A Guide to Every Kang the Conqueror Variant in Marvel

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve met enemies with painful personal vendettas. We’ve faced super-villains capable of universal genocide. There have even been a few traitors here and there, and others who toe the line between antihero and antagonist.

But what if a new type of foe were to embody all of these? How could our heroes ever hope to prevail against one such as this? With Kang and the unfolding Multiverse Saga, that question is just waiting for its time to shine.

Ahead of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, here’s a look at Kang the Conqueror’s comics history and how those stories might inform his path in the MCU’s Phase 5.

Who Is Kang the Conqueror?

Clad in his green tunic and purple armor, Kang is often seen reclining in his throne. He aims a piece of futuristic tech at super heroes and says something along the lines of, “Time means nothing to KANG THE CONQUEROR.” Kang is from the Jack Kirby/Stan Lee era. His signature look has Kirby’s otherworldly regality written all over it. But more specifically, Kang is of another time.

At any given moment, Kang is not only at war with the universe’s mightiest heroes but also with himself — past, present, and future. Born Nathaniel Richards in the 31st century, he lived on Earth-6311. This Earth is also known as Other-Earth. Though similar to Earth-616, the primary difference is that this planet did not undergo the Dark Ages. Without this widespread time of conflict and plague, Kang’s Earth was able to flourish. As a result, Kang had the resources to become the Master of Time.

Who Are All of Kang’s Variants?

Kang doesn’t have any super powers — at least on his own. But the advanced technology of his Earth allowed him to create a suit that grants him durability, energy manipulation, and the ability to time travel. Plus, his armor allows him to control nearly any technology he encounters. As the Master of Time, Kang has traveled throughout the ages to influence history and vanquish anyone in his way.

In his campaign to destroy the Avengers, comics Kang has had many identities: Rama-Tut, Scarlet Centurion, Iron Lad, Victor Timely, Immortus, and of course, Kang the Conqueror.

Iron Lad and The Children’s Crusade

Before any of these names, he was just Nathaniel Richards. It’s possible that Nathaniel is a distant relative of Reed Richards. Some even say he’s related to Victor Von Doom, AKA Doctor Doom. Young Nathaniel had a penchant for adventure. But when he was visited by his future self, Kang the Conqueror, Nathaniel was horrified at what he might grow up to do.

The only solution? Develop a super suit, name himself Iron Lad, and travel back in time to prevent himself from becoming Kang the Conqueror. Nathaniel arrived at a time when the Avengers were disbanded, so he formed his own team of heroes: the Young Avengers. He even struck up a romance with Cassie Lang. With the Young Avengers, Iron Lad liberated Scarlet Witch from Doctor Doom’s influence, but Cassie was killed in the process. This loss drove him over the edge and he re-entered the timestream to save Cassie in the past. Wiccan warned Nathaniel this meddling with time is when he becomes Kang the Conqueror, but the warning went unheeded.

Kang’s First Appearance in Marvel Comics

The Master of Time’s first appearance in Marvel Comics was in Fantastic Four #19. Then, he was known as Rama-Tut — a man who traveled back to ancient Egypt to become a powerful ruler. As Rama-Tut, he would oversee two long-lasting Egyptian empires and he even came into contact with the first mutant, Apocalypse.

While fleeing the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, Rama-Tut was caught in a time storm, which pushed him to the modern age where he met Doctor Doom. He was so impressed by Doom that he developed a similar armor, calling himself the Scarlet Centurion, and briefly operated against the Avengers before resuming his rule as Rama-Tut. However, a Rama-Tut variant would soon cause more trouble.

The Celestial Madonna

In the far future, a Rama-Tut variant became involved with the Time Keepers, the guardians of the Time Variance Authority created by He Who Remains (sound familiar, MCU fans?). It makes sense that protectors of the timelines would meet up with a time traveler. This variant came to be called Immortus.

For various reasons, all three variants — Rama-Tut, Kang, and Immortus — tried to predict who would be the Celestial Madonna, the mother of an all-powerful child. Contenders for this position were Scarlet Witch, Mantis, and Agatha Harkness. They manipulated Scarlet Witch’s romance with Vision and interfered with Mantis’ marriage to Swordsman. Basically, a big ol’ mess of timeless proportions.

After a convoluted battle among the variants, the Avengers defeated Kang. Immortus remained to officiate the marriage of Mantis and Swordsman, plus Wanda and Vision.

Kang Dynasty and the Secret Wars

One of the benefits of time travel is that death is never really the end. Kang has been part of many important Marvel events. Yet even death doesn’t stop him from returning. During the original Secret Wars, he was transported to Battleworld by the Beyonder, only to become a pawn in Doctor Doom’s plans. Despite this, he later teamed up with Doctor Doom to retrieve the Infinity Gauntlet from Magus, Adam Warlock’s evil persona. But even when Doom betrayed Kang, the time traveler found a way to cheat death.

Later, Kang had a son named Marcus, who assumed the Scarlet Centurion name and assisted his father with a plan to take over the whole world. This plan to establish a Kang Dynasty was thwarted, in the end, by Marcus — leading to his death at the hands of Kang himself. Kang has also famously used time travel to stop the Avengers from ever forming on multiple occasions but, ultimately, Kang’s worst enemy is himself.

Kang the Conqueror in the MCU

If you couldn’t tell by now, Kang the Conqueror has meddled in a number of Avengers-related conflicts. Kang’s placement as the next super-villain of the MCU makes absolute sense — Kang is everywhere. Audiences first saw him in the MCU during season 1 of Loki as He Who Remains, the founder of the TVA. He created the time-travel agency to protect the Sacred Timeline and prevent another Multiversal War. When Sylvie kills He Who Remains, it appears an even more dangerous variant takes his place.

Interestingly, Ravonna Renslayer also appears in Loki. In the comics, Kang is in love with Ravonna. Their tempestuous romance caused plenty of turmoil for Kang. Could this be a motivating factor in Kang’s drive for vengeance in Quantumania? Using the Quantum Realm as his base of operations is also strikingly similar to Chronopolis, his fortress in the comics that is a crossroads of timelines. Kang’s increasing prominence could also be the gateway for the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom to enter the MCU, eventually.

In short, Kang’s time in the MCU is only beginning.

What are your predictions for the MCU’s Kang the Conqueror? Are you reading the Kang Infinity Comic from Marvel?

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