A Brief History of Kang, Part 38: Kang Apocrypha 2: The Last Avengers Story

30 years in the future, there is a new team of Avengers, with most of the old-timers dead, retired, or insane. Ultron-59, the most human-looking of all the Ultrons, decides that it was time to balance the books with his father and friends. So he kills the new Avengers team and challenges his father (Hank Pym) to gather up a team and prepare for one last battle.

In this alternate reality, Ultron is apparently working as a minion of (you guessed it) Kang the Conqueror. Kang had raided a time bunker from 100 years in the future, where he found a book called "The Last Avengers Story", which detailed Kang's ultimate victory over the Avengers. The other members of Kang's little team included a new Grim Reaper and his friend, Oddball.

In brief, the Avengers were shattered by several events. Thor, Hercules and the Thing were lost forever after a war in Asgard. The Hulk went insane and killed Tigra, and then he and Wonder Man killed each other. Hawkeye went blind during that battle, and his wife Mockingbird quit in disgust. The Scarlet Witch was accidentally killed during an argument between Quicksilver and the Vision. Quicksilver then killed himself and the Vision retreated from humanity. Captain America became president and was then assassinated. Hank was able to pull together a team of the Wasp (whom he had remarried), the Human Torch (Johnny Storm), She-Hulk's daughter Jessie Wingfoot, the Black Knight's son Hotshot, Hercules' daughter Bombshell, Cannonball, and the Vision's son Tommy, who had become Dr. Strange's disciple. His brother, Billy, was the new Grim Reaper.

The two teams met in the ruins of what was once Greenwich Village in NYC. Kang quickly kills Hotshot and then cuts off Bombshell's leg, his forcefield proving to be a big problem. He then allows Cannonball to pierce his shield, then throws it back up so that Cannonball is stuck. And since he's vulnerable when he's not in flight, he was another easy target for Kang. The rest of the heroes started to win, though, until Ultron-59 brought out his last 40 incarnations to fight the Avengers. In another turn, Hawkeye and Mockingbird showed up to help fight. Ultron finally confronted Hank Pym and was about to kill him when Kang did the job instead. Ultron was infuriated, because he wanted to do it himself. He was furious because Kang deviated from the book he had found, which Ultron revealed he had planted himself, knowing that Kang would find it in the future. He and the Wasp attacked Ultron, and finally shattered his shield. The Wasp then killed him, with bio-stings right through his eyeholes.

The Avengers eventually prevail, with the Vision returning to kill his own father, Ultron. It's also revealed that Cap is still being kept alive by machines, and he helped direct the victory.

My description above is a little thin, because I wanted to concentrate on the Kang stuff. But this is a truly excellent alternate future story, with author Peter David truly in his element. Moreover, Kang is really presented as the world-class threat that he is, even if Ultron manipulated him. Still, only one world-class Avengers foe could do that to another. The comic is chock full of interesting alternate futures and personality conflicts, with many characters I didn't even discuss. It's also a nice story about the motivations of heroes and villains, one of my favorite topics.

--Clough the Conqueror