After his introduction in the Disney+ show Loki as He Who Remains, fans of the MCU have been clamouring for more of Kang and his variants, and with the impending release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,will be getting exactly what they want… but who is Kang exactly? What makes him arguably a bigger, more threatening villain than Thanos?
There’s no getting away from the fact that Kang may not have any ‘traditional’ powers like other superheroes and villains. He doesn’t have the ability to fly, healing powers are way out of his wheelhouse and he can’t run like Quiksilver, but he can travel through time. Thanks to being a 30th Century scientist with access to a time machine, Kang has the ability to go whenever and wherever he wants, a skill he puts to monstrous use. Creating paradoxes, killing timelines at a whim, manipulating entire multiverses to get what he wants and nudging history in the slightest way thousands of years in the past, how do you beat a villain who deals in time?
Endless Amount of Him
Creating multiple timelines and paradoxes at a whim means there’s literally an endless amount of Kangs. Some stories actually hinge on this very fact, like the poorly received Infinity Warps storyline, where a large group of Kangs from come together to stop Devondra from destroying half the universe along with Kamala Kang (Loki combined Ms. Marvel and a variant of Kang), Hulk, Emma Frost and Ant-Man, they become a thankfully short-lived version of the Infinity Watch.
Variants of Kang have been peppered throughout Marvel lore since his introduction in 1963. Many Marvel fans will know of the backstory with Iron Lad, whom upon finding out he’s destined to become the very being he’s fighting in Kang, tries to avoid his fate and in doing so puts the very timeline at risk, and through tears and an incredible sadness makes the sacrifice to travel back and become that what he hates.
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Most Marvel fans won’t have heard of the smaller and much more bizarre version of Kang called Victor Timely, who was a variant who’s job/plan was to spend his life on Earth observing the heroes and trying to formulate plans and an attack ‘from the inside’, so to speak. This resulted in Timely creating his own town in Wisconsin, siring kids (who themselves were variants of Kang) and allowed him to subtly manipulate the timeline in a much more nuanced way than before.
All the time travel in the world would be useless if it wasn’t for Kang’s incredible intelligence. His attention to detail and planning/predictions for what will happen or what people will do is second-to-none. He may not have the brute strength of Thanos or the world-eating ability of Galactus, but his plans and actions affect entire multiverses, not just one universe or planet like the aforementioned villains. Throughout comic history there are countless examples of him setting events in motion that he wouldn’t see the outcome of for decades, centuries or even millennia.
The Chronos Corps
A villain that has a reach throughout every timeline and every universe is already frightening enough, but one that can persuade the heroes of other timelines to fight alongside him is even scarier. Kang has broken the timeline on multiple occasions throughout his long tenure in the comic books, like when he decided to try and win an unwinnable fight with Ultron. If it wasn’t for the The Avengers travelling back in time to persuade Ultron to lose, then all of time would have been permanently lost.
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A more recent version of this multiversal team-up was after the Earth was destroyed by the Apocalypse Twins and a new mutant planet replaced it, Kang chose to scour the timelines and built a team to reverse the events which included the likes of Dr. Doom 2099, a young Thor, the Uncanny Avengers, Earth X’s Venom and Days of Future Past’s Ahab.
He’s Always in Control
When fighting an all-knowing, near omnipotent time traveller like Kang, the Avengers have remarked several times in comics that it’s not really possible to beat him. Even if you beat one version, another version or variant could appear tomorrow, next week or fifty years from now. With so many seeds planted throughout the universe, there’s always another version to come who has learned from the mistakes of his predecessors. This ultimately means that Kang is in full control, more or less, and like Thanos who generally has to lose to his own arrogance or lack of care, Kang only ever loses his battles when he’s overlooked something due to misplaced confidence or flat out underestimation of his enemies.
That’s just five reasons why the next big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is to be feared, and after his variant’s quick introduction and demise in the first season of Loki, we’re getting our second meeting with the main man himself very soon in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania!
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