X-Men: Apocalypse opens in cinemas next week and promises something of a mega mix of mutants from the Marvel comics with “original” team members Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast and Angel, later additions like Nightcrawler, Storm and long time fan requested favourite Jubilee all joining the fray
If, however, you’re wondering just who this Apocalypse guy is that they are facing off against, we’ve got you covered with our “Apocalypse 101”.
Apocalypse has been one of the most feared enemies of the attendees of Charles Xavier’s Schools for Gifted Children however when he first made his appearance the X-Men were in many ways very different to how they are today, and yet very similar at the same time.
The Menace Of Apocalypse
Apocalypse made his début in the 1986 comic X-Factor which chronicled the continuing adventures of the original X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Angel & Iceman). They had been around so long at this point that some of them had retired (Cyclops), others were appearing regularly in other comic books (Beast, Iceman) and one of them was undergoing what was then, the first of her many, deaths (Jean Grey/Marvel Girl/Phoenix/Dark Phoenix).
At the suggestion, and funding, of Warren Worthington III, aka Angel, the team reunited to help new mutants learn to control their powers once again. This time, however, under the guise of “X-Factor”, a supposedly human, mutant-hunting team who, like the Ghostbusters, would offer to rid anyone of their mutant annoyances safely for a few dollars. What they did was to harbour the new mutants and train them to use their abilities (the 80’s were weird, for comics and in general).
Apocalypse first appeared as a shadowy figure bearing some resemblance to a wrestler wearing a black bin bag and some rings before revealing himself to the team with his now signature look, which like Deadpool‘s, remains almost unchanged to this day, apart from some added stylization over the years.
Apocalypse, was a strangely ineffectual villain in his first few appearances, regularly relying on lackeys to do his dirty work. They were usually trounced by X-Factor after which he would, like a playground bully, profess that his defeat was all part of a greater scheme to promote the survival of the fittest, the fittest, in this case, being the mutant homo superior, Apocalypse himself in particular.