Who Is Kang the Conqueror?
Time-traveling tyrant or a broken man in love? Learn Kang’s comic history here.
WHO IS KANG?
Kang is the Master of Time! Muahaha!
No, really. Born on Earth-6311 in the 30th century, Nathaniel Richards, who would later become known as Kang the Conqueror, discovered part of a time machine left by his namesake and ancestor from Earth-616—a man who brought peace to the young Nathaniel’s world as the Benefactor. Prior to this discovery, Nathaniel studied robotics and cross-dimensional recordings of Earth-616 (mainstream Earth), brought to his reality by said Benefactor. Learning all he could, the naturally astute Kang sought the means to become an overlord of the time-space continuum.
DOES KANG HAVE SUPER-POWERS?
No… but yes. Despite having no natural super-powers, Kang has an indomitable will and super-genius level intelligence. He learned how to use the Benefactor’s time device and became an expert in his future’s advanced technology, creating battle armor that endowed him with what seemed like superhuman abilities. His armor enabled him to project radioactivity against anyone who opposed him, including those with actual super-powers. Also, thanks to being immune to the radiation’s effects, (like others from his native era), he ages much slower. An expertise in strategy also helped him become a warlord as did his unarmed and armed combat skills.
WHEN IS KANG?
Often ahead of his time, Kang (and his many divergent duplicates that he inadvertently created through time-travel paradoxes) could actually be located anywhere across the Multiverse. Bored of his world’s peacetime, Kang originally used the time device to travel to Earth-616’s ancient Egypt where he became the pharaoh Rama-Tut. That was his first taste of power, but he was defeated by the time-traveling Fantastic Four, a young Apocalypse, the moon god Khonshu, and modern-era heroes Doctor Strange and the Avengers.
This conflict forced Rama-Tut to flee his time machine, but a “time storm” diverted him to the modern era, where he rescued a space-lost Doctor Doom. Inspired by Doom’s visage, he created the armored identity Scarlet Centurion but later abandoned it after losing to the Avengers in another timeline (Earth-689) in one of his various attempts to rule that world.
SO, WHAT ARE HIS MOTIVES?
World domination, of course. But when it comes to Kang Prime, love is a deep motivator too.
After abandoning the Scarlet Centurion identity, Nathaniel tried to return to his native time but ended up in Earth-6311’s 40th century when the world was decimated by war. While there, he assumed the moniker Kang the Conqueror, and became a warlord replete with an army. Although, he did spare the kingdom of Carelius for the King’s daughter’s hand in marriage, Princess Ravonna Renslayer. But she was largely unimpressed with Kang’s victories, and despite his show of mercy, refused his proposal.
Down the line, Ravonna realized her love for Kang and saved his life from a disgruntled commander within his ranks. Putting her in a kind of stasis, Kang eventually found the means to save her prior to her death, but in doing so created a divergent reality where Kang perished instead. Peering into time, he also discovered that his exploration had caused additional divergent realities and more Kangs with which to contend! Exhibit A? The organized Council of Kangs in AVENGERS (1963) #267-269!
WAIT, MORE KANGS?! HOW MANY KANGS WE TALKING?
Countless Kangs since Kang is a being of infinite impossibilities!
Let's count 'em out. There's the first Kang from Other-Earth—we'll call him Kang Prime. There's his far-future self, the all-knowing Immortus, who became obsessed with the Avengers after the Time-Keepers directed him to destroy Earth's Mightiest.
The brilliant inventor and industrialist Victor Timely was a convenient identity that Kang Prime used in 1901 to plot his conquest of Earth-616 from Timely, Wisconsin. While there, he built a technology manufacturing business that spanned generations, thanks to Kang posing as his "sons" Victor Timely, Jr. and Victor Timely III.
Then, after the Council of Kangs destroyed each other, the Council of Cross-Time Kangs (pictured above) came along and invited Kang Prime to join. We also can't forget his younger self, who joined the Young Avengers as Iron Lad and attempted to stop his older, embittered variant from becoming Kang the Conqueror—which wasn't the last time someone tried such a feat. The android Vision kidnapped Kang's even younger self, Baby Kang, and placed the infant in another time to end the danger he posed, but of course, chronal backlash followed...
Only time will tell how many of the other thousands of Kangs will make their existence known.
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