By Zac Johnson
I remember when Marvel used to put “things to come” in the back of X-Men comics; a single image in the back of important issues that gave hints and teases of what was coming up in the book. In recent years, Marvel has decided that idea is great, but it’s just not big enough. If it’s going to tell the story of things to come for the whole Marvel U, we need a whole issue, not just a single teaser image.
These special issues have a tall order. They have to be advertisements; they exist entirely to convince you to pick up more books, but at the same time, they also have to make you excited for the new big events, series, storylines, and deaths that may occur in the coming year. Then, to top it off, they have to make it worth the cost of buying this little advertisement for the wider world, so they have to tell a decent one-and-done story all at the same time. It all comes down to the strength of the lead character. In this case, it all comes down to Kang.
Cards on the table, I’m not traditionally a big Kang the Conqueror fan. When it comes to self-destructive egomaniacs with a warped sense of honor, I’m a Doomhead over a Conqueror Stan. It seems like people always prefer one over the other, and even the book compares the similarities of the two (you can see why for a long time in the sixties people thought they were the same character.) But with Kang being set up as the next Big Bad of the MCU, it was inevitable that Kang would have to make a mark in the modern comics world soon. I have to imagine this was made knowing that fresh off of Loki, plenty of new readers would be approaching the stands looking for more on our erstwhile conquerer. Honestly, I wouldn’t hesitate to use this book to introduce the character to new readers.
Operating as a sort of serial killer Doctor Who, the story follows Kang as he kidnaps a supervillain historian and drags him across time, showing off, trying to prove that he is the big boy villain to end all big boy villains. From killing mammoths with his bare hands to battling parallel timelines, Kang is desperate for our admiration and our understanding. In the end, like the book itself, he mostly succeeds. To borrow a line from Kang’s erstwhile companion, “I don’t like you, Kang, I don’t know if I respect you, but I do understand you.”
Timeless is available now.