…Kang’s origin?

Kang's Origin

I always favoured that rather than being DOOM’s descendant, Kang was actually descended from Tony Stark.

There have been some hints at this over the most recent years… particularly with Iron Lad being revealed as a young Kang.

But think about it. History frequently is lost to time. And sometimes history is rewritten by the victor (no pun intended).

In the far future, the plans for a time machine are found by a man who says he developed himself into first Pharoah Rama-Tut, and then the Scarlet Centurion…and then Kang the Conqueror. He believes that when he met Dr. Doom in Jovian space after FF #23, and before Annual #2, The Final Victory of Dr. Doom, he was meeting his ancestor…

But what if Kang is actually derived from Tony Stark, the futurist, the visionary, and possessor of the armour that becomes Kang’s suit someday?

What if the history books in the future incorrectly attribute the time machine which falls into Tony Stark’s hands or possession, to Dr. Doom? What if the correct interpretation of what the man who will become Kang finds is actually “Here are the plans that Dr. Doom used to create a time machine? We must preserve them and keep them from falling into the wrong hands of villains. This is my sacred trust and responsibility, as the richest man in the world, who can preserve the past, present and future best… Anthony Stark. Whosoever finds these plans among my things in the future, keep them from falling into a Conqueror’s hands. We must keep the Kang of the Conqueror from echoing through the years, changing things as he goes.”

This would mean that by trying to keep the plans safe, Tony ultimately places them into the library where the man who would become Kang finds them… and believes it was developed or built by his ancestor…who is really Tony, but he mistakenly thinks is Victor Von Doom.

We have seen how marvel changes history, revises what we know, plays with the facts of births and deaths, and has shown us complete “Lost Generations” that were erased with a slip of time travel.

Why couldn’t this Marvel Silver age history be the result of time manipulation by someone (Kang? Tony? Doom?) to change the timestream and try to stop Kang from doing something awful in the future.

Look at all the references to time travel by beings from the future that inhabit the first 16 issues of the original Avengers. We have the Space Phantom, Kang, Immortus, some space alien medusa, an alien pig race, the Lava Men, Count Nefaria and the Masters of Evil under Zemo, with the Enchantress manipulating time.

What if the original history of the Avengers never included finding Cap nor having the Hulk leave, and someone has sent time travellers again and again trying to disrupt Cap from being found or joining the Avengers. This would explain a lot of the time travel in this period. And it might explain why these guys keep attacking the Avengers over and over, but seem to stop about issue #15, with the death of Zemo and Cap taking over the Avengers.

Then we have Kang’s supposed connection to Doom, which was tenuous at best.

First, the ancestor wore a suit of armour.

Two, he was technologically advanced.

Three, he could afford lots of equipment.

Four, we have seen that Kang looks A LOT like Tony Stark when unarmoured.

Five, if the ancestor had ARMOUR, it doesn’t follow that it has to be Dr. Doom…could have been Iron Man.

Six, Tony has had several opportunities to acquire Doom’s time-machine.

Seven, history may have made some confusion between two armour suited major figures of the 20th century over the years.

Eight, Tony is the designing futurist who builds toward the future.

Think about it. It makes more sense that Kang is a descendant of Tony than Von Doom… though the confusion could be understandable after years of dark ages between our time and Kang’s future.

Plus, when unveiled, Kang looks a lot more like Tony Stark than Dr. Doom when un-suited.

It’s possible that Tony has yet to come into possession of Victor’s time machine, explaining how Kang comes across plans for the device in the future…and assumes that it is Doom that is his ancestor, not Tony… but he might have been wrong when he was Rama-Tut and leapt to the wrong conclusion in Avengers Annual #2…or FF #19, etc…

Also recall that when Kang is really serious about conquest, he’s tough to beat, but when he’s fighting the Avengers he holds back, trying to make it more competitive, because he admires them so much.  Could this be further evidence that he is in fact Tony Stark?

I would further posit that the stories Michelinie & Lyton teaming-up Stark and Doom may provide a clue as to how Tony becomes Kang.  During one of these adventures did he manage to obtain Doom’s time-machine and reverse engineer it, beginning his interest in time-travel leading to his eventual transformation into Kang? Given these adventures it is also interesting that upon becoming Kang he sets about conquering Camelot.  What for I’m not sure but the implications are certainly interesting.

Also recall during the Crossing the mystery door in the basement of the Avengers Mansion only able to be accessed by Kang.  This to me might be explained by the fact that of course he could come and go from Stark’s mansion as he pleased if he was the future version of Tony.

I would further posit that Kang being Tony Stark is evidenced through Kang’s front-organisation, Timely Industries.

For reasons never fully explained, Kang decided to conquer the 20th Century by gradually increasing the technology levels of civilisation.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Stark, previously attempting to prevent others from getting hold of his technology (i.e. Armor Wars), later changes his mind and begins introducing components which made early, rare, atypical advances possible – such as components which Horton used on his Human Torch.  Even decades later, Ultron was unable to manufacture duplicate components, and allegedly had to create the Vision from Horton’s spare parts.

Reed Richards even said he had used parts from Kang’s company for his inventions (perhaps for breaching the Negative Zone where Stark would later set up his prison).

Timely had been nudging Marvel’s technology forward since 1903! I remember Hank using ideas from the Dragon Man for Ultron, which would seem to suggest Dragon Man was based on Timely technology.  In fact, to hear Kang tell it, EVERYTHING cutting-edge technology-related is a Timely product.

As for Kang’s interest in Mantis, do you think Tony came to understand her importance while he was stationed inVietnam?  Did Tony stumble across the temple of the Priests of Pama while there?

How To Reveal It: Discovering his technology within the Vision, Golden Age Human Torch and Dragon Man, Stark steals Doom’s time machine to travel back in time and investigate Timely Industries.

During this story he runs across Victor Timely suiting up in Kang’s armour to fight off a number of ?.  When he sees Stark he gets distracted and is killed by his assailants.

The assailants then leave via Doom’s time-platform and Stark unmasks the dead Kang to recognise an older version of himself.

Then trolling through Timely’s records he discovers that Kang has been attempting to build an empire to prevent Victor Von Doom performing a black magick ritual that will unleash creatures from the Outer Dark throughout time.

In an effort to perform this ritual Doom forges an alliance with Morgan Le Fay, hence why Kang travels back in time to prevent this from happening by conquering Camelot.

Realising that the only chance of preventing this impending “doom”, Tony realises he must don Kang’s armour and carry on his mission.

The tale would be akin to the 1991 DC Annual storyline where Hawk is compelled to become Monarch.

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18 Responses

  1. This was a very interesting article, although it should be noted that the Dr Doom connection was abandoned nearly 25 years ago when John Byrne made Reed Richards’ dad Kang’s ancestor.

  2. @Rob: Thanks for dropping by:) Yep I realise Doom’s connection was abandoned and replaced with Richards’ own but I was never fond of Byrne’s retcon, so started by looking to the character’s earlier origins and Heinberg’s own recent attempts.

  3. WOW! You’ve thought even more about this than I have!

    I’ll have really dig in and digest your thoughts, but I think you are onto something. Perhaps you should be writing the MU! Hmmm…:)

  4. Actually, there is still potential to steer Stark in the right direction to become Kang. Having been the most powerful person in the world, only to have it stripped away and left with nothing is just the event that could trigger the anger and ambition to take him down that path.

    As for Stark’s involvement with Ultron… still not sure how that would work. But it makes some degree of sense, since in AF and The Crossing and Timeslip arcs, we see Kang/Immortus manipulating events from the Avengers inception…

  5. Upon recently managing to obtain synopses for the first Young Avengers series, I’ve observed the following:

    Iron Lad comes from the future, claiming that he will one day become Kang, and that Kang himself tried to recruit him and he stole Kang’s armour and used it to travel through time.

    When Kang arrives he says that time is changing because of Iron Lad’s actions, and effectively we see the repercussions of it, we see costumes being altered, etc.

    Only that this isn’t possible. You CAN’T change the past, it has been said many times before. If you did change the past what you’d do is create a divergent alternate reality, while the old one flowed on uninterrupted.

    So what’s the answer here?

    Did Immortus impersonate Iron Lad, create the Young Avengers, bring a Space Phantom as Kang, using the devices in Limbo managed to alter time around the Avengers Mansion, and then kill his Kang/Space Phantom, and then leave.

    Why did he need to create the Young Avengers?

    Well, if Billy and Tommy are in truth Wanda’s children, it’d be easier for him to keep an eye on them this way…

  6. This is what locked it in for me.

  7. I am now considering that Tony Stark’s first attempt at utilising his own version of Doom’s time-machine transported him in the vicinity of the Elder of the Universe, Grandmaster, who mentored him to become the conqueror we all know and hate.

    • Possibly it’s something like this- Tony and Doom got forcibly sent back to Autherian times (IM #149-150) and they had to work together to cobble together a one-use-only time machine from their two armors.
      Now we know the Grandmaster is fond of snatching heroes from alternate realities to act as proxies in his wagers with other cosmic jerkholes, so I’d go with him altering things slightly at that crucial return trip.
      Tony is tossed into the war-torn dystopian future of a ruined earth and endless conflict. His armor almost non-functional, (and containing good chunk of Doom’s tech from the remains of their time-machine- this time not melted to slag as it was really the Grandmaster that transported him through time) he travels that world, gathering bits of technology and forging a new armor.
      Realizing that generations of “might makes right” mentality cannot be overcome by one man, he does the unthinkable decides to conqueror the world to save it from itself!
      At some point during the global conquest, a time-traveling Nathanial Richards ventures to that era and is also stranded. Richards attempts to stop Tony’s bloody march to world dictatorship (which he would view as monstrous) and is destined to be killed- the knowledge of which makes Nathanial a cynical and occasionally cold character (much as it was for Adam Warlock when he was present for his own death).
      Within his lifetime, Tony sees the world transformed- all his visions of a perfect society with science and rational thought as it’s core are realized, though it’s foundation in built on the bones of billions…
      Eventually, generations later, resulting in the peaceful technological paradise Kang is born into.

      The Grandmaster’s role in all this was not to create Kang but to set the game board for the battle between the Grandmaster’s gaming proxy, Tony Stark and Nathanial Richards- proxy of The Grandmaster’s opponent, revealed to be Immortus himself!

      Thus the Grandmaster’s victory is doubled- both in winning the wager and in causing Immortus to have almost unraveled his own timeline if he lost. They dont call him the Grandmaster for nothing.
      The prize of their bet would be the other’s vow not to interfere in the lives of the Scarlett Witch’s two children (leaving them vulnerable to the Grandmaster’s manipulations in the 20th century.

      Convoluted, but I think it would be a fun read.

      • Can we speculate what war war-torn dystopian future of a ruined earth and endless conflict Tony is tossed into?

        My own thinking too is along the lines of Tony is his seeing the future and deciding to conquer the future to save it!

        I love the tweak of Nathaniel Richards being killed by his team-mate Howard’s son.

        Re: the Grandmaster’s role in all this, love Nathaniel being an agent of Immortus. Could we go one step further and reveal Hickman’s SHIELD series as a Grandmaster plot?

        What do you think of tackling a fix revealing Nebula as Grandmaster’s daughter?

        I love the idea of an eternal game between Grandmaster and Immortus – where though have we seen evidence of GM keen on Wanda’s children since we never saw him involved in the Celestial Madonna saga (unless he was Agatha Harkness in disguise;)

  8. That’s awesome! I know you are onto something here.

  9. This has me tempted to develop a Fix for Nebula’s origin which was so unfortunately aborted by Roger Stern’s sacking from Avengers (which will begin with the clue from Avengers: Terminatrix Objective #2 where a version of her is patterned after the Grandmaster, if you get my drift;)

  10. I never cared for the Iron Lad character — I’m not sure if it was the underlying concept that didn’t work for me, or merely the way it was executed. So when this post starts out by mentioning Iron Man and Kang in the same clause, my first thought was “Nah, this time he can’t persuade me.” But you’ve made a really strong case.

    Now, I may be missing something, but it seems like there are two divergent ideas presented here: one that Stark is Kang’s ancestor, and the other that Stark is Kang himself. I understand the temptations of the latter, but I much prefer the former. The idea of Kang as the descendant of a hero who has completely misunderstood his heritage, who can go into the past but cannot or will not hear what it’s trying to tell him, that’s high drama right there. The comparisons and similarities between Stark and Kang are really subtle and effective if they’re ancestor and descendant; if we decide they’re the same person, the connection becomes too literal and something intangible might be lost. Just my opinion, for what it’s worth.

    As always, my apologies for the belated comment!

  11. @Richard: Great to have you back again:) You’ll obviously understand why I’m not that aware of Iron Lad beyond what I’ve read online. But the idea of linking Kang to Iron Man is one that I’m extremely attracted to given my own earlier feelings of a connection between the two.

    You’ll be getting to understand I DO TRY to make a strong case before I post online; though my PS effort was probably my weakest (but I just had to get the idea out for discussion:)

    I’m taken with both ideas, whether it be Tony AS the younger version of Kang, but perhaps Arno is also a potential candidate given his own penchant for traversing the time-stream. I love your suggestion of the drama behind Kang confusing his heritage. But I still think Stark as Kang could work too, and it works with Tony’s past mistakes and the dangers behind the Futurist Manifesto.

    The other interesting idea to consider is the extremely subtle hints Stern & Byrne laid throughout Lost Generation that Effigy might actually be the real Hank Pym. Think about that for a while:)

    No probs re: your belated comment. Just happy you could join in.

  12. Also recall Avengers #61 in which Kang planted a little doll for Wasp to find when Tony was in hospital, which turned out to be the Growing Man which attempted to kidnap Tony Stark.

    While it was suggested this was done to lure the Avengers to follow him to Kang, was there another more secret intent?

  13. I’m not crazy about this one, but as long as we’re talking about Iron Lad (a character I didn’t mind at all) and therefore of necessity teenage Tony Starks…

    Isn’t there one in the alternate universe of Franklin Richards?

    And for anything to do with Franklin, the ordinary rules of the MU are obviously suspended, but if I may remind you all…part of the problem with the nouveau conception of time-travel therein is that past stories are too often ignored. Not only do the FF, West Coast Avengers, and Dr. Strange all meet Rama-Tut (and Doc’s time-travel has never been shown to be of this “parallel” variety, in fact rather the opposite), but in Englehart’s WCA Hawkeye also leaves a note for Bonita Juarez in her family Bible, and she gets it a hundred years later.

    In an MTIO Annual Roy Thomas had the Watcher suggest obliquely to Ben that sometimes when travelling in time one encounters a “time wedge”, which either sends one into one’s own timeline or into another universe. One could theorize from this that Dr. Doom’s original time machine travelled exclusively into “own timeline” time (Ben became Blackbeard, clearly creating a paradox — there was no Blackbeard before Ben appeared — and paradoxes are the hallmark of “own timeline” time-travel, surely), and that only much later on did Reed alter Doom’s time machine so that it could (even) travel to “alternate” universes. This was the “tiller” time machine that already existed before the vibranium accident occurred which spurred the Watcher to suggest the “time-wedge” to Ben, if memory serves. So when the Whackos used that old time machine, maybe they got the real old time machine, the original…maybe Reed kept the new one locked up, but saved Doom’s version as a prototype. This actually works all the way back to Englehart’s Celestial Madonna saga — Hawkeye says he finds “Dr. Doom’s old time machine” — NOT “Reed’s new and improved time machine”.

    Time travel’s become a major problem in the MU. The “parallel” theory’s crowded out the demonstrable “own-timeline” facts.

    Anyway it sure seems like a “new and improved” time machine might even be able to cross over from “Franklin’s Counter-Earth”…

    …If it weren’t for Byrne’s pesky retcon.

    Hope this gives food for thought!

  14. I don’t know why both “parallel” and “own-timeline” can’t work, given it is referred to as the Marvel “time-stream”.

    So we have the primary timeline which is the Marvel Universe 616, and along that timeline are tributaries that run off it on a completely divergent path or divert but eventually run back into the main river again.

  15. You know there is one thing though that’s had me befuddled about Rama-Tut for 30 or so years and that is:

    If the docu-chips he found caused him to become obsessed with the heroic age, what did he construct his time machine in the shape of the Sphinx and become an Egyptian Pharaoh instead of going back and becoming a superhero?

  16. Mark Gruenwald agrees with me!!! That is, Force Works #18, a chapter of “The Crossing” storyline constructed in 1995 under the auspices of then-Avengers group editor, Mark Gruenwald, has Suzi Endo and Rachel Carpenter (Spider-Woman II’s daughter) discover temporal radiation emanating from a previously-unknown sub-basement containing Virgil , a “global chronography analysis and control suite” created by Timely Industries, a company founded by Tony Stark in 2009. “Victor Timely” was one of Kang the Conqueror’s aliases from the early 20th Century. In Avengers Annual #21, also written by Gruenwald, Kang journeys back to January 1, 1901 to found the town of Timely in Wisconsin under this same alias, slowly releasing technological innovations through Timely Industries.

    If Timely Industries wasn’t founded until 2009, it must have been constructed to exist in numerous time periods at once (obviously an anachronism back in 1901). While this is somewhat head-exploding, the corollary that should really bake every continuity nerd’s noodle out there is that Mark Gruenwald not only had KANG THE CONQUEROR revealed to have founded Timely Industries but had TONY STARK revealed as founding this same company.

    Gruenwald, whose particular remit was keeper of continuity never made these sorts of errors so he MUST have intended to retcon Kang’s identity as Nathaniel Richards and reveal that Tony Stark eventually goes on to become Kang.

    The question then becomes if Tony was so obsessed with preventing people from using his technology in Armor Wars why would he then go to the trouble of going back in time to foment Marvel’s technological revolution from 1901?

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