. Using guile instead of brute force, Kang created a robotic duplicate of Spider-Man using 41st century technology, and used it to lure the Avengers into a trap. He didn't count on the real Spider-Man learning of the plot, though. Kang's robot was deactivated in battle with the real web-slinger, and the Avengers soon recognized Kang's hand in the plot. [Avengers (1st series) #11]

"Meanwhile," whatever that means, another incarnation of Kang (or perhaps one of the same ones?) chose to conquer Camelot. Kang hoped that he could alter the flow of history and prevent the Heroic Age of the 20th and 21st century from rising at all in opposition to him. Kang confronted Merlin the sorcerer in his abode, and used futuristic super-science to counter the mage's spells and potions. With Merlin incapacitated, Kang challenged Arthur and his knights to a jousting tournament, and beat them using a concealed force blaster in his lance. With the defeated Arthur bound by his word to abandon Camelot, Kang seemed victorious. However, Uatu the Watcher appeared before the Thing and Human Torch in the Heroic Age and warned them. After the Watcher teleported them through time, Ben and Johnny freed Merlin and drove Kang into retreat. [Strange Tales (1st series) #134]

[Note: Upon reflection years later, Kang opined that the Watcher was acting out-of-character by intervening so directly. Since this Watcher also claimed to reside in Limbo, Kang theorized this may have been the work of Immortus or one of his Space Phantoms in disguise.]

The occasional dalliance with other timestreams aside, Kang continued to expand his original empire in the 41st century, extending it well beyond the planet Earth. Accounts indicate that he conquered the Shi'ar Imperium, the Universal Church of Truth, the Badoon, the Skrulls and many more space empires. He even traveled to other dimensions, such as his conquest of the Microverse realm of Kosmos. Throughout it all, Kang continued to call upon the kingdom of Ravonna, the last bastion in the Milky Way galaxy free from his direct control. Kang thought to win her with tales of his victories in the stars, but Ravonna remained firm in her independence and rejection of his advances. [Avengers Forever #9, Thunderbolts (1st series) #13-14]

Eventually, Kang decided to woo Ravonna not just with tales of his victory, but with a personal display of his might. He kidnapped the Avengers from their time period, bringing them to the future so that he could best them with Ravonna looking on. Kang chose the Avengers from a time shortly after their roster first changed, taking the young Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch from the mansion while Captain America was away. When Cap learned of the kidnapping, he found a way to challenge Kang across the ages, taunting him that his victory over the Avengers would not be complete without Cap as well. Ravonna also goaded Kang on the issue and pushed the Conqueror into summoning Captain America to her kingdom. When he temporarily beat the Avengers, Kang insisted Ravonna give him her hand in marriage or face the army assembled outside her kingdom. Ravonna almost relented but, when the Avengers rallied to oppose Kang again, she rejected the Conqueror once more. With that, Kang gave the order for his forces to attack.

The Avengers fought hard to defend the realm with Ravonna's defense force, but even Earth's Mightiest Heroes could not stand forever against the Conqueror's army. The Avengers were imprisoned and Kang demanded Ravonna present herself for a royal wedding ceremony. This surprised his general, Baltag, who reminded Kang of his code -- all rulers were to be put to death after a conquest, to prevent them from rising up against him later. Kang rejected his own code and ordered Baltag to hold his tongue.

This egotistical mistake led to Baltag and the other generals rising up against Kang, trying to assassinate him for abandoning their code. Kang survived the ambush and, needing allies, freed the Avengers and Ravonna from captivity. On his honor, Kang vowed to return the Avengers to their time and abandon attempts to conquer Ravonna's kingdom if they helped him. Kang soon proved who the real conqueror was -- even though his armies sided with the generals against him, Kang led the Avengers and Ravonna's royal defense forces in defeating the same army that broke them hours earlier.

When Baltag and the other generals were overcome, the army returned authority to Kang. The Conqueror honored his word and returned the Avengers to the present day. While he was focused on his old enemies, however, Baltag broke free and grabbed a stray gun, firing a deadly blast at Kang's backside. Kang survived only because Ravonna threw herself in front of the blast, sacrificing her life for his. Kang executed Baltag on the spot and cradled Ravonna as she lay dying. Ravonna admitted her love for Kang, having finally been impressed by the man when he stood in defense of her people against his generals. Ravonna passed on, leaving Kang to dwell on what might have been between them. This loss would play a major role in Kang's motivations for years to come, across multiple realities. [Avengers (1st series) #23-24]

Click here to follow the continuing adventures of Kang and his counterparts.
Click here to follow "Kang-Prime," a key divergent who formed the Council of Kangs.