Kang the Conqueror comes from the 41st century to destroy Captain America, who Kang believes may soon cause his timeline to cease to exist.
Introducing characters: Fantastic Four (Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, Thing)
Synopsis for "The Man Who Stole Tomorrow"
The command ship Damocles along with its mysterious commander successfully completes its time jump to the present day and is content to lurk just outside Earth's orbit for the moment. Meanwhile, Steve Rogers is confused by the media's characterization of Stark as a "futurist", thinking they are referring to the Italian art movement of the early 20th century. The discussion eventually leads to Rogers confronting Stark about his lack of actual fighting skill and he takes it upon himself to give Tony some pointers. With Hulk and Hawkeye as their captive audience, Steve knocks Tony around six ways from Sunday and Stark leaves in a huff, stating that he'll never need to know this stuff because he'll have a suit for every situation. Rogers disagrees, preferring to work on the basics.
While this is going on, Thor, Wasp, and Ant Man have successfully apprehended Blizzard and brought him back to Avengers Mansion for incarceration. As alluded to in a previous episode, the Avengers collaborated with Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four to create a newer and better prison outside reality in a dimension called the Negative Zone. This way, even if there is another Breakout, the supervillains would have nowhere to go. They call it Idea No. 42.
Back at the Mansion, Captain America and Iron Man are attacked by the mysterious man from several episodes ago. He introduces himself as Kang the Conqueror and proceeds to start blasting the Cap. Iron Man tries to adjust to his equipment but its technology level is far in advance of anything he has ever seen and he is essentially impervious to all of Stark's gadgets. Without any other options, the two Avengers play for time and try to get Kang to expand on his motives for coming to the past. He explains that he is the ruler of Earth in the 41st century but that the entire planet will be wiped from existence by an anomaly in the space-time continuum; something that should not exist. Something like Captain America. By this time all the Avengers have gathered and they prepare to take Kang on, but he transports them to the future to show them exactly what has happened. It turns out that future Earth is a blasted wasteland thanks to some action of the Cap in the future, and that it will all occur in just 10 years. There is no infrastructure, no Stark Industries or S.H.I.E.L.D., no anything. All life has been wiped out, retroactively wiping out Kang's empire in the 41st century. The destruction is revealed to be caused by the war between the Kree and the Skrulls although Captain America is indirectly responsible for the ultimate catastrophe. Kang's plan is to eliminate the Cap from the timeline and, just to be sure, conquer Earth in the present to advance its technology and unify its people in preparation for the coming war. Under his rule, Earth will survive.
Iron Man understands the merit in Kang's proposal and the Cap is willing to give up for the greater good of Earth, but unfortunately he's being a gigantic Jerkass about the whole thing and nobody out-jerkassses Tony Stark, so the Avengers decide they'll fight for the future on their own, thank-you-very-much. Kang prepares to strand them in the future, but Ant Man stops him with an army of cockroaches, which can survive anything. The Avengers create a distraction while Iron Man gets on the Throne of Power and tries to reprogram it. The technology is infuriating and defies analysis but on a sudden inspiration, he is able to gain control of the chair through a back door and transports everyone back to the present. It turns out that, as advanced as the technology is, it still has things in common with some very old tech. Stark Industries tech, to be exact. With his technology turned against him, Kang decides that now would be a good time to regroup. Since he couldn't do the deed on his own, he decides to call in the rest of his army.
This episode is based on Avengers #8.