Underrated: Age Of Apocalypse

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Age Of Apocalypse. And no, not the movie.

aoa.jpgThe year was 199-something, and Charles Xavier had been murdered by his son, Legion, who had attempted to go back in time to kill Magneto before he became a villain. When he was still Xavier’s friend. That obviously didn’t turn out so well. In this reality Apocalypse attacked ten years before he did in the “main” Marvel Universe and conquered North America, although he is opposed by various mutant groups, he ultimately succeeds in instituting his Survival Of The Fittest mantra within his realm.

For four months Age Of Apocalypse took over the regular X-Men books, replacing the likes of Uncanny X-Men with Astonishing X-Men, Wolverine with Weapon X and so on across the board. I won’t list all of the series substitutions because you can find that on Wikipedia, and I’m lazy. No, today I’m not talking about the story told in a comic, but rather the way the story was presented to us, the readers. You see too often these days a major event spanning 6-10 issues in an entirely separate miniseries that will vaguely tie in to the ongoing series. No, instead Age Of Apocalypse replace the current ongoing series for four-ish months, only for those to pick back up again at the conclusion of the story.

In a rather shorter Underrated than normal (maybe? I don’t track the length as much as I should), I wanted to talk about this method of delivering an event story. What was essentially a collection of miniseries that each told a piece of the story replacing the comics you would be buying anyway is, to my mind, a genius idea. In theory, you have those buying the monthly comics already picking up the event as a continuation of the series they read and collect as well those who are curious about the event diving in and, hopefully, sticking around after it ends.

Obviously the opposite is equally true; the temporary cessation of the X-Books would have allowed those to ignore Age Of Apocalypse only to resume when the X-Books returned with their regular numbering (Wolverine #91*  would have been released in February, with Wolverine #92* appearing in July – *exact numbering may be different). This is something that I’ll be looking into in the future and exploring further outside of this column. In the meantime, I still maintain that the idea of stopping the monthly series is, at the very least on paper, an underrated idea.

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

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