Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Remembering the Age of Apocalypse.

After finishing up New Mutants #2, my mind began to drift back to the fabulous Age of Apocalypse storyline. I stopped collecting comic books right before the AOA storyline got underway back in the mid 90's and when I decided to start collecting again 6 years ago I began to collect the back issues of the titles I used to collect as a kid. As a HUGE X-fan, some of the first back issues I brought as I re-started my comic collection were a part of the AOA story. Since I'm a big fan of alternate dimension stories I was immediately drawn to the AOA.

What exactly was the Age of Apocalypse? The AOA story detailed Prof. X's crazy son, Legion, travelling back in time to kill Magneto in an attempt to make his father's life easier. The X-Men got wind of Legion's plan and followed him into the past in order to stop him from altering things. Well, the X-Men screw up, Legion accidentally kills Prof. X(WHOOPS!!!)and Apocalypse decides to attack humanity several years earlier than he originally did. With no Prof. X around, there were no X-Men/X-Factor, so Apocalypse was able to easily conquer most of the world. The AOA storyline then focused on familiar faces in VERY unfamiliar places. Magneto was the leader of the rebel X-Men, Rogue was his wife(and the two had a child named Charles), Cyclops was a member of Apocalypse's forces and only had one eye due to a fight with Wolverine, Wolverine only had one hand due to that same battle, as well as several other very cool tweaks to X-history. In the end, Bishop, who was the only person to remember the "correct" way things were supposed to be, was able to travel back to the moment where Legion kills Prof. X and stops him, setting things right and preventing the AOA from ever occurring... Well, sort of. For the 10 year anniversary of the AOA Marvel put out a terrible mini-series that was supposed to celebrate that wonderful storyline. The AOA mini was truly one of the worst things I had ever read, and I refuse to comment on it, even to this day.

The AOA was a groundbreaking comic book crossover for several reasons, such as the way all of the X-characters were changed, the cohesiveness of the overall story(something you rarely see in a x-over of that magnitude), as well as the appearance of several new characters, such as Blink and my all-time favorite character, Nate Grey. The AOA was also different in that for the 4 months it ran, all of the X-titles were re-started with a different cast of characters and brand new titles. Uncanny X-Men became Astonishing X-Men, Wolverine became Weapon X, Cable became X-Man, X-Factor became Factor X and so on and so forth. Marvel tried to repeat the AOA storyline with the House of M x-over, which was pretty much a direct rip-off of the AOA, but for me nothing has ever come close to matching the sheer ambitiousness of the AOA story. The AOA storyline also spawned the great X-Men Legends 2 video game(the only video game where you can play as both Nate Grey AND Cable!).

After typing up this post, I'm really close to pulling out the entire AOA story and giving it another read... Well, I guess I'll end this post by saying if anybody has any thoughts or comments on the Age of Apocalypse I'd be very happy to read them. With the AOA being my favorite comic book story, I'd be overjoyed to spend some more time talking about it.


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  2. Man I couldnt agree more with this post. AOA was simply my fav comic story line ever, it was for me the peak of the x-men. I was also a big nate fan, but every title was brilliant. I still have all first prints in my collection. The creative teams on each book were fantastic, the re designs of the characters amazing, plus Apocalypse is my fav villain ever. I loved Gambit central role in the xternals, x-man, astonishin and amazin x-men (great teams on each title) factor-x which just showed cylops to be a total bad ass (the re design of him with long hair and one eye was so cool) and the other prelates were awesome, as was wolvie with one hand. The aoa introduced some great new charcters too like holocaust and nate grey. man i love aoa. X-men aoa alpha has my single fav art in any comic ever, the pencils and coloring are just beautiful. You were totally right about the 10 year re visit atoryline also, i pretend they dont exist.
    Funny you should bring this up because at the moment Im re-reading my x-men collection in order and are just about to read the phalanx storyline next (the one that introduces gen next) so I'll be onto legion quest then aoa pretty soon. Quite wait to re read them all!
    What did you thing of the x-man title after aoa and the direction it took?

  3. Alright, another huge AOA fan! Reading your comments sure put a big smile on my face Matthew.

    Like you I also have first prints of all the AOA titles(even the more obscure stuff like X-Universe and AOA: The Chosen). Like you I was a huge Gambit fan back in the 90's(Gambit's first appearance is one of the first comics I ever brought)and I loved the fact that Gambit was given the lead in the X-ternals series. I'm glad you mentioned Holocaust, because he was definitely one of the best looking villians in any comic book company. One of the most disappointing things about the x-titles after the AOA for me was the fact that Holocaust wasn't given a much larger role. The battle between Holo and Exodus on Avalon was fantastic! Unfortunately after that fight, Holo kind of bounced around and didn't really do much else until he was killed off in Exiles.

    Personally Mr. Sinister is my favorite x-villian, so I loved the fact that he played such a key role in the AOA storyline(Apocalypse is a close second). The AOA also turned me into a big fan of Havok. I just loved the way he was constantly trying to stab Cyke in the back. I'm also in full agreement about the artwork, it was so lush, colorful and beautiful. If I remember correctly, the AOA comics were some of the first Marvel comics to switch from the old dull pages to the newer glossy pages, which really showed off the artwork.

    For me, the AOA storyline ended perfectly, with Magneto holding his wife and son as the bombs began to rain down. That's one of the reasons I hated the 10th anniversery stuff. Plus the 10th anniversery stuff acted like Nate Grey never existed. Nate beating Sinister to death was one of my favorite scenes from the AOA, in the 10th anniversery stuff Sinister was alive and well, with no explanation as to how he survived Nate's tantrum.

    Not that long ago(maybe 3 years ago)I re-read my X-collection too. I'm not sure what comics you have, but I have all of the X-men, Uncanny, X-Force, Cable, Wolverine, Gen X, X-Man, and Unlimited titles, along with a majority of the X-Factor and Excalibur books plus most of the smaller series, like the unfortunately short Maverick series(I loved Maverick!).

    I wasn't really all that happy with the direction the X-titles went after the AOA. The Onslaught x-over started off with such great potential, but just fell apart. If Marvel would have just included the X-books in the Onslaught storyline I bet it would have been so much better.

    X-Force really went downhill after AOA, Cannonball never should have left that title. I also wasn't really happy with the way he was written as a bumbling rookie in the X-Men books. Cannonball WAS the field leader of X-Force, not some newbie! Nate's book was good until Terry Kavanagh took over and began that awful love affair between Nate and Madelyne Pryor. Ugh...

    As you can probably tell, I REALLY loved the X-books from the 90's, so if you ever want to talk about some of the events from that period Matthew, either post something here or over at your blog. I always have stuff to say about the 90's x-men books!