Both Thanos and Kang have twisted romantic lives, but as seen in Avengers Annual #21, Kang is in a league way above the Mad Titan.
Both Kang the Conqueror and Thanos are some of Marvel Comics‘ worst villains, but it is Kang’s love life that makes him truly despicable. Both Thanos and Kang’s romantic pursuits have been some of their defining traits, but as seen in 1992’s Avengers Annual #21, Kang’s pursuit of Ravonna Renslayer takes a horrific turn, putting the time traveling despot in a league above Thanos.
Kang is one of Marvel’s oldest foes, first appearing in 1964’s Avengers #8 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Born Nathaniel Richards, Kang is but one of the many aliases he uses; some others include Rama-Tut, Immortus, the Scarlet Centurion and Iron Lad. A constant through his life has been his romantic interest in Ravonna Renslayer. Kang has time and again tried to impress Ravonna, to no avail; she would die in his arms as she finally accepted his advances. Kang has used powerful technology from his native 40th century to keep Ravonna alive. A new, more aggressive version of Ravonna, calling herself “the Temptress,” first appeared in 1992’s Fantastic Four Annual #25, and manipulated the heroes into fighting Kang. During the course of the battle, Kang was seemingly killed, but it turned out to be a variant; the real Kang then arrives to confront Ravonna, and fans can see how truly despicable he can be. The story, part of the Citizen Kang crossover, was written by Mark Gruenwald, illustrated by Herb Trimpe, inked by Charles Barnett and Brad Vancata, colored by Gina Going and lettered by Steve Dutro.
The real Kang states that he grew tired of the “passive, noble” Ravonna he had been pining for, and that he altered her death. She then became his consort, but he grew bored of her; Ravonna is horrified, calling Kang a “heartless monster.” However, this new, bolder version of Ravonna intrigues him, and he challenges her to combat. If he wins, she can kill him. If he wins, she becomes his subject and join the Anachronauts, his team.
For all of his plans and ambitions of murder and destruction, Thanos has remained faithful to Mistress Death, as recently seen in Eternals: The Heretic. Thanos has never manipulated Death in as cruel a fashion as Kang did to Ravonna. Thanos has never altered Death’s timeline and condemn her to a life of servitude and misery, despite the fact he has done this to numerous other beings. Thanos has also never forced Mistress Death into the same kind of bargain Kang forces on Ravonna. Thanos’ relationship with Death has not been healthy by any stretch, yet he has never sunk to the lows Kang does in this story. If Kang truly loved Ravonna as much as he says, he would never inflict such suffering on her.
The names Thanos and Kang strike fear into the hearts of the heroes of the Marvel Universe. Both are bloodthirsty tyrants whose romantic pursuits have led to a great deal of sorrow and destruction, yet Kang’s treatment of Ravonna puts him in a class above Thanos.
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