Episode 147: The Nature of Time (Avengers #8) -- September 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss how the world came together and united in opposition to Kang the Conqueror. Why were there no holdouts? Why were we not united this way when we were challenged by the Atlanteans, or aliens? What makes Kang so much more dangerous than other evils we have dealt with as a planet? Kang claims to be a traveler from the future. Do we believe him? If so, how does time travel work? Is time travel compatible with free will? You don’t need to kill your parents to ensure you don’t exist, you just need to change the timing of conception - “you” will be replaced by your new brother (his name will likely stay the same). There was a lot to untangle in this extra-long episode!
Behind the comic:
This is the “official” first appearance of the iconic villain, Kang the Conqueror, although he had appeared under the alias “Rama Tut” twice before. The first time was in Fantastic Four #19, when the team encountered him during their own time travel adventure (although nothing was “public”, so it was not discussed on the show). His second appearance was in Fantastic Four Annual #2 (which was on the newsstand concurrently with this issue). In FF Annual #2, Rama Tut encounters Dr. Doom and the two men consider the possibility that they are actually the same man at different points in his life (never mind the fact that one of them would then remember the encounter!) Many of the origin stories in this era are weak, but this was a great issue and worth reading.
In this issue:
The Avengers are summoned by the Pentagon to attend a Red Alert meeting (by video). They are informed of a strange UFO, and asked to intervene. They do so, and meet the occupant of the UFO, a man who identifies himself as Kang the Conqueror. Kang explains that he is a time traveler with futuristic weapons. He uses these weapons to easily incapacitate the Avengers. The governments of the world unite to face down their common enemy, Kang. Meanwhile, the Teen Brigade convinces Kang that they are on his side, and he allows them to go into his ship, whereupon they free the captured Avengers, who do battle with and ultimately defeat Kang, who escapes into… time (don’t we all?)
Assumed before the next episode:
World peace does not last very long.
This episode takes place:
After the Avengers defeat Kang.