As a tie-in to Marvel Comics' "Civil War II," this week's "All-New Avengers" #13 may step to the side of the event's action, but as a potential setup for major storylines in its own right, the issue stands strong.
The majority of Mark Waid and Adam Kubert's story focuses on the Vision's own quest through the timestream. As the android Avenger spells it out early in the issue, his journey is no less than a twist on a favorite science fiction trope: "Would you kill Hitler as a baby?" But this time, the evil at the heart of that paradox is none other than Kang the Conquerer.
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the formative Marvel Age of comics, Kang is a time-traveling despot who's clashed with the Avengers multiple times over the decades. The Vision travels the length of the villain's personal timeline across the issue, from Kang's origins in ancient Egypt to his far future launchpad for world conquering. Along the way, a shadowy force continues to thwart the android's attempts to end Kang before he can begin his time-tossed machinations of domination.
The finale needs to be read on its own for full effect, but needless to say, the story of Vision and Kang's connection is far from over. But what's most intriguing about the story is what it may mean for the potential future of the Marvel Universe.
With the Vision's own series from Tom King about to wrap, and Kang's status as a major Marvel Universe villain firmly intact, the pair of characters make perfect wildcards for the fictional landscape moving forward. With this story seemingly not having a direct impact on "Civil War II," it's possible the characters are setting up some major stories to come; without spoiling the details, the issue's unidentified narrator states that storms are beginning to brew across the timestream as a result of Vision's actions. That could mean a new story in Waid's continuing Avengers work (where Kang has featured as a force since early in "All-New's" run), or the writer could be sowing seeds for a future Marvel event.
Where the villain shows up next -- story, event or an All-New Marvel NOW! series -- could be just the platform the Conquerer needs to remind fans that he's one of the biggest threats in all of the Marvel U.