In Kang the Conqueror #2, Nathaniel Richards is looking to team up with a classic Marvel villain in hopes of defeating his own variant.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Kang the Conqueror #2, on sale now from Marvel.
The long history of Kang the Conqueror is one of the most complex stories in the entire Marvel Universe. Across millennia he has been known by many names, the earliest of which being Nathaniel Richards, and the story of the man who would become Kang is unraveling in the villain’s new miniseries. This series tells the story of Nathaniel as he walks a path of vengeance against his tyrannical future selves. Kang the Conqueror #2 (by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Carlos Magno, Espen Grundetjern, and VC’s Joe Caramagna) shows just how far Richards is willing to go to succeed in his mission, as he reaches out to the iconic X-Men villain Apocalypse for help.
When Kang first offered his younger self the chance to fulfill his destiny years earlier than he was intended to, the young adventurer jumped at the chance, unaware of the depths of Kang’s cruelty. After finding love in the training grounds of the prehistoric era, Nathaniel had his hopes shattered when his future self slaughtered everyone he loved before his very eyes. It was then that Richards vowed to take revenge by undoing everything Kang had or would ever build, beginning with stealing his armor and leaving his future self for dead. After stepping through the timestream Nathaniel crash landed in ancient Egypt, which was under the reign of another vicious version of himself, the Pharaoh Rama-Tut. With a burning rage still fueling his actions, Nathaniel fought valiantly against the forces of Rama-Tut, only to have his mind taken over by the Pharaoh and forced to serve as a general in his war. Adorned in his Scarlet Centurion armor, Nathaniel led the charge against another superpowered conqueror, En Sabah Nur, better known as the mutant Apocalypse.
Despite the rather heroic turn that he has taken recently in the present, this Apocalypse has yet to reform. In fact, it was the mutant’s vast power and willingness to use it that initially drew Rama-Tut to Egypt in the hopes of finding the powerful being and shaping him into an heir. Instead the time traveler was met with violent resistance, and when Rama-Tut was eventually deposed by the Fantastic Four, it was Apocalypse who stepped up to claim his throne. From the looks of things, this is the exact same situation that the young Nathaniel Richards has dropped into, and it’s exactly what he needs to strike back at yet another twisted version of himself.
Nathaniel knows that he cannot fight the control which Rama-Tut has exerted over him until he is broken, and so he fights a battle he cannot win in the hopes of having that happen. After nearly being beaten to death on the battlefield, Nathaniel emerges with control over his faculties and begins his painful trek through the desert. Wandering over bodies and crawling through dunes towards his captor, Nathaniel eventually comes across the ruins of Rama-Tut’s empire. Realizing what this means for the future, Nathaniel hurries to get help in defeating his future self. On hands and knees, Nathaniel asks Apocalypse for help, offering to exchange his knowledge of the future for the might of the powerful mutant.
It’s hard to imagine that Apocalypse would pass up the opportunity to be given a sneak preview of the next few thousand years, especially if it also comes with a shot at ending his rivalry with Rama-Tut once and for all.
Although Apocalypse has no reason to trust another human, and certainly not a variant of his nemesis, the villainous mutant remains Nathaniel’s best hope of getting the revenge he so desperately craves. However, both men still possess the potential for villainy, so there is really no telling how a team-up between these two will end.
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