Review: Age of Apocalypse #1

AoAThe tie ins to Secret Wars have been a roller coaster of emotions, at least to this reader; some titles have hit the mark, drawing me in and leaving me wanting more.  Others have left me feeling bored and let down, wishing there was more.  And then I heard they were doing an Age of Apocalypse book.  One of my favourite storylines to come out of Marvel, revisited?  After 20 years?  Should I be excited?  Or keep my expectations low so I am not too disappointed?  I went in cautiously, but came out absolutely thrilled with this book!

The story opens in the Savage Land, dubbed ‘Sanctuary’ by the humans and mutants living there in peace, having fled from Baron Apocalypse’s iron rule in this region of Battleworld.  Holocaust, one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen (and his son) has come in search of a young mutant named Douglas Ramsey, also known as Cypher; and to turn this Sanctuary to ash, showing the inhabitants here they cannot escape Apocalypse.  Things go almost too easy for Holocaust, quickly locating and capturing Doug, until resistance is revealed in the form of the X-Men; a group of mutants who have banded together to fight against the genocidal rule of Apocalypse.  Being one of the most powerful mutants, Holocaust does not see them as much resistance…until the combined efforts of the X-Men manage to stop Holocaust, if only momentarily.  They are able to extract Doug and get him to safety…but at the cost of their own lives.

Cypher is taken to New Cairo, the centre of Apocalypse’s kingdom, and is left to Sinister and his Elite Mutant Force for interrogation, trying to find answers as to why Apocalypse is so interested in a mutant who’s talent is understanding languages.  Seeing things from Cypher and his use of his ability, we see these mutants have a hard time working together, but we also find out there are underlying fears and a sense of confusion that Cypher can’t quiet understand.  Sinister then orders his team to take Cypher to the human ghettos and use him to find any leads on Magneto and his X-Men.  We are introduced to sheriff Carol Danvers and Peter Corbeau, who acts as human liaison to the mutant force.  Through their exchange, Cypher comes to a shocking realization of a secret that could drastically change the landscape of Apocalypse’s rule.  As if on cue, there is a sudden burst of energy, an attack on Cyclops on his group…and Magneto makes his presence known…wanting Cypher released to him.

This was a packed first issue, and it felt like I was right back in the story I loved from 20 years ago.  All the returning characters from the original story are depicted exactly as I remember them, and the new ones introduced, as well as this new story, felt like an excellent extension of the story first laid out for us when the Age of Apocalypse first began. Fabian Nicieza does a fantastic job of telling this story, and bringing it to us through the eyes of Cypher.  Instead of us being on the outside looking in, we’re right there in the thick of it with Cypher, getting his thoughts and feelings as things progress before him.  Gerardo Sandoval’s art is beautiful, bringing in the look and feel of the original story, but giving it his own spin, which really adds to feel of this story and the world it is set in.  Even when depicting characters who make a brief appearance (Magneto and Wolverine, for example) Sandoval doesn’t hold back, giving their brief glimpse such life and presence for the panel(s) they are in.

I cannot wait for the second issue of this book!  I was a huge fan of the Age of Apocalypse way back when, and I thank Marvel for reigniting my love of this world and bringing it back in a new and exciting way.  Definitely go out and pick this title up; you will not be disappointed.

Story: Fabian Nicieza Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy