A Brief History of Kang, Part 11: Growing Pains
By Owen Erasmus
The Growing Man
While Thor is watching his dad have a bath in Asgard, some of Midgard's finest
scientists and a bored-looking NYC cop are investigating an artificial figure
unearthed by a museum expedition. When they found it, it was doll size, but it
has since grown to human dimensions. Although it appears to be some form of
robot, it is warm to the touch. When one of the scientists gives it a good knock
on the chest, it comes to life and strikes him. The cop starts blasting away
with his pistol, but the only effect it has on the robot is that it starts
growing to the extent that it can crash through the wall and pick up a nearby
He doesn't seem to be interested in mindless destruction though, and keeps
calling for his master asking why he has forsaken him and what task he can do
While Thor sorts out his paperwork at Don Blakeís surgery, the police are making
matters worse by hunting down the Growing Man with machine guns. Every shot is
making him bigger and he is now capable of trying to swat the police with
The Police get their butts saved by Kang who turns up and shrinks the robot back
down to doll size. He explains that the robot was planted on earth in
preparation for a long-term plan but that the museum expedition had set him off
prematurely. The police try to bring in Kang and he starts to threaten them.
"Keep your distance!! To me you are like anthropoid cave men."
Police reinforcements arrive on the scene bringing with them Dr Blake because he
had in the past had been able to summon Thor. Giving them the slip, he bangs his
walking stick on the ground and joins the fray.
Kang has disappeared between pages and seemingly reactivated his robot so Thor
lays into the Growing Man, deducing almost immediately that his blows are
powering, rather than damaging, the robot. Deciding that Mjolnir would be too
much for the robot,
he lets fly and the resulting blow expands the robot to new heights. As Thor
realises the futility of his actions he is grabbed from behind by Kang whose
cobalt energy glove is enough to overpower even Thor.
With Thor momentarily powerless Kang does what he does best. Explain his plans.
The stimuloid was supposed to be a hidden weapon, left tiny and inert in the
past so he could activate it when his enemies least expected. Kang resets the
Growing Man to doll size once more and retreats to his time machine. Thor is
sufficiently healed to send his hammer flying around the time machine at light
speed "placing yon time machine within a universal infinity vortex".
Thor gets a bit big for his boots for someone who has basically spent the issue
getting kicked around by a doll and pronounces "The evil one shall never reach
the future for he is now beyond all time and beyond all place". True enough,
well until Avengers 69 anyway.
The Growing Man is one of Kang's most potent weapons turning up again in
Avengers 69 and 268 and more recently Thunderbolts 5. It obviously works best
against a hero not schooled in Avengers history but it showed here that it could
give Thor a run for his money.
As far as the ongoing Kang/Thor fight goes, this round went to Kang. Thor would
certainly get his own back in Avengers 143.
Although this may seem like a rather minor Kang appearance it actually is
noteworthy in two respects. Firstly, Kang isn't interested in the Avengers here;
instead, he is plotting and preparing to face another foe whom according to him
is searching for his hidden weapons. I suppose this could refer to a later
Avengers story but it could also be the first sign (albeit unintentional) that
Kang had other things on his plate other than his vendetta with our heroes.
Secondly, it was the last time that Kang's creators worked on the character.
There was a Kang robot in 2 panels of Fantastic Four 100 and Kirby may have
drawn him on a cover somewhere after this but as far as Lee/Kirby Kang
appearances go this is the last one. Kirby draws a great Kang here, Colleta
really messed up some of the Don Blake faces in this issue but he turns in some
reasonable work on Kang. There is a panel of Kang with the Growing Man in one
hand and a huge Kirbytech pistol in the other that is as menacing a Kang as any
artist ever managed.
Itís not a bad issue of Thor either, Kang cleans his clock but there is some
interesting Don Blake and Asgard stuff in there.