As Kulan Gath continues to rule the Marvel universe without resistance, Kang the Conqueror helps an unlikely, unofficial Avenger.
WARNING: The following are major spoilers for Savage Avengers # 25 now sold by Marvel Comics.
Since he cemented himself as a future threat to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Loki., Conquers Kang again for threatening everyone from Savage Avengers to Moon Knight. And as an old supervillain moves quickly to conquer the entire Marvel universe and crush any hero or villain who opposes him, Conan the Barbarian decides to enter into a desperate alliance with Kang against their mutual enemy, where the usually silent Conqueror accepts to help the last cimmerian countless times to recreate reality as it once was.
Conan’s longtime nemesis Kulan Gath, an evil sorcerer from the Hyborian Age, has resurfaced in the relative present of the Marvel Universe as part of his latest bid to conquer the world. More powerful than ever, Gath easily crushed Avengers and the X-Men as the superhero community rallied in vain to stop his rise to power. Conan managed to dodge death against his old enemy and survived on the run for years before commanding an ancient armor belonging to Doctor Doom and using it to travel to Citadel Kang, a castle that existed beyond the time when Kang had taken it to use as its operating base free from Gath’s disruption. And in Savage Avengers # 25 – by Gerry Duggan, Patch Zircher, Java Tartaglia and VC’s Travis Lanham – Kang accepts Conan’s offer to join forces and overthrow Gath.
After an initial encounter, Kang and Conan settle down, where Kang gives the Cimmerian an impromptu tour of his large headquarters, including trophies from every single hero and villain that Kang has personally defeated across the various timelines and alternate universes. Conan asks how Kang was able to appear triumphant against so many formidable opponents, as Kang claimed that his awareness of time enabled him to predict how his enemies would act and defeated them accordingly. When he was further pressured, Kang revealed that the only target that has been able to predict his own moves has been Kulan Gath, where a defeated Kang took refuge in his castle to lick his wounds somewhere outside Gath’s apparent attention.
Even more worryingly, Kang reveals that he and Conan have previously had variations of their team-up against Kulan Gath across branching realities, all resulting in Kulan Gath’s final victory over their overall effort. When an infidel Conan asks Kang how many times he has lost to Gath in this seemingly temporal loop, Kang admits that he has actually lost count of the times Conan has perished in the battle against his nemesis in various timelines. And despite this, Kang agrees to follow Conan to yet another showdown as Conan considers various strategies to change his grim fate.
Kang has occasionally helped the superheroes against mutual, more powerful enemies, but always with the playoffs of taking power for themselves after this temporary ceasefire. The incident with Kulan Gath is no exception, as Kang is almost guaranteed to cross Conan twice, even if they ever break the cycle and successfully overthrow the old wizard. And even with all of Kang’s weapons from the heroes and villains he has defeated during his long, villainous career at his disposal, Conan Barbarian can be doomed to repeat this cycle of brutal defeats for all eternity and fight bravely against the despot in vain.
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