What the Alt?!?! Age of Apocalypse
Hey There Fellow Geeks!
So if you’ve followed some of my articles or our podcasts, you’ve probably realized that I kinda dig the concept of “The Alt”…What’s an Alt? It’s an alternate timeline, maybe the future or the past, it’s a parallel world that vibrates at a different frequency than our own, it’s a place where almost everything seems “right,” but there is that one thing that stands out and makes you go “What the Alt!” So in this new series I plan to explore various Alternate Worlds, Realities, and Futures and clue you in to some really cool ideas and concepts out there in the geek world. Does this sound appealing? Good, then keep on reading!
Again, the concept of a different world is not new at all and has been employed in Comic Books over and over again and was even the basis of Fox’s Days of Future Past movie from this summer. Their movie had the simple concept of “If we change the past, then we can have an entirely different future” also known as the Butterfly Effect. It’s something that people buy into quite easily and makes for some really compelling storytelling. Hell, just look at Fringe, a show entirely based on the concept of parallel earths on a national network was just friggin’ awesome!
So let’s talk about one, in fact it’s one that holds a special place in my heart because it was the one that really got me into Alternate Realities in the first place; 1995’s Age of Apocalypse!
OK, so it’s the mid 90’s and X-Men are hot and making anything X-Related is basically a license to print money so what does Marvel do? They stop making all of their X-titles and start a new universe… WTF? Yeah, they just stopped all the X-Titles and replaced them for about 6 months in a new universe where Xavier never formed the X-Men and Apocalypse easily took over the world. Saying that alone should wet your appetite for those who’ve never read this, and even more for those with bones made out of nostalgia like me. Either way this is the world that we’ve got now without Xavier:
• Apocalypse basically rules the world, based out of the United States.
• Humanity was pretty much been snuffed out and most of the heroes that we know that are non-mutuants are already dead, the rest are hiding in Europe trying to make a lat stand to survive.
• The X-Men exist, under the leadership of Magneto.
• Cyclops (the leader of 90’s X-Men) technically works for Apocalypse.
• Wolverine has one hand and hangs out with Phoenix (Jean Grey.)
• Sabertooth is an X-Man.
That is but a taste of what the AoA (Age of Apocalypse) gave us… Oh and one more thing, there is one guy who remembers the world the way it’s “supposed to be,” none other than Bishop. We find that a man out of time to begin with doesn’t mix well with alternate realities!
So, How’d it work?
As I said, Marvel stopped producing our X-Men titles and replaced them with AoA versions. It all started with Legion, Xavier’s son. He figured that Magneto was really the problem that he had with his dad. If Magneto didn’t exist, then Xavier would’ve been a better father. So he decided to go back into the past and kill him before he could wrong his father in any way and become the mass murderer that the world knew him as. Legion went back to when his dad and Mags were buddies and screwed up and accidentally killed his dad and Xavier’s death changed the course of human/mutant history. Legion actually “pulled” four of the 90’s X-men back with him and they tried to stop him, but failed. One member of the team, Bishop, was already a man out of time and when the rest of the world was re-written Bishop essentially got stuck… the next time we saw him, he looked like a tattered homeless man and seemed a little nuts because he basically had two realities in his head for 20-30 years!
Was it any good?
Uh…YEAH! It was actually really good, and what made it that way was that Marvel went all in. Again, X-anything meant money, so it was normal to have Wolverine or the X-Men, Hell, even Excalibur guest star in any other book to drive up sales. Instead of this, Marvel basically pulled mutants out of the universe (except Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch bc they were current Avengers) and contained them in these books for 6 months. It was a gamble, hell, it was a ballsy gamble because you had new readers picking up X-Books daily, but it paid off.
So, what happened?
We basically got put into a situation where the AoA X-Men found Bishop and Magneto realized that there was supposed to be a better world and he decided that his team needed to make that happen! He sent different teams around the universe to obtain certain necessary items; Nightcrawler and his team had to search for Destiny, a mutant who could see the future and Gambit’s team was sent to retrieve the M’Kraan crystal. Colossus and Kitties team are sent to find Illyana Rasputin, the last known teleporter. Other teams are sent around the world to simply stop Apocalypse’s stand against what little humanity remained!
Well, if I told you all the details that’d be cheating and would rob you of the experience to read it for yourself. Just know that we eventually returned to the “normal” timeline, but that the events of AoA have trickled into the 616 Marvel universe by way of characters ever since the 90’s. Ever hear of Dark Beast or X-Man? In fact, Rick Remenders awesome Uncanny X-Force book is in many ways based off of the AoA, so having a little history will help you, and Marvel returned to the AoA in a reality in a 2012/13 series that was pretty badass in my opinion.
What??? Now you go and read it dammit!
Oh, you need a reading order…Gotcha…Here you go!
You can read X-Men: The Complete Age of Apocalypse Epic – Book 1 if you want, but it really focuses on the backstory of AoA characters and can be read as a companion in my opinion. If you want the backstory with Legion, then read this: X-Men: Age of Apocalypse Prelude.
One other thing that I want to mention that lives in Book 2 is this gem:
Age of Apocalypse The Chosen
Basically it was a who’s who of the AoA universe and gave an awesome backstory to so many characters that we know and love! They don’t make these kind of things anymore, ya know, with the internet and all, so check it out!
Along with the original series, you may want to check these books out as well:
I fully support the Age of Apocalypse and most of the cool stuff that has followed it, so I whole-heartedly give it 5 out of 5 Alternate Earths!
Stay Classy Internet!
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