A lot of weird, traumatizing, stuff went down during the legendary Age of Apocalypse storyline. The story is set in an alternate timeline created by the crazed son of Professor Charles Xavier when said child accidentally killed his father in the distant past. With Professor X dead at a young age, he never created and trained the X-Men, which left an opening for Apocalypse to set the world ablaze. Magneto, the man Xavier died to protect, would go on to create the X-Men in response to the despot, but they would never be effective enough to halt Apocalypse’s advances. The entire world was affected by the event and there was more than enough strife to go around which is why we’re diving back into the dystopian-present for a second time. Here is another 10 most shocking facts about the Age of Apocalypse! In case you mist the first set of shocking facts, make sure to check them out here.
10. Inspired by X-Men: The Animated Series
X-Men: The Animated Series did something that doesn’t typically happen in media. Characters and stories being adapted to live-action and animated features isn’t new. It’s actually a goal for most creators. However, in 1995 the opposite happened. The script for the two-part episode “One Man’s Worth” made its way into the hands of Marvel’s X-Office and inspired a crossover that would become known as the Age of Apocalypse! The story debuted in the books before the episode premiered on Fox kids, so even die-hard fans (like myself), thought it was the other way around. However, if I understood how long it took to make a single episode, I wouldn’t have made that mistake. It explains why XTAS character models of Magneto, Rogue, Nightcrawler, and Morph are nearly identical to the ones seen in the AoA comic series.
9. The Daughter of Weapon-X
Alternate timeline children are definitely not new concepts for the X-Men. Heck, most of their offspring turn out to be just that. The Age of Apocalypse wasn’t just something that affected the present. Because Legion accidentally killed his father back in the 60s, everything from that point on was altered, including Logan’s past dealings on the opposite end of the planet. There, like in the main timeline, he had a relationship with one, Mariko Yashida. Unlike how it ended in the 616 with her death, Mariko gave birth to a child, though unbeknownst to Logan at the time. At some point during Apocalypse’s conquest, the child, Kirika Yashida was taken by Mister Sinister and studied under the specimen designation; X-23. It wasn’t until years later after Apocalypse’s defeat was she discovered and freed by the X-Men.
Kirika was taken in and trained by the X-Men who quickly realized that she may be linked to Weapon X. She also had adamantium bonded to her and aided the team in tracking down remnants of Apocalypse’s forces, including Elite Mutant Force members; Aurora, Northstar, Cannonball, Amazon, and others like a vengeful Husk. Eventually, Weapon X and Kirika are reunited with their relationship revealed. However, after Weapon-X took possession of the Death Seed and became the heir of Apocalypse, he murdered his daughter after she took up arms against him.
8. A World Without Psychics
When Legion awoke from his coma and traveled back in time to assassinate Magneto, it created quite a disturbance. It was more than enough to draw the attention of Apocalypse. The immortal mutant watched the entire battle between the time-traveling mutant and the young Magneto. When Xavier was inadvertently slain, Apocalypse was there to observe the paradox. Although he was unfamiliar with the players, he understood that the world had changed. He chose that time to put into motion his plan to dominate the planet. To ensure nothing similar could happen again, and undo his efforts, Apocalypse rounded up any and all beings capable of time travel or even had telepathic abilities. Mutant or not. Among his victims was Emma Frost who was robbed of her psionic abilities by way of a seemingly brutal surgical procedure performed on her brain.
7. The Madri
Apocalypse has been around before humans began keeping a written history. Just being able to survive that long is something godly in of itself. I don’t doubt it’d be difficult to convince someone that Apocalypse isn’t a deity. During the Age of Apocalypse, a massive group had come to worship and serve him as if he was truly a god. For all intents and purposes, he was the center of a religion. Other than being ferociously loyal to his wishes, they worshipped his message of ‘Survival of the fittest.’ Their numbers were massive and each was as loyal as the last and the next. They were also identical to each other. Why? Because they were all duplicates created by Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man.
For the most part, the Madri operated out of Quebec, Canada, but they were scattered throughout Apocalypse’s empire and were only rivaled in numbers by his army of Infinities. On the regular, they functioned as the despot’s eyes, ears, recruitment team and when necessary, his fists. The Madri were often brutal and sadistic in their service of Apocalypse. Mass Murder and torture were common occurrences as they are seen drinking Bishop’s blood in a ritual. During the final chapters of the Age of Apocalypse, Quicksilver discovered the real Madrox. Jamie pleaded for Quicksilver to end his life, but when the speedster faltered, he took it himself. Because he was the source of all the dupes, the Madri also ceased to exist ending their reign of terror.
6. Gambit’s Sacrifice
The Age of Apocalypse crossover literally took over the entire X-Men line for months. Every book was replaced with a tie-in. So, not being educated on every aspect of the story isn’t all that uncommon. From the onset of the story, there was one object Magneto and the X-Men needed to obtain to fix the timeline. With no time travelers at their disposal (see above: A World Without Psychics) they needed the M’Kraan crystal, the nexus of all realities, to transverse time and space. It would come at a high cost, however. Most of it is sentimental in nature. First, Magneto would have to enlist the help of a man who hated him, Gambit, his wife’s ex-boyfriend.
After making the intergalactic trek to the Shi’Ar Empire (by way of a portal created by Gambit’s new girlfriend, Lila Cheney), Gambit and his team had to take on the Imperial Guard and Rictor, an agent of Apocalypse who followed them. Much like the Soul Stone in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, to obtain a shard of the crystal Gambit had to give up something. In the end, Gambit chose to sacrifice his love for Rogue. Successful in obtaining the shard he returned to Earth, short one member of his team (Sunspot), only to be betrayed and have it stolen from him by another teammate, Guido. The X-Men eventually recover the shard and fix the timeline. So Gambit is essentially responsible for saving the entire universe. How about that?
5. The Origins of Holocaust, The Son of Apocalypse
Holocaust didn’t come out of the womb looking like a naked Ghost Rider. It was Magneto that left him in the nightmarish state we know him best as. He was originally codenamed Nemesis and for the most part, quite handsome. There’s been no mention of a traditional name, but knowing how Apocalypse (or anyone willing to reproduce with him) probably thinks, Nemesis is more than likely his birth name. A full-fledged Horseman, Nemesis is armed with super strength, durability, the power to absorb and project bio-microwave energy blasts. Nemesis’ first recorded mission was to dispatch Magneto’s base while he and most of his X-Men were occupied elsewhere.
His attack cost the lives of a handful of young mutants and Magneto’s daughter, the Scarlet Witch. She managed to wound Nemesis, so he went to special lengths to kill and leave her for the returning X-Men, especially her father, to discover. Magneto wouldn’t be able to exact his revenge on the Horseman until he and the X-Men caught up with him in Japan. By this time, Nemesis is super-charged from absorbing a nuclear-level explosion of energy from Sunfire. As Nemesis is about to slay yet another of Magneto’s children, Scarlet Witch’s brother, Quicksilver, the Master of Magnetism used his powers to strip the flesh from Nemesis’ body (much like how he eventually rips his father in half during their final battle).
Nemesis is found barely clinging to life as nothing more than a burning skeleton. He’s taken to Hank McCoy (Dark Beast) and placed within the crystal exoskeleton shell he’s famous for. It is at this point he’s known as Holocaust. Not just for words murderous connotation but due to having the appearance of constantly burning. His ghastly appearance is probably a side effect of dying with so much of Sunfire’s power coursing through him. The armor doesn’t just keep Holocaust’s energies from dissipating, but also allows him to project focused blasts of searing-hot power.
4. Sentinels, the Friends of Humanity
Almost since the dawn of X-Men time, the towering mounds of metal (and plastics), famously known as Sentinels, have been the embodiment of human hatred and intolerance. They’ve mercilessly hunted mutants without a hint of emotion and been a thorn in the side of the X-Men, and even the Brotherhood of Mutants. In several futures, Sentinels are the cause of at least two collapses of society. However, in the Age of Apocalypse timeline, they are one of the only reasons non-mutant human beings had a fighting chance of not being eradicated.
Same as in the normal timeline, the Sentinels are developed by Boliver Trask and are controlled by the Human High Council, which he is a member of. The first iterations were man-sized and played a hand in supporting Wakanda during Apocalypse’s initial attack. Though they were unsuccessful, the Sentinels were effective enough to be further developed until they became the building-sized models we know them best as. Their primary function wasn’t to hunt down mutants, but to protect humans, ferry them to safety, and be a defense shield to stop Apocalypse’s forces from crossing the Atlantic and dominating the remainder of the world.
3. The Fate of the World’s Mightiest
The Age of Apocalypse didn’t just affect the X-Men. Although the event was an X-Men event and not a company crossover, it altered the way the entire Marvel Universe unfolded within the story. Without Xavier forming the X-Men at the time he did originally, Apocalypse was able to rise to power unimpeded. The chaos that he and his various crops of Horsemen caused interrupted and/or erased the origins of just about every would-be hero. Peter Parker never became Spider-Man, killed for being a spy. The Punisher died an unspectacular death as a monk.
Half of the Fantastic Four died during an attempt to lead innocent people out of Manhattan, while Susan and Ben Grimm would die as members of the Human High Council. Even the legendary feud between Wakanda and Atlantis never came to be. Both the Black Panther and Namor were killed when Apocalypse’s forces invaded their respective empires. Other groups like the Inhumans were subjugated. The royal family (including Blackbolt, Medusa, Crystal, Gorgon, Triton, Lockjaw, and Karnak) were defeated, cloned, and used as super-powered disposable soldiers in Apocalypse’s army.
2. Apocalypse’s Kingdom
When Apocalypse took over, he hardly left the world as he found it. He, his horsemen, Infinities, and Madri dominated the American continent before decimating other territories like Japan, the Middle East, Wakanda, and Atlantis. By the time readers were introduced to the new timeline, Central America was utterly nonexistent, sunken beneath the waves of the Pacific. South America, especially Brazil was nothing more than an irradiated wasteland with only rumors of life. North America and Canada didn’t fare much better and probably only did because Apocalypse needed somewhere to hang his hat.
After suffering a number of genetic cullings to separate the weak from the strong (in other words the extermination of normal humans), the North American territories were cut up into “realms” for Apocalypse and his trusted Horsemen to govern, with him lording over the whole. Operating out of New York City (of course) Apocalypse controlled the Eastern seaboard which extended from Quebec to the panhandle. Mister Sinister governed the Northern areas with Chicago being his base of power. Holocaust directed the West coast out of San Francisco, and Abyss looked after the Southern states from his stronghold in Dallas. The Midwest was under the watch of Mikhail (Rasputin), however, he spent most of the story in Europe, mainly based out of London.
1. It Didn’t End When Bombs Dropped
Although the crossover ended in a blinding flash of atomic fire, the story of the timeline didn’t exactly culminate there. Not exactly. The story was picked back up in 2012, but as less of a continuation and more of an alternate reality. An offshoot timeline of the twisted world. There, the human race is circling the drain. In the hope of creating her own M-Day event, Jean Grey (not having died at the hands of Havok) commissioned clones of the Scarlet Witch to be created (Jean gleamed the incident from the mind of Wolverine when he and the Uncanny X-Force visited her reality). Unfortunately, her plan backfired. The Scarlet Witch of the Age of Apocalypse was nowhere near as powerful as the one from the 616 universe. Her clones were only able to affect the immediate area. The only mutants that lost their powers were the ones present, that being Sabretooth and Jean, herself.
The rest of the story has Jean as part of the human coalition strike team named X-Terminated. Weapon-X, now calling himself Weapon Omega is in possession of the Death Seed effectively taking on Apocalypse’s role as Evolutionary Caretaker for the earth. With help from Doctor Doom, Jean and her team are able to construct a device capable of drawing the Celestial energies from Weapon Omega. They succeed, but Jean is taken as it’s new wielder. Due to formerly being inhabited by the Phoenix Force, Jean is able to control the Death Seed and ultimately reject it. The Death Seed energy played a large part in the X-Termination crossover event that ended the Age of Apocalypse, X-Treme X-Men (Vol. 2), and Astonishing X-Men (Vol. 3) ongoings. But before that, it would cross into the main universe, and infect the 616 version of Iceman. Supercharged and corrupted, Bobby battled the X-Men, Thor and nearly brought on a second ice age before he could be talked down!
Which moment was the most shocking for you? Let us know below!