Right before his big screen debut, Timeless #1 pits Kang the Conqueror against a new threat: a cosmic-powered King Arthur’s Court?
Much like last December’s one-shot of the same name, Timeless #1 is a Kang-centric interlude that catches us up with the Conqueror’s latest exploits and vaguely teases some new developments coming in the Marvel Universe over the next year, which he may or may not have a hand in making happen through his actions in the timeline. Happy New Year from Nathaniel Richards!
A comic like this one has the tricky task of sowing seeds that are intended to allude to upcoming stories from throughout the wider universe while also serving as a satisfactory one-and-done for the reader, and I think Timeless #1 mostly delivers on the latter, arguably the more important requirement of the two. Last year’s installment used the narrative device of a third party’s perspective of Kang through his academic studies; this one has Kang fighting a gauntlet of a superpowered “King Arthur” and his court, created entirely by someone who calls themselves Myrddin (Merlin). But make no mistake, this isn’t the same Merlyn of Otherworld. They might be even worse than that one. Their identity, concealed to the reader for now, may even be a familiar face to both the audience and Kang himself. There’s also the mystery of the “missing moment” that eludes Kang’s grasp; a second of time that has been shielded from his sight and he thus cannot travel to. What could be so important and mysterious that even Kang, the warlord of time, cannot find it? According to the teaser page in the issue, one or both of these mysteries may be solved in the forthcoming new volume of Avengers after Jason Aaron’s run comes to an end. TBD!
Much like last year’s Timeless, writer Jed MacKay makes the best of a tough assignment by delivering an action-packed romp that focuses more on the immediate story rather than just allude to whatever is coming from Marvel in 2023. Those, instead, are depicted as visual asides while Kang soliloquizes his plight to the reader; it’s an elegant solution to serve both masters while not distracting from the meat of the story. There are definitely some intriguing developments to be seen in them —Beast appearing to lead a sort of army, a Wolverine-y Ghost Rider, the Pet Avengers(!!!), a belt with a stylized “777” on it— but it does beg the question if any of them will actually be paid off within the next year. Plans change! Or get delayed! (E.g. Did Miracleman ever actually make his official re-debut in anything this year? That was one of last year’s major teases.) TBD!