It’s time to meet Kang.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest bad guy since Thanos debuts in Ant-Man and the Wasp: QuantumaniaPlayed by Jonathan Majorsthis version of the character is stranded in the Quantum Realm — but not for long. At some point, Kang (or a variant of Kang) is going to be unleashed on the wider MCU, leading to the next season of Loki as well as the two upcoming Avengers sequels, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.

Kang is one of the Avengers’ oldest and most complicated foes. He’s been pestering Earth’s Mightiest Heroes since the mid-1960s, and because he is a time traveler, he basically can’t be defeated in any permanent sense. He’ll always return in a new form — and sometimes in an entirely new identity — with a new plan to conquer the 21st century. Trying to keep all the different Kangs straight can get a little tough.

After reading a couple dozen Marvel comics, and taking enough notes to make me look like Charlie Day in that conspiracy wall meme, I put together this guide to the character, which takes you through all his key variants and explains everything you need to understand about him.

The History of Kang

Powerful, immortal, and deeply confusing — meet Kang the Conqueror, the Marvel villain about to take on the MCU Avengers.

Still confused? Okay, here’s the short short version: Boiled down to his essence, Kang is a warrior from the future obsessed with controlling all of time. This quote, from the recent comic Timeless #1 written by Jed MacKay, does a nice job of summing him up:

[Kang] believes himself the prime human. Beyond any morality other than what he imposes on himself, beyond ay code but his own, the handicaps he provides himself. He loves humanity and cherishes its accomplishments. But his regard is for the species. For the rights, freedoms, life of the individual, he cares not at all.

At his core, that’s Kang. And that’s who’s about to make the Avengers’ lives miserable in the MCU for the next few years — or maybe decades? Time is hard to quantify when a guy like Kang is involved.

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