Kang the Conqueror stares ahead

Kang the Conqueror, aka Nathaniel Richards, is considered to be one of the Avengers’ greatest foes. A time-traveling warlord, he’s held dominion over entire millennia at different points in his villainous career. Kang has also taken on many variant personas over the course of Marvel history: He’s been known as Pharaoh Rama-Tut, Immortus, Iron Lad, Victor Timely, Mr. Gryphon, and the Scarlet Centurion. Ultimately, all of these various incarnations are rooted in one guy named Nathaniel Richards, who lives on the idyllic Earth of the 30th century. He’s bored out of his mind by the peace and prosperity of the era, and is obsessed with the superheroes of the 20th century.

Eventually, Nathaniel digs around and finds a time machine built by one of his ancestors. It might be the work of another Nathaniel Richards, who was Reed Richards’ father. It might also have been built by Doctor Doom. Regardless, he goes to Egypt and promptly turns the awestruck people there into his slaves. Thus begins Kang the Conqueror’s long reign of terror, which takes him to the far future, the distant past, and everywhere in between. Kang rains non-stop war and misery on multiple worlds and in multiple timelines over the course of his career, but some of his evil deeds still manage to stand out as especially sinister. Which are the most massively malicious? We’re here to find out. These are the worst things Kang the Conqueror has ever done.

Kang murders the Time Keepers

Kang kills the Time Keepers

In the "Avengers Forever" series, Kang comes into conflict with his future self, Immortus. Immortus is the servant of the Time Keepers, powerful beings who use Immortus to prune timelines they deem dangerous. They decree that the Avengers are especially dangerous and must be destroyed. A ragtag team of Avengers from across time is assembled to help prevent this; they become uneasy allies with Kang.

However, Immortus is too powerful. He inevitably defeats Kang and claims the Heart of Forever, a device that allows him to make permanent timeline changes. However, he also tries to convince his masters to spare Earth. They refuse, and reveal that killing the Avengers is important not for the timeline, but for their own benefit. They proceed to kill Immortus and try to transform Kang into their servant by aging him into his future form.

But Kang resists them. The Avengers manage to stop the Time Keepers’ master plan, and Kang simply cuts the Time Keepers down in cold blood. Specifically, he blows them away with enormous firearms and a deranged cry of, "Give my regards to hell!" Kang usually kills because it serves an end. In this case, he does it with pure glee and malice, devastatingly wielded against defenseless opponents.

Kang tries to steal a Celestial’s power

Kang tries to kill Sunfire

At a certain point, Kang kidnaps the Apocalypse Twins, Uriel and Eimin, and raises them as his own murderous children. They turn against him and manipulate events such that a Celestial named Exitar destroys the Earth. Even worse, they throw up a tachyon dam that prevents Kang — or anyone else — from stopping them.

Kang works with a united team of Avengers and X-Men, and puts together his own squad of time-spanning warriors to infiltrate the Twins’ defenses. Thanks to Rogue, the Sentry, and Thor, the Celestial is given a mortal wound. At this point, unfortunately, Kang reveals his true colors. He neutralizes Thor so that he can absorb the pure energy of the Celestial and ascend to godhood. Kang doesn’t reveal his true motives until it’s nearly too late to stop him, and mixes what seems to be goodwill with his own sinister scheming.

Sunfire and Havoc are the last line of defense. After Kang apparently disintegrates Sunfire, Havoc ignores Kang’s lies about saving Havoc’s daughter and gains the upper hand. Sunfire reemerges with a huge power-up, and the two of them force Kang to flee and abandon his attempt to gain godlike power. It just goes to show that any deal you make with Kang is bound to wind up being trouble.

Kang breaks the timestream trying to kill Ultron

Kang asks for help

At one point, Kang becomes aware of a future version of Ultron who destroys everything. Determined to live up to the ultimate challenge of defeating him, he gathers heroes and warriors from across time in an effort to defeat the murderous robot. However, Kang repeatedly fails. He bends time and space as he makes a staggering 20 attempts to destroy him, but all this does is break the timestream.

Chastened, Kang returns to the present to ask the Avengers for help, revealing that their children manage to defeat Ultron, but that these children are now out of control. But breaking the timestream allows chaos to break loose. The Avengers have to deal with a future version of Apocalypse and his Horsemen, which includes twisted versions of the Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man. Then Killraven appears, as Martian spaceships pop up on Earth.

The Avengers realize there’s no way for them to repair the damage that Kang has done in his hubris. They also know that it’s impossible for them to kill Ultron themselves. Luckily, they hit on a brilliant solution: They go forward in time to confront Ultron, tell him that Kang is going to attack him, and that he should just let Kang win. If Ultron fights and wins, the timeline will disintegrate, taking him with it. Ultron can’t deny this logic, throws the fight to Kang, and the timeline is restored.

Kang destroys the Council of Cross-Time Kangs

Tempus absorbs the Council to destroy Alioth

One of the hazards of being a time traveler is creating alternate selves. One can also create alternate versions of vengeful paramours. This is what happens to Kang when an alternate version of Ravonna seeks revenge, disguising herself as the old Avengers foe Nebula. As she tries to get revenge on Kang, the Avengers and Fantastic Four are roped into the battle. When Kang sees Thor’s hammer heading straight for Ravonna, he saves her life at the expense of his own. She puts him in stasis, vowing to revive him and get revenge.

Ravonna takes over Kang’s empire and learns of its complications. A monstrous, ancient, time-devouring being named Alioth lurks at the borders of Kang’s kingdom, ever-present as he deals with other time-adjacent entities like the Time Variance Authority and the Time Keepers. She must also manage the Council of Cross-Time Kangs, a group of alternate Kangs who have authority in Kang’s kingdom.

With the help of her alternate future self, Revelation, Ravonna gets treatment for Kang and ropes in the Avengers to help her fight Alioth. Kang lures the beast into murdering the entire Council of Cross-Time Kangs before he gives the Avengers the means to hold off Alioth. Later, Kang confirms that the death of every single one of his annoying alternate selves was entirely intentional on his part.

Kang takes Black Bolt’s son away from him

Black Bolt confronts Kang

While Black Bolt is operating as part of the Illuminati, he receives a signal foretelling the imminent destruction of the universe. Wanting to save his son Ahura, he turns to the one man capable of whisking him away through the timestream: Kang the Conqueror. Black Bolt exposes his son to the Terrigen Mists and puts him in a cocoon until his powers emerge. He then asks Kang to take him back in time to have Randac, the first Inhuman king, help Ahura cope with his powers.

Kang agrees to do this. However, the price for his aid is horrible: Black Bolt must forfeit any claim to his son. From now on, Ahura belongs to Kang. Kang turns Ahura, who has the power to create psychic duplicates and possess others, into a skilled assassin who kills key Inhumans throughout history. At some point, Ahura becomes aware of what he’s doing — and does it anyway. He eventually kills Kang, takes his technology, and awaits his father in the future.

Black Bolt is forced to kill this future version of his son, but his real plan is to go back to the past. Ahura repays Kang’s cool malice by possessing him, and orders him to kill himself if he ever thinks about harming the Inhumans ever again. Once again, Kang gets weird about being a father and uses his kid to further his own twisted ends.

Kang tries to enslave the Old West

Old West heroes discuss Kang

After an encounter with Hawkeye in the timestream, Kang gets the idea to journey to the American Southwest of the late 19th century and use it as a beachhead to conquer the 20th century. Expecting no resistance, he builds a "hotel" with a mind control device that enslaves everyone in the town of Tombstone, Arizona. He promptly sends a group of criminals to rob a train in order to get its uranium so that he can build more sophisticated and deadly weapons.

Kang believes that his mind control devices will make it easy to conquer America, the world, and, eventually, everything else. He faces some resistance in the face of Marvel’s Western heroes, however: the Rawhide Kid, the Night Rider, Kid Colt, and the Two-Gun Kid. Kang is able to dismiss them without much trouble, sending a dinosaur to scare them off. Hawkeye appears out of the timestream to help, and is later joined by Thor and Moondragon.

Kang is one of the pettiest supervillains around. He’s actually glad the Avengers show up, because he’s still mad at them for foiling his Celestial Madonna scheme. He wants to kill them more than he wants to conquer the 19th and 20th centuries. However, Thor beats him decisively, and Kang’s armor malfunctions and (apparently) disintegrates him. The fact that he so casually considers the free will of hundreds of townsfolk indicates just how awful he truly is.

Kang tries to kill the Avengers as babies

Scarlet Centurion and Kang kill Avengers babies

One day, the Vision has a crazy plan: He decides to go into the past, kidnap Kang the Conqueror as a baby, and take him to the future. Cleverly, he downloads the knowledge of where he stashed the baby and removes it. The problem with this plan is that it creates a time paradox, which allows alternate versions of Kang and the Scarlet Centurion to track him down. They attempt to beat the knowledge of where the baby is out of him, but he simply doesn’t know.

Kang is the sort of person who doesn’t just retaliate — he ups the stakes considerably. As the Vision has kidnapped him as a baby, he and the Centurion decide to murder the Avengers as babies. There’ll be no one to stop them as they kill the Avengers in the past, they theorize. Luckily for the Avengers, Hercules’ date of birth is unknown, so Kang can’t get to him. Meanwhile, an alternate future Kang who has given up conquering pulls the Avengers into Limbo seconds before the time paradox catches up with them. Hercules gets a charm to protect them from temporal effects, and the Wasp tracks down baby Kang to restore him. She’s urged to kill the baby and end the scourge of Kang by the Priests of Pama, but she just can’t do it. This is what makes her different from the baby-killing Kang.

Kang enslaves Kosmos to do his bidding

A warning about Kang invading Kosmos

One of the many advanced weapons Kang uses is his small army of Growing Men. These intelligent soldiers are stimuloids, who grow upon impact. This makes them a formidable and nearly unstoppable force. How does Kang create them? Like most of his accomplishments, he outsources it through conquest. Some time in the future, he discovers the dimension of Kosmos and the world of the same name, which is populated by insectoid creatures. Hank Pym initially discovered Kosmos; it’s the home of Pym Particles, which allow those exposed to grow or shrink. Pym defeats various Kosmosian criminals trying to invade Earth and also frees Eric "Goliath" Josten from its grip. Years later, the Thunderbolts are taken by Kosmos after they set off a beacon that delivers the Kosmosians a lesson.

The message is this: In the future, a blue man will conquer and enslave the entire planet. He will kill millions, turn the survivors into his servants, and force their scientists to construct his Growing Men using their growth pollen. Because Kang has the Growing Men sent to the past and hidden for his later use, the Kosmosians are able to sneak in a beacon that will deliver this message from the future. Of course, the message causes turmoil and sparks a civil war, as Kang causes mayhem and bloodshed for his future slaves by the mere fact of his existence.

Kang kidnaps Mantis

Kang discusses the Celestial Messiah

In one of Kang’s most demented schemes, he pops up at Avengers Mansion when a bright star appears over it. Calling it the Dawn Star, Kang says it’s the reason he pokes around the 20th century so often, leaving probes that will tell him when the star appears. After easily putting away the Avengers with the help of his energy-absorbing Macrobots, he says the Dawn Star heralds the Celestial Madonna, who will give birth to the Celestial Messiah. Being the father of the most powerful being in existence will, Kang theorizes, make him all powerful.

This plan is problematic for all sorts of reasons. First, he doesn’t know exactly who the Celestial Madonna is, so he kidnaps the three women in Avengers Mansion: Scarlet Witch, Mantis, and Agatha Harkness. Everyone assumes it’s going to be the Scarlet Witch. Second, he plans to impregnate the Celestial Madonna, whether she likes it or not. It’s not the first time Kang treats women as objects, and it’s certainly not the last.

The Celestial Madonna turns out to be Mantis. Luckily, Immortus appears to help Hawkeye and the Swordsman overcome the Avengers now powering the Macrobots, prevent World War III, and ultimately foil Kang’s plan. Kang does kill Mantis’ beloved Swordsman, but she later fulfills her destiny by marrying a tree-like Cotati. Kang is sent off with the Space Phantom for his troubles.

Kang chooses the power of death

Kang chooses the power of death

Kang falls in love with Princess Ravonna, who is too proud to surrender her kingdom. When Kang’s men turn on him, she helps him, but is killed. Like so many supervillains before him, he sticks her in a stasis tube until he can revive her. Kang makes a deal with the Grandmaster, one of the Elders of the Universe, to play the Game of the Galaxies. If he wins, he gains the power of life and death. Naturally, he chooses the Avengers as his pawns.

The Grandmaster splits the game into two parts. First, the Avengers are matched up against the Squadron Sinister, a new group of villains with distinct similarities to DC Comics’ Justice League. The Avengers are on their way to winning until their friend, the Black Knight, interferes in the battle between the Avengers’ Goliath and the Squadron’s Whizzer. The Grandmaster declares this round a forfeit.

The other Avengers are sent back to World War II to battle the Invaders. They win cleanly, thanks to the knowledge they have of their opponents, Captain America, Prince Namor, and the original Human Torch. The Grandmaster forces Kang to choose between power over life and power over death. He’s about to pick life for Ravonna’s sake, until the Avengers burst in and demand freedom. An incensed Kang demands death for the Avengers instead of reviving his love, but the Black Knight knocks him out. Kang goes home with nothing.

Kang murders his own heirs

Kang prepares to kill Marcus

In the epic "Kang Dynasty" storyline, Kang decides to invade and conquer Earth, claiming to want to save it from a variety of present and future calamities. His right hand is his son Marcus, who takes on the Scarlet Centurion identity. Kang’s plan is foolproof, as he encourages Earth’s villains to join up with him, and soon conquers the world. He forces the Wasp, leader of the Avengers, to sign the articles of surrender.

A resistance is formed that hopes to control the weapons of the Master of the World. Marcus betrays Kang by helping Carol "Warbird" Danvers (aka the future Captain Marvel), because Marcus has a crush on her. This action allows the Avengers to fight back, defeat Kang’s armies, and overpower his sword-shaped starcraft Damocles Base. Captain America himself defeats Kang in a one-on-one battle. The villain is imprisoned in a mountain.

Kang is okay with all of this. He’s getting old and tired, and wants to go out as a legend. However, Marcus rescues him from prison, and Kang is furious. He tells Marcus that he knows about his betrayal, but was fine with his son carving out his own path. However, the one thing Kang can’t stand is a traitor — and he kills him. It’s revealed that Marcus was number 23 in Kang’s long line of attempts to create an heir. He’s killed them all for being weak, cowardly, or treacherous. Kang the eugenicist is perhaps the most loathsome version of all.