Conan's Best Marvel Universe Crossovers, Ranked

4. Conan Has Been to the 616 Universe's Present

Fantastic Four #405, written by Tom DeFalco and illustrated by Paul Ryan, is a rare instance when Conan actually visited the present-day 616 universe. At the time of this 1995 issue, Reed Richards and Doctor Doom are presumed dead, Johnny Storm has left the team, and Sue Richards and Ben Grimm have partnered with Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Lyja the Lazerfist and Namor, with Cassie Lang and Doom’s adopted son Kristoff in tow.

This issue reveals that Kristoff’s servant Boris is actually the classic Thor foe Zarkko the Tomorrow Man. When his ruse is exposed, this somewhat-obscure villain uses his time-displacement dial to pull characters from across time to fight the Fantastic Four. The very first warrior to appear is Conan, followed closely by Iron Man 2020. In a thought balloon, Conan ponders whether Iron Man 2020 is “a man encased in metal — or some brutish creature of sorcery” before both are yanked back to their own eras.

3. Conan Traveled to the Present in Another Reality

In 1975's Savage Sword of Conan #7, the Cimmerian falls for belly dancer, and is drugged and kidnapped. When he awakes, Conan is at the mercy of a sorcerer named Shamash Shum-Ukin, who claims to be able to travel through time. Shamash explains he escaped his era by entering a portal called The Well at the Center of Time, and now uses it to attain valuable items from throughout history. He sacrifices men into the well to get these treasures, and intends Conan to be next. The barbarian escapes that fate, of course, but in 1979's What If Conan The Barbarian Walked the Earth Today? #13, writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema pondered what might have occurred if he hadn't.

In this story, The Watcher tells about a reality in which Conan fell through time and ended up in 1977 New York City. Before long he hooks up with a streetwise female cabbie named Danette, who helps him get back to his time -- but not before he's seen by Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson!

2. Conan's Enemy Kulan Gath Fought the Avengers and X-Men

This entry is a bit of a “cheat,” because it doesn’t feature Conan himself. But because he has such an iconic rogues gallery and supporting cast, this two-issue arc definitely deserves to be included. Along with his arch-nemesis Thoth-Amon and comrade in arms Red Sonja, the next most popular character from the Conan universe is evil sorcerer Kulan Gath. While Conan has only encountered characters of the Marvel Universe a handful of times, Kulan has been a thorn in the sides many Marvel heroes.

Out of those numerous appearances, his role in Uncanny X-Men #188-191 (1985) is easily the most fun. Kulan cast a spell over Manhattan that transformed the entire area into something akin to that of Kulan’s time and lands. Once New York's heroes stepped through an energy curtain surrounding the island, they too were changed into a Hyborian version of themselves with no memory of their former lives. The Avengers, X-Men and New Mutants were all caught up in the spell. The Hyborian version of Captain America had long hair, a tunic and a sword, looking similar to a certain barbarian. The heroes, with the help of Doctor Strange, eventually bested Gath and put things back to normal.

1. That Time Conan Battled Thor

In 1983's What If #39, writer Alan Zelenetz and artist Ron Wilson posed the question: What if the Mighty Thor battled Conan the Barbarian? As is tradition, Uatu the Watcher tells a yarn about an alternate reality created by a hero or villain making a different choice. In this parallel world, Thor chooses to go down a different tunnel than he did in 616 continuity, and the enchanted cave take him to ancient Hyboria instead of Troy.

Zelenetz prefaces the battle between barbarian and thunder god by stating that Thor had been “sapped of memory and bereft of full measure of godly strength” when he came through the time anomaly. That's good thinking, because while fans of the time may have been clamoring for this showdown, Conan’s savagery and immense physique are no match for an immortal armed with one of the Marvel Universe's most powerful weapons. Even at reduced strength and without the ability to call down lightning, Thor still manages to make Conan concede. But props to Conan for dolling out some cocky smack talk about how he's going to carve up Odinson’s bowels and cut off his head.

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