Apocalypse (comics)

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Apocalypse
Apocmessiahwar1.png
Apocalypse The First One as depicted in X-Force/Cable: Messiah War #1 (May 2009). Art by Dave Wilkins.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance

X-Factor #5 (In Shadow) (June 1986)

X-Factor #6 (first full appearance) (July 1986)
Created by Louise Simonson
Jackson Guice
In-story information
Alter ego En Sabah Nur
Species Human Mutant
Team affiliations
Partnerships
Notable aliases The First One, Genesis, En Sabah Nur
Various mythological deities[1]
Abilities
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Telekinesis
  • Telepathy
  • Technopathy
  • Teleportation
  • Immortality
  • Invulnerability
  • Regenerative healing factor
  • Reality warping
  • Super strength, speed and reflexes
  • Matter, energy and mass manipulation

Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur) is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is the world's very first mutant, and is usually portrayed as one of the archenemies of the X-Men. Created by writer Louise Simonson and artist Jackson Guice, Apocalypse first appeared in X-Factor #5 (May 1986).[2]

Since his introduction, the character has appeared in a number of X-Men titles, including spin-offs and several limited series. Apocalypse has also been featured in various forms of media. In 2016, Oscar Isaac portrayed the villain in the film X-Men: Apocalypse.[3]

Conception and creation[edit]

While writing the first five issues of X-Factor, Bob Layton dropped hints of a villain operating behind the scenes and leading the Alliance of Evil (mentioned in X-Factor #4, May 1986). Layton intended to reveal this character to be the Daredevil villain Owl on the final page of X-Factor #5. However, editor Bob Harras wanted a new villain to be introduced instead. Layton was removed from the book and replaced by writer Louise Simonson who imagined the character of Apocalypse and had artist Jackson Guice design him. The final page of X-Factor #5 then revealed Apocalypse as master of the Alliance of Evil.

Jackson Guice, artist on the early issues, explained:

I'm not sure how much of Bob's original plan Louise was informed of when she came on board--not a conversation I would have been involved with, I'm afraid. Louise is a terrific writer, however, so I assume she wanted to implement her own ideas wherever she could. I do vaguely recall her telling me the broad strokes for Apocalypse extremely early on in our discussions. She always intended for him to be a true heavyweight contender as a villain—all of which bore out.

Bob Harras claimed that the character arose because of storytelling needs: "All I had communicated to Louise was my desire that an A-level, first class character be introduced. I wanted a Magneto-level villain who would up the stakes and give the X-Factor team reason to exist."[4] Harras also commented, "As soon as I saw the sketch by Walter [Simonson] and heard Louise's take on him, I knew we had the character I wanted. Jackson [Guice] redrew the page, patching in the shadowy Apocalypse where the Owl had been. But the genesis was clearly Walt and Weezie's."[4] Walter Simonson himself has downplayed his role in the character's creation, saying that Guice was responsible for creating the design and that he, Simonson, merely modified it later: "I did not co-create Apocalypse. However, I wish I had. Louise Simonson and Jackson Guice created him. He appeared in a few panels at the end of one of Jackson’s last X-FACTORs, so I am the first artist to use him extensively in stories. And I kind of juiced up his physique a bit."[5]

Guice remembers playing a role in the visual concept of Apocalypse:

I knew from my conversation with Louise, she intended him to be some sort of ongoing evil über-menace, a real brutal monster of a guy capable of holding his own against the combined team, but I think the specific look was left open to interpretation to me. The best I can remember now is putting his look together pretty much right on the pencil page—just adding bits of costuming business which hinted toward his true appearance when we'd eventually see him in full reveal. I don't believe there was even a character sketch done for him at that point—I planned on making sense of it all later on, but by then I was gone and others had that concern.[4]

Bob Harras said on the character of Apocalypse:

He looked fantastic. Also, the name is dynamic. It tells you right off this character means trouble. And he came with a clear-cut agenda: 'survival of the fittest.' He didn't care if you were a mutant—if you were weak, you would be destroyed. He was merciless, but his philosophy was easy to grasp and it fit in with the harder edge of evolution which is part and parcel of the mutant story. Isn't that what humans fear about mutants? That they are the next step? Now, we had given mutants something new to fear: a character who would judge them on their genetic worthiness. [...] To his own mind he wasn't evil (despite his leadership of the Alliance of Evil, which I think we dropped pretty soon after Apocalypse's introduction); he believed he was doing the right thing. He was ensuring evolution. To me, he was the perfect next step in the mutant story.[4]

Although the character first appeared in 1986, he was retroactively said to have been present during previously published stories. The unnamed benefactor of the Living Monolith in Marvel Graphic Novel #17 (1985) was later identified as Apocalypse in disguise.[6] Classic X-Men #25 revealed that years earlier, Apocalypse encountered the terrorist Moses Magnum and granted him superhuman power.

During his run on Cable, Robert Weinberg planned a story to reveal that Apocalypse was the third Summers brother, a mysterious sibling to the mutants Cyclops and Havok. But Weinberg left the book before he could go along with his plan and the third Summers brother was revealed to be the mutant Gabriel Summers, aka Vulcan.[7]

Apocalypse was the principal adversary in the mid-1980s X-Men spin-off series X-Factor (1986–1991), until being apparently killed at the climax of issue #68 (July 1991). Since then, the character has died and been resurrected several times thanks to his power and advanced alien technology. His name En Sabah Nur was revealed in Cable #6 (vol. 1, Dec 1993) and his birthplace (Egypt) and the origin of his technology, were revealed in X-Force #37 (vol. 1, August 1994). According to Marvel, the name translates as "The First One" (although, in reality, the translation is considered grammatically incorrect).[8] It is later revealed in the origin story Rise of Apocalypse that he is possibly the first mutant (meaning, in this case, a human being born with the X-gene), born 5,000 years ago. The character gained greater popularity in 1995 when the storyline "Age of Apocalypse" featured an alternate timeline in which Apocalypse has conquered much of planet Earth.

The character was reincarnated in the pages of Uncanny X-Force #1 as a small boy with no memory of his previous incarnation. The boy was named Evan Sabahnur.[9] In 2012 the adult, villainous version of Apocalypse returned in the series Uncanny Avengers.[10]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Rise of Apocalypse[edit]

En Sabah Nur as featured on the cover of Rise of Apocalypse #1, influenced heavily from Hindu god Shiva. Pencils by Adam Pollina.

The being who would later be called Apocalypse was born thousands of years ago in Aqaba. He is born with the mutant X-gene, possibly the first living being on Earth to express the gene (though that has been disputed with new characters developing in the Marvel multiverse) and a side-effect of this gives him gray skin and blue lips. Because of this, his people abandoned him as an infant. He is rescued by Baal of the Sandstormers who sees the child's potential power and will to survive. Baal names him En Sabah Nur, which Marvel translates as "The First One". The Sandstormers live by the credo of survival of the fittest, believing that only those who are strong enough to survive hardship and direct conflict are worthy of life.

Around this time, the time-traveller Kang the Conqueror arrives in Egypt and assumes the identity of Pharaoh Rama-Tut. Knowing who En Sabah Nur is fated to become and where he is, Rama-Tut sends his General Ozymandias and an army to destroy the Sandstormers and find the young Apocalypse. En Sabah Nur and Baal are injured and seek refuge in a cave. Before he dies, Baal reveals advanced alien technology hidden in the cave, left behind by the deity-like aliens known as Celestials. Vowing revenge on Rama-Tut, En Sabah Nur enters the Pharaoh's city posing as a slave and draws the romantic attention of Ozymandias's sister, Nephri. On seeing the mutant's true appearance, Nephri rejects him and turns to her brother for protection. Heartbroken by this final rejection, En Sabah Nur's rage causes his mutant abilities to fully emerge. Rampaging, he renames himself Apocalypse. Rama-Tut flees and En Sabah Nur uses the Celestial technology to transform his former tormentor Ozymandias into a blind clairvoyant made of living stone, now enslaved to Apocalypse. As the years go on, Apocalypse finds he no longer ages.[11]

It is revealed in the series S.H.I.E.L.D. that Apocalypse at some point in the days of Ancient Egypt joins forces with the Brotherhood of the Shield to successfully fend off a Brood invasion. Also present are Imhotep and a man who is either the moon god called Khonshu or his first Moon Knight avatar/champion.[12]

Early history[edit]

As the millennia pass, Apocalypse travels around planet Earth, convincing civilizations that he is a deity (inspiring different myths as a result) and manipulating them into fighting wars. He justifies that this encourages "growth, judgment, and destruction".[13] Apocalypse's progeny become the Clan Akkaba. Apocalypse encounters the near-immortal human offshoot race known as Eternals, primarily the members Ikaris and Sersi, who refer to him as their "Ancient Nemesis".[14] At different points, Apocalypse uses his Celestial technology to enter periods of suspended animation, leaving Clan Akkaba and Ozymandias to act in his stead.

In 1013 BC, Apocalypse seeks to destroy the Asgardian Thor, who he knows will cause him trouble in the future, according to information obtained from Rama-Tut,[15] yet the plans are foiled by Odin. In the 12th century, Apocalypse encounters the Eternal Sersi again while awakening latent mutant powers in a crusader named Bennet du Paris, also known as Exodus.[16] At some point, Apocalypse defeats Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), who later becomes the vampire more popularly known as Count Dracula.

In 1859, Apocalypse encounters British scientist Nathaniel Essex and learns more about the nature of mutants. Apocalypse uses his Celestial technology to transform Essex into the superhuman being Mister Sinister. He then coerces Sinister and the Hellfire Club into aiding his plans for global conquest, but Sinister concludes that these plans are madness and betrays Apocalypse, forcing him back into hibernation.[17] In 1897, Count Dracula attacks the Clan Akkaba in revenge for his defeat at Apocalypse's hands, forcing the Clan to revive their master from suspended animation. Apocalypse defeats the vampire again, this time with help from Abraham Van Helsing.[18] Eventually, Apocalypse enters hibernation again, expecting to remain so for possibly two centuries, by which point mutants should be more common on Earth.

Modern era[edit]

Apocalypse with Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel as the Horseman Death in X-Factor #24 (January 1988). Art by Walter Simonson and Bob Wiacek.

After many years of suspended animation, Apocalypse awakens nearly a century earlier than planned due to the arrival of the time-traveling mutant Cable (ironically, Cable had traveled to this point in time hoping to prevent the ancient mutant awakening).[19] Apocalypse decides the Earth is ready for further examination and testing. He grants superhuman powers to the terrorist known as Moses Magnum,[20] who then tests the X-Men and the Avengers. Apocalypse later briefly employs the Alliance of Evil to capture the mutant Michael Nowlan, who can boost the power of other mutants. This plan brings Apocalypse into direct conflict with the first incarnation of X-Factor, when the team was composed of the original X-Men.[21]

Apocalypse then recruits mutants to serve as his personal guard, known as the Four Horsemen. Among them is Angel, AKA Warren Worthington III, whom Apocalypse has corrupted and turned into a cyborg called Death.[22] Warren Worthington regains his identity and helps his friends defeat Apocalypse, adopting the new codename Archangel. Apocalypse escapes with his new recruit, the Morlock called Caliban, while X-Factor then takes his Celestial spaceship as a base.[23]

During The Evolutionary War, the High Evolutionary plans to rid the Earth of those he feels are preventing evolution. Believing this disrupts the natural order and his own plans, Apocalypse battles the High Evolutionary.[24] Following the genetic manipulation of Caliban, Apocalypse declines an alliance with the Asgardian villain Loki and other villains conspiring to unleash "Acts of Vengeance". This results in a brief fight between Apocalypse and Loki.[25]

Sins of the Future[edit]

Apocalypse infecting Nathan with a techno-organic virus, as depicted in Cable vol. 2, #64 (Feb, 1999). Pencils by José Ladrönn.

Apocalypse learns of Sinister's intention to create an adversary powerful enough to destroy him: Nathan Christopher Charles Summers, the son of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor. Apocalypse, viewing him as a threat and realizing that Nathan's energy is the very energy that awoke him all those months earlier,[26] sends his newly formed group, the Riders of the Storm, to abduct the Summers child. Apocalypse at this time had conquered the city of Attilan, home of the Inhumans, as well as enslaved part of its population. X-Factor, alongside the Inhuman Royal Family, attacks Apocalypse's lunar stronghold. Although Apocalypse is severely defeated, the young Nathan is infected with a techno-organic virus and is sent to the future with a woman named Askani to be cured.[27]

In the future, Apocalypse has conquered the Earth and ruled until the 39th century. By this time, Apocalypse's body had grown feeble:[28] he becomes aware of the young Nathan's presence in this time, but only succeeds in kidnapping a clone of the child which Askani created. Apocalypse plans to transfer his consciousness and power into the clone's stronger body, but perishes in combat with the (real) teenage Nathan.[29] Nathan grows up to become the warrior Cable (while his clone grows up to become the mutant terrorist known as Stryfe) and travels back to the past to prevent Apocalypse's future domination of the planet.

In the present, Apocalypse is prematurely awoken from his regeneration chamber by his Riders (now calling themselves The Dark Riders), who inform their master that his Horsemen have kidnapped Cyclops and Jean Grey, supposedly under his instructions (in actuality, Mister Sinister, who was posing as Apocalypse).[30] When attempting to rejuvenate himself again, Apocalypse is nearly killed by Stryfe who had arrived in the past to take revenge on Apocalypse. At the end of this conflict Apocalypse is presumed deceased due to his two recent attempts at regeneration having been interrupted. After a brief battle on the Moon with his former servants, the Dark Riders (who had joined Stryfe), Apocalypse is left for dead by Archangel.[31]

The Dark Rider's new leader, Genesis - the adopted son of Cable, who had traveled to the present to ensure Apocalypse's rise and exact revenge on his father - plans to resurrect Apocalypse by sacrificing the lives of the people in villages neighboring Akkaba. During this time, Wolverine is held captive by Genesis, who attempts to restore Wolverine's lost adamantium skeleton and turn him into a Horseman as a gift for Apocalypse. Wolverine breaks free and mutates into a feral state and then kills Genesis along with nearly all of the Dark Riders (Apocalypse himself would later repeat Genesis' scheme of reinforcing Wolverine's skeleton with adamantium again and brainwashing him into servitude, succeeding where Genesis had failed). During the fight, Cannonball opens the sarcophagus containing Apocalypse's body, but finds it empty and wonders if Genesis was either lying about Apocalypse, or was delusional, or maybe Apocalypse had gotten up and left by himself.[32] (Apocalypse was shown to be alive before this.[33])

Further schemes[edit]

After a long healing slumber, Apocalypse, fully restored, awakens with Ozymandias at his side and quickly learns of the present danger: Onslaught.[34] He observes the conflict between the psionic entity and Earth's heroes with Uatu the Watcher, who suggests to Apocalypse a course of action: an alliance with the one who hated him the most, Cable.[35] Apocalypse surmises that Onslaught would be most vulnerable through the astral plane and that he needs Cable for actual physical transportation to this realm. Once on the astral plane, Apocalypse would remove the captive Franklin Richards, greatly weakening Onslaught. The plan succeeds, but is interrupted by the Invisible Woman, who had invisibly accompanied the pair, having suspected Apocalypse's motive in wanting to actually kill her son. However, the reprieve in battle gave Onslaught the time to escape, prolonging the conflict.[36]

Following the events of the Onslaught saga, the gamma-spawned powerhouse, the Hulk and his human alter ego, Banner, are split into two separate entities: Hulk now draws upon energy derived from Franklin Richards' pocket universe. Apocalypse recruits the Hulk to become his Horseman, War, with intentions of using the Hulk's nexus-energy to overcome the Celestials. To test this newest recruit, Apocalypse set War against the New World Order, a shadow cabinet organization that intends to conquer the planet. The New World Order in turn set the Juggernaut and the Absorbing Man against War, but both are easily defeated. Hulk comes to his senses after injuring his friend, Rick Jones. Despite this apparent setback, the incident was still a victory for Apocalypse as it was a successful testing of newly understood Celestial technology. Apocalypse activates the self-destruct mechanism on the sword of War, which the New World Order had obtained, destroying their headquarters.[37]

The Hellfire Club later awakens Apocalypse's long-hidden Harbinger from its deep sleep: originally a normal man, whom Apocalypse in the 19th century once left to incubate for 100 years. Apocalypse releases his Horseman (Caliban) and his scribe Ozymandias from his possession, to fend for themselves, if they were to survive the coming events.[38] Cable with the Avengers battles the Harbinger, but are unable to stop it. Apocalypse then appears, activating a bomb inside the Harbinger which would destroy all of New York, but Cable manages to prevent this disaster.[39]

When Magneto is disrupting Earth's magnetic field, Apocalypse sends a Skrull impersonating the mutant Astra (having dealt with the original Astra) to stop the Master of Magnetism.[40]

Intending to start an all-out war between the humans and the subterranean-dwelling Deviants as part of his plan to test the strong, Apocalypse sets off nuclear warheads at Lemuria, causing the Deviants to further mutate (which also restores Ikaris' father Virako to life). Apocalypse launches an attack at San Francisco, using a mentally controlled Deviant, Karkas, now a gigantic monster, that the Eternals are forced to battle. Apocalypse is confronted by his centuries-old foe, Ikaris, who now is a Prime Eternal. Although Apocalypse defeats Ikaris, the Eternal still succeeds in destroying his ship and thwarting his plan.[41]

The Twelve[edit]

Apocalypse merges with Cyclops in X-Men vol. 2, #97 (February 2000). Art by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer.

Supposedly lost diaries of the mutant seer Destiny surfaced, telling of twelve beings that could defeat Apocalypse once and for all.[42] Various mutants, all listed in the prophecy, are abducted by Apocalypse's Horsemen including a faction of the Skrulls. The Twelve legend was in fact a ruse, orchestrated by Apocalypse himself: once the Twelve are assembled, Apocalypse intended to use them to transform himself into a deitylike entity beyond the Celestials.[43] It is revealed at the end of this story arc, that Apocalypse's physical form has been burned out due to the vast amount of energies he has under his control, forcing him to wear a bio-armor (like his future counterpart) and now plans to use Nate Grey as a host body for him to move his energy and consciousness into. The X-Men confront Apocalypse as he is close to merging with Nate, but are unable to stop him. Cyclops pushes Nate Grey out of the way, merging with Apocalypse instead.[44] While the merge is successful, Apocalypse's aim for unlimited power is not and he attempts to complete the transformation by warping reality into various scenarios (see Ages of Apocalypse). Apocalypse hoped to lure the Twelve into empowering him with their energy, but eventually, the mutants realize their true predicament and Apocalypse teleports away.[45]

An amnesiac and powerless cyborg Cyclops regains control of the merged form, but Apocalypse begins to re-emerge. Jean and Cable are alerted to his location in Egypt, where Jean in the end manages to free Cyclops by telepathically tearing out Apocalypse's essence from her husband's body, rendering Apocalypse in an incorporeal astral form, which Cable apparently destroys using his Psimitar.[46]

2000s[edit]

X-Men vol. 2, #182 (April 2006). Cover art by Salvador Larroca.

In the aftermath of the 2005 "Decimation" storyline, in which most of the mutants lost their powers, Apocalypse was revealed to be alive and well. The techno-organic virus, with which he long ago infected Cable, was revealed to be the means by which Apocalypse's spirit reconstituted itself. With only a drop of his blood into a vat of organs and blood, the virus would rewrite the genetic code of the material within to form a body for Apocalypse.[47] Apocalypse awakes from a slumber in a tomb in Akkaba, recalling:[48]

Across the world—helpless mutants slaughtered. Pogroms. Horror. ...Something has woken me from my slumber. Once, a sudden surge in worldwide mutant power stirred me from a similar sleep. Now—a plummet in global mutant capacity—has opened my eyes.

Apocalypse finds himself on a planet with its mutant population reduced to a fraction of what it had been, only a few hundred remaining out of the millions who populated earth prior to his demise at Cable's hands. Reappearing inside a Sphinx-shaped ship, Apocalypse confronts the X-Men with his newly assembled cadre of Horsemen on the front lawn of the X-Mansion.[49] The Horseman Famine uses his powers to cause an intense feeling of hunger and weakness in the mutants and humans on the institute grounds. Apocalypse offers the mutants an elixir: his own blood, provided they join his side.[50] Bent on becoming the new messiah for mutant-kind, Apocalypse approaches the Earth leaders at the United Nations in New York and issues an ultimatum: humanity would destroy ninety percent of its own population, putting man and mutant on level ground in anticipation of the final conflict when the worthy alone would survive - or Apocalypse would unleash his meta-plague on the planet and obliterate all humanity.[51][52]

In the end, Apocalypse's horsemen are lost, Ozymandias betrays him, and he is forced to retreat by a combined assault of the X-Men and the Avengers. Ultimately, it is discovered that the Celestials lent their technology to Apocalypse, requiring as payment greater sufferings later. He attempts to embrace death as an escape from his lifelong pact, only to find himself instantly resurrected and hearing a voice: "We cannot let you die. Not yet. It is time Apocalypse… it is time".[53]

In a future timeline seen in the 2009 storyline "Messiah War", a greatly weakened Apocalypse is attacked by Stryfe and Bishop, but he apparently survives the attack. Afterward, Apocalypse contacts Archangel in the future and begs him to kill him. Archangel refuses and instead hands over some of his techno organic wing blades to him, telling Apocalypse he no longer holds any control over him. Coming into contact with the blades rejuvenates Apocalypse and he offers to join forces with Archangel to kill Stryfe who is on the verge of killing X-Force, Cable, Bishop, as well as Hope Summers.[54] Archangel takes Apocalypse to a Celestial ship, where Apocalypse is then fully restored and wants to avenge what Stryfe did to him.[55] Just as Stryfe is on the verge of taking Hope for himself, Apocalypse and Archangel confront and defeat Stryfe. Apocalypse releases Hope into Cable's care, but says that he will return for her eventually. Apocalypse then drags Stryfe away, intending to use him as a new host body.[56] Stryfe manages to escape and travels back in time to the present.[57]

2010s[edit]

In the 2010 "Heroic Age" storyline, versions of Apocalypse and his Horsemen from a possible future appear in the Avengers Tower after Kang breaks time itself. After a fight with the Avengers, he and his Horsemen disappear.[58]

Apocalypse's followers, the Clan Akkaba, manage to bring about Apocalypse's return, albeit in the form of a child they will indoctrinate. Upon learning of Apocalypse's return, X-Force seeks to kill him, but when they discover he is a child, Psylocke decides to protect him, believing they can rehabilitate him and train him as a force for good. To the shock of the rest of the team, Fantomex fatally shoots the child.[59]

In a 2011 storyline, as X-Force succeed in stopping the Deathloks inside the World, the home of all Weapon projects, it is revealed that Ultimaton, guardian of the World, is keeping watch over an incubating young boy labeled En Sabah Nur, aged 847 days.[60]

During the 2012 storyline "Dark Angel Saga", it is revealed that Apocalypse had fathered a son with Autumn Rolfson and she kept this a secret from Apocalypse out of fear of what he would do to him.[61] At the end of the storyline, it is revealed that Fantomex creates a clone Apocalypse which he helps raise to the age of a teenager in an artificial world, where the clone knows Fantomex as the kindly "Uncle Cluster" who taught him to use his abilities for good. The boy, code-named Genesis, helps X-force fight Archangel and when the battle is over, Fantomex enrolls him in the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.[62]

Evan Sabahnur[edit]

In Wolverine & the X-Men #4 (March 2012), Evan Sabahnur a.k.a. Genesis is admitted as a student to the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning, where his classmates notice his resemblance to Apocalypse. En is worried when a visiting Deathlok, who reveals to the students their likely futures, shows reluctance to do so with Evan. When Evan presses him, Deathlok informs him that this is what Evan is at the school to discover. Deathlok then tells Wolverine that Evan has great potential and may be a great savior, or a conqueror.[63] During a later issue of the series, he is seen building a friendship with the reborn Warren Worthington.[volume & issue needed]

After being called Kid Apocalypse by Kid Omega, Evan begins learning about Apocalypse and is saddened that he himself looks like the villain, raising the possibility of a future that Evan rejects. After saving Angel and discovering that he possesses the ability to see the essence of those he looks upon, Evan asks him to tell him what he sees when he looks at him. Angel tells En he sees only goodness inside him, which makes Evan happy, so he thanks Angel for being a good friend. In fact, Angel lied, as the only thing he could see was the dark image of Apocalypse.[64]

In the last story arc of Uncanny X-Force (vol. 1), a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, led by Wolverine's son Daken, kidnaps Evan during a field trip to Genosha's remains. Hoping to sway the boy into becoming Apocalypse, the Brotherhood reveals to him that he is a clone and tells him of X-Force's assassination of the child En Sabah Nur from which he was cloned and the falsehood of his life under the tutelage of Fantomex. After the Brotherhood reveals that they have killed Fantomex and further tortures Evan, Daken tells En that he has a choice: either immediately ascend as Apocalypse and kill the Brotherhood as revenge for the death of "Uncle Cluster", or let the rest of X-Force die at the Brotherhood's hands to avenge the death of the original boy En Sabah Nur and to prevent X-Force from killing Evan the way they killed Apocalypse and Archangel.[volume & issue needed]

Daken offers Evan a suit of Apocalypse's Celestial armor to do with what he will, secretly planning to control the new Apocalypse through the psychic abilities of the Shadow King. After Deadpool's failed attempt to rescue Evan, the boy dons the Celestial armor to prevent Wolverine's death at Daken's hands and nearly kills Brotherhood members Sabretooth and Mystique. Enraged by the lies he has been told and filled with new-found power from Apocalypse's armor, Evan prepares to attack Wolverine himself, but Wolverine convinces him of the ultimate futility of revenge. Evan is later visited by Deadpool at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Deadpool tells Evan he is not Apocalypse and that Deadpool will always be there for him when he needs him.[65]

Later Deadpool enlists Evan and Quentin's help to help him saving his daughter Eleanor Camacho from the Flag-Smasher, with Evan promising Quentin a bloodbath and some action to motivate him. He manages to save Ellie's life and proposes Deadpool to let Quentin erase from the girl's mind every memory of the ordeal. Deadpool loudly refuses and to Evan's surprise, he hugs him and tells him to stay in school[66]

During the 2014 "AXIS" storyline, Evan is one of many mutants captured by the Red Skull on the island of Genosha.[67] During a fierce battle between the Avengers, the united X-Men, as well as a group of villains who all attempt to defeat the Red Onslaught, Evan assists Kid Omega in preventing Red Onslaught's telepathy from affecting the combined combatants.[68] In the energy released when the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom use the combined power of order and chaos spells to suppress the Red Skull's personality in favor of the sliver of Professor X's that still exists in his brain, Evan ascends to adulthood, stepping out of the rubble with a looming, muscular body and the presence and appearance of Apocalypse. Deadpool even comments on how changed Evan is. When Havok and Cyclops argue with Steve Rogers and the new Captain America over who should take custody of the body of Red Skull, Evan convinces the Summers brothers that Professor X is dead and they have other problems to deal with.[69]

Acting as Apocalypse, 'En' vows to lead the mutants in an uprising, rallying the converted X-Men into helping him take Avengers Tower—now disregarded by the inverted Avengers after they captured almost all other heroes using Pym particles—to use as the site where he will detonate a Celestial-based 'gene-bomb' to wipe out all humans not carrying the X-gene.[70] With only the inverted villains present at the original confrontation to oppose the inverted X-Men and Avengers, the gene bomb is nearly detonated,[71] but is contained thanks to the sacrifice of Carnage.[72] As Apocalypse broods on his failure, the decapitated Deadpool—converted to a peaceful version of himself by the inversion—convinces Apocalypse that now is the time to be heroic, proclaiming that nobody liked En Sabah Nur but everyone appreciated Evan, as he represented the hope that nurture could beat nature. Inspired by Deadpool's words, Apocalypse turns on the X-Men and the Avengers, allowing the Astonishing Avengers (along with non-inverted heroes Steve Rogers and Spider-Man) to retrieve the White Skull and undo the inversion. At the conclusion of the storyline, Evan is shown on the run with Deadpool.[73]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Apocalypse is an ancient mutant born with a variety of superhuman abilities who further augmented himself after merging with Celestial technology. He is an immortal being,[74] with total control over the molecules of his body, enabling him to alter his form as it suits him,[75] such as allowing his body to become extremely malleable and flexible or change his size, enhance his physical abilities, transform his limbs into weapons, wings, or jets, regenerate from fatal injuries, adapt his body to apparently any disease or hostile environment, as well as give himself virtually any superhuman power.[76] He is also able to project and absorb energy, Apocalypse is also capable of technopathy, able to directly interface with the various technologies he has at his disposal. Thanks to the aid of his mutant abilities, special "regeneration" chambers,[77] and changing bodies, Apocalypse has further enhanced his abilities.[78]

So what… this guy's kind of like Mr. Fantastic on steroids? Yeah, his powers have always been sort of nebulous, but as long as he's cutting through X-Men teams like Kirstie Alley through Sizzler, I don't think the fans care.

Frank Tieri, Interview about X-Men: Apocalypse vs Dracula[79]

Aside from his superhuman powers, Apocalypse is extraordinarily intelligent[80] and a scientific genius with knowledge in various areas of science and technology including physics, engineering, genetics, and biology, all of which are more advanced than conventional science.[81] Apocalypse has knowledge of Celestial technology that he uses for his own applications, such as altering mutants or humans. Apocalypse is also a skilled demagogue and a master strategist.[82]

Apocalypse's blood can heal other mutants, but is fatal for humans. Apocalypse's blood can also restore his de-powered mutant descendants as is seen when a large dose of Apocalypse's blood regenerates the lost body part of Chamber and gave him a look similar to Apocalypse.[83]

Other versions[edit]

Apocalypse, as depicted in the pages of X-Men Alpha (February 1995), during the "Age of Apocalypse" storyline. Art by Roger Cruz.

In the "Age of Apocalypse" storyline, Apocalypse awakens ten years before Cable would arrive, witnessing the accidental death of Charles Xavier, attacks humanity and conquers much of the Earth.[84]

In the Mutant X universe, Apocalypse is an ally of the X-Men.[85]

The Ultimate Marvel imprint title features an alternate version of Apocalypse who is an entity worshiped by Sinister.[86] After completing a series of tasks, Sinister is transformed into Apocalypse who intends to conquer the planet. The heroes are unable to defeat him until the Phoenix Force appears and destroys him. Although his abilities are never directly stated in total, he is shown to be capable of negating other mutant powers, adapting mutant powers into his own by exposure to them and "evolving" as he is fought. Following a heavy assault by the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and SHIELD forces, he emerges from an explosion in a red and silver version of his traditional blue cybernetic battle armor. He is also capable of adapting to and overcoming Professor Xavier's psychic assault despite his training during his time in the future with Cable. Cable makes the most concrete implication that evolving is the major element of his powers when he remarks that Xavier must kill Apocalypse quickly before he adapts to his attacks and becomes immune to the telepathy.[87] Apocalypse is finally dispelled by Phoenix[88] while leaving an alive Mr. Sinister. His actual nature is unknown: he proclaims himself to be the first mutant (like in the mainstream series) and Phoenix readings portray him as an ancient being, but this is later contradicted by Nick Fury's revelation in Ultimatum,[89] that explains mutants are a recent creation of the humans. He later appears again as part of Sinister's psychosis.[90]

In Uncanny X-Force, the character is reborn as a child being raised by a secret society. The first four issues are referred to as the Apocalypse Solution. It concludes with a very different approach than other X-Men comics. In the issues that follow Apocalypse is still the team's main focus even though he isn't present and they are off fighting other enemies. A clone of Apocalypse is kept inside 'The World', a device under the protection of Fantomex that has a different flow of time. Here Fantomex incubates the clone, raising him in a virtual reality world in the hopes that raising him as a good person will in turn cause him to be good when he is released. Also with Apocalypse absent the "Death Seed" planted in Angel (through Apocalypse's transformation and experiments) is growing stronger and taking over, forcing Warren to become Archangel (former horseman of Apocalypse). It is said that he is the Heir to Apocalypse and that the Uncanny X-Men must travel to the Age of Apocalypse universe to find a "Life Seed" (left by the Celestials) to reverse Warren's ascension.[volume & issue needed]

In the House of M universe created by Scarlet Witch, Apocalypse was installed as the ruler of North Africa by Magneto. He was apparently killed by Black Bolt after a failed attempt to assassinate King T'Challa at Magneto's behest.[91]

The character appears in a number of What If...? issues.[92]

During the Apocalypse Wars, the Extraordinary X-Men are forced to travel to thousand of years into Earth's future in order to rescue Colossus and his team of young mutants after they were investigating the sudden appearance of six hundred new mutant signatures in Tokyo. Arriving into Earth's future, the X-Men found themselves in a destroyed New York City and soon discovered that at some point Apocalypse had risen and what remained of Earth after his ascension became the Omega World, a huge structure composed of bubble worlds. The ones who survived the Great Trials lived on Omega World under Apocalypse's rule as he functioned as the Omega World's heart, maintaining it alive, while his Horsemen functioned as its antibodies, cleansing the structure of anything that could harm their master. Omega World crumbled as the result of Apocalypse being fatally wounded by Nightcrawler. Storm was forced to take Apocalypse back to the present with them so they could undone the transformation of Colossus, who was turned into a Horseman. Its left unknown if this Apocalypse was actually a future version Evan or Apocalypse himself using a new host body.

In other media[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]