Writer: Jed MacKay
Art: Kev Walker, Greg Land & Jay Leisten, Mark Bagley & Andrew Hennessy, Marte Gracia, and VC’s Ariana Maher
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 29th, 2021
So you thought there was no one more egotistical than Victor Von Doom? Well in Timeless #1, not a page goes by where Kang the Conqueror doesn’t proclaim himself to be a god, or how much he loves titles, with “the Conqueror” being his favorite. Good old Doctor Doom practically looks like a humble nebbish next to this guy.
The story involves Kang visiting Dr. Anatoly Petrov, a Russian writer and Professor of Superhuman Studies, which sounds like a pretty great subject. As Dr. Petrov described his work, I wondered what courses he took to become such a Superhuman scholar. Did he just read lots of comic books? Did he chase superheroes and villains around and monitor them like a Perez Hilton-type superhero stalker?
Dr. Petrov wrote a book claiming that Doctor Doom had more of an impact on the 21st Century than anyone else. Kang, offended by that of course, takes Dr. Petrov with him in an effort to show him that he is far superior to Doctor Doom. What starts out like a prehistoric adventure quickly takes a 180-degree turn, as a chronal anomaly happens, and Kang and Dr. Petrov go to another timeline to deal with it.
The first third of the issue was slow, but once the chronal anomaly kicks in, I enjoyed the confrontation between Kang and the surprise adversary he encounters in the broken timeline. They have a battle that’s as savage as it gets, and you feel every moment of it, as the life of the entire Earth-616 timeline hangs in the balance. Despite the great action scenes and the wonderful adversary Kang faces, Kang himself comes off totally one-note. I still can’t tell if Marvel’s setting up Kang to be a Sub-Mariner type anti-hero, but if so, they need to give him more of a personality.
Throughout this whole issue, he has no more depth than General Zod from the 1980’s Superman 2 film. I kept turning the page expecting to see Kang yell “Kneel before Kang!”. His character really seemed that flat.
I haven’t been reading Kang’s regular series, so maybe he’s written better there.
The most interesting thing about this story is the glimpse we get at future Marvel stories that probably will be happening in 2022, as Kang monitors the future timeline of Earth-616. Also, on the last page, we get a surprise reveal of a character that hasn’t been around for a while, who’s going to have a serious impact in the future.
The mix of artists for Timeless #1 ranges from average to great. I’ve always been a fan of Greg Land and Mark Bagley’s art, and their art shines on the pages they drew this issue.
All the artists give great detail to Kang’s armor, conveying the power of it and his intimidating presence, and the action scenes are very Kirby-esque, with massive characters battling across the panels.
Timeless #1 is a nice diversion and set-up for what’s to come at Marvel next year. It didn’t make me like Kang any more than I already did, but it did offer some great teasers for the future. It will be interesting to see some of these ideas play out in the next year.