Thanos vs. Kang: Who Will Win Their Inevitable MCU Fight?
Kang the Conqueror’s power seems unparalleled... but can the Mad Titan stop him?
When Kang (Jonathan Majors) meets Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, his first question is a simple one: “Have I killed you before?” The time-traveling despot has traveled across the multiverse killing variants of the Avengers to the point he can no longer remember who is who. But what about the Avengers’ greatest adversary?
In their plan to defeat Thanos (Josh Brolin), The Avengers, accidentally allowed a variant of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to escape in Avengers: Endgame, inadvertently setting off the chain of events that led to Kang coming into power, as seen in Loki.
Kang’s power seems unparalleled, and as the new big bad of the MCU, he looks to challenge its heroes in ways Thanos never had time for. Given his confidence in killing Avengers, you have to wonder if this multiversal warrior has ever come up against a variant of Thanos or disrupted the Infinity War — and if it was a battle worth remembering. Whether the battle has happened already or is yet to come, it seems like a fight audience wouldn’t want to miss.
Somewhere in time, someplace in the multiverse, a showdown between the two in either Avengers: The Kang Dynasty or Avengers: Secret Wars feels… inevitable.
INVERSUS is an infrequently recurring series that pits the best of the best against each other from all corners of the superhero omniverse.
In the red corner: Thanos
Thanos first appeared in Marvel Comics’ 1973 comic book Iron Man #57 and later in the MCU during a mid-credits scene in 2012’s The Avengers. He met his end in Avengers: Endgame, twice.
You know his deal. In an effort to restore balance to the universe and wipe out half the population, Thanos sought and acquired the six Infinity Stones: Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Time, and Soul. With a snap of his fingers, he achieved exactly what he set out to do, defeating the Avengers in the process.
It was only in the Avengers ability to travel into the past and collect the stones before Thanos could that the Mad Titan was able to be defeated and his genocidal Snap undone.
As we saw in the animated series, What If…? variant versions of Thanos exist, including one with a more heroic disposition, a factor that could come into play in the upcoming Avengers movies.
Thanos’ powers consist of superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, and increased longevity due to his Eternals physiology. He’s also a master warrior, proficient in all forms of weaponry and fighting styles throughout the known universe.
In the blue corner: Kang
Kang first appeared Marvel Comics’ 1973 comic book as Rama-Tut in Fantastic Four #19. A year later he returned as Kang in The Avengers #8. He makes his MCU debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, though a variant version, He Who Remains, appeared in Loki.
A 31st-century scholar born Nathanial Richards, who may just be the descendent of Reed Richards and Doctor Doom, grew bored of the utopia he was born into. He dreamed of the great conquerors of old like Alexander the Great and sought the challenges the past offered. And for him, the greatest challenge was Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Sadly, he was disappointed as they proved to be too small a threat.
Throughout his travels through time, Kang created branch realities and variants of himself: Rama-Tut, The Scarlet Centurion, Victor Timely, Iron Lad, Immortus, and in the MCU, He Who Remains. It would be these variants — along with his time-crossed lover Ravonna Renslayer — who would prove to be the greatest threats to Kang.
Kang is an ordinary human with a genius intellect who has collected and honed millennia of fighting styles from across the multiverse, making him one of Marvel’s greatest warriors. His armor grants him strength, speed, force-field projection, and of course, time travel.
Thanos vs. Kang: In the comics
Thanos and Kang fought each other in the out-of-continuity comic, Avengers: Mech Strike #4 by Jed Mackay and artist Carlos Magno. In this storyline, Kang has hooked himself up to the body of a Celestial, giving him god-like powers. The Avengers bring a young Thanos (before he’s become aware of the Avengers' existence as his future adversaries) to fight Kang. The two battle it out, but Kang grabs Thanos by the neck and forces time through his body, aging him an eternity in a matter of seconds and leaving only a skeleton behind.
Thanos vs. Kang: Who would win the fight?
Imagine if you would, that we’re watching the ending events of Infinity War play out exactly as they did in the movie. Thor throws his axe and misses. Thanos prepares to snap his fingers, but before he does, Kang emerges from the time stream.
Thanos believes it to be another Avenger. “You’re something new,” the Mad Titan says.
“I’m as old as the universe,” Kang says. And just as Thanos prepares to snap, Kang focuses his time powers on the Infinity Gauntlet and reserves time, the gauntlet turning into hot ore that burns away Thanos’ hands. As for the Infinity Stones, they begin to merge, once again forming the six singularities, and then one single entity that existed before the big bang. It’s a glowing white orb, the force of the universe itself.
“I think it’s time I create a new one,” Kang says, harnessing the power. “It’s almost too easy.”
Kang stops, letting the energy grow smaller, burn out, and dissipate. “I can find these anywhere,” he says. “But the challenge of a worthy warrior?” Kang removes his helmet and his armor, but not before restoring Thanos’ hand.
The Mad Titan smirks, removes his own armor, and draws his blade. Kang draws one of his own. The two charge at each other, adamantium blade meets adamantium blade. Thanos’ sheer power almost overwhelms Kang, but he’s fought Titans before. Still, never one like Thanos.
Thanos manages to get the better of Kang after a brutal fight, impaling him on his blade. “I’ve enjoyed conquering you,” Thanos says.
Suddenly, he hears the sound of a portal opening behind him. It’s another Kang. Thanos grins. More time portals open and more variants of Kang emerge until there are twenty of them all encircling Thanos. The Mad Titan is no longer grinning.
“I am… inevitable,” says Kang.
Thanos vs. Kang: The Winner
As skilled as Thanos is, he’s no match for an adversary who not only sees the Infinity Stones as trinkets but has endless opportunities to win. Is it fair? Perhaps not. But Kang has no interest in fairness, only winning by whatever means necessary. Thanos was a fun distraction, but he has eyes set on bigger challengers out in the cosmos. He’s heard rumors of a figure known as The Beyonder. Kang wonders if he’ll give him a real challenge.
The Inversus winner is… Kang, the Conqueror.