Folks who know me know that Kang the Conqueror is my favorite Avengers villain. They also know I believe that he is their ultimate archenemy, not Ultron, not the Masters of Evil, not Zodiac, and certainly not Thanos or the Squadron Supreme, but Kang. Here in the twelfth episode of the third season, he finally makes his Avengers Assemble debut. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “The Conqueror.”
We open on what at first appears to be a game of hide and seek, and then possibly the Black Widow getting caught for double agenting too hard, but something that is finally revealed to be nobody on the team wanting to participate in the grand opening of the Avengers Museum. None of the other Avengers are as fame hungry as Tony Stark. Don’t worry, he gets his. Granted we don’t actually see what’s in the Museum, but it can’t be good.
The idea of an Avengers Museum, however, reminds me of other comics oddities like the Flash Museum or the JLA Trophy Room, or even the Batcave or the Fortress of Solitude. Why would one build such a place, where all of the items necessary to destroy a hero or team might be found. I think of all the kryptonite displays in the Fortress or all the (still functional!) weapons in the Flash Museum and JLA Trophy Room… such ridiculousness!
Tony Stark as Iron Man doesn’t have long to bathe in the spotlight long though before a reporter asks about his stock falling, and those of his enemies – Stane, Killian, Hammer, and the Ten Rings (the Mandarin) – are rising. Before Tony can utter a “no comment” and walk away, another name from the past shows up – Whiplash.
Usually Iron Man can take this baddie out like yesterday’s trash, no matter which version it is, but today Whiplash is tougher. He has had an upgrade, and it takes the whole team to take him down. Later as Tony is examining this new tech, Captain America and Thor take down and upgraded Spymaster. Wow, between Spymaster and Whiplash, and the Ghost last week, it’s old home week for Iron Man’s rogues gallery.
Roll of the Die
Tracking down this new powerful technology, the Avengers are led to an A.I.M. facility. They too have had an upgrade, and I’m not just talking about their cool new morphing beekeeper helmets. I do like the three-dimensional effect of the purple goo, and they’ve got weaponry way ahead of its time. Time, d’oh! That’s when the Avengers find the giant psychedelic twelve-sided die, and it’s not for Dungeons & Dragons, it’s a time portal.
The twelve-sided die always meant bad luck for me when I played, and it doesn’t do Iron Man much good either when he enters and ends up in an arsenal a thousand years in the future, with Kang the Conqueror. As one would expect, they don’t get on well. Iron Man doesn’t just make the Conqueror mad, he brings him back to the 21st century with him. Smooth move, Ex-Lax.
Kang the Conqueror
The animated design of the villain is slightly different – more simplified and streamlined – but not so different as to not know this was Kang the Conqueror. He’s voiced almost perfectly by Steven Blum, whose well known for his videogame work in Call of Duty and God of War, as well as animation like Wolverine and the X-Men, Star Wars Rebels, and The Legend of Korra.
Kang was apparently unaware that his weapons were being smuggled into the past, and Iron Man dragging him back here/now can only be trouble. He was minding his own business before. No one sane wants to invite Kang to a party. First thing he does once he gets his bearings is get an army… he takes control of A.I.M. Oh, and I dig his hand weapon; like the goo, nice use of animated effects.
The Trouble with Stark
Kang easily fights off the Avengers and retreats, with A.I.M., back to the future. This, among other things, leaves Tony Stark rattled. His stocks are dropping, his enemies are outselling him, and Kang himself told him his own future was bleak. In the comics Tony’s not good under pressure. We’ve seen him struggle several times with alcoholism and currently in Civil War II, he is on the brink of a breakdown, but there might be something else wrong…
Besides the fact that in the comics Iron Man dies in battle with Kang (he got better, because comics), and was under his mind control for years, there’s also another reason Tony Stark should be unnerved by Kang. There is a strong possibility that Kang may in fact be, if not Tony Stark, a descendant of Stark. Of course, it’s just one theory. There are a dozen others that Kang is, or could be.
The Sword of Damocles
When Kang reappears in the 21st century he has his giant sword-shaped spaceship, Damocles Base (called the Sword of Damocles here), with him, and it’s hanging over Avengers Tower. Comics readers might remember that it was from Damocles Base that Kang finally conquered the planet and defeated the Avengers in the Kurt Busiek epic “Kang Dynasty.” The problem is that while the Avengers attack the ship, Iron Man goes rogue and confronts Kang himself. Tony keeps forgetting there’s no I in team… but he does seem to suspect a link to the Conqueror.
In the meantime the Avengers stop the attack on New York and succeed in setting the ship to self-destruct. But as Kang is fond of saying this episode, he has all the time in the world, and he opens a portal to the future. As Damocles Base explodes, the Avengers, sans Thor, discover they are stranded in who-knows-when…
In the miscellaneous department I have one question. What’s up with Falcon’s costume? This is two episodes in a row with everyone else in superhero togs and him in a t-shirt. Is Sam getting uncomfortable in the outfit? I loved this episode (and not just because I love Kang), and can’t wait for more… and it will come very soon as the episode is to be continued…
Next: Into the Future!