Disney+’s Loki is diving into time travel in a big way for the MCU. The Variant Loki is hopping timelines with ease, and it’s more or less as easy in Marvel Comics. Time travel has been a critical component of many major storylines of the years and is associated with some of the most important characters in the comic books.
Comic book fans know The Time Keepers are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of time travelers. From almost the very beginning of the Marvel Universe back in the 1960s to the present day, time travelers have complicated the lives and fortunes of many if not most of Marvel’s greatest superheroes.
10 Kitty Pryde
Kitty Pryde is one of the first time travelers among the X-Men and one of the most important. “Days Of Futures Past,” appearing in issues #141–142 of Uncanny X-Men, saw an adult Kate Pryde send her consciousness back in time into her younger self to warn the X-Men of the dark future waiting for them. Sentinels had all but wiped out mutantkind.
Though she succeeds in preventing the inciting incident that precipitates her dark future, the X-Men later discover that it remains intact within the multiverse. Kitty and the story would open the floodgates on time travel for mutants.
9 Rachel Summers
Kitty Pryde’s method of getting back in time was courtesy of Rachel Summers, the future daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey. She later traveled back in time herself to the present day, wondering why Kitty’s attempt was unsuccessful. Rachel’s arrival was critical for the X-Men in many ways.
Though it’s not spelled out, this is an early indicator of the multiverse in the comics, which more or less follows the many-worlds theory from quantum physics. Rachel would become a part of one of the best X-Men rosters ever, and her living example of the persistence of the future would help inform the machinations of Moira MacTaggert in the Dawn Of X era.
8 Guardians Of The Galaxy
The Guardians of the Galaxy originally hailed from the distant future in Marvel Comics, in the 31st century. Most of their early adventures took place there, but by the end of the 1970s, the initial roster of Vance Astro, Martinex T’Naga, Captain Charlie-27, and Yondu Udonta had traveled back in time to the 20th century. The Guardians of the Galaxy were pioneers in time travel in Marvel Comics, opening up the doors to both the far future and to the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe which would become so integral in the years to come.
Time travel plays a fairly big role in X-Men stories and Bishop is a major part of that legacy. Bishop played a critical role in “The Onslaught Saga,” a major mid-90s comic book crossover that is probably best avoided by the MCU. His warning about the X-Men dying at the hands of one of their own finally comes true.
The event would have major ramifications for the comics, as it led directly to the Avengers and Fantastic Four being shuttled off to a bubble universe for an entire year. The Heroes Reborn event from the ’90s is in many ways Marvel’s first experiment with an alternate universe in the comics.
Another major mutant time traveler is Cable. The son of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor – a clone of Jean Grey – Nathan Summers was sent to the future to be cured of a techno-organic virus. He returned years later as the grizzled old veteran of war, Cable. His true identity was a mystery for a long time, complicated by the existence of a clone, Stryfe.
Cable has been able to go back and forth into the future in the comics, which has led to varying versions of himself, like the current ‘kid’ version of Cable. It also broadened out the world of not just the future but the character of Apocalypse, who plays a key role in the past and future.
5 Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom is one of the most heinous supervillains in Marvel Comics, but he’s also one of its most important time travelers. Doctor Doom invented the Time Platform to go back in time for various reasons, like finding Blackbeard’s lost treasure, but it quickly became more than just a cavalier invention for him. Most importantly, Doom and the Time Platform play a key role in the origin of Kang The Conqueror by leading the Fantastic Four into their first encounter with him in ancient Egypt.
4 The Time Keepers
The Time Keepers are a race of temporal beings created by He Who Remains, a mysterious alien figure from a previous universe discovered by Thor. They are a major force in the very fabric of the Marvel Universe and their travels through time have shaped much of its history going back to the beginning. The Time Keepers ostensibly protect time, but they largely do so by fighting against the evil versions of themselves, the Time Twisters. The two groups go back and forth throughout all of time, breaking and fixing timelines as they go.
Immortus is a future version of the comic book villain Kang The Conqueror and one of the most significant time travelers in the comics in his own right. In a storyline that has intriguing implications for the MCU, Immortus once worked with the Time Keepers to hunt down Nexus Beings, including Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch.
When he realized the Time Keepers were killing them, he fought back. He generally remains a villainous figure himself though, even fighting against himself as Kang in the Avengers Forever event from the late 90s. Untangling Immortous from the many versions of Kang in the comic books is hard, but he originally hails from the 30th century.
2 Ravonna Renslayer
While her role in the MCU remains a mystery at the moment, comic book fans know Ravonna Renslayer is a major figure in the story of Kang The Conqueror. She’s also a major time traveler in her own right and an important one. It’s Ravonna who leads comic fans to the first use of the Ultimate Nullifier in Fantastic Four #341, the greatest weapon in the entire universe. An alternate version of Ravonna has traveled through time and space on several occasions over the years to try and get revenge against Kang.
1 Kang The Conqueror
Kang The Conqueror might be the most important time traveler in Marvel Comics. A thorn in the side of both the Avengers and Fantastic Four since the very beginning of the Marvel Universe, he has made several bids to change or revise history to his benefit. This has led to numerous alternate timelines and Kangs, eventually swelling to a Council Of Cross-Time Kangs which is a body of Kangs from across the multiverse. Kang’s power is such he once manipulated Immortoys into destroying alternate Kangs, leaving him alone in control of his destiny.
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