Though both Kang the Conqueror and Thanos are Avengers villains, they usually hate each other, leading the Mad Titan to join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Warning: contains spoilers for Avengers Mech Strike #3
Few Avengers villains are as strong or as threatening as Kang the Conqueror and Thanos. Though both villains obviously hate Avengers, that doesn’t mean they necessarily get along. Thanos’ plans to kill half the universe could possibly include Kang, while Kang’s plans to conquer all of time could interfere with Thanos’ goals. Despite this natural conflict though, the two usually stay out of each other’s schemes. However, a recent comic reveals that Thanos doesn’t just hate Kang, the Mad Titan is willing to join the Avengers to stop him.
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Coming from writer Jed MacKay and artist Carlos Magno, Avengers Mech Strike follows the Avengers as they take on a new larger-than-life threat. Massive creatures known as biomechanoids start appearing throughout the Marvel Universe and the only thing that can stop them is vibranium. In order to combat this new threat, Iron Man and Black Panther develop vibranium mech suits for each Avenger. Though these suits help, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are tested as the biomechanoids start appearing at an increasingly rapid rate. All of the Avengers are out fighting the monsters when Iron Man and Black Panther are ambushed. Kang the Conqueror reveals himself as the creator of the monstrosities, and with the other Avengers away from their home base, he takes over the dead Celestial that makes up Avengers mountain. He annihilates Black Panther and then breaks time.
Now, in issue #3, the Avengers are forced to face dinosaurs as Kang continues to shatter the timestream. Though the Avengers are all strong fighters, and their mechs only enhance that, they’re facing off against biomechanoids, dinosaurs, aliens, and a multitude of other threats. Eventually, the team groups up so they can face the onslaught together, which is where Captain Marvel reveals that a mysterious benefactor will save them. Just as all of the time-displaced forces of Kang descend upon the group, they’re warped to a space station. Though Carol warns her colleagues that they won’t like the benefactor, no one is prepared when Thanos steps out to greet the Avengers. The Mad Titan is ready to join the Avengers for a brawl with Kang the Conqueror.
Though it might be hyperbolic to suggest that Thanos is joining the Avengers just because he rescued them, the cover for issue #4 reveals that Iron Man will make a mech suit for Thanos himself. While it might seem foolish for the Avengers to trust a villain who has successfully killed half the universe, it is firmly established that the Thanos here is an earlier one who doesn’t even recognize the Avengers. Thanos may have had his noble moments in the comics, but his opposition to Kang seems purely self-motivated here.
The debate over whether Thanos or Kang would win in a fight is a classic among comic fans and often comes down to preference. Thanos may be incredibly powerful and intelligent, but even his intellect pales in comparison to Kang’s. Still, with a mech suit and the entirety of the Avengers on his side, it’s difficult to imagine Thanos losing this specific fight. The most interesting question though is how Thanos will use the new mech suit after Kang is defeated. It’s difficult to see him giving it up willingly. To defeat Kang the Conqueror the Avengers will need Thanos’ help, but only time will tell whether Thanos will become an even larger threat than his time conquering counterpart.
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