Warning: contains spoilers for Avengers: War Across Time #3!An early encounter between Kang the Conqueror and The Avengers gives an iconic hero the dubious honor of earning the time-traveling villain’s respect. Kang has faced almost every iteration of the team across time and space, but he just named one modern Avenger as the team’s mightiest hero.
In Alan Davis and Paul Levitz’s Avengers: War Across Time, fans are getting a look at a previously unseen clash between Kang the Conqueror and the original Avengers line-up. In the third issue, the classic Avengers members Iron Man, Giant Man, Wasp, Captain America, and Thor do battle with the dwarf lord Sindri and the fearsome Lava Men, set against the team thanks to Kang’s machinations. Sindri is a former resident of the Dwarven realm Nidavellir who helped create Thor’s enchanted hammer Mjolnir, making him able to lift it despite not being worthy. With Thor missing his hammer and overwhelmed by the lava men, Kang – watching from another era – declares it the perfect moment to strike, as the team are “without their mightiest hero, their greatest weapon.”
Kang the Conqueror Declares Thor the Mightiest Avenger
Kang’s opportune moment in time relies heavily on the incapacitation of the Avengers’ godly member, Thor Odinson. Kang exists far in the future, at a point after powerhouses like Captain Marvel, Hercules, and Hulk (already ousted from the team at this point) have served with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Despite this, he acknowledges Thor as his biggest threat on the team, and selects his moment of weakness as the best time to bring the team to his domain as official opponents. It’s worth noting that as a god, Thor has the longevity to encounter Kang in many different eras, so it makes sense that the Conqueror would single him out as a unique threat.
Kang and Thor Have a Unique Relationship
Thor has the potential to live for the rest of time – something fans have seen in several potential futures. That means that he’ll always be in Kang’s way, even once heroes like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers have long since died and been forgotten. Thor is also a stalwart member of the team – a more constant, committed, heroic presence than members such as Ares or the Sentry, who Kang will face later in his personal timeline. Additionally, Mjolnir is a surprisingly versatile weapon, forged with Asgardian magic. At one point, Thor could even travel through time using the hammer, making him a unique threat to Kang. Kang’s commendation therefore makes sense, but it’s still significant that someone with such an all-encompassing perspective on the team would definitively name one hero its greatest weapon.
Kang may be a diabolical villain, but he’s also a warrior who respects his strongest opponents and derives pleasure from outmaneuvering and defeating them. And when it comes to the Avengers, Kang is only happy facing the team head-on when Thor is at his worst.
Avengers: War Across Time #3 is available now from Marvel Comics.