Capes on the Couch Episodes,Marvel,Villains Issue 168 – Kang the Conqueror

Issue 168 – Kang the Conqueror

Issue 168 – Kang the Conqueror post thumbnail image

Just before Quantumania releases, we travel through time with KANG THE CONQUEROR! This temporally unstable episode is our most ambitious yet – don’t miss it!

 Issue 168 – Kang the Conqueror

  • Intro
    • Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania coming out Feb. 17 – Anthony & Doc will do a review mini-episode after the film drops
  • Background
    • Kang the Conqueror, Nathaniel Richards, created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
    • Due to Kang’s time-traveling abilities, his backstory, and even creation, are difficult to pin down
    • Rama-Tut – first appeared in Fantastic Four #19 (Oct. 1963) – a time-traveling criminal from the year 3000 who went back to ancient Egypt 
    • In Sept. 1964, in Avengers #8, Rama-Tut reveals he traveled to the year 4000 and is called Kang the Conqueror
    • Two months later (Nov. 1964), Immortus debuts in Avengers #10, and was later retroactively revealed as another variant of Kang
    • Another variant appears a few years later – the Scarlet Centurion (Avengers Annual #2 – Sept. 1968)
    • A heroic version was introduced in Young Avengers #1 (Feb. 2005) – Iron Lad
    • Later revealed that Kang is actually Nathaniel Richards, a descendant of Reed Richards’ father
    • Reed’s father traveled forward to the 31st century and brought peace to a war-ravaged Earth – it was here he had a child, named Nathaniel
    • Nathaniel grew up bored of the simple peace he lived, and when he was 16, he stole a time machine, traveled back to Egypt, and became Rama-Tut
    • He then traveled to the “present”, where he met Dr. Doom and became inspired by him
    • Attempting to travel to his home timeline, he passed it by a thousand years, and upon learning that he can easily take over the war-torn planet, decides to go back to when Earth was fruitful so he can make it more worthwhile
    • Often shows up as a foe of the Avengers, but sometimes he battles the Fantastic Four
    • Major storylines:
      • Celestial Madonna – searching for a woman destined to carry a powerful child, he finds Mantis, but is thwarted by alternative versions of himself – here we learn that Immortus and Rama-Tut are also Kang, but after Kang overloads his armor, he destroys himself, deleting Immortus and Rama-Tut from existence as well
      • Council of Kangs – Three variants create a triumvirate to eliminate all other versions, but Ravonna (Kang’s lover) tricks one of them into death before Immortus is destroyed by Prime Kang, the only one who remains
      • Avengers Forever – Kang rejects Immortus, and allies with the Avengers to prevent Immortus from allying with the Time Keepers – this involves keeping Rick Jones alive and Avengers from other timelines
      • Kang Dynasty – Kang, along with his son Marcus (operating as Scarlet Centurion), takes over the Earth in order to save it from a horrific future – although he initially conquers the world, he is defeated by the Avengers, with help from a traitorous clone of Marcus, who is infatuated with Carol Danvers (not unlike another version of Marcus)
      • Responsible for the creation of the Young Avengers – 16 year old Nate Richards is rescued by Kang and shown his future growth into the despot, but this horrifies young Nate, and he uses the time-travel technology and transports himself to the past, where he arrives as the Avengers have been disassembled – he downloads the Vision’s operating system into his armor, and this amalgamation (Iron Lad) assembles a new team of younger heroes to prevent Kang from rising up in the first place
  • Issues
    • Hedonic adaptation and the Diderot Effect
    • Narcissism
    • Technophilia
  • Treatment theme: Anything, but not everything
    • In-universe – 
    • Out of universe – 
  • Skit
    • KANG: And now, my boy, it is time for you to DIE!
    • DOC: Wait, it’s not supposed to happen like this!
    • * warp sound* IRON LAD: Doctor Issues, I presume?
    • DOC: What the – who the – what the – 
    • IRON LAD: I understand, the whole time manipulation thing can be overwhelming. 
    • DOC: But you were just trying to kill me!
    • IRON LAD: Oh no, sorry, that’s a different me. 
    • DOC: Excuse me?
    • IRON LAD: You can call me Iron Lad. Or Nate.
    • DOC: So you’re NOT trying to kill me?
    • IRON LAD: Nope, definitely not. I had to warp you out of there, because if you died, it throws the entire timeline outta whack.
    • DOC: But you look just like the guy I was in there… 
    • IRON LAD: Yeah, he’s me from the future, but he showed me what it looked like, and I want absolutely nothing to do with that. So I went back to the past, which is your present, to stop myself from becoming him in the future. But the Avengers were gone, so I found the Vision’s brain and downloaded it into my armor, and now here I am.
    • DOC: I’m so confused…
    • IRON LAD:  I don’t blame you. Sometimes I have to remind myself of who I am now, not who I was or who I might be.
    • DOC: So what happens now?
    • IRON LAD: I’m going to put you back in your office, just a liiiiitle bit earlier in the timestream, so you don’t make the mistakes that lead up to whatever it was that made Kang want to kill you.
    • DOC: That’s just it, I don’t even remember what it was. He just got up out of the chair and pointed a weapon at me. 
    • IRON LAD: Sadly, that’s just how he is. He gets this idea in his head, and no matter what anyone says or does, he will do it come hell or high water. Sometimes I think I do it because I don’t want anyone else dictating my destiny.
    • DOC: Are we talking about him or you?
    • IRON LAD: Uhh… ok, time to send you back now, good luck! 
    • DOC: Oh no, don’t warp me like this, it feels like I’m *warp sound* drowning in-
    • KANG: – the annals of history are *simultaneously* drowning in-
    • DOC: Gaaaaah!
    • KANG: You primitive dare interrupt Kang! You inadvertently prove my point about the vast majority of individuals who are mindless filler for the planet. Important resources wasted on people who can never comprehend how trivial their existence is to the grand scheme of time and history. That is one of my goals, to separate those who are worthy to share in the existence I plan on ushering forth from these… carbon-based cretins. And so far, you have done nothing to dissuade me from counting you in the latter group.
    • DOC: Sorry, it’s just… I wasn’t feeling like myself. As to your point, philosophers have discussed the value of human existence for millenia. 
    • KANG: Those simpering academics? Bah. Very few are capable of acknowledging the meaningless of their lives, and ironically it is those who are best equipped to assist me in my plans.
    • DOC: So… you’re looking for nihilists?
    • KANG: Only in nihilism can you find the ultimate freedom. 
    • DOC: I don’t understand. You keep speaking in circles, can you please be direct and just – talk to me?
    • KANG: Have we not been conversing this entire time?
    • *Warp sound* RAMA-TUT: Don’t listen to me, I can get a little long-winded sometimes.
    • DOC: What the hell?
    • RAMA-TUT: I am Rama-Tut. The me you were in there with is an older version of me, long after I took over ancient Egypt.
    • DOC: How many of you are there?
    • RAMA-TUT: There are as many variants of me as there are grains of sand in the desert.
    • DOC: That’s… unsettling. But why did you take me out of the session?
    • RAMA-TUT: The machinations of Rama-Tut are far beyond your ken. You need only know this: for the universe to avoid never ending calamity, not only must you survive, but you must kill Kang. 
    • DOC: Dude, if you know ANYTHING about me, you’d know I am not going to kill anyone.
    • RAMA-TUT: All mortals have limits, and in order to preserve all of existence, you must push beyond yours. This has been foreseen, and not only by me, but by all Kangs. Why do you think he allowed himself to be captured and brought to you? 
    • DOC: But why me? Literally anyone else could do a better job at that than me.
    • RAMA-TUT: If I divulge that information to you, it would create dangerous ripples throughout the timestream. You must simply trust what I tell you.
    • DOC: Not gonna happen.
    • RAMA-TUT: Nevertheless, I will return you to your session, slightly earlier than before. Take this, it is a chronosword. You must use it to strike down Kang. It will be shielded from him until you are ready to use it.
    • DOC: No, no, no *warp sound* for the last time-
    • KANG: A rather foreboding introduction, Doctor. You speak as though we have met before.
    • DOC: Uh, what I meant to say was-
    • KANG: I have no doubt that my… variants have attempted to persuade you to kill me, have they not?
    • DOC: I’m not exactly sure how client confidentiality works in this type of situation, but I’m gonna go ahead and just say I can’t tell you what I spoke to anyyou else about.
    • KANG: It matters not. I have foreseen this all. The entire series of events that led me, you, us to this moment. I have orchestrated what to your mind would be an incomprehensible amount of coincidences, all building up to my single greatest triumph yet.
    • DOC: Not to be entirely self-deprecating, but if your greatest triumph involves me, somehow I think we need to reestablish your definitions of “great” and “triumph”. 
    • KANG: So simple, and yet you have no idea your function as a keystone in the story still to be told. The annals of history are drowning in-
    • DOC: Drowning in- Gaaaah
    • KANG: You primitive dare interrupt Kang! You inadvertently prove my point about-
    • IMMORTUS: *warp sound* The irony of him daring call anyone primitive.
    • DOC: OK, you all have GOT to stop cutting me in & out. And which one are you?
    • IMMORTUS: I am IMMORTUS. And we haven’t much time.
    • DOC: Now THAT’S ironic. 
    • IMMORTUS: No, truly, the Time Keepers are hunting me down. I must inform you quickly. You are in grave danger.
    • DOC: Yeah, I got that already. You’re the fourth…  you to pull me out of the session already.
    • IMMORTUS: Fourth? *counts to self* that means there’s still time then.
    • DOC: Again, we have nothing BUT time.
    • IMMORTUS: Not true at all. Listen to me, as soon as we return, you MUST kill Kang.
    • DOC: Like I told the other guy, that’s not gonna happen.
    • IMMORTUS: You don’t understand. You must do it before you are pulled from the timestream again. If you don’t, the consequences to all of existence will be dire.
    • DOC: Yeah, I know, Kang will destroy the entire universe.
    • IMMORTUS: No, Doctor Issues. YOU will.
    • DOC: Wait, what?!?!
    • IMMORTUS: It would take far too much to explain, just know that… *beep* they’re on to me. I must send you back now.
    • DOC: No, wait, come here and *warp sound* talk to me!
    • KANG: Have we not been conversing this entire time?
    • DOC: I…
    • KANG: Which one was it? The whiny child? Or the one who is so certain of his immortality he named himself after it?
    • DOC: Again, to avoid any problems with confidentiality, I can’t divulge conversations with other clients, even if they’re kinda sorta you. I mean, I know there have been some shenanigans here, but I don’t want to keep repeating things, otherwise I might as well just be talking to myself…
    • KANG: You have no idea how right you are, my lad…
    • DOC: What does that mean?
    • KANG: He hasn’t told you?
    • DOC: Who hasn’t told me what?
    • KANG: Fascinating. Then there’s still time for me. Allow me to disengage these restraints-
    • DOC: Hold on, those are state of the art, I worked with the designer personally to ensure-
    • KANG: Yes, but as you well know Doctor, you can’t defend against yourself.
    • DOC: Huh?
    • KANG: And now, my boy, it is time for you to DIE!
    • NATHANIEL RICHARDS: *Warp sound* It’s not supposed to happen like this.
    • DOC: Lemme guess, you’re the “he” who’s supposed to reveal some big secret that’s going to change everything.
    • NATHANIEL: I am Nathaniel Richards. Father of Kang, Immortus, Rama-Tut, Iron Lad, and all Kangs across the multiverse. And I’m not just any “he”, Doctor Issues. Or should I say… grandfather.
    • DOC: *flat* what
    • NATHANIEL: The timestreams have been merged and diverted so often things are broken. My own memory of how this came to be betrays me. But I know this: you are my grandfather, which makes you-
    • DOC: Ancestor of Kang.
    • NATHANIEL: Indeed. I had hoped to get this information to you sooner, but I was attacked by-
    • DOC: At this point, does it really matter? My entire life, my entire identity, has been thrown into question. And I don’t care how much you look or sound like me, I need this information straight from the source.
    • NATHANIEL: What?
    • DOC: I have to go back to Kang. I need to speak to him directly.
    • NATHANIEL: I cannot send you back to where I took you from, or you will die, and it will cause a cataclysmic chain reaction that will obliterate the very fabric of reality!
    • DOC: Then send me back to the moment when he decides I need to die.
    • NATHANIEL: I don’t understand.
    • DOC: Look, when I get so much hearsay, I have to strip away all opinion. If Kang wants me dead, I don’t need anyone else’s interpretation. Whatever he does in that moment is the only thing that can resolve this. I am his provider, and it is my duty. If you are truly of my heritage, you’ll understand this, and have some faith.
    • NATHANIEL: I admit I do not understand. But I do have faith. Just know that if this goes wrong, I cannot help you any further.
    • DOC: I know. 
    • NATHANIEL: Then best of luck to you, grandfather. *warp sound*
    • DOC: Hello Kang, I’m… Doctor Issues. For the last time…
    • KANG: A rather foreboding introduction, Doctor. You speak as though we have met before.
    • DOC: Tell me why.
    • KANG: That’s… no… 
    • DOC: I may not understand, but I’m ready.
    • DOC: Don’t blame him, this right now is about why you feel the way you do about me.
    • KANG: For someone who claims to have an advanced education, your understanding of things is below rudimentary. You are responsible for the creation of these other… inferior variants. Ergo, I eliminate you, and they are gone.
    • DOC: As are you.
    • KANG: The threat of vanishing from existence has not stopped me before, and it won’t now. Not when I’m so close to having all that I need. Besides, if there’s no risk, there’s no reward.
    • DOC: Then why do you tell me every time? You are holding something back. From yourself. I can help you confront it. Maybe no one has to die.
    • KANG: You are willing to gamble the fate of the entirety of existence on your ability to speak? We truly are related, ancestor, and I admire your boldness.
    • DOC: Only you would know this. Take us to the moment where we can have the greatest influence.
    • KANG: Very well. Prepare yourself, Doctor. This will be a showdown for the ages. *warp sound*
    • KANG 1: *background*Fascinating. Then there’s still time for me. Allow me to disengage these restraints-
    • DOC 1: Hold on, those are state of the art, I worked with the designer personally to ensure-
    • KANG 1: Yes, but as you well know Doctor, you can’t defend against yourself.*end background*
    • KANG 2: Here we are.
    • DOC 2: And here you come. To think, he gets all the glory. What does that make you?
    • KANG 2: You clever… Now I know where I get it from. *to Kang 1* You’re absolutely right!
    • DOC 1: Huh? *realizes there’s another version of him & Kang in the room* WHAT IS HAPPENING
    • KANG 2: And now, my boy, it is time for YOU to DIE!
    • KANG 1: No, this cannot be!
    • DOC 1: Why are there two mes?
    • DOC 2: Long story short, it’s all a big timey-wimey ball.
    • DOC 1: How did we end up allying with HIM?!?!
    • DOC 2: Don’t worry about that. Just do me a favor, and keep an eye on who our daughter marries in the future.
    • DOC 1: What?
    • DOC 2: Looks like my Kang has your Kang cornered…
    • DOC 1: But he’s our… my… patient. I can’t let him just do this.
    • DOC 2: If you knew what I know-
    • DOC 1: But I don’t, and I took an oath. If you’re not going to protect a person that you’re responsible for, then I will.
    • DOC 2: Wait!
    • KANG 2: If I were a primitive I might feel shame about ending the life of someone who looks like me. But at this point…
    • KANG 1: Spoken like a true primitive. Alas, you will be the one to fall.
    • DOC 1: Noooo….
    • KANG 1 & KANG 2: *blasts* 
    • KANG 1: *dying* Why?
    • KANG 2: *dying* You simpleton… you have shattered the timestream…
    • DOC 1: *dying* I… I took an oath… 
    • DOC 2: And the first part is do no harm…
    • DOC 1: Nok… *dies*
  • Ending
    • Mention timescrew as we come out of the skit
    • Recommended reading: Kang Dynasty
    • Next episodes: Animal sidekicks, Claire Voyant, Penguin
    • Plugs for social


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