Graphic Novel Review: X-Men: Apocalypse Wars event

Extraordinary X-Men: Apocalypse Wars

Extraordinary X-Men: Apocalypse Wars - Credit: Archant

Extraordinary X-Men Extraordinary adventures demand Extraordinary X- Men - and no frontier is too wild for this crew! While one team of X-Men stages a daring rescue mission in Weirdworld, another delves deep into the psyche of their own teammate! Weird is nothing new for hardened mutants like Old Man Logan, Colossus, Iceman and Magik - but can Storm and Jean Grey ever be prepared for what lies in the mind of Nightcrawler? Then, it’s an All-New take on a good old-fashioned X-Men adventure in time. All-New X-Men: Inevitable In the wake of terrible acts committed by the adult Cyclops, mutant-kind is hated and feared more than ever. And try as he might to divorce himself from his predecessor’s legacy, some believe that the young Scott Summers is destined to grow up and commit those sins. Now, there’s one mutant who believes that he can spare mutant-kind if he prevents Scott from becoming that man. Will the young Cyclops’ story end here?

All-New X-Men Inevitable: Apocalypse Wars

All-New X-Men Inevitable: Apocalypse Wars - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

When is a crossover not a crossover? When titles are linked thematically, rather than by plot.

What we have here, and also in the current volume of Uncanny X-Men, which Panini isn’t collecting, is a (movie tie-in) look at the centuries-spanning career of the mutant despot Apocalypse, and his influence over the rise and fall of mutantkind during this period.

With Apocalypse actually dead in the present day Marvel Universe, and his clone Evan struggling to avoid his legacy, these titles choose different ends of history to explore.

Having resolved to return his team to their original era, All-New X-Man Hank (The Beast) McCoy has been experimenting with a variety of time machines, but it isn’t until he takes ownership of the Third Eye of Horus, a magickal device which pierces the supernatural veil, that events transpire to send him and Evan back through the centuries to encounter the young Apocalypse in ancient Egypt.

What transpires is a debate on the nature of destiny and whether it is possible to change the course of history, plus added desert raiders, ancient mystics, daring thieves and ruthless pirates. And after all of the battles and bravery, Evan must still find himself staring down the path of his own corruption into another Apocalypse.

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Meanwhile, in the far-flung future, a team of young X-Men and their tutor Colossus encounter the immortal Apocalypse ruling over the remnants of Earth’s disparate survivors. With their teammates from the Extraordinary X-Men on their trail, will it be too late to save them from his corruptive influence, and what about the survival of mutantkind itself?

The creative teams on both of these series have succeeded in giving the X-Men a new impetus, both as a race struggling to escape extinction as a result of the so-called M-Pox caused by the Inhumans’ Terrigen Cloud, and also as outsiders once more despised by humanity because of the actions of their late comrade Cyclops.

The line-ups of both books – largely time-tossed teen X-Men in All-New and unusual incarnations of classic characters in Extraordinary – adds to the mix, and having endured the past few years of procrastination under the auspices of Brian Michael Bendis, it’s rewarding to find things actually happening for a change.

When is a crossover not just a crossover? When it’s more than a marketing exercise, but a fascinating and exciting development in the narratives of the titles it involves, which changes both characters and status quo alike. Now if only I knew what was going on in Uncanny X-Men…?