Kang (Jonathan Majors), or at least his variant He Who Remains, was first introduced in the MCU as the founder of the Time Variance Authority and keeper of the Sacred Timeline in the first season of Loki. This put him in the crosshairs of Sylvie Laufeydottir (Sophia Di Martino), out for revenge after being kidnapped by the TVA as a child — and she got it, killing He Who Remains. Oops. Now the multiverse is unlocked… as is the Kang the Conqueror variant. Kang the Conqueror is set to begin his villainous MCU reign in a big way, beginning with the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and expanding into the Multiverse Saga of the MCU. What can we expect from the notorious villain? Well, if the comics are any indication, we may be looking at any of the following:
Kang Takes Over the World: ‘Avengers’ (Vol.3 #41-54, 2001-2002)
In a storyline that crossed over 16 issues (and to be adapted as the fifth Avengers film Avengers: The Kang Dynasty), “Kang Dynasty” sees Kang the Conqueror arriving in the early 21st century with his son, Marcus, from the 30th century. He doesn’t do anything too crazy, apart from physically taking over the entire freaking world, the first Marvel villain to successfully do so without the use of mind control (“hold my beer, Doctor Doom”). Before being eventually defeated by the Avengers, Kang lays waste to the United Nations headquarters (but saves the inhabitants of the building to make a point), and to the city of… nah, we’ll get there soon.
Kang Attempts to Alter the Future by Altering the Past in His First Official Appearance: ‘Avengers’ (Vol. 1 #8, 1964)
Not Kang’s first appearance — that was actually in Fantastic Four #19 as Pharaoh Rama Tut — but the first as Kang the Conqueror. The 30th century warlord traveled back to Ancient Egypt, ruled as Pharaoh, went to the year 4000, conquered that era, and more or less shows up in this era having grown bored and simply looking for a challenge. That’s right, folks — the 20th century, plaything for warlords since 4000.
Kang Overthrows Merlin, Takes Over Medieval England: ‘Strange Tales’ (#134, 1965)
The Watcher needs help. Kang the Conqueror has traveled back in time to Camelot, defeated Merlin in battle, and has taken over the kingdom, lining himself up to conquer that era. So Uatu turns to the Human Torch and Thing, who agree that it’s clobberin’ time (or would that be “it was clobberin’ time,” or “it’s clobberin’ centuries past”… discuss), and are sent back to Camelot. The Thing takes out Kang’s knights while Torch frees Merlin, and the trio crush Kang’s army and force Kang to retreat to another era.
Kang Uses the Light of the Centuries Sphere: ‘Avengers’ (Vol.1 #69, 1969)
Not really diabolical, but highly inconvenient. After battling one of Kang’s Growing Men, the Avengers (and a hospitalized Tony Stark) are transported to the year 4000… and into the throne room of Kang the Conqueror. After a scuffle between the Avengers and Kang’s guards ends, the Avengers are brought up to speed. He used the Light of the Centuries Sphere to bring them to his time, hoping to solicit their help in defeating the Grandmaster. Kang explains that the Grandmaster offered to restore Kang’s comatose lover, Ravonna, but only if he wins a “chess” game that would see Kang’s chosen champions — the aforementioned Avengers — battle the Grandmaster’s chosen. But because he’s Kang, there’s a kicker — if he loses, not only will Ravonna stay in a coma, but the Earth will be obliviated. Caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, the Avengers agree but only if Stark is returned to Earth.
Kang Imprisons Three Avengers and Sends Them Into the Future: ‘Avengers’ (Vol.1 #23, 1965)
You can’t keep a good warlord down, and now Kang the Conqueror is back to take another shot at the Avengers, short one Captain America after he quits. Kang adds a fourth floor to the Avengers HQ and lures Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Quicksilver into an inescapable room, then sends them into the future. Luckily, Captain America sends himself into the future to help them escape, which they do with a little help from Princess Ravonna. They confront Kang, and it all goes downhill from there for him.
Kang Manipulates and Transforms the Scarlet Witch Into His Own Personal Weapon: ‘Avengers West Coast’ (Vol.1 #48, 1989)
Of all the Kang variants, Immortus is right up there among the most powerful, and it’s this variant that’s messing around with the Scarlet Witch. See, the Scarlet Witch is a Nexus Being, an entity that can alter the future by affecting probability. Since Kang’s M.O. always seems to be altering the future, it’s a match made in heaven, so Immortus manipulates and transforms the Scarlet Witch into his own personal weapon in order to take over all time. Interestingly enough, it’s Wanda’s grief from the loss of her husband and children that Immortus uses for his own purposes. Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?
Kang Seeks the Celestial Madonna: ‘Avengers’ (Vol.1 #129, 1974)
Kang is reading through historical records he pulled from the future, and discovers someone called the Celestial Madonna, and whoever mates with her will father a god-like child, destined to be savior of the universe. Convinced that if it’s him that does so, he’ll become the ruler of the heavens by proxy. He finally narrows down whom the Celestial Madonna is: Mantis. Yep, so he’s back in the 20th century to marry her and have that powerful kid. Alas, no wedding — the Avengers and a benevolent Kang variant foil his plans yet again.
Kang Levels Chronopolis: ‘Avengers Forever’ (Vol.1 #3, 1998)
Avengers across the timeline and a past variant of Kang, out to stop himself from becoming Immortus, defend the city-state of Chronopolis from Immortus and his forces. Chronopolis was (note the was) Kang’s stronghold that existed in every branch of the timestream at the same time, thanks to the Heart of Forever. Unfortunately, Immortus’ forces were too much, leaving Kang to try and destroy the Heart of Forever before it fell into the hands of Immortus. Which it did anyway. Immortus activates it, and the next thing you know, Chronopolis begins to implode until the city and all in it were gone, crushed together into the Forever Crystal. The Forever Crystal only gave Immortus the ability to change history on a whim, so not a good thing. Fun fact: Chronopolis would be the first of two cities that a Kang variant would level to nothingness, with Washington, D.C. leveled in the “Kang Dynasty” Avengers storyline of 2001/2002, as noted above.
Kang Travels Back in Time to Kill the Avengers as Babies: ‘Avengers’ (Vol.7 #2, 2017)
The Vision has a great idea: travel to the future and abduct Kang as a baby, thereby stopping him from becoming such a formidable villain. Well, it doesn’t work. In fact, it backfires spectacularly, and leads to not just a single dox, but a paradox (the jokes are free, by the way) that creates multiple Kangs. Two of them become inspired by Vision’s plan and travel back in time to when the Avengers were babies. No, silly reader, not to abduct them and stop them from becoming heroes, but to kill them as they lay in their cribs. That’s not eye-for-an-eye, that’s entire-body-for-an-eye.
Kang Kidnaps Black Bolt’s son Ahura: ‘Uncanny Inhumans’ (Vol.1 #2, 2015)
Kang uses the aftermath of the destruction of Attilan at the hands of Thanos to kidnap Black Bolt’s son Ahura, and forces Black Bolt to allow Kang to keep Ahura in order to save the universe. He teaches Ahura the fine art of conquest, allowing him to attack various eras. This in turn ends up in the death of all the Inhuman royal family’s ancestors, wiping them from history, surely just a coincidence. When Ahura finds out, he kills Kang and goes back in time to kill his birth parents too. Those Inhumans though, they’re a tricky bunch and rescue Ahura before he is taken by Kang. Kang and his large army attack the Inhumans, but Ahura possesses Kang, undoes all of his work to wipe out his family and makes Kang leave the Inhumans alone forever. How embarrassing.
Kang Corrupts the Apocalypse Twins: ‘Uncanny Avengers’ (Vol.1 #5, 2013)
Mutant twins Uriel and Eimin, offspring of X-Men member Archangel (conceived in the time he was corrupted by Apocalypse), are kidnapped (here we go again) by Kang shortly after their birth. Kang raises them as his own, filling their heads with his views and ruthlessness. Surprisingly, they don’t grow up well-adjusted, and after being left in a timeline where mutants are in concentration camps not only are they sadistic and evil, but have a healthy distrust of humans too. They also hate Kang, and to piss him off they create an exodus of Earth’s mutants to Planet X (at least the ones not dead). The joke’s on them, though — everything, from the pain and suffering of their formative years to the planning and betrayal of Kang, were all part of Kang’s plan to gain power and remove the wild-card element of mutants from his attempt to take over the world.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania debuts exclusively in theaters on February 17. Check out the latest trailer below.