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From the Age of Apocalypse to the Age of X

How did this mirror universe shape the X-Men's world? And what more can come from it?

Will these X-dopplegangers become refuges in the Marvel universe too?    

Since we’re on the cusp another spiritual sequel to AGE OF APOCALYPSE with AGE OF X, I figured it was appropriate to reflect on this mega-crossover that left so lasting an imprint on our favorite mutants’ milieu. As of 2011, Earth-295 (the classification in Marvel’s multiverse) is 16 years old and it’s overlapped so much with Earth-616 (the regular Marvel universe) that it’s easy to lose track of just how many now well-established parts of the X-mythos originated there.

Most obviously, there’s the handful of refugees who fled into the M’Kraan Crystal and wound up in the ol’ 616. Dark Beast and the Sugar Man escaped to the past, where they respectively shaped the fates of the Morlocks and Genosha. The evil Hank McCoy even stole the identity of the good one (the real McCoy, as it were) for a period as a sleeper agent in the X-Men and recently served in Norman Osborn’s Dark X-Men. X-Man and Holocaust continued their feud into the then-present before going off on their own, drastically-different paths. Nate Grey would parlay his outsider status into an Adam Warlock-like role as shaman of the mutant tribe while the sometimes-Nemesis joined the multiverse-hopping Exiles. And, of course, that team’s ranks already included the likes of the AOA Blink, Sabretooth, Morph and Wild Child.

With time, the regular X-Men’s relationships and appearances came to better resemble their dark mirrors'. While hinted at before, Rogue and Magneto’s romantic feelings went full-bore in that world and subsequently resumed in the on-and-off tension they currently have in X-MEN LEGACY. The formerly-deformed mutant Chamber eventually gained a mouth and jaw as the New Warriors’ Decibel to match his babyface AOA counterpart. And the current hot-plate Sunfire and bald-is-beautiful Bishop looks both debuted in this Earth where Xavier never lived to found the X-Men.

Even with all the lasting consequences I've just listed, there are still loose ends from this alternate reality that I’d love to see addressed, like… == TEASER ==

A 616 Equivalent of Holocaust  

Characters like Abyss, Mondo, Rex and Vincente were actually introduced in the AOA before their 616 counterparts. Out of these, Holocaust was definitely the stand-out, carrying with him the title of son of Apocalypse that I’ve always been intrigued by. Was he really En Sabah Nur’s biological son, or was it a more figurative title? Holocaust was actually hinted at a year or two before the crossover in the pages of STRYFE’S STRIKE FILES, but a 616 has curiously never been revealed. A lot of fans have guessed that it might actually be Gene Nation's Fever Pitch since they're both skeletal and incendiary, but that's still just a speculation. Somebody set the record straight!

A Heroic Exodus  

Part of the fun of the AOA, of course, was seeing character's morality inverted. Heroes like Havok, Cannonball and Domino were evil in this world, while villains like Toad and Sauron were good. In some cases, these face turns (as they would say in wrestling) would repeat in the regular 'verse as out-and-out heels like Juggernaut, Mystique and Sabretooth eventually swung a little more to the light side as members of the X-Men. However, the one that wasn't explored as deeply as I would've liked (he was omitted in X-MEN: PRIME and the sequel mini-series!) was the heroic version of Exodus, Magneto’s fanatical, uber-powered acolyte and a test subject of Apocalypse's. That he's continued to be such a dastardly fiend over the years makes this even more intriguing, if only to see how his strange opposites-attract relationship with Dazzler would've worked out.  Then again, maybe it'd make for a too powerful hero, which is probably why you'd never want to see Iceman or Madrox get as amped as their AOA versions. 

The Mauraders                                                      

Much like DC's later Tangent crossover, another novelty was seeing familiar names used by different characters. For instance, Logan went by Weapon X while one of Apocalypse's completely-unrelated Horseman went by Wolverine. My favorite example of this was in X-UNIVERSE, a two issue mini that showed how non-mutant characters like Gwen Stacy and Victor von Doom handled life in this world. These heroes were bedeviled by the Marauders, who weren't actually servants of Mr. Sinister but a paramilitary take on Spider-Man's foes. We have seen the Sinister Six mass into a larger unit and the Hood command a whole mob of super-villains, but I still think it'd be pretty cool to see an actually army of villains who've standardized all these outlandish gimmicks into issued weapons. 

There you have it. I'm sure I've missed some remainders from the AOA and I'm sure you maniacs have some ideas about characters, things and ideas you'd like to see escape that world too. Let's hear 'em!

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

   

37 Comments
Posted by dondasch

I have such great memories of reading the Age of Apocalypse.  Really one of the last Marvel titles/crossovers I ever had any interest in reading.  What about Legion ?

Posted by Danial79

Can't say I really like alternate-reality stories. Give me continuity any day!

Posted by longbowhunter

Age Of Apocalypse was a big deal to me. I read it when it first came out and loved it. A few years ago I reread it and discovered it still holds up really well.
Posted by Mercy_

I love alternate universe stories. I plan on buying up the AoA books. 

Moderator
Posted by Mtti

With Ultimate Marvel and the dreaded Movie Universe thing up ahead, alternate stories are just diluted nowadays, although I am definatly intrigued by Age of X and eager to read.
 
In the end its up to story telling and if the writer has the chops to pull it off.

Posted by SC

AOA was beautiful. Really build up a nice level of tension, so many little subplots running though out, and i felt such a real sense of danger for all these characters. The sacrifices here were terrificly executed. I won't name details, since it looks like some people haven't read AOA yet (woah, really? Come on people! Do it! lol) but the last couple of issues, where things start pulling back together again, the part with Angel... then Nate... the Wolverine... then Magneto... then Jean... if AOX, is half as awesome, I'm gonna be trippin off happy fumes for many weeks to come. 

Moderator
Posted by comicbikerscott

i hope this is a good sequal
Posted by G-Man
Staff
Edited by spider-man 2996

Sounds cool but probly wouldnt get it
Posted by Green Skin

Actually the Morph from Exiles is not the same one from AoA.  Blink mentions a few times in that series that he is not the Morph from her world.

Posted by Violet-Eyed Dragon

most of the characters who gained fame in age of apocalypse are depowered due to m-day.  i would like to see a holocaust though (it probably was fever pitch).  
it also seems likely that apocalypse has had thousands of children throughout time.  im sure most of them either died out or were depowered, but i would like to see who they all were.  

Posted by thiagofonseca

None of the characters seem good. AOA had good characters, good costumes and all, but his Age of X doesn't even make me wnat to look at it.

Posted by thecheckeredman

AOA was what made me stop reading the X-Books.

Posted by Edamame
@Tom Pinchuk: Holocaust, like Stryfe, is Apocalypse's adopted son. That is my understanding.
Posted by TDK_1997

I hope that Age of X will be interesting

Online
Posted by Doctor!!!!!

The age of X should stay in their own universe.... They're just to many versions of heroes and villians running around the MU...Just Sayin'

Posted by LitosWay357
@thiagofonseca: i agree to an extent but  do want to know how other characters like spider-man and captain america fit into this whole universe if they do at all. Also the catalyst for AoX doesn't seem wide scale enough to affect other marvel character histories.
Posted by Dr. Detfink

AoA had a purpose in that without Xavier, the children of the atom were led by Magneto to oppose Apocalypse. Hence, Charles had relevance. The art was a bit off. For such dark time, there were more punchy colors than the Gay parade in NYC. Also this is where artists like Joe Mad who learned to draw from anime/manga artists got work. Now, they yesterday's news. 
 
Seems to me, Age of X is Axel's vain attempt to boost sales by recycling the past...and they need a hit because the Vampire story didn't exactly turn heads because not enough people cared about Jubilee being a vampire.

Posted by The Devil Tiger

Age of Apocalypse was ubercool, frankly. I beginned to get really into comics with this.

Posted by _Sojourn_

Just saying one thing... That face cover picture is awesome

Posted by Carolina574

If nothing else the X-Men come up with great alternate reality stories... AoA, Days of Future Past, House of M, even the whole Cable/Rachel Summers timelines. I am looking forward to this Age of X the more and more i hear about it. 

Posted by ArtisticNeedham

The cool ones will, and eventually be retconned or forgotten if it doesn't work.
I can recognise most of the X-Men characters, 
I like

Age of X: Basilisk (Cyclops)
Age of X: Magneto
these redesigns.  The idea that Cyclops's eye wear can be remade into a samurai  type mask is cool.  And i lioke Magneto's all silver armored look.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Is this like a Return to the Age of Apocalypse?  Where we see what happened without Xavier being there?  I am not clear on the story yet.
Posted by foxglove

I loved AoA as a kid. It had some of the best redesigns the X-men have ever had. 
I'm super psyched for Age of X.

Posted by umbrafeline

is the age of x the future of the aoa?
Posted by Virus_Warning

I love that Rex is mentioned in this ^^
Anyway, AoA is my favorite alternate universe story but I like the idea a whole lot
Age of X looks like it'll be really good too, so I can't wait for it to come out
-Virus

Posted by Eyz

"Will these X-dopplegangers become refuges in the Marvel universe too? "
 
I hope not... :/
Everybody and their mother's living in the 616 and leaving their native post-apocalyptic universe away...
Though I'd like a bit more mutants in Marvel's current universe.

Posted by JonesDeini
@Dr. Detfink said:
" AoA had a purpose in that without Xavier, the children of the atom were led by Magneto to oppose Apocalypse. Hence, Charles had relevance. The art was a bit off. For such dark time, there were more punchy colors than the Gay parade in NYC. Also this is where artists like Joe Mad who learned to draw from anime/manga artists got work. Now, they yesterday's news.   Seems to me, Age of X is Axel's vain attempt to boost sales by recycling the past...and they need a hit because the Vampire story didn't exactly turn heads because not enough people cared about Jubilee being a vampire. "
Agree, this is cash grab by Marvel. If nothing else, the art's pretty though. 
Posted by ddaann1985
@foxglove:   
I was crazy for Age of Apocalypse too.... i was 10 at the time and i think it was my first big comic event, at the time I had no idea what was going on, but i knew it was good!! :)
Posted by fullofmetal

.... I'm not the only one who thinks that Gambit resembles Solid Snake in this new Age of X thing, am I?

Posted by Pizawle

I enjoy alt. universe tales but bringing over characters and events to the main U is terrible.

Posted by The Stegman

ugh i JUST started reading x men at the start of second coming...i have no idea who these characters are, i'm so confused...

Posted by xerox_kitty
@The Stegman: Sometimes that's a fun way to get to know characters.  I was introduced to so many new faces during the original Age of Apocalypse so I then had fun learning about who they really were & what they were really like afterwards :)
Moderator
Posted by unicornpuncher

AOA had some great stories (ie: generation next, gambi and the x-ternals), but the whole thing was kind of overwhelming with how many parts there were.
 
Im excited for age of X.  Kind of bummed to be taking away from New Mutants storyline just as it was starting to get good, but this alt universe should be really cool.  I just want to see what is going to cause it to happen and cause it to break.
 
Whats going to be happening in the other books while this alt-universe is happening?

Posted by Grendel

 Really, I don't understand why anyone thought the Holocaust in Stryfe's Strike Files was anyone but the AOA version. It's a fanboy goof that's been being said for years. It was some good foreshadowing back when the X-offices ran a tighter ship and Stryfe was a time traveler, so of course he knew who he was beforehand.  But never meant to be an entirely different person especially taking into the equation the convoluted process in which Nemesis became Holocaust.
 
Holocaust even looks like he did in Stryfe's Strike File when he is first discovered by asteroid M and kills Rusty Collins. Having ANOTHER son of Apocalypse be born in 616 and have the damage done to his body to make look like he did in AOA would be such cheap and shoddy storytelling. Just bring back the AOA Holocaust, even Mike Carey once suggested with his powers that we haven't seen the last of him despite the death by snorting. 
 
And the Apocalypse of the far-flung future of The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix even hints at having a feud with him.

Posted by Timandm
@JonesDeini: I could not agree with you more!!! 

"Seems to me, Age of X is Axel's vain attempt to boost sales by recycling the past...and they need a hit because the Vampire story didn't exactly turn heads because not enough people cared about Jubilee being a vampire. "

Age of X served no real purpose, and told nothing new...  It's more of the same old, same old...

The world hates and fears mutants because mutants are a result of evolution (a normal process that will continue as long as humans exist...) so they hunt them down, kill them, or imprison them...  YAWNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.....

Does this REALLY make sense in a world inundated with super humans?

- We LOVE the human torch (flame powers and flight) but HATE Sunfire and Firestar (flame powers and flight.)

- We LOVE Luke Cage, Doc Samson, and She-Hulk (invulnerability and super strength) but HATE Warpath (invulnerability and super strength.)

- We LOVE Ms. Marvel (invulnerability, super strength, flight and energy absorption) but we HATE M, Monet St. Croix (iinvulnerability, super strength, flight, and telepathy)

Does this make any real sense at all?  We hate you because of the WAY your powers came to be?  Even though it's possible our children will have powers via the same mechanism?  Even though if we annihilated every living mutant, mutations would occur again naturally in the future?

Marvel PLEASE change your tune or at least put a new slant on it...

Thanks for letting me rant...
Posted by JonesDeini
@Timandm said:
@JonesDeini: I could not agree with you more!!! 

"Seems to me, Age of X is Axel's vain attempt to boost sales by recycling the past...and they need a hit because the Vampire story didn't exactly turn heads because not enough people cared about Jubilee being a vampire. "Age of X served no real purpose, and told nothing new...  It's more of the same old, same old...The world hates and fears mutants because mutants are a result of evolution (a normal process that will continue as long as humans exist...) so they hunt them down, kill them, or imprison them...  YAWNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.....Does this REALLY make sense in a world inundated with super humans?- We LOVE the human torch (flame powers and flight) but HATE Sunfire and Firestar (flame powers and flight.)- We LOVE Luke Cage, Doc Samson, and She-Hulk (invulnerability and super strength) but HATE Warpath (invulnerability and super strength.)- We LOVE Ms. Marvel (invulnerability, super strength, flight and energy absorption) but we HATE M, Monet St. Croix (iinvulnerability, super strength, flight, and telepathy)Does this make any real sense at all?  We hate you because of the WAY your powers came to be?  Even though it's possible our children will have powers via the same mechanism?  Even though if we annihilated every living mutant, mutations would occur again naturally in the future?Marvel PLEASE change your tune or at least put a new slant on it...Thanks for letting me rant...
HA! Tell'em why you mad, son!!! lol

In retrospect it seems that AoX will have tangible effects in Legacy. In fact the follow up issue does a great job of showing the mental and emotional damage everybody suffered. Now overall I agree that the event itself really didn't move me because, well, we've heard this song before. I really wish the Marvel U would do something more interesting with the X-Men's/mutant kind's relationship to "normal" humans. I wrote a blog a little while ago about this very subject. I mean I'd be more worried about What Tony Stark/Reed Richards could do with their vast intellects more so than Angel having wings. 
Posted by Timandm
@JonesDeini: @JonesDeini said:
I wrote a blog a little while ago about this very subject. I mean I'd be more worried about What Tony Stark/Reed Richards could do with their vast intellects more so than Angel having wings. 
Abso-freaking-lutely!!!
 
We've seen one example of what the two of them can do in Civil Wars...  They both blatantly violated civil rights and used their brilliance to do so.  Stark even told Peter Parker that civil rights did not apply in the negative zone.  Basically he was saying that he could treat prisoners in the negative zone any way he wanted...  And now, they once again secretly have two of the infinity gems...
 
Can you imagine if Marvel started writing things such that people hated and feared those who were brilliant???  LOL!!!