It is the year of 1459 and Vlad Tepes otherwise called Vlad the Impaler is the notorious tyrant historians remember. He and his army are waging war with . They are victorious but as victory stands theirs the enemy retreats and a new foe approaches. It is the army of myth….the dark Riders…..servants of the immortal Apocalypse. Lead by the incarnation of “War” Apocalypse’s Horseman, Vlads army is cut down and those surviving flee. Not one to be easily deterred he decides to fight on alone but he too is struck down and mighty Apocalypse crushes him under his heel.
In present day Egypt Ozymandias Opens a secret cavern and checks in with his lord Apocalypse who sleeps in his rejuvenation chamber. He remembers the last time Apocalypse rose to save the mutant race.
1897 a young woman is found in an alley with strange puncture marks on her neck and the body being drained of blood. The two officers also find a small hieroglyphic tattoo on the dead body which they connect with an affluent family in town. Jack starsmore another officer arrives on the scene late and tries to convince his fellow officers not to bother the wealthy family but they decide they will follow through nonetheless. From the shadows a mysterious man watches.
Once at the house they speak with Hamilton Slade who tells them the history of the tattoo in question and about the descendants of Apocalypse before revealing his own tattoo exactly the same but far bigger. The tattoo’s it turns out are given at birth with the stronger the Apocalyptic bloodline the bigger the tattoo it also is a class system within the clan. More Apocalypse Blood equals higher status. He then slaughters the police and reveals that starsmore is his underling since his Apocalyptic bloodline is less than . Starsmore says the clan is under attack and they should summon Apocalypse Slade refuses, in his arrogance he thinks himself Apocalypse’s equal and thus decides to put an end to the attack on the clan himself. He then went missing and Starsmore convinced the council to summon Apocalypse. This they did but Apocalypse was not fully rejuvenated when summoned.
Apocalypse has always been a fascinating villain and here we get a history of his bloodline, his descendants and how they fit into the world at large. We also get lovely Easter eggs with the introduction of Jack Starsmore who is obviously an ancestor of Generation-x/X-men member Chamber. The story also set things up for him to be Apocalypsefied in Excalibur and later be thrown into the new warriors…. only to fall into limo. The brief flashback to a living Dracula’s defat at the hands of Apocalypse and his dark riders was also a nice touch which set things up for Dracula’s revenge during the series.
When this series originally came out everyone was skeptical right across the internet on every message board, BUT the series worked surprisingly well even in this first issue. There was also concern over the artist used since Clayton Henry had a very comicbook/cartoony vibe and most would have expected a more dark and somber tone. I can say without reservation that Clayton’s art was one of the highlights of the book it added much needed depth that could not be achieved by a somber/gritty/dark art.
I also liked the cover which was more up the alley of what you would expect inside the comic it showed a clash of the titans Dracula and Apocalypse with Apocalypse seemingly taking the brunt of the beating.
Most readers wrote the story off before they ever read it. Such a pity
Overall a surprisingly above average comic with great art a budding story and great promise a 3/5 stars