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Avengers #269: Review

Jul 1986
Roger Stern, Tom Palmer

Story Name:

The Once and Future Kang

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #269 Review by (October 7, 2023)
Comments: Part three of three parts. Title is a play on The Once and Future King by T.H. White, a novel about King Arthur. Rama-Tut met the FF in FANTASTIC FOUR #19; he encountered Dr. Doom in FF ANNUAL #2; as Kang, he met the Avengers in AVENGERS #8; the meeting with Ravonna was in AVENGERS #23-24; the battle with Thor was in THOR #140; Immortus met the Avengers in AVENGERS #10. And Kang returns in FANTASTIC FOUR #323-325.

Review: Well, that went well…. Roger Stern, one of the strongest Marvel writers of this era, manages to make a story about the time-manipulating Kang lucid, exciting, and epic. And also very complicated as we have Kang’s history of jumping around through time to contend with but Stern keeps it all clear, kudos to him. And the tale is a real thriller with Hercules again performing a superhuman feat of strength, Immortus showing us that “villain” can be a slippery term, and Kang out of the way for a little while, at least.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #269 Synopsis by T Vernon
In Limbo, the original Kang the Conqueror (of Earth-6311 a/k/a Kang-Prime) gloats that he has the Avengers (Captain America, Captain Marvel (MR), Sub-Mariner, Wasp, Hercules, Black Knight) prisoners, held immobile by paralyzing beams, and the last remaining Kang on his knees. He is now ready to conquer all time/all reality; he tries to explain about divergent timelines and multiple Kangs but only Black Knight gets it. Kang fills in his own origin story: Born on an Earth that had been torn by war, his ancestor came along and made the world into a paradise by AD 3000. But Kang was bored and wanted war; his discovered a time machine in a chamber sealed by his ancestor and took off for ancient Egypt where he ruled as Pharoah Rama-Tut. He battled the Fantastic Four and escaped into time and space and eventually discovered Doctor Doom adrift; he returned Doom to Earth—for which Namor vows vengeance. Anyway, Kang returned to AD 4000, donned his familiar battle suit and carved out a new empire; again, he grew bored, ruling over a desolate Earth so he planned to go back to the 20th Century and challenge Doom but ended up facing the Avengers as enemies….

Meanwhile, Hercules is straining against the paralyzing beams and succeeding in overcoming them; Ravonna notices the power surge but fears to tell Kang as he may then kill the Avengers outright. Kang-Prime continues his story: He invaded the kingdom of Ravonna’s father, his lieutenant Baltag turned against him, Kang teamed with the Avengers to fight him, Baltag shot at Kang but hit Ravonna instead, Kang was unable to save her but could put her body in stasis. He returned to Earth years later and battled Thor who trapped him in an infinity vortex which cast the villain into Limbo. He discovered the fortress of the dead Immortus, used his time tech to rescue Ravonna from death but inadvertently created a new reality in which he, Kang, died. And that’s when he learned that all of his mucking about in time had created a multitude of alternate Kangs….

Meanwhile, Hercules is straining against the paralyzing beams so hard that he drains the system, giving Captain Marvel the chance to unleash her powers and set them all free. Kang is surprised to learn that Ravonna had noticed the warning signs of system failure but kept quiet. Though Kang is protected by a force field, the combined might of Herc and Namor enables them to knock the villain, force field and all, through a wall. The Avengers battle an army of Kang robots; CM tries to drain Kang’s force field but he blasts her with some Darkforce, trapping her until Cap breaks the projector with his shield. Ravonna, left guarding the other Kang, tries to exact a promise not to harm her Kang (Kang-Prime) but he won’t so she sets him free, despairing of trying to reform a Kang. As the Avengers fight Kang-Prime, other Kang sneaks up behind him to shoot him in the back but K-Prime had sabotaged his weapon earlier and extra Kang dies when it explodes in his face. K-Prime proclaims himself the only Kang but Immortus arrives to reveal he is also a Kang and that he has been manipulating Kang for his entire career, using him to clean up the Kangs; Immortus was aided by Ravonna who saw Immortus as all that was ever good in Kang while the Kangs were always consumed by hate. Immortus produces a psyche-globe which contains the memories of all the dead Kangs; Kang-Prime seizes it and the influx of knowledge drives him insane and he dashes out into Limbo, lost forever. Immortus explains that he gave Kang the choice and he chose wrongly. The Avengers think Immortus is no better than Kang, manipulating Kang to do all the dirty work and then punishing him for it. Immortus doesn’t care what they think and, with a wave of his hand, sends the heroes back to their own time….

Tom Palmer
Tom Palmer
Christie Scheele
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: John Buscema. Letterer: Jim Novak.
Editor: Mark Gruenwald. Editor-in-chief: Jim Shooter.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Monica Rambeau)

(Kang the Conqueror)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Immortus, Ravonna.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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