Writer: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly
Art: Carlos Magno, Espen Grundetjern, VC’s Joe Caramagna, and Mike del Mundo
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 18th, 2021
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KANG THE CONQUEROR has been a King, a tyrant, a ruler, a villain, and very rarely a hero. Yet throughout all his manifestations, one thing is certain: time means nothing to KANG THE CONQUEROR. Let’s dive into this inaugural issue of KANG THE CONQUEROR #1 by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly to see if Nathaniel Richards’ time has finally run out or if something is new on the horizon for the master of time and space.
With the ending of Disney Plus’ LOKI, this series couldn’t be more perfectly timed. KANG THE CONQUEROR serves as the cliff notes version of a backstory for Nathaniel Richards (KANG) and takes readers on a Coming-of-Age story of the young villain. Comic fans will get a small taste of his history, powers, and abilities that make KANG who he is within the Marvel Landscape. Yet, Lanzing and Kelly are crafting this story into something much more cerebral and powerful.
You see, this time-traveling narrative focuses on the inner monologues of a young KANG and the emotional scars that developed this would-be conqueror into the villain we’ve grown to know throughout his 58-year tenure. KANG THE CONQUEROR #1 leans heavily on the emotion and dialogue while focusing less on the action. To those interested in the character after the Loki conclusion, this is the perfect inspection of his identity. Readers won’t discover a ton in this opening installment while Lanzing and Kelly dangle just enough plot to keep you interested for issue two.
However, as stated prior, this is a Coming-of-Age story for our young KANG escorted by his older self which provides an extremely unique take on this storyboard premise. Plus, when all is said and done, fans will wonder if paradoxes and alternate timelines are within the confines of the Marvel Comic future after witnessing the outcome of issue one. Will things be different in KANG THE CONQUEROR’S future? Maybe. However, is this what was supposed to happen anyway? Were these star-crossed KANG’S always meant to meet? Is that why older KANG sets up this twisted, time travel take in the first place? Well, readers, that’s where I’m leaning.
Carlos Magno and Espen Grundetjern provide readers with some amazing eye-popping detail that brings the issue to life. It’s almost as if Magno delivers illustrations that resemble small suggestions of one Gary Frank, who’s a graphic genius. Overall, Magno’s inks mixed with Grundetjern colors offer a stunning display that pulls readers into the heart of the story. The panel layouts are unique and overlapping at moments yet straightforward and easy to follow. The action sequences flow with ease and furnish a sense of a moment that’s difficult to mimic. Lanzing and Kelly give comic fans a great plot and summary of the character but it’s Magno and Grundetjern that truly begin to tell the story.
KANG THE CONQUEROR #1 not only provides some backstory into this intriguing new villain (new to the MCU that is) but procures a deeper dive into the ethical humanity of a young would-be villain who now witnessed and seen the horror and missteps of his future self. This wide-eyed, inexperienced, go-getter feels like he can do things differently. However, will it become more clear as the story unfolds that KANG THE CONQUEROR simply cannot shake the ironic reality of the mistakes he’s doomed to repeat?
We’ve all been there. We watch the mistakes of our parents and forefathers only to fall into the same pitfalls they did before us. However, will it be different for KANG? Well, we’ll have to continue to read on to see if Lanzing and Kelly push KANG towards the contraction and the light OR if the horror of the darkness consumes him like his older self. KANG THE CONQUEROR #1 gives readers a perfect jumping-on point to experience the character the first time OR for older fans to re-embrace the character in a new light. I’m truly fascinated to take this journey on a character who’s been undervalued and underutilized for many years. Furthermore, I highly recommend comic fans, as well as interested KANG fans, to give this series a shot. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!