Writers: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Artist: Carlos Magno
Color Artist: Espen Grundetjern
Cover Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Kang The Conqueror has faced many opponents over the years. Avengers, Dr. Doom, Thanos, Conan The Barbarian. But now he faces himself, and after the young Kang seemingly claims victory, history catches up with him and he retreats back to his future, by a few centuries or more. In Kang The Conqueror #4, Kang emerges in the middle of a war and the first face he meets is his lost love, Ravonna.
The story picks up where it left off, young Nathaniel battled through time against his older self and is slowly but surely becoming Kang. The young Kang finally returns back to the future, but by a thousand years ahead of his original time period and is face-to-face with Ravonna of the original Kang The Conqueror origins. It’s not exactly love at first sight for them, but their romance takes center stage over all the action and battles which are mere window dressing to their tragic tale of romance.
Speaking of romance, everything in this series hinges on Kang and Ravonna. Everything this young Kang does is always motivated by his need to find her, and finally be with her, and don’t worry, the comic does the work to establish the original Ravonna as a character in her own right. While also showing how she’s been a keystone in the young Kang’s journey from the beginning. But now, he finds that the biggest challenge he faces is not some futuristic rival ruler, but Fate itself.
A main theme of this series has been whether or not the young Kang can fight against his fate to become the famous super-villain we all know him to be. Well, we get the answer in this in glorious fashion as young Nathaniel slowly but surely becomes who he fought so hard against. This is something well-established in the previous issues as he fought against his older selves, that he was becoming more and more like Kang.
It all builds up to an epic moment with grand art and imagery from Carlos Magno and Espen Grundetjern that indisputably christens the time traveler as Kang The Conqueror. There is a page in here that readers will not be able to miss and it will be the best page in the comic. And while he has accepted his destiny as Kang The Conqueror, he still has one last fight to face.
Now, this is where the comic is at its weakest, and simultaneously it’s most interesting, as we see Kang do everything in a blur. He conquers enemies across space and history, some fans will recognize, others who are totally forgettable. But it’s all to get Kang to the true fight of his life: saving “Ravonna” from her fate. As the series demonstrates, history keeps catching up with the young Kang as it did with his older selves.
Like before, Kang meets another Ravonna, not the same one featured in the comic’s first half (let’s call her Soldier Ravonna), but Princess Ravonna, ruler of the last free kingdom on Earth in the 41st century. She’s a different person but with the same name and spirit as the other “Ravonnas” Kang has met. In the original comics, Princess Ravonna was loved by Kang but she died by a shot to the back from a traitorous general. This time, Kang is determined to not only prevent that fate, but be the man she always wanted him to be: A hero. The thing is, this also goes by in a blur; everything he does to become a “hero” is rushed in a matter of several panels. So, there’s no real experience of this part of his life, and it just feels like a quick detour.
Kang The Conqueror #4 brings the story of the young time traveler full circle as he returns to the far future. But this is where the story shifts from Kang’s war against himself to his romance with Ravonna. The series and this comic hinges on the relationship between Kang and Ravonna, and that takes center stage with all the battles and conflicts as window dressing for the comic. The art and colors by Carlos Magno and Espen Grundetjern are spectacular with imagery that does Kang The Conqueror justice.