Of all the titles to come out of Secret Wars, Age of Apocalypse was one of the books I was most excited about. And four issues later, this is the title I am the most disappointed in. If you’ve been following my reviews, you’d see that issue 1 started out so great with such promise…and then it just fell of the tracks and never corrected itself.
Apocalypse has released the legacy virus, exposing the X-Men, his Horsemen and himself, to see who is the fittest to survive. The Horsemen and the X-Men decide to team up, to stop the virus from killing each other through their powers and also to stop Apocalypse. Magneto gets Emma Frost to probe the mind of Peter Corbeau, to try and find out what the humans used to make the virus, but Emma finds that his memories have been blocked…but she does see glimpses that tell her the humans didn’t make the virus all on their own. Apocalypse proclaims that there is no cure and only those fit will survive…when suddenly he begins to freeze in place. Iceman (who was thought dead after the explosion in the Savage Land in issue #1) arrives on the scene, putting Apocalypse and his Horsemen on ice. Emma then instructs him to not drop his cryogenic field, as right now, he is the only one keeping the virus at bay.
We then move on to see Wolverine and Burner with Cyclops, who is inexplicably no longer being held as a prisoner, wandering the deserted labs of Henry McCoy, but how they got there or why is never mentioned, as last we saw them, Cyclops was being interrogated at the X-Men’s base. Burner reflects on his time being held captive in the labs, when Wolverine says he has picked up the scent of Jean Grey. They move on, and stumble across a corridor that Cyclops says shouldn’t exist. They then realize that the hidden corridor and adjoining lab belong to Dr. Nemesis, McCoy’s assistant. Wolverine is then suddenly attacked by Havok, calling out his brother Cyclops on his apparent traitorous activities, when they explain to Havok that the virus has been released and threatens all mutants…and suddenly Havok decides to join them in finding Nemesis.
Back at the battle, Apocalypse breaks free of the ice, and begins to press his attack…when his powers suddenly begin to flare out of control…and he realizes he has been infected. This comes as a surprise to him, now realizing he his not fit to survive…but figures if he won’t, then the X-Men will not either, and he continues his attack. The X-Men and Horsemen press on, trying to stop Apocalypse before his powers flare and kill them all…when Apocalypse’s molecular structure destabilizes and he dies in a puddle of goo. Unfortunately, Magneto is also infected and his powers begin to flare out of control…so to save everyone, Emma goes into his mind, gives him one final memory of happiness, and kills him. Consumed with anger, Emma rips into Corbeau’s mind and discovers that Nemesis was the one who made the virus…and that they have sent their friends right to the madman who created it.
*Sigh* where to start with this issue….my biggest problem is that things are happening with no explanation or set up, just BOOM here you go, this will move this story along, who care if it makes sense? Iceman arrives to freeze everyone with Rogue saying “no wonder it’s been raining so much”, yet we didn’t see any rain depicted until Iceman arrived. Cyclops goes from prisoner to ally, helping Wolverine and Burner explore the labs…when last we saw him tied to a chair and being interrogated. Jean Grey is shown briefly, but still no real explanation as to what her role in all this is. And we then catch a glimpse of Dr. Nemesis…at least they call him that, but he doesn’t look like he did when last we saw him and we don’t know why. Also, every other book in Secret Wars mentions Doom in the various regions; his laws, the Thors, something. But this one? Nothing. Apocalypse can release a virus that would kill all the mutants in this realm…a power that should only be reserved for ‘God Doom’…and there is no intervention. Really? It had me wondering how this exactly tied in to Battleworld, and if this can even be called a tie in.
I’m convinced that Fabian Nicieza is not working from any kind of script or story outline and is just making things up as it goes along. Nothing is cohesive and elements and events are just thrown in to make it seem to work. Having the story being seen through Cypher’s point of view was a great way to start…but now I just don’t care anymore. A team of X-Men sacrificed themselves to rescue Cypher in issue #1, to keep him from Apocalypse…but why? All he is now is an observer…he hasn’t done anything, nor has any purpose for him been revealed.
Iban Coello took over artist duty on this issue…and it definitely shows. This did not feel like the Age of Apocalypse. The artist who started on this book, Gerardo Sandoval, did a fantastic job of giving us the look and feel of the Age of Apocalypse we first saw all those years ago. He gave it his own twist, but it still felt like the AoA I remembered. Coello’s art is nice, don’t get me wrong, but it totally changed the tone of the book for me. I don’t know why they would change artists so close to the end, but it adds into the overall feel of disconnect with this book.
I stuck with this title because of the fanboy that I am, and I will see how it all ends. But I can in no way recommend this to anyone, even other die hard fans out there. It seems to me this book just gave up, and they’re putting it out because they had to because of whatever agreement was made. If you want to revisit the Age of Apocalypse, go back and read the original series. This tie-in has been a waste of time.
Story: Fabian Nicieza Art: Iban Coello
Story: 2 Art: 5 Overall: 3 Recommendation: PASS