Born in the alternate timeline Earth-6311, AKA Other-Earth, Nathaniel Richards becomes Immortus, the future incarnation of Kang the Conqueror and an agent of the Time-Keepers. Tasked with breaking up the Avengers from Earth-616, he instead shepherds them, becomes the Custodian of Time, and rules Limbo.
The Once and Future Kang
Deep in Earth’s future, the time-traveler Kang the Conqueror comes to find his excursions into time unfulfilling, and he decides to give up worldly conquests and meditate on the nature of time until the end of his days. Approaching his sixties, Kang returns to Earth-616’s ancient Egypt to reassume the mantle of Pharaoh Rama-Tut, again revered as a god. He arrives circa 2937 BC, 17 years after his younger self had departed. After ruling Egypt for 17 years with the virtue and compassion that he formerly loathed, Rama-Tut finally feels fulfilled. During this time he destroys his time travel devices and could not leave the time line of his own accord. Having reached his seventies, Rama-Tut uses his future sciences with the aid of his court wizard, Shamaz, to slow his aging.
Again reflecting on his past, Rama-Tut decides to try to halt the violent plots of his own past self, Kang. He constructs a suspended animation pod in the shape of a sarcophagus and places, it within a pyramid where he lay sleeping and preserved for 5,000 years. Reviving in the modern era, Rama-Tut aides the Avengers against Kang, but cannot significantly alter his own past.
Now physically 77 years old, Rama decides to thwart death’s impending embrace by sequestering himself in timeless Limbo. Intending to spend eternity furthering his studies of time, he has the immense castle Tenebrae constructed. Proclaiming himself lord of Limbo and Master of Time, he assumes the identity of Immortus. As he is a master manipulator and an accomplished deceiver, all subsequent information on Immortus’ plots and motivations may be considered suspect.
The Nigh-Immortal Immortus
As Immortus spends most his life in timeless Limbo, his already-slowed aging is virtually halted. Some sources state he is actually immortal, existing as long as time itself. He has demonstrated extensive temporal powers, at least some of which are technologically based. He can teleport across time and space, and summon infinite numbers of warriors from past, future and alternate timelines.
Within Limbo he can alter the course of events, transform others and override enchantments (such as those on Thor Odinson, AKA Thor’s hammer). Limbo is under his control, and it is affected subconsciously by his moods.
A master manipulator, Immortus prefers to dupe others into doing his bidding, rather than forcing his will upon them. Immortus rarely, if ever, engages in personal combat, using minions for this purpose. His creation Tempus, an immense crystalline warrior fashioned from the ether of Limbo, has super-strength and carries a club, which is both a physical weapon and can age others. Tempus can also cause people to relive painful memories, and he can reflect assaults back on attackers. Immortus commands the Space Phantoms, beings who have lost their forms and identities in Limbo and can usurp the form and power of others. Immortus also employs Dire Wraiths, shape-changing aliens banished to a sub-realm of Limbo by the Spaceknight Rom, as well as robot warriors he fashioned in his Rama-Tut identity.
Immortus can hold the Forever Crystal, an immensely powerful object able to wipe entire timelines from existence, to affect divergences, and control events across the entire timestream.
Immortus is sometimes his own worst enemy, or at least his past self Kang the Conqueror and various divergent counterparts are a threat to the long-lived Master of Time. Kang rules a bleak world in the 40th century, seeking to dominate all others, and Immortus understands all to well the threat his past–self poses to the timestream overall. Kang and each of his past incarnations spawn numerous divergent realities and selves throughout their adventures (see Iron Lad, Kang, Rama-Tut, Scarlet Centurion). Eventually, Immortus creates the Council of Kangs, a group of Kang divergent counterparts that judge other Kangs, all to eliminate all Kangs across time.
While Immortus works for the Time-Keepers—learning the secrets of time and safeguarding the timeline so that they may exist—he ultimately defies their wishes. When the Time-Keepers realize his betrayal, they show him the consequences of his actions and threaten to destroy humanity itself. So, Immortus continues to do their bidding and eventually ends up controlled by their opposites, the Time-Twisters. He secretly opposes them, which leads to the Time-Twisters vanishing from existence. Freed from their control, Immortus uses his accumulated power to become a temporal wave that threatens all reality, but Uatu the Watcher and the Time Variance Authority (TVA) team up to neutralize Immortus’ threat.
Uatu apparently interferes with the plots of Immortus’ past selves (Kang and the Scarlet Centurion), and it’s speculated that this was actually Immortus posing as Uatu to manipulate events.
Tasked to change human destiny by the Time-Keepers, Immortus instead shepherds the very thing he was meant to destroy: the Avengers. Despite their mistrust of the former Kang, Immortus sacrifices himself to save almost half of all realities from the Time-Keepers machinations.
In an effort to safeguard and control all realities, past and future, Immortus attempts to manipulate Wanda Maximoff, AKA Scarlet Witch whose reality-warping powers could help him accomplish his goals. Though he officiates her and Vision’s wedding and appears to be an ally in the end.
Immortus has a long history with Princess Ravonna Renslayer and her divergent counterparts as well. Their relationship doesn’t always end well where it concerns Ravonna as she perishes in his past. Though later on, he marries one of her counterparts, Ravonna of Earth-8657, and they adopt Marcus Kang of Earth-93091—the son of Ravonna, AKA Revelation, and the Kang of that reality. Seeing Immortus and Ravonna-8657 as his true parents, he becomes known as Marcus Immortus.
The powerful Time-Keepers visited Immortus, selecting him to be tutored in the secrets of time to assist their custodianship of the timestream. Gaining knowledge dwarfing that from his past incarnations, Immortus was assigned to oversee the seven millennia period over which he had lived. He was tasked with monitoring time travel within this period as well as untangling the multiplicities he had created in his former lives. Immortus made servants of those mortals who had stayed too long in Limbo, lost their identities, and become temporal ghosts, or “Space Phantoms” (the Keepers gave Immortus technology preventing him from becoming a Space Phantom). He also fashioned the warrior Tempus from the very ether of Limbo. Immortus engineered the temporal disturbances that led Rama-Tut to the modern era and that sent the future Kang to the 40th century. Immortus influenced his past self the Scarlet Centurion to divert the Avengers to Earth-689, leading to the Centurion’s defeat and progression to become Kang. Due to Immortus’ duplicitous nature and his extensive time travel it is virtually impossible to establish a definitive chronology of his life.
Drawn to the age of heroes, Immortus’ studies showed that the modern era’s Scarlet Witch was a nexus being, critical to her own timeline and affecting all others. As any children she bore would be powerful enough to rock the cosmos, the Time-Keepers charged Immortus to slay the Witch. They also instructed him to break up the Avengers, whose existence might threaten the Keepers’ future. Preferring to avoid killing whenever possible and recognizing that the Scarlet Witch’s power could be used to safeguard and control all realities, divergences and futures, Immortus instead acted to control her. Immortus sent a Space Phantom allegedly to break-up the Avengers—perhaps to prevent the Scarlet Witch from ever joining them to make her easier to manipulate—by turning them against each other. After this failed, Immortus confronted them directly. Allied with Heinrich Zemo, AKA Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil, Immortus used Space Phantoms to battle the heroes in the forms of legendary warriors and then abducted Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, into the past; however, Captain America’s bravery impressed Immortus, who returned him to his time. As the Avengers threatened to overwhelm the Masters, Amora, AKA the Enchantress, cast a spell to reverse time to before Immortus’ arrival, preventing the conflict in Reality-616 and diverging Reality-64110 in which the events persisted. The Masters retained their memories of these events, though the Avengers did not, at least not initially.
Impressed with the Avengers, Immortus decided to shepherd them rather than destroy them, preventing them from becoming a threat to the Keepers. He further decided to work through guile rather than force, as a man who does not know he has been meddled with does not fight back. After the Kree-Skrull War, the Keepers showed Immortus how Rick Jones’ accessing of the Destiny Force—the ultimate power that lay dormant within all humanity—might lead to the future of Earth-9812, in which the Avengers became the Avengers Galactic Battalion, a warlike army that conquered the universe. After showing other realities with a similar fate for the universe, the Keepers threatened to destroy not just the Avengers but humanity itself to prevent these futures from coming about.
Immortus began actively encouraging the attraction between the Scarlet Witch and the android Vision, so that the Witch might never have children. Immortus further contacted several alien races, such as the Badoon and the “Martian Masters”, leading them to assault Earth, conquering humanity in the timelines of Earth-691 and others, rolling back humanity’s technology to prevent them from expanding out from Earth.
Presumably under Immortus’ direction, Tempus manipulated the Fantastic Four’s mailman Willie Lumpkin into accessing Victor Von Doom, AKA Doctor Doom’s time machine, which was stored inside the FF’s headquarters, the Baxter Building. Allegedly seeking his own destruction via the destruction of time itself, Tempus sent Lumpkin back in time to alter the past. Lumpkin’s first trip caused General George Washington to be captured and executed by Hessian soldiers in 1777, and as a result of Lumpkin’s second trip, anti-Prohibition gangsters of 1928 learned of the impending stock market crash and thus prevented the Great Depression. Earth-616 was transformed into a primordial state by the temporal waves from these changes but Uatu the Watcher, breaking his oath of noninterference, sent the FF to prevent these changes, instead diverging them as Reality-74820 and Reality -82074, respectively. Reality-74082, which remained affected by the temporal waves and was left in a primordial state, was diverged from Earth-616, which reverted back to its pre-manipulation state.
Immortus manipulated both Kang and the elder Rama-Tut, thwarting Kang’s efforts against the Avengers while also feeding the Avengers, and the Vision in particular, partial truths about the past. Immortus also revealed to the Avengers that he was Kang’s future-self. Immortus was pleased to preside over the dual weddings of the Vision and Scarlet Witch, and of Mantis and the alien Cotati elder (apparently part of another scheme), foiling Kang’s plot to abduct Mantis in the process. Immortus also transported the Avengers to the 19th century to oppose Kang, and when an incarnation of Kang died in battle with Thor, Immortus pretended to fade from existence.
At some point, solitude in Limbo had grown so oppressive that Immortus plucked a human mate from the timestream, saving her from certain death after a shipwreck. Using his machines to amplify her gratitude, Immortus made the woman his lover, and he created a pocket of change—a bubble where time flowed naturally—within which they had a son, Marcus, who grew to adulthood within the pocket. The woman was eventually pulled back to her own time, while Immortus faded from Limbo for some reason following Kang’s destruction, leaving Marcus alone. Marcus later brought Carol Danvers, AKA Ms. Marvel (later Captain Marvel) to Limbo, made her his lover using Immortus’ machines, and sought to remake himself on Earth, though he was apparently destroyed as a result.
Immortus subsequently manipulated Thor with false stories of the Space Phantoms’ history and their supposed plight, causing Thor to drain his hammer of its temporal powers in order to “save” the Phantoms. Immortus also interfered with one of Kang’s plots to destroy the Avengers, diverging two realities: -8499, in which Kang trapped the Avengers into the past; and -8503, in which the Avengers defeated Kang. Immortus further plotted to eliminate the virtually limitless number of Kangs produced by temporal divergences, and to restore Kang’s long-lost love Ravonna. Immortus brought a Kang (“Prime Kang”) to Limbo, allowing him to discover what appeared to be Immortus’ skeleton, as well as guiding him to observe the other Kangs and to diverge a reality, Earth-8657, in which a Kang died in Ravonna’s stead. The prime Kang brought Ravonna-8657 to his side and began slaying his own divergent selves and taking over their empires.
While Kang formed a Council of Kangs with his most resourceful counterparts, Ravonna secretly sided with the more peaceful Immortus, who manipulated the Kangs to speed their elimination. Immortus maneuvered one particularly crafty Kang personally, posing as the servant Lireeb and allowing this Kang to utilize Tenebrae as his own base until that Kang arranged his own destruction by unwittingly slaying Ravonna-98701, whom he had planned to wed. Immortus pulled each slain Kang’s memories into a psyche-globe, and when only the prime Kang remained, Immortus revealed his presence, his alliance with Ravonna, and his nature as Kang’s future-self. Immortus manipulated Kang into claiming the psyche-globe, filling him with its memories and driving him temporarily mad in hopes of containing him.
Immortus was astonished to learn the Scarlet Witch had used the New Salem witches’ magic and her own reality-altering power to become pregnant, bearing her and the Vision’s twin sons, Thomas and William. Further, the Scarlet Witch’s spell had unwittingly incorporated shards of the Hell-lord Mephisto’s then-shattered essence. Immortus plotted to weaken the Scarlet Witch’s ties to her children (which might have been too strong even for Mephisto to break) so that they might be more easily destroyed. Having—perhaps retroactively—influenced the Vision to take over Earth’s computers temporarily, he guided the international intelligence group Vigilance to capture and dismantle the Vision, who was rebuilt as an emotionless android, seemingly destroying his emotional ties to his wife. Immortus revealed seemingly contradictory information on the Vision’s past and made certain that the Witch was chosen as one of the Brides of the Elder God Set, further destabilizing her. After further coincidental manipulations of the Witch by others, he guided Mephisto’s agent Martin Preston, AKA Master Pandemonium, to capture Thomas and William and reveal their true nature, resulting in the children’s apparent destruction as Mephisto reclaimed his essence. All throughout this time Immortus subtly manipulated the Witch, increasing the power she controlled.
During this period, the Time-Keepers were somehow replaced and impersonated by their darker counterparts, the Time-Twisters, who sought to unravel all reality. Allegedly realizing this, Immortus continued to serve the “Keepers” while acting to restore the true Keepers’ prominence. Immortus neutralized a number of realities allegedly contrary to the Keepers’ existence, after which he enslaved the Scarlet Witch, filling her with vast nexus power that he could tap to control all reality. While the Avengers opposed Immortus, the Scarlet Witch cast out this accumulated power, which threatened to destroy all reality. The Twisters, still posing as Keepers, then transferred the power into Immortus himself, rendering him an immobile power receptacle they could utilize.
Due to his ability to control Limbo, Immortus accessed the nexus power to send his astral-self across the dimensions, posing as the Whisperer and manipulating beings to preserve realities that would lead to the Twisters’ downfall: Earth-772, where Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Five; Earth-90110, where the Vision’s controlling Earth led to a golden age; Earth-9250, where Wolverine, Lord of the Vampires thwarted the Punisher; and Earth-9260, where the Ennead (Egyptian/Heliopolis) death god Seth conquered Asgard. As the Twisters faded from existence, Immortus was freed from their control and used his accumulated power to become a temporal wave, threatening to re-write all reality. Uatu the Watcher of Earth-616 joined the TVA, whose efforts to use the Whisperer’s former agents to defeat Immortus were doomed to failure. The TVA, ignoring Uatu’s advice, sent the powerful Fantastic Four of Earth-7712 (Big Brain, Dragonfly, Mandroid & Ultra-Woman) to Earth-6311 circa 3025 to try to stop Nathaniel Richards prior to his first successful time journey; however, their threatening appearance upset Nathaniel, who killed them using the weapons of the Warlord’s Fortress. Finally listening to Uatu, the TVA sent the powerless Reed Richards Rocket Group of Earth-8212 to try to reason with Nathaniel. Listening to this group, Nathaniel agreed that his future-self was a threat and allowed them to inject him with the Saturnyne Symbiont–a chronosynclastic nucleus designed by the scientists of omniversal majestrix Saturnyne, whose function was to weaken an organism’s natural resistance to time energy. This made it impossible for Nathaniel or his future incarnations to store the nexus power and thus prevented him from becoming a temporal quantum wave. As a result, Immortus dissipated, while the Time-Keepers regained prominence and imprisoned the restored Time-Twisters.
Believing Immortus had acted in their interest, the Keepers restored him. As the Avengers-616 became involved in the interstellar Kree-Shi’ar war, Immortus imbued Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, with xenophobia to encourage their return home, but this backfired and several rogue Avengers seemingly slew the Kree’s ruler, the Supreme Intelligence. The Keepers then appeared and revealed that upcoming events would lead to the future of Earth-9812, the very thing Immortus had been charged with preventing. Begging the Keepers to stay their hand one last time, Immortus desperately plotted to keep the Avengers on Earth. Posing as Kang, he engineered the events of “The Crossing,” utilizing Space Phantoms posing as various warriors, and taking control of Iron Man, forcing him to betray his teammates. This plot saw the apparent deaths of the Avengers Gilgamesh, Rita DeMara, AKA Yellowjacket, and Iron Man, and others. The Avengers were thrown into turmoil, and they were successfully delayed until the foreseen coming of Onslaught, which further occupied them. Meanwhile, at some point, Immortus was briefly captured by the Heart of the Infinite-powered Akhenaten.
Despite all this, Earth-9812’s future persisted, and the Keepers commanded Immortus to slay Rick Jones before he could again access the Destiny Force. Kang joined with the restored Supreme Intelligence and the enigmatic Gustav Brandt, AKA Libra, to oppose this, and Rick accessed the Force to summon a team of Avengers from past and future eras. Foiled, Immortus nonetheless assaulted Kang’s base in Chronopolis, destroying it and stealing its power source, the Heart of Forever, which he converted into the Forever Crystal, enabling him to better manipulate reality. Immortus used this Crystal in both previous and further efforts to contain humanity, but the Time-Keepers ultimately decided that they would use the Crystal to eliminate 42% of the existing realities, ones which would threaten their existence. When Immortus refused to yield the Crystal, the Keepers slew him and took it. The Avengers, Kang, the Supreme Intelligence, Libra, and Rick Jones opposed the Keepers, thwarting their efforts. In addition, when the Keepers attempted to forcibly transform Kang into Immortus to neutralize his warrior threat, Kang resisted furiously, splitting himself into Kang and Immortus. After Kang slew the Keepers, this reborn Immortus rapidly progressed to young adulthood, vowing that now that he was free of the Keepers’ tyrannical yoke he would not make the same mistakes again.