In the last issue, Young Beast’s time travel experiments ended up sending both himself and Evan back to Ancient Egypt. This is further proof that attempting time travel in the Marvel Universe is a bad idea, even if good stories can and have come from it. As a result, this Apocalypse Wars tie-in focuses on Evan as he meets a young Apocalypse. It’s a great concept for a story if you like Evan as a character, not to mention that the previous issue was a great character study for him, but concept alone doesn’t make for a good comic. Let’s see how writer Dennis Hopeless handles this concept.
The previous issue ended with Beast getting captured by those who follow Apocalypse’s father, while Evan is snuck away by Apocalypse. The interactions between Evan and Apocalypse are quite interesting in this issue. I haven’t read the Rise of Apocalypse story in a long time, but if I remember, it started off with Apocalypse in his later teen years, so this doesn’t really contradict anything. Here, young Apocalypse is still a relatively innocent child who’s trying to run away before his father forces his murderous ways on him. For someone who’s already questioning his destiny a lot, this is bound to affect Evan’s psyche.
As well-written as Evan’s scenes are, this issue isn’t perfect. For one, a tie-in to Apocalypse Wars should probably include the entire All-New X-Men team, yet there are only two of them. Sure, one of young Apocalypse’s friends is drawn kind of like Laura, but she’s a different character entirely (and I don’t just mean the way Hopeless is mischaracterizing All-New Wolverine so far). Beast’s scenes aren’t as good as Evan’s since Beast spends most of his time confused and unable to communicate with anyone, but they do help move the plot along and show some of the savagery that Apocalypse is trying to flee.
The art by Mark Bagley is great. The character design is well-varied, from the creepy looking priest who’s interrogating Beast to the Laura lookalike with a pirate style uniform. The environmental detail is often impressive, like the creepy priest’s tent full of ancient lab-like equipment and his pet cobra in the background, the docks full of market stands, and a variety of buildings and ships for hire. There isn’t that much action, but it’s easy to follow despite it being somewhat chaotic.
Although I’d rather see the entire All-New X-Men team in Ancient Egypt, this is still a good comic. It shows us a side of Apocalypse’s childhood we haven’t seen before (as far as I can recall), while giving us a good character study for Evan. If you like Evan, this issue is definitely worth checking out.