Kang’s role in Savage Avengers is a good demonstration of the ruthless, flippant cruelty of the new MCU villain when he needs it.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Savage Avengers # 25, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently in Phase Four of its Cinematic Universe, with new heroes and villains filling in the holes left by missing characters like Iron Man and Thanos. One of the more exciting prospects is Kang the Conqueror, teased in Loki and confirmed to appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Although he made a quick impression thanks to Jonothan Major’s role as Immortus in the Disney + series, Kang himself has not officially appeared. But his mere presence should be alarming, given the cruelty he’s always shown in the comics.
This is the case in Savage avengers # 25, by Gerry Duggan, Patch Zircher, Java Tartaglia and Travis Lanham of VC, who sees Kang the Conqueror arrive to aid Conan the Barbarian in his last desperate fight against Kulan Gath. Along the way, Kang reminds Conan why he’s such a dreaded villain.
In Savage avengers, the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe have ultimately proven to be unable to face a fully empowered Kulan Gath. Decades after slaughtering the majority of the overpowered beings left on this Earth, he finds himself grappling with the last apparent threat to his reign: Conan the Barbarian, having survived for years alongside Doctor Doom until he grave. Conan finds himself with a new ally in his crusade: Kang the Conqueror. Confronting Kang when he arrives via time travel, Conan calls for help – and even insults his pride for seemingly enlisting his help in the fight against Kulan Gath.
However, it turns out that Kang is already familiar with the fight against Gath and already engaged him with his own ruthless tactics. By traveling the planet, Kang is able to recruit an army of the last men and women of humanity free from Gath’s influence. But to earn their loyalty, Kang uses mind control technology across the centuries to effectively eliminate them all in his service. Kang quickly proves to be a ruthless conqueror of the mind, effectively forcing them into conflict and, as it seems, to die for Kang without any will on their part in the situation. It’s a brutal way of commanding an army, reminding readers how ruthless he can be on a large scale.
Even on a personal level, Kang can be cruel and dismissive in a way that befits one of Marvel’s most dangerous villains. Arming himself to fight Gath, Conan realizes he’s been here before. He asks Kang how many times they’ve faced the dark wizard to perish at his hands – and Kang reveals he’s lost count. This implies that on many occasions Kang has thrown Conan into fruitless and hopeless battles against a powerful mystic strong enough to annihilate Marvel’s heroes, and after each failure he tries again. When Conan realizes this, he suggests sending him on a one-sided mission to distract Gath while Kang gathers a force to confront him – which Kang gladly accepts by throwing his last ally to death on the lesser. chance to win the day.
Historically, Kang is one of Marvel’s most dangerous figures, not just because of his technological wealth and countless years of experience. His most dangerous attribute is his ultimate will to conquer and become the ultimate conqueror of space and time. There are abandoned lovers and condemned children, slaughtered countless people across multiple timelines and realities. Even when on the hero side, Kang has proven time and time again that he is utterly ruthless in his tactics. He even joked that he killed Conan for insulting him, only to turn things around and try again. With Kang on the cusp of becoming a major threat in the future of the MCU, it’s good to remember what kind of villain he is – and what kinds of things he’s willing to do to win.
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