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Did Marvel Just Give Its Newest MCU Big Bad An Ultimate Iron Man Redesign?

Contains spoilers for Marvel Comics' "Ultimate Invasion" #3 by Jonathan Hickman, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Alex Sinclair, and VC's Joe Caramagna

The Maker, an evil Reed Richards doppelganger from the Ultimate Universe, is remaking a universe in the Multiverse into his own image, all while a new variant of Kang the Conqueror is trying to prevent him from accomplishing his maniacal goals. To stop him, the time-traveling villain (and current big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) is sending clones of Earth's Mightiest Heroes back in time with the goal of taking out the Maker and those he aligns himself with before he erases them out of existence.

"Ultimate Invasion" comes from Jonathan Hickman and Bryan Hitch, whose story follows the evil Earth-1610 version of Mr. Fantastic breaking free from his imprisonment and stealing technology in order to travel to a new universe where he can manipulate the timeline for his own gain and become the ultimate ruler of the reality. The Maker has already been attacked multiple times by armies of Avengers, and now the Marvel comic has revealed that a version of Kang the Conqueror wearing Iron Man armor from the distant future is responsible for the attacks. And as soon as the new version of Kang is introduced, he makes it clear he's going to send everything he has to ensure the Maker fails in his ultimate goal of controlling the entire universe.

What is the Maker's plan and how is Kang involved?

Previous "Ultimate Invasion" issues show how The Maker successfully escaped captivity and went to Earth-6160 to try to recreate the Ultimate Universe, his previous home, which was destroyed during the events of 2015's "Secret Wars." Upon arriving on the new Earth, The Maker interfered with history in order to stop the rise of heroes and specific key historical events. From changing the Fantastic Four's rocket launch in order to prevent them from getting powers and becoming heroes to redirecting the Hulk into taking a more enlightened route in life where his anger has been rerouted into peace, The Maker has been busy as an architect creating his perfect reality.

However, after discovering the needed time travel technology to jump timelines and have more control, The Maker was injured in an attack that took a literal chunk out of his skull, temporarily damaging his intelligence and erasing parts of his memory. As a result, he has called on Howard Stark, the father of Tony, to help him build an Immortus Engine, believing Stark is the one destined to create the high-tech time machine.

However, The Maker's plans have been foiled multiple times by a group of Avengers' clones sent from the future to kill him. The attacks have led to the death of Obidiah Stane and forced the manipulated heroes and villains of the new universe to quickly try to figure out what is happening right in front of their eyes. Upon taking Howard deeper into his City of Tomorrow, the Maker shows he's captured a Doctor Doom mask-wearing variant of Reed Richards to help master time travel. But Kang's looming threat shows the villain's plan might fail.

Kang gets an ultimate Iron Man armor upgrade

"Ultimate Invasion" #3 ends with a dramatic reveal teasing a Multiversal war coming to the new Ultimate Universe. In the far future, a version of Kang the Conqueror commands countless clones of the Avengers who have been created through thousands of years of genetic manipulation. They are the same heroes who have attacked The Maker in the present day and who have done major damage to him and his world already.

In a rousing speech to his army, Kang calls out The Maker for playing games and being a "time thief." Additionally, the villain calls out The Maker for being a pretender while referring to himself as ageless and immortal. His army of Avengers clones tells Kang they are ready to die for his cause, leading him to reveal he's heard their cries about launching the most significant attack possible, one they've waited centuries to enact. At this point, Kang is revealed to have his own version of Iron Man's armor, combining the hero's and villain's looks and, presumably, powers into a single menacing suit.

He tells his minions, "The time is now," as a new battle for the Multiverse begins. The Maker is trying to reshape an entire universe to become the new Multiverse through major interference with the timeline, and Kang doesn't enjoy seeing someone else make a play for power at this level. With a powerful army and an impressive suit of Iron Man-style armor, Kang is going back in time and coming for The Maker. But who will be left standing when the dust settles in a fight between the two dangerous threats to the Multiverse?

What's coming next?

The "Ultimate Invasion" miniseries has one more chapter before a new "Ultimate Universe" comic from Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Caselli launches. And while a new team of Ultimates will rise from the ashes of the battle between The Maker and the armored Kang the Conqueror, it remains to be seen how the events of the comic will lead to the team forming or who will come out victorious in the fight. What we do know is that "Ultimate Invasion" #4's text synopsis teases timelines colliding while a new Multiversal war breaks out between The Maker and Kang. Check out the synopsis below, along with Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair's cover for the final chapter, showing the universe-changing fight ahead and the numerous Avengers/Ultimates clones battling at Kang's side.

THE END...OR THE BEGINNING? War breaks out as timelines and universes collide! Iron Man must choose between the lesser of two evils—the Maker or Kang. But what secret does Iron Man know about the men behind the masks? And at the end of it all, the world outside your window will be forever changed! Don't miss this giant-sized, action-packed conclusion—or is it only the beginning...?

Readers can see Kang debut his Iron Man upgrade as he begins his plan to stop the Maker from creating his own perfect universe in "Ultimate Invasion" #3 from Marvel Comics, now available via comic book stores and online retailers.