BY MATT TUCK
The latest episode of Loki should have you eying three classic Avengers comics for what could be the answer to the mystery of the TVA.
Since Loki’s fourth episode when Sylvie beheaded a Time-Keeper to reveal a robot, the lingering question has been, who is behind the TVA? “Journey into Mystery” has laid the groundwork for the series finale, and we should get the answer. While many fans have pointed to Kang the Conqueror since the beginning, they could be in for a twist. Instead of one Kang, Loki may introduce the Council of Cross-Time Kangs and, more likely, his Immortus form.
WHO ARE THEY?
Out of all the characters in the Marvel Universe, Kang may have the single most complicated history of them all. Originally debuting in Fantastic Four #19, Kang first appeared as Pharaoh Rama-Tut as the FF ventured to Ancient Egypt. It was later revealed that Rama-Tut was actually Nathaniel Richards, a distant relative of Mister Fantastic. After Rama-Tut’s defeat, Nathaniel travelled to the present and designed his armor after Doctor Doom’s. He accidentally travels to the 31st Century and witnesses an Earth ravaged by war.
Appearing as Kang in Avengers #8, the time traveller returns to the modern world to conquer the planet before it is decimated. On a side note, Kang falls in love with Ravonna Renslayer, who happens to be a major part of Loki, which furthers the theories that Kang is behind the TVA.
Kang would continue travelling through time, returning in various forms, such as the Scarlet Centurion, and even a kid version of Kang joined the Young Avengers as Iron Lad. One of his forms also happens to be the “Master of Time,” Immortus.
During Kang’s complicated history, at one point, three more versions of Nathaniel Richards from alternate timelines converge to form the Council of Cross-Time Kangs, who seek a Celestial ultimate weapon.
It is hard to narrow down the key issues for Kang and his many forms. Ever since Jonathan Majors was cast as the time traveller for the third Ant-Man film, Avengers #8 and FF #19 have been high on the wish lists. Following the revelations and possibilities in Loki, here are three lesser Kang keys that you should be targeting.
At this point, it would seem like a lock that Immortus will be the power behind the TVA. At one point, Kang even described him as the “Gardener of Time” who “prunes the chronal branches deemed by others to be dangerous.” Considering the TVA agents call deleting a variant “pruning,” it seems like a dead giveaway that Lord Immortus will appear in Episode Six.
Not only do you get the first cover and in-story appearance of Immortus, but Avengers #10 is when Captain America debuted his iconic phrase, “Avengers, assemble!” Because Cap’s famous line is introduced here, it ups the prices for this issue.
Last month saw six different grades of Avengers #10 trade hands online. The highest of those was the 9.0. Although it brought a record $1,300 on June 17, the most recent sale dropped to $780. That looks like an outlier since an 8.0 sold for a record $1,180 on June 29. If you don’t mind a lower grade, the 4.0 is earning less than $200 in recent weeks.
While this comic does not compare to Avengers #10’s key status, it will be worth adding to your Kang collection. At the end of Loki Episode Five, we see Loki and Sylvie standing in front of a castle. Odds are, that is the Time Master’s home, Castle Limbo, which happened to debut in this particular issue. It also marked the first cameo appearance of the Time-Keepers.
Judging by the sudden burst in FMV, other collectors are getting the same Castle Limbo vibes from Loki. This comic has been so overlooked that the first graded copy sold this year, a 9.6, went for $250 just yesterday. Before that, the highest any earned was $92 for a 9.8 in 2008. The last 9.6 to trade hands was for $18 a year ago. Raw copies are on the move, and the latest eBay data suggests they are averaging about $30, though one brought $100 earlier today.
AVENGERS: THE TERMINATRIX OBJECTIVE #1
In 1993, Immortus returned for a final storyline. Once again, the Kang variant waged war against the Avengers, and he would die in the third issue. The first issue of Terminatrix Objective saw the debut of the time guardian, Alioth, which should instantly bolster its popularity. Another, and possibly more important, reason to own this comic is that it features the debut of the Council of Cross-Time Kangs - Kang Swaach, Kang Raulex, and Kang Kaseo.
Whether they appear in Loki, Ant-Man, or another project, the odds of seeing the Cross-Time Kangs (which sounds like a ‘70s disco-funk band) increase substantially if Immortus arrives in the MCU. That will make this a prime spec candidate.
Graded sales for Terminatrix Objective #1 have been rare. The only sale this year was when a 9.8 sold for $50 in February. That should change in the near future since raw sales are now selling for as much as $40, though most copies tend to stay in the $15-$25 range.
"THIS IS HEAVY."
Where’s Doc Brown and his Delorean when we need him?
Between Endgame and now Loki, the MCU has become substantially more complicated. Whether Kang or one of his infinite forms is introduced in the Loki finale or Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, he is set to become a major player in the coming years. One way or another, I anticipate we will meet Immortus and the Council very soon.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.