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Avengers #4: Review

Feb 2017
Mark Waid, Michael Del Mundo

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #4 Review by (February 4, 2017)
This issue is all single-page and double-page spreads.

There is some debate as to whether Kang was born in the 31st or 30th Century. In his earliest appearances (in 20th Century comics) it was the 30th Century, chosen to be 1000 years in the future. Current references to the 31st Century could just be maintaining that gap, syncing with the general Marvel time slippage which has Fantastic Four #1 permanently 10-15 years before today.
But I think the 31st Century was dragged in before that because dates in the 3000+ range were quoted. And this may have arisen from the popular confusion which has say the 17th Century comprised of dates 17nn.
Whatever the reason Kang overshot his return by 1000 years. Avengers #23-24 made that the 40th Century, which is here the 41st Century.

The Ravonna referred to here is presumably Kang's love from Av#23-24. If so she was born in what is called here the 41st Century.
Ravonna went on to have a convoluted future with many identities and alternate versions. Some of her activities certainly generated paradoxes. But I don't think any of them were specifically set in the 29th Century of the quoted Ravonna Paradox (or the 28th Century in the other calendar).
I refer you to the Unofficial Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe for the complicated details.

Apart from the date there are other variations from previous Kang histories. A lot is missed out (but then there's a lot *to* miss out). But there are some specific changes.
Previously he didn't build a time machine, he discovered 1 (Dr Doom's or 1 belonging to Reed Richards' father Nathaniel.).
Seeking immortality is a new reason for Kang to have gone to Ancient Egypt. Other reasons have been given before.
Kang finding the tomb of himself as Rama-Tut II is new too.
It's possibly worth mentioning here that it was RTII who previously was depicted as building a pyramid, in which he could go into suspended animation until Av#129.

The assembled Avengers at the end can I believe be split into 3 time-sources:-
The current team of Sam-Cap, Hercules, Spider-Man, Jane-Thor, Vision and Nadia-Wasp.
From the original era Giant-Man, pointy-helmet Iron Man and Thor. Hulk looks like someone from that time. And Steve-Cap could be from there or the next lot.
From an 80's team Black Knight, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), She-Hulk, Sub-Mariner and armoured Thor.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue is a retelling of the history of Kang the Conqueror, which he relates to his personal log (maybe?) as he awaits the coming of his enemies.

His citadel is at the end of time orbiting the last dying star as entropy rules outside. But he rules an empire across large swathes of space-time. He has generals to serve him in many eras in a complex web that only he fully comprehends. For instance diamonds mined in the 17th Century (Earth time) fund arms factories in the 45th Century, and their weapons are used against rebels in the 38th Century.

Now he considers his birth Century the 31st. A time of peace with no challenges or threats. But the man who would be Kang studied the theory of time machines, a subject which had been banned in the 29th Century following the Ravonna Paradox. He found his answers in the notebooks of the 21st Century Victor Von Doom.

He built a time machine and went back to Ancient Egypt seeking the secret of immortality. But they didn't actually have that secret so instead he armed an army with future weapons and became Pharaoh Rama-Tut. He compelled slaves to build pyramids in which he stored for future use more futuristic tech he had designed.

Then he headed home to the 31st Century but overshot and landed in the 41st. He donned a timesuit he'd also designed, and became Kang the Conqueror and conquered the Earth of 4086 using his knowledge of military tactics from all of history.

But now he needed money to fund further conquest. He learned of a tomb of an unknown ruler containing a treasure of gems and rare metals from all over the Galaxy. He broke in and discovered that the tomb was his own (seemingly after he became Rama-Tut II). Kang gained 2 things from that encounter, as well as whatever riches were there:- A mask which completed his outfit, and a determination to change his future so that he would never be forgotten.

And he went on to create his time-space empire.

Now he prepares to face his enemies. But his accumulated armoury disappears, wiped from time. As do his generals (or at least their transtemporal video-links). And finally his armour dissolves except for the mask. And his enemies break in - an assembly of Avengers from different times.

Michael Del Mundo
Michael Del Mundo
Michael Del Mundo
Alex Ross (Cover Penciler)
Alex Ross (Cover Inker)
Alex Ross (Cover Colorist)


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