A Brief History of Kang, Part 28: Those Pesky Byrne Years

By Owen Erasmus

Avengers West Coast 48-62
As the Avengers come to the conclusion that the Vision could not have been the Human Torch, it turns out that not only is Immortus watching the team but that he had earlier lied to them about the Vision. This was part of a long-term plan that involves the Scarlet Witch and would make him master of Time.

It seems that Immortus has been watching over Wanda and keeping her safe for quite a while and he gets worried when the conflict with Master Pandemonium takes her into supernatural realms where she could get hurt without his protection.

While the Avengers are battling Loki's forces in the Acts of Vengeance, Immortus is seeking out and eliminating divergent time lines, he gets rid of a number of time lines including those where Mary Queen of Scots ruled in place of Elizabeth I and where Lincoln escaped assassination and Oswald was shown to be innocent. As Magneto tries to turn Wanda against the team he keeps watching and claims that he has been manipulating the Avengers for most of their existence as part of his quest to control all of time.

Ready to make his move, he claims Wanda as his queen. Ignoring the Avengers' attacks, he takes them all to Limbo and sets the Legion of the Unliving on the team. Back on Earth, Agatha Harkness has conjured a duplicate of Immortus and explains that Earth's timeline is in danger of unraveling due to Immortus' machinations and that she doesn't trust him to put them back together with him as ruler. Her magic forces the duplicate to explain his master plan.

He explains how he had started as Rama-Tut and then taken on the identity of Kang.

As we have seen, Kang multiplied into countless copies of himself in different time lines before one of them went on to become Immortus. Although he no longer was interested in conquering different eras, he had not changed, and staying in the timeless limbo he plotted to rule all of time. He was confronted by three beings known as the Time Keepers and given control over the years from 3000BC to 4000AD. It was his job to watch over all time travel and undo the damage caused to the time stream by the different Kangs, whose actions had caused the divergent realities he spent time destroying. He admits that any stories he had told the Avengers before then were lies.

He tells Agatha how he had sent the Space Phantom to try and split up the Avengers as soon as they formed in order to keep Wanda vulnerable; how he lied to the Vision about his origins to make him decide to settle down and in time take the Witch away from the Avengers; and how he had helped push the Vision towards taking over the world, knowing that the Vision would be taken from Wanda and make her vulnerable. All of these events and her losing her children and being used as a bride of Set were supposed to turn her against the human race and make her easy to manipulate, giving Immortus control of Wanda and through her the time stream.

Agatha transports herself to Limbo to try and stop Immortus' plan and watches the Avengers struck down by his servant Tempus. She manages to free Wanda from Immortus' control just as the Time Keepers arrive. They had set him the task of using Wanda, the nexus, to somehow keep the timelines safe but as he sought to rule those timelines instead, he was seemingly endangering even the Time Keepers. Needing a nexus to make the timeline safe, they chose Immortus rather than Wanda and left him frozen in time, keeping chaos at bay.

These are a bit of a mess and it is quite hard to look back on them now without having your opinion clouded by the ongoing (almost a decade later) fuss over Byrne's run on AWC. Rather than make any real judgements about it, I'll leave everyone to make up their own minds.

Owen Erasmus