Age of Apocalypse #1 (2012)

Age of Apocalypse #1

By David Lapham and Roberto De La Torre
For those of you too young to remember, the Age of Apocalypse was a major shot in the arm for the X-Men monthly books back in the day. Set in an alternate reality where Professor X never formed the X-Men, the alternate Age of Apocalypse granted fans of the mutant family a chance to see their favorite characters in a new (much darker) setting. Recently, Uncanny X-Force has revived the reality in their story line that forced a return to that world, allowing for a  continuation of the story started so long ago.

For those of you not hip enough to realize, David Lapham is one of the coolest of the cool independent comic book authors of the age, well regarded for his Stray Bullets series but more currently well known for his Call of Duty Black Ops comics (it’s a strange industry). Lapham contributed an astoundingly good story for Batman that remains almost entirely unnoticed. I hope that his his foray into the mutant family is more successful.

To prepare readers for what to expect, Lapham tweeted a few tidbits:

    • Did you know there is no toothpaste only baking soda in the Age of Apocalypse?
    • Unfortunately Wal-Mart is alive and well.
    • NO MORE MATH!
    • Celestials refuse to pay for birth control as”anti-evolution”.
    • Be sluts and multiply declares Weapon Omega.
    • Weapon Omega and Prophet share the same birthday and favorite cocktail. The Gimlet.
    • Professor X’s premature death is directly linked to the original Godzilla movie NEVER BEING MADE!
    • Billions dead but George Bush lives!
    • Library fines doubled.
    • Gas only 50 cents a gallon as oil farting babies are commonplace.

As an introduction to a new series developed from a story over ten years old, Age of Apocalypse is good… in fact, it’s dammed good. The war against Apocalypse is over, but Weapon Omega (AKA Wolverine) has taken the place of Apocalypse and is systematically destroying those not strong enough to survive, as part of the Celestial plan.

The world that Age of Apocalypse is set in is dire. The mutant race is making a mad grab for supremacy, erasing all others in their wake. The only force stopping them is an equally depsperate force known as the X-Terminated. Leading the resistance is a ragtag group of human extremists including William Striker (Prophet), Graydon Creed (Horror Show) and Donald Pierce of the Hellfire Club. Allied with them is the unlikely pair of Jean Grey and Sabretooth, both without their powers due to events off-panel (likely in the Uncanny X-Force .1 issue that I am missing).

the X-Terminated

The current mission of the X-Terminated is to protect a writer of leaflets on the equality of humans and mutants. The author is a refugee from the 616 (or standard) reality, lost in a world of genetic warfare.

On thing that has always attracted me to the X-Men has been the strong characterizations and the desperate measures that they operate under. This series delivers both by the truckload. If you are frustrated by the current Schism and X-continuity (and fair enough), this may be the series that you are looking for as it offers readers a ground floor entrance into the most volatile and dynamic X-Men story of all ages.

Lapham’s script is strong with set up and deep in mythology without losing the casual reader. De La Torre (familiar to some from his work on Daredevil) excels at sculpting a strange alien world on the brink of collapse. I had not intended on buying this issue and instead purchased it on a whim, but I am glad that I did as it is one of the strongest X-Men books I have read in ages.

Highly recommended.

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