A Brief History of Kang, Part 11: Growing Pains

By Owen Erasmus

Thor 140
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 house.

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 for him.

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 uprooted trees.

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.