In the 2001 Avenger’s arc Kang Dynasty, Kang the Conqueror kills his son and heir Marcus because of his love for the avenger Captain Marvel.
In a stupendous act of super-villainy, Kang the Conqueror murdered his own son, Marcus, after discovering he was in love with the Avenger Carol Danvers who would later become Captain Marvel. These events took place during the Kang Dynasty arc of the Avengers that ran from issues #41 to #55 in 2001.
Kang Dynasty begins with Kang the Conqueror and his son Marcus, now filling the role of the Scarlett Centurion, arriving in Earth’s orbit in Kang’s sword-shaped (and smugly named) warship Damocles Base. Kang and Marcus descend from on high to inform the Avengers and United Nations that, after Kang watched countless disasters and calamities across time and the multiverse, Kang has decided to save Earth by living up to his namesake and conquering it. To distract the Avenger’s attention and weaken them before the arrival of his main forces, Kang decrees that anyone who conquers parts of the Earth on his behalf will be welcomed in his new world order. This led to the Avengers having to divide their members to beat back attacks from the Atlanteans and Deviants. After beating back these attacks, Kang launches his own assault with his armies from the future. Unsurprisingly, the Avengers manage to defeat Kang and he is imprisoned.
In Avengers #54, by Kurt Busiek and Kieron Dwyler, an imprisoned Kang awaits his fate only to be rescued by Marcus. Returning to Kang’s ship, Marcus is surprised that Kang is angered by his decision to rescue him. Kang then takes Marcus into his private chambers after previously having instructed Marcus never to enter them. It is revealed that Kang’s chambers harbor the 22 bodies of previous incarnations of Marcus that Kang had attempted to make his heirs. However, they all shared the same weakness: love for the Avenger Carol Danvers who was Ms. Marvel at the time. Kang reveals that he knows Marcus shares this weakness too. During the events of Avengers #48, Marcus intervened during a battle between Carol and the supervillain Eshu, Waster of the World, saving her life. Kang reveals that he has always known of these events and could have forgiven Marcus if he confessed. He then admits he was upset with his rescue because he had been content to accept execution at the hands of Earth’s leaders and allow this version of Marcus to take his place as heir to his temporal empire without punishing him for his betrayal. But now that he is free he sadly proclaims he cannot allow treachery and stabs Marcus to death.
Marcus’ enduring obsession with the future Captain Marvel and Kang viewing love as a fatal flaw are both fascinating elements in Marvel lore. The first variant of Marcus encountered in Marvel comics was Marcus Immortus, the son of Immortus (a variant of Kang the Conqueror) who kidnapped and brainwashed Carol Danvers to impregnate her with a version of himself so he could escape temporal limbo. Kang Dynasty seems to suggest that, no matter the version of Marcus, their disturbing obsession with Carol persists. This obsession transcending time and the multiverse, and Kang’s own belief that that love is a fatal flaw, have recently been reaffirmed in the recent Kang the Conqueror mini-series by Colin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and Carlos Magno. In that series Kang grapples with his obsession for Ravonna Renslayer, pursuing multiple variants of her across time and space, before concluding that for Kang to truly be supreme he must “never love”. It is fascinating to re-examine Kang Dynasty, within the context of this mini-series because it seems to perfectly justify the decisions of Kang and Marcus within this arc.
Kang the Conqueror’s belief that one “must never love” to achieve supremacy is so ingrained in his being that he would rather kill his son Marcus for loving Captain Marvel than allow him to live as his heir.
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