The Marvel universe is home to a multitude of characters, consisting of both men and women, who are either human by nature, individuals who are mutated from birth or by accident, yet still possess super-human abilities, robotic/ mechanical creations, or simply alien beings from other worlds. These characters make up a long list of heroes and an even longer list of villains; all of whom exist primarily in their own individual pockets within the aforementioned universe. One of the main and most popular pockets of the Marvel universe happens to be the one which deals with the existence of mutants, individuals born with a gene that gives them powers, and focuses primarily on the heroic mutant group known as the X-Men who often battle against more villainous mutants.
Of all the enemies the X-Men have faced, possibly their most dangerous adversary has been the mutant known as Apocalypse. Apocalypse, who was born in ancient Egypt, is quite possibly the first ever mutant to be born, and possesses incredible powers that are augmented by the advanced technology left behind by an alien race that he has at his disposal. This May will see the live-action debut of Apocalypse in the movie X-Men: Apocalypse, and to mark this occasion, it is fitting for people who are both fans of the comics and those who are not familiar with them, to get some more insight about this titular villain. Here is a list of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About X-Men’s Apocalypse.
10. Professor X’s Death started “The Age of Apocalypse”
The story known as “Age of Apocalypse,” is considered by many to be one of the best and most acclaimed events of the entire X-Men comic book series; and involves an alternate universe in which Apocalypse ruled everything. This timeline was created thanks to Legion, the mutant son of Charles Xavier, who went back in time in order to kill Magneto before he could become an opposition to the X-Men. Things went horribly wrong though, and Legion instead of killing Magneto, killed his father by mistake; with the confrontation itself releasing so much mutant power, that it was enough to wake Apocalypse up from his cryo-sleep. After waking up, Apocalypse, who had no real heroes standing in his way due to the X-Men not existing at the time because of Xavier’s death, went on to easily conquer the United States and established a cruel dystopic reality for years. Things were so bad that the only way Apocalypse was able to be defeated, was for Magneto to assemble an X-Men group from that reality, and travel back in time to kill Legion before his actions could lead to Apocalypse’s awakening.
9. Apocalypse Battled Thor
Traditionally, Apocalypse only battles the X-Men, but there have been instances where he has fought other heroes, including the God of Thunder and Avenger Thor. This fight took place during the Middle Ages, and occurred in Uncanny Avengers #6, an issue which saw Avengers’ villain Kang the Conquerer travel back in time where he manipulated Apocalypse into trying to kill Thor in order to keep the Asgardian from becoming a threat to him in the future. During their confrontation, Thor, who at this time, had still not been given his trusted hammer, was unable to break through Apocalypse’s celestial armor with his own power. The entire confrontation however was a trick, one that forced Thor into having to create a new weapon that was capable of breaking through the ancient mutant’s armor. Thor managed to create this weapon in time, and was able to wound and defeat Apocalypse, who retreated afterwards and decided to abandon his pursuit for Thor’s head.
8. Apocalypse Is A Turning Point For X-Men
It is not a secret that for many years, the relationship between Marvel and Fox has not been a friendly one. With the success of their cinematic universe, Marvel has wished that Fox would sell back the movie rights of the X-Men franchise for years now, but Fox has not seemed at all interested in any sort of deal with Marvel. Combine that with the fact that the two companies have sued each other in the past because of a television show that had nothing to do with the X-Men series, and it is no wonder that Marvel seemed to have sidelined their X-Men comics. With the impending release of the new movie X-Men: Apocalypse though, it seems that Marvel and Fox may have made some sort of amends. The reasoning behind this, is because Marvel has recently started a comic book event called “Apocalypse Wars” that will run during and after the new movie’s release; and Marvel, who has tried to tie in comic plots with their movies, has never done so with the X-Men comics and movies, even in the year 2000 when they were still on relatively good terms with Fox. It may be a stretch, but it is possible that Apocalypse’s big-screen debut may be the foundation of some sort of future agreement between Fox and Marvel that could see a reemergence of many X-Men comic book stories.
7. He’s The Most Dangerous Mutant Ever
Anyone who watched the X-Men Animated Series back in the 90s, remembers just how awesome it was seeing Apocalypse fight the X-men. At times, Apocalypse seemed utterly unbeatable what with his ‘immortality’, and his ability to control all of his body’s molecules, which allowed him to change size, instantly heal, and transform parts of his body into terrible weapons. Based on the trailers for the new X-men movie, it appears that Apocalypse will be sporting at least some of these powers in the film. The movie will also feature a powerset for Apocalypse that was introduced in the Ultimate Universe event released in the early 2000s, which gave Apocalypse the power to take control of the minds of mutants and manipulate them. There may be many dangerous mutants around, but none can be as dangerous as one who is nearly unkillable who can take over the minds of the other dangerous mutants to do his bidding.
6. Apocalypse Was A Slave
It is true that Apocalypse is an ancient mutant from Egypt who may very well be immortal, but for quite some time, not much was known about his backstory; that is, until “The Rise Of Apocalypse” miniseries revealed his harsh history. He was born with the mutant X-gene which left him with grey skin and blue lips from birth, and this appearance led to him being abandoned by his people. He gets rescued by a raider named Baal who names him En Sabah Nur (The First One) and brings him into The Sandstormers, the group who imparted onto him the philosophy of “survival of the fittest.” The time travelling villain, Kang the Conqueror, comes to Egypt and assumes the identity of pharaoh Rama-Tut; and attempts to kill En Sabah Nur because he knows who he will later become. The attempt ultimately kills Baal, but not before Baal can reveal to Nur the hidden advanced alien technology that Apocalypse is known for using. He vows to get revenge on Rama-Tut, and does so by entering the Pharaoh’s city by impersonating as a slave; it is during this time that his mutant powers fully awaken, and successfully makes Rama-Tut flee. He later takes on the name of Apocalypse.
5. Apocalypse Was Initially The Owl
Apocalypse makes his first appearance in X-Factor #5 as a shadowy figure, and is first mentioned by name in the next issue, where he is revealed to be the mastermind behind a conspiracy that the X-Factor team (the reassembled original incarnation of the X-Men) had to face. As it turns out, Bob Layton, the first X-Factor writer, had originally planned for the main villain of that story to be a criminal mastermind known as The Owl. Layton however, left after the fifth issue and was replaced by Louise Simonson who was convinced by then editor Bob Harras to introduce a first class “Magneto-level villain” who would raise the stakes and give purpose to the X-Factor team’s existence; and Apocalypse was that character.
4. Apocalypse Is Immortal
When Apocalypse was first introduced, he was initially intended to be an immortal mutant, and based on the fact that he is at least 5000 years old, it is safe to say that he is indeed immortal. His immortality however, does not stem from one factor alone. His ability to manipulate his body’s molecules, allows him to regenerate fatal injuries, as well as making his body immune to diseases and harsh environments; it also helps that he has his own rejuvenation chamber (a sarcophagus-like device made from the technology left behind by an alien race).which allows him to regain his strength and heal injuries that his own abilities are unable to heal. Another way he has maintained his immortality is by transferring his soul from one body to another, as seen in The Adventures Of Cyclops And Phoenix event, which saw an old and dying Apocalypse trying to place his soul into the body of Stryfe; this method was also seen during “The Twelve” arc, which saw him possess Cyclop’s body.
3. Apocalypse Turns X-Men into Horsemen
Throughout the ages, Apocalypse is almost always followed closely by his four horsemen, a group of powerful individuals who have either willingly or forcibly been genetically and mentally modified to serve him. These four horsemen are often his most elite soldiers and are integral pieces to his plans. In quite a few instances, he has been able to recruit, in one way or another, several members of the X-Men into becoming one of his horsemen. The X-Men’s Angel lost his wings and was badly injured during a battle, which caused him to nearly commit suicide after falling into a deep depression; but he was ‘saved’ by Apocalypse, who gave him new artificial wings and named him his Archangel of Death. Wolverine became a horsemen after Apocalypse made him duel Sabertooth for the position, he then restored Wolverine’s adamantium which had been ripped out of his body earlier by Magneto. Gambit and Colossus have at one point also been made horsemen; with Storm being the latest X-Men member to be recruited, as she will serve as one of the horsemen in X-Men: Apocalypse.
2. Apocalypse Represents Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism is a societal theory which applies the theory of evolution to society as a whole. The theory suggests that “survival of the fittest” should not only apply to nature, but to humanity as well; meaning that those who belong to a more powerful segment of society, are “fitter” and should therefore be allowed to survive, while those who belong to weaker segments should not. Apocalypse, believes that only the strong should survive, which is why he puts in place a global iron-clad rule, that sees only the most powerful individuals in command, regardless if they are human or mutant. In a world ruled by Apocalypse, if you are considered weak, you are dead, it is as simple as that. In a recent arc of Uncanny X-Men, Apocalypse’s ideology is on full display with his followers known as the Dark Riders, hunting down mutants who have healing powers, they do this because they believe that these individuals have the ability to subvert the natural order by aiding those who are weakened by injury and sickness to survive.
1. Apocalypse Made The Hulk His Horseman
As mentioned earlier, Apocalypse is almost always accompanied by his four horsemen, a group of four individuals who he deems to be the most powerful; but as we all know however, not all of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe are mutants. The Hulk is one such being, who was taken in by Apocalypse after fighting the X-Men in their mansion, and being named as the horseman of War. During his time as a horseman, Hulk was given weapons as well as a helmet which shielded his mind from the distracting spirit of his abusive father; he also went up against the X-Man Cable and fought the Juggernaut. Apocalypse was unable to hold onto Hulk for as long as he likely wanted to though, as the big green guy left Apocalypse’s side after injuring his friend Rick Jones.