Published June 23, 2023

Kang’s Greatest Battles with the Avengers

As the Avengers decide whether or not they can trust him, revisit a few of Kang the Conqueror's greatest battles with Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

The Avengers have no enemy quite like Nathaniel Richards, AKA Kang the Conqueror. Hailing from the distant future, Kang has proven himself time and time again to be ruthless, powerful, and deadly, having caused massive problems for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on several occasions. 

However, in the new AVENGERS (2023) series, Kang has found himself in need of the team’s help to take on Myrddin, the villain who bested him in TIMELESS (2022) #1. In exchange, he has promised them foreknowledge that would allow them to save people from disasters that haven't happened yet.

The question is then: should the Avengers trust Kang? With that in mind, let's break down Kang’s battles with the Avengers over the years. Here, you'll find they have some compelling reasons not to.

The Avengers Are Kang’s Main Obstacle to Conquering

AVENGERS (1963) #8 officially introduced Kang to the Marvel Universe. In that classic tale, Richards arrived on Earth as part of his plan to take over everywhere and everywhen. Early on, the villain proved shockingly successful and defeated the Avengers. Later, though, the team re-grouped and bested Kang by disabling his weapons, causing him to flee into the timestream.

Kang’s first confrontation with the Avengers proved Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were the only thing standing between Richards and complete domination. This battle also set the stage for their acrimonious relationship and Kang's numerous, devious plots to defeat the Avengers.

The "Celestial Madonna Saga" Proved You Can’t Trust a Kang

The "Celestial Madonna Saga" ran through the pages of AVENGERS (1963) and GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS (1974). In this story, Kang attacked the Avengers in search of the Celestial Madonna, whose child is destined to become one of the universe’s most powerful beings. In the process of trying to become the Celestial Madonna's partner, Kang kidnapped several Avengers and murdered their team member Jacques Duquesne, AKA Swordsman

In addition to featuring this brutal murder, the “Celestial Madonna Saga” also confirmed that Kang is always, fundamentally, a foe. To beat him in the story, the Avengers had to team up with alternate versions of Richards from across the timeline. They had in the past, and would in the future, also find themselves battling these variants as well.

Kang Pulls the Avengers into His War Against Variants 

Due to the nature of the Multiverse and his own peculiar relationship with time, numerous versions of Kang have appeared in the Marvel Universe. One of these iterations of Richards, sometimes called Kang Prime, lured the Avengers into his lair and pit his variants against them in an effort to eliminate everyone but himself. In a shocking twist, though, this ended up being part of a scheme-within-a-scheme from Richards’ future self, Immortus, to ensure Kang would turn into him. 

In numerous Marvel stories, Kang has used the Avengers to help him accomplish his own goals, often through subterfuge. Kang always has an ulterior motive, and his desire to see his own plans come to fruition has often created a lot of danger for the Avengers.

"Kang Dynasty" Showed Earth the Conqueror’s Ruthlessness

"Kang Dynasty" saw Kang and his son Marcus, AKA the Scarlet Centurion, enact a plan to conquer Earth—and this time, they succeeded. As part of their devious scheme, they turned the planet’s population against each other while isolating the Avengers from one another. As a result, Janet van Dyne, AKA Wasp had to surrender the planet to Kang on behalf of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. 

Kang’s rule on Earth was a truly terrifying thing, especially for former heroes. For example, Scarlet Witch and Simon Williams, AKA Wonder Man, languished in one of Kang’s prison camps. The entire aftermath of Kang’s victory proved just how monstrous the Conqueror would be if he won, making clear that he must be stopped by any means necessary. 

Kang Abducts the Apocalypse Twins

Following the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN (2012) crossover, a new version of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes formed in the pages of UNCANNY AVENGERS (2012) #1. This iteration of the team consisted of both humans and mutants, with the goal of exemplifying and facilitating cooperation between the two groups. 

Soon into their tenure, the group—known as the Avengers Unity Division—faced off against the Apocalypse Twins, two young mutants abducted as babies and tortured by Kang. Thanks to their incredible powers and conniving, the Apocalypse Twins were able to create a world in which mutantkind ruled over humans. 

Due to his brutal role in their formation, the Apocalypse Twins turned on Kang, which caused him to begin working against them with the Avengers. However, that itself was part of a larger plan by Richards, as the villain ended up betraying Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in hopes of stealing a Celestial’s powers, proving once again you can never trust a Kang.

Kang Will Do Whatever It Takes to Win

In ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS (2015), Kang once again faced the Avengers. At one point, he even seized control of Vision to accomplish his nefarious goals. In response, Vision traveled back in time and abducted Kang as a baby, removing him from the timeline to stop the tyrant once and for all. Kang didn’t take kindly to that, and in the pages of AVENGERS (2016), Richards and several of his variants attacked their foes as children as well.

Kang’s battle with the Avengers in those two series showcased the cyclical nature of their battles. Kang will do whatever is necessary to conquer, which—in this case—resulted in Vision taking an extreme action that Richards met with something equally as radical. Unwilling to surrender, Kang will do anything to win.

To find out whether Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can truly trust Kang, pick up AVENGERS (2023) #2, on sale now! 

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