Kang the Conqueror has arrived to dominate the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Jonathan Majors’s villainous character is set to shake up the MCU as the big bad of the Multiverse Saga, making for an Avengers-level threat far greater than Thanos.
Now that the stage is set for the Conqueror to wage war with the MCU, here’s everything audiences need to know about Kang and his long history in Marvel Comics.
Though Kang is a superpowerful being, he doesn’t technically have any superpowers. His strength comes from his intellect, which has allowed him to construct a advanced armor using a rare material from the 40th century.
Like Iron Man, this suit gives him super strength, and it can shoot energy beams, create force fields, and produce antigravity fields and hover pads. The suit even allows Kang to travel through time and transfer his consciousness into another body.
Born in the 31st century as Nathaniel Richards, Kang is said to be descended from Reed Richards’ time-traveling father, also named Nathaniel, who brought peace to Kang’s war-torn reality. However, the comics have also suggested that he is a descendant of the Fantastic Four’s mortal enemy, Doctor Doom.
Whatever his lineage may be, Kang has proven himself to have an extraordinary intellect rivaling that of Mister Fantastic and Doctor Doom. His relationship with both geniuses may also factor into Marvel Studios’ upcoming Fantastic Four film.
According to Marvel lore, Nexus Beings are entities that can influence probability and alter the future and reality itself, making them important to the flow of the time stream. Each universe has a single Nexus Being, and they each serve as the focal point for the mystical energies of their own realities.
Kang shares such a title with a few known figures across the multiverse, with some of the notable examples being the Scarlet Witch, Odin, Vision, and Jean Grey. In the multiverse lore, some real-life figures are also Nexus Beings, including Queen Elizabeth I, Napoleon Bonaparte, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy.
In the comics, Kang travels back in time to save his younger self from a group of bullies and reveals the boy’s future as a supervillain. Horrified by his future self’s actions, the young Nathaniel steals Kang’s time travel tech and flees to the past, choosing to take a more righteous path and become a superhero.
He dons high-tech armor modeled after Iron Man’s, forms a new team of heroes called the Young Avengers, and even dates teammate Cassie Lang. Unfortunately, this heroic streak doesn’t last, as he eventually fulfills his destiny by becoming a villain like his older counterpart.
Kang was introduced to Marvel Comics when he was ruling over ancient Egypt under the guise of Pharaoh Rama-Tut. He had decided to travel to this era and become this false god-king after growing bored with his time of origin for being devoid of war.
However, his rule ends when the Fantastic Four travel back in time and lead a rebellion against him.
After his reign as Rama-Tut ends, Kang accidentally travels to the present day in Earth-616, where he encounters Doctor Doom. Since Doom is possibly Kang’s ancestor, the latter is inspired to create an identity similar to his, becoming the Scarlet Centurion.
He tries to take over the modern era by stripping the Avengers of their free will. Though he succeeds and creates another timeline where he is in control, the Scarlet Centurion is defeated by Earth-616’s Avengers, driving him to relinquish his new identity.
Though Kang was already a time-traveling tyrant when he debuted, he didn’t officially become known as Kang until after his loss as the Scarlet Centurion. Following his crushing defeat at the hands of the Avengers, he flees from the present day and accidentally ends up in the 40th century.
Since this future Earth has been ravaged by war, he assumes the identity of Kang the Conqueror and easily seizes control of the planet before taking over the entire galaxy.
The “Kang Dynasty” comic book storyline saw Kang and his army succeed in conquering the Earth in Marvel’s mainstream universe. His invasion involves him destroying the United Nations and annihilating Washington D.C. and its inhabitants, forcing the planet to surrender to him.
Though this may seem to pale in comparison to how Thanos wiped out half of the universe, the fact that he made the entire Earth submit to him of their own free will is especially terrifying. As a result, audiences might see this global invasion come to fruition in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
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