While Marvel fans are eagerly awaiting Avengers: Endgame and the conclusion of the Infinity War, thoughts are already turning to Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and Panini UK‘s latest graphic novel release, the unwieldy-titled Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Avengers Rebooted, is feeding something of a growing frenzy about a potential new super villain who may soon be heading to the big screen.
It’s already been widely reported that there are likely to be changes in cast and characters after Avengers: Endgame. Actors Chris Evans (Steve Rogers aka Captain America) and Robert Downey Jr (Tony Stark aka Iron Man) have both expressed a desire to move on. Marvel have also greenlit a new film based on The Eternals, the Erik Von Daniken, Chariots of the Gods-inspired comic by Jack Kirby that first shook the Marvel Universe back in the 1970s that first brought us the Celestials – cosmic beings who delivered intelligent life to Earth and had now returned to judge it.
The Celestials have already seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in Guardians of the Galaxy, and as a skull planetoid in Avengers: Infinity War. But while they would certainly provide an awesome challenge to Marvel’s Greatest Heroes, they would be difficult to identify, lacking as they do any recognisable facial characteristics – and their totally enigmatic motives wouldn’t help. So Marvel may well look elsewhere for their next ‘Big Bad’… and perhaps the new Panini graphic novel released to coincide with Avengers: Endgame may suggest a better alternative.
The latest “Platinum Definitive” collection of Avenger’s stories Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Avengers Rebooted, doesn’t, as you might expect, focus on different assemblies of Avengers down the decades. Instead, it’s entirely devoted to stories about a key, longtime Avengers villain – Kang the Conqueror.
Admittedly, Kang is not exactly the most high profile villain in the Marvel Comics Universe, coming way down some league tables in terms of fan ratings as a super villain. But it would be unwise to underestimate him, because after all, as a time traveller, his villainy actually does span all time. And, if the Marvel Cinematic Universe is to be rebooted, he would make an excellent tragic figure and foil, a character with a complex history that is deeply entangled with much of the history of the Marvel universe.
First appearing in the guise of an Egyptian Pharaoh, Rama-Tut, in Fantastic Four #19 way back in 1963, and as Kang in The Avengers #8 in 1964, dressed in an implausibly gaudy costume and lounging on an invisible, gravity-defying chair, he has proved a thorn in their side time and again.
His story has frequently entangled him with other villains, scattered throughout the Marvel Universe. As Rama-Tut, he claimed En Sabah, aka the uber-mutant Apocalypse as his heir. As Immortus, he became the lackey of the powerful Time Masters.
Another case for bringing Kang into the MCU forefront is that his character is involved with the history of both the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, both properties now owned by Marvel/Disney. (He’s related to Reed Richards for example, and the FF’s arch enemy, Doctor Doom).
Plus, the MCU looks like becoming much more cosmic than ever before in future – although how the Black Widow movie would fit into this is anyone’s guess!
Is this possibility a mere “What If…” dreamed up by the fevered imagination of a pro-Kang fanboy? (Step forward, Alex of Dave’s Comics Brighton) Maybe.
But it is also highly plausible… so watch this space!
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