The original Age of Apocalypse crossover covered the entire X-Men line 20 years ago. The story explored an alternate timeline where Xavier was killed before forming the X-Men. Magneto then started the mutant team, and Apocalypse pretty much took over the world. While it’s not perfect, the event is definitely worth a read for any fans of the franchise. 20 years later, Marvel is undergoing a company-wide event that allows many of their most famous events to enjoy a revisiting. Who better to revisit the ream of Apocalypse than one of the crossover’s main writers, Fabian Nicieza?
While Age of Apocalypse 1 captures the same dark mood that the original thrived on, this is obviously not the same domain. In the original, Sabretooth was a respected member of the X-Men. Here, he’s one of Apocalypse’s top hunters. In the original, Mr. Sinister secretly worked against Apocalypse. Here, he’s a loyal servant and one of the ancient mutant’s horsemen. But most importantly, Doom has confined Apocalypse’s domain to the handful of territories he’s already taken over.
This is a great comic though. It wastes no time with jumping into the action, pitting the X-Men against Holocaust (Apocalypse’s nuclear-powered son.) The story is from Doug Ramsey’s perspective, which works very well for digging into the mysteries behind Apocalypse’s domain. As he switches hands several times during the comic, he listens to all the conversations going on around him. Thanks to his mutant ability of understanding any language, he soon learns of a threat that could potentially destroy everyone.
This is a very 90’s-ish comic, but in the best ways. The focus on action gives this comic a fast pace. The Narrations explain characters’ powers, but in a way that’s not intrusive or overly wordy. Most importantly though, the art by Gerardo Sandoval is straight out of the 90’s. Many of the characters have exaggerated mullets, with their hair flying all over the place in the middle of fight scenes. Some characters, like Sabretooth, have exaggerated muscles and beastlike faces. There’s a lot of detail, whether in people’s post-apocalyptic outfits or the destroyed buildings in the background. The action also flows well, and in quieter scenes, little touches in the background help enhance the storytelling. It might be 90’s style artwork, but it’s good 90’s artwork.
Fans of the original Age of Apocalypse should at least give this a chance. Much more than the miniseries that came out in 2005, this feels like a proper anniversary special. Since this isn’t the same storyline however, you won’t be lost if you haven’t read the original.