The following contains major spoilers for Ultimate Invasion #3, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Over the course of the Maker’s career, the twisted Reed Richards of the original Ultimate Marvel Universe has made a name for himself as one of the multiverse’s greatest villains. As such, he has escape, embarrassed, and defeated entire world’s worth of heroes along the way, though that hasn’t stopped them from making continued efforts to take him down. Now, the most unlikely of all heroes has stepped up to do what those before him couldn’t, and Marvel’s latest Kang the Conqueror might even stand a chance of winning.
While the Maker is busy coordinating the various world leaders he holds dominion over in the pages of Ultimate Invasion #3 (by Jonathan Hickman, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Alex Sinclair, and VC’s Joe Caramagna), another seemingly untouchable figure is rallying his own troops from afar. As it turns out, the myriad of future Ultimates who have been coming after the Maker in waves have been doing so at the behest of an unexpected mastermind. Not only is Kang the Conqueror the one behind bringing these heroic variants together in mass, he is the only one who truly stands a chance of bringing the Maker to justice, and all because he is nothing like any other version of himself.
Why Marvel’s New Kang the Conqueror is Its Next Great Hero
From what little readers can glean from Ultimate Invasion #3, the Kang of Earth-6160 has made his stronghold at least 6000 years ahead of his adversary’s relative present. In that time, Kang himself and whatever help he has on hand have carefully engineered seemingly endless numbers of Ultimates ranging from Captain America to Thor. All of these heroes were made with the express purpose of dismantling the Maker’s empire, which all of them are more than willing to die to see happen. This alone proves just how far this Kang is willing to go in order to complete the mission at hand, all while establishing him as the greatest hero of this recently uncovered timeline.
There is always the chance that this Kang isn’t so much a hero as he is looking out for his own interests as a conqueror, though that wouldn’t matter as much as it might seem given the consequences of any potential inaction. Apart from fighting to save his own timeline from the Maker’s influence, the Kang of Earth-6160 is inadvertently fighting to prevent the Maker from carrying on in the same crusade in any other reality. Considering how much is at stake if the Maker isn’t defeated, the particulars behind Kang’s motives for stopping him really aren’t that important. That is, assuming they aren’t anything worse.
How Ultimate Invasion’s Kang is Different from His Predecessors
This all puts the Kang of Earth-6160 in a unique space compared to his counterparts from across the multiverse. With exceedingly rare exceptions, every Nathaniel Richards who became Kang has eventually come into his own as a villain in due time. Typically, this comes after decades of traversing the ages in search of adventure and finding only heartbreak and torment. Others spend that time trying to ensure they never become the version of Kang the Conqueror who they hate more than anyone, only to slip into the exact same cycle of violence that created that iteration of themselves in the first place. Of course, the Kang who would otherwise be the obvious basis for Earth-6160’s was nothing like the originals, but even that didn’t stop her from following loosely in their footsteps.
Introduced in 2013’s Ultimate Comics: Wolverine #4 (by Cullen Bunn and David Messina), the version of Kang the Conqueror who would become synonymous with the Ultimate Marvel Universe was actually a transplant of Earth-13074. Originally her world’s Invisible Woman, the Sue Storm who became Kang was meant to travel back across her own timeline to prevent its destruction. Instead, Sue landed in the past of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, where she cultivated a new life for herself from the shadows in the hopes of saving it from the same dark fate. To that end, Sue led a violent crusade to acquire the Infinity Gems, one which ended as both a middling success and epic failure.
Why Marvel’s New Kang the Conqueror is Ultimate Invasion’s Perfect Hero
Although it is possible that the Kang of Earth-6160 has some relation to the Kang of Earth-13074, it is far more likely that he is instead his own timeline’s version of Nathaniel Richards. This would not only account for the character’s shift in tone and demeanor, but for the impetus behind his actions in the first place. So far, this Kang has only espoused his hatred for the Maker and the way that the villain has reshaped what his timeline could have been, so much so that creating endless legions of heroes was somehow the most appropriate response. And, if that does prove to be true, it would also make this version of Kang the Conqueror the perfect foil to the Maker, not to mention the perfect subversion of his more popular counterparts strewn throughout the multiverse.
Much in the same way that the Maker is a subversion of his primary Marvel Universe counterpart in Reed Richards, revealing the latest Kang to be a variant of Nathaniel Richards would upend every expectation that readers have for the character conceptually. At the same time, doing so would firmly cement this Kang’s place as the ultimate savior of his native timeline, which would stand in direct contrast to the Maker’s role within it as something of a temporal colonizer. Presumably, this is precisely the direction that Ultimate Invasion is headed, although even if it isn’t, it is hard to imagine that whatever comes next will be any less thrilling of a development.
The true hero of Marvel’s Ultimate Invasion comic is none other than Kang the Conqueror, and this version of him is the best so far. Read More