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Marvel - The Age of Apocalypse

The "Wanna Get Absorbed"

Editor's note: This review only covers the original and real issues of The Age of Apocalypse (like Generation Next and The Amazing X-Men), and NOT the shitty spin offs like Tales From the Age of Apocalypse and the 4 issue long Blink miniseries. The spin offs were written long after the original story was, and either completely fuck up the continuity that the original narrative took great pains to set up, or they just sucked. Now on to the review.

A long long time ago, a man with a fetish for teenagers in tights created one of the greatest superhero teams of all time: The Uncanny X-Men. And things were good (if a bit lame) for a while. These teenagers with special powers born into them (i.e. mutants) faced ridiculous villain after retardedly ridiculous villain for a few years until even their own teacher/mentor/telepathic-sugardaddy called it quits. The X-Men took a little hiatus, but came back bigger and badder than ever with the help of a new writer, Chris Claremont.

Claremont was soon to become a god in the world of comic books. He had visions of plotlines that built up for years with payoffs that would make even the most jaded mutant-hater jizz his or her pants in astonishment. His opus would always be the Dark Phoenix Saga (I don't feel like going into it here, but if you have any questions and a few hours of free time just visit your local comic book store and ask the hairy tub of lard behind the counter what it was all about... Then you too will jizz with glee). The amount of work that went into building that whole story arc up is beyond impressive. But I digress. Sure, the Fall of the Mutants was pretty decent, and I still enjoyed the whole Cable thing (from the very beginning, with Maddie Pryor even), but when Claremont left Marvel in the early 1990s he would always be remembered for what he put poor Scott Summers and Jean Grey through at the end of tDPS (he was so good that people chose to forget that he basically ruined the whole Phoenix Saga by making up some crap about how the Phoenix actually wasn't really who people thought she was, and who they thought she was was really just asleep at the bottom of a bay... but that's neither here nor there).

So Chris Claremont was gone, and nobody was really sure what direction he was planning to go in with some of the plotlines he had left hanging (and there were a lot left hanging... imagine the Vienna Boys Choir hitting puberty on the exact same note). Everyone was afraid that the best of Marvel Entertainment's mutant wonders was behind them... And then somebody asked himself the greatest question anybody could have ever asked himself if he were in the position that the askee was in the media corporation and could afford to think outside of the box like he just had: "What if Professor Charles Xavier never created the X-Men?" Instead of just making a shitty little one-issue side story, the Marvel crew made it a half a year alternate vision of the entire Marvel continuity time-line. In a word, it was "impressive". In a few words, it was "fuck my ass that's good story telling gravy boat titty-fuck spanktastictude!"

The whole Age of Apocalypse storyline (as it was to be called) revolved around one key event that was never meant to happen: Professor Xavier was killed twenty years in the past before he could start herding young, impressionable mutants into his lair and mind-warping them to kill his old enemies and fly his jet. How could something like this happen, you ponder? Well, Xavier's psychotic, schizo and powerful son, Legion, thought that he could make his father's dream of mutant and human co-existence come true by time traveling (he had a shitload of powers) to the past in order to kill Magneto (Xavier's old friend turned mortal enemy) before Magneto killed Xavier's dream and made a menace of himself that the X-Men still fight to this day. But, Legion kinda goofed. In the past, he fought Magneto on live worldwide TV, and then, as he was about to deliver the killing blow, fried his dad's brain instead of the Master of Magnetism's. Then the shit hit the fan. With Charles Xavier dead, Legion, and the X-Men who followed him back 20 years to stop him, disappeared, and Magneto was left to carry on the idealistic dream that his now deceased friend had wanted to imploy himself... That dream would be getting humans and mutants to live together in peace and harmony with lots of kittens.

Unfortunately for Magneto, however, his battle with Legion was seen by the long-lived uber-mutant known as Apocalypse (aka En Sabah Nur, also aka "That Clownish-looking Blue Dude"). Apocalypse had been waiting hundreds of years for the right time to take control of the world. He wanted to put his megalomaniacal plan into effect only when he was sure that the evolutionary age of mutants (i.e. homo sapien superior) was in full swing. In the original timeline, he waited a few more decades before he made his move, but in this Professor X-less world, he felt that the Legion vs. Magneto fight meant that his plans could be stepped up a bit. And so we enter....

We are then dropped off 20 years after the timeline took a major detour. Apocalypse has taken control of North America. South America is pretty much destroyed. Japan is a wasteland. The only place that's really safe for humans anymore is Eurasia. Seems the big A is pretty keen on Darwin's thoughts of "survival of the fittest", and he's been culling the entire human population under his rule in order to thin out the herd. All of the mutants that we'd gotten to know and love (or hate) in over 300-odd issues of the original comic have completely different lives in this AoA. The Summers brothers (Scott and Alex) work for Apocalypse's number one gene-splicer, Mr. Sinister. Logan and Jean Grey are solo mercs fighting against the genetically created Infinite armies of the big A, and Magneto leads the X-Men with his wife Rogue and his right hand man, Sabretooth. Lots of bad guys are now good, and plenty of old-universe good guys are bad. It's all topsy turvy and outside in, but that's the way it goes.... Or does it (play loud, crescendo, mystery music)?!?!

See, after the whole Legion assassination thing, one X-Man was able to continue existing from the original timeline: Bishop. Bishop was a time anomaly in the real timeline, so he is still able to subsist in Apocalypse's world.... Don't think about it too hard. It'll hurt. Anyway, Bish finally tracks down Magneto and gets him to understand that the world that they live in is wrong and that Xavier was never meant to die, and that hugs and puppies were supposed to rule the earth instead of shapeshifting super mutants who like to bathe in blood. So Magneto sends out his X-Men on a bunch of missions to either collect some nifty things (like a mutant precog, a shard of an eternal space crystal, and a hyper-teleporting Russian girl), or to save some humans from the big A's latest mass killings.

Thus we had a 4 month period where in all the Marvel mutant books took place in the new Age of Apocalypse. The Uncanny X-Men became The Amazing X-Men, Generation X changed to Generation NeXt, X-Factor to Factor X... etc. etc. The greatest thing of all in regards to the AoA was that nothing was sacred. People who were classic heroes in the original universe became total asshole nazi bastards under Apocalypse's reign. Mutants whom we grew to love died horrible horrible deaths. People who had died in the real world were still alive and kicking in the hell world. And guys who got the girl in Xavier's time missed out humongously in the new dark time.

It was so totally amazing to see just how detailed the writers were with everything! They pretty much covered every single mutant and how he/she now lived in this alternate reality. Most tales were sad, some had me cheering, and some were just brutal. The writers would often pit Xavier-era lovers against each other in order to piss off a lot of the fat-fuck fanboys out there just for kicks. Brilliant! And the best thing of all the best things was the treatment of Colossus in the AoA. See, I always hated the big steel-man in the normal reality. For some reason his creepy infatuation with 14 year-old Kitty Pryde scared the hell out of me. But in the AoA, Colossus is in charge of the young group of mutants known as Generation NeXt. Yeah, he's still a big old organic metal-man, but he's such an incredible pussy too. Even though his teen team is headed by the coolest character in all of the new timeline, Paige Guthrie, Colossus whines, bitches and moans his way through the entire miniseries. He fucks things up so bad that there can never be any redemption for him in my eyes ever again... Not that I was ever planning on liking him, it's just that now I had great reason to hate his shiny metal ass. Fucker.

Anyway, before the Age of Apocalypse storyline, it had been something like 3 years since I picked up a mutant comic book. I just lost interest. It was the same old recycled shiznit for the longest while. The Australian Outback saga was a decent change of pace, but it led to the disappearance of my all time X-World mutant hottie, Rogue. Bummer that. I was then depressed to hear that Claremont was leaving the whole Marvel thing behind him. That was pretty much the final straw. The AoA was such a blast of fresh air... A shot in the arm, if you will. It was the perfect way to revitalize the stagnant X-Line. It was a once in a lifetime event too. There's no way they could do something like that again for at least another thirty years. The use of three decades of warped history was unprecedented and so perfectly done. In fact the only thing that kept the AoA from beating the Dark Phoenix Saga as the greatest comic book storyline ever was the fact that it didn't take 4-5 years to build up to, and you knew while reading it that when it was over it wouldn't amount to a hill of beans in the real world again. Sure, they brought over some crappy AoA characters to the real world once things settled back to normal, but that was just a pathetic try at keeping the freshness alive for way too long (like laminating a half eaten apple in order to preserve it forever).

After AoA, I thought that maybe Marvel still had the magic in it. I thought that maybe they could continue to make storylines that blew their readers away with every panel... surprises around every page! But then the Onslaught Saga happened. Marvel never recovered from that shitfest. It was like handing a 6 year-old child beer and some frozen peas for lunch when all he wanted was PB&J and a Capri Sun. Jacktards... All of them.

What did I think of the Marvel epic crossover event, The Age of Apocalypse? I find that I have to give it a 356 out of 367 Points of Rossman Childhood Reminiscences. It was fun to re-read all of my old Age of Apocalypse graphic novels again and all that, but it gets a couple of points off for making me feel like a lonely comic book loser who actually had time to re-read his entire Age of Apocalypse graphic novels again.

Oh yeah, and of course all the Mego Toy images are straight from Twisted Toyfare Theater. There, I plugged them. Now they can't sue!

The Bringer of the Apocalypse

Don't get me started on alternate realities! Lord knows how many times I've fucked things up in the past and then traveled to my own time only to find that instead of a brother and 12 sisters, I then had 36 half-boy half-girl horse siblings. Or like that time I traveled back to 1997 to get the Rossman to stop eating so much Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, and then I got back to my time and found that everybody lived in houses made of frozen fecal matter.

I don't understand "time ripples" and "cause and effect" all that well. Honestly, in college I really majored in Back to the Future Trilogy Filmstudy. See, I can tell you all about Doc Brown and how to get DeLoreons to synchronize with Mr. Fusions... But I just can't figure out how to get people to stop worshipping Urkel as the second coming! That must have been something to do with that time I went back to 2003 and burned the Rossman's collection of X-Men comic books by mistake and he said something along the lines of, "I will make you pay, Bob From the Future... Oh yes, I will make you pay the ultimate price for that mishap!" It's not like I meant to blow up his comic book stash, but I had just completed an important mission by keeping Jimmy Jammer from being elected California's Governor in some confusing recall election... I couldn't risk unbalancing the timestream again by fixing the Rossman's books. I was hoping he'd understand... Now it looks like I will have to kill Steve Urkel sometime in the year 2011 right before the Rossman convinced the world that Jesus talked through Urkel's ass. Wish me luck!

I don't know about the Age of Apocalypse, but I give my latest mission a thumbs down. You don't know how disconcerting it is to see a 250 foot tall statue of Urkel in every backyard the world over. I even hear that "Urkelism" is spreading to the outer evil robot planets... and it is feeding their wrath.

Experimental DR. DAVE

Mutants. God bless them! Without mutants my supply of experimental live cadavers would have run out years ago, or I would have been arrested five times over for working on flat-scans by the uncaring government shadow agency that keeps surveillance of my house and places of business.

There was this one mutie who I had on the operating table one time. I thought the genejoke was dead and all wormfood, so I started carving the little hairy fucker up like sushi. After trying to saw through his ribcage for a good 5 minutes (and after ruining 3 perfectly good bone saws) the tiny man woke up with a start and started manhandling me like I was his bitch, and not the other way around. By the time I stopped screaming and urinating myself (in a dignified way, trust me), the crazy man took the knives, that he somehow concealed on his naked self, away from my throat and started staring at my 2003 Irish Redhead Girly calendar that I keep pinned up inside my lab bathroom. He started moaning something about a firebird and its one-eyed guardian (a trouser snake?... I should have asked) and then the little cannuck started to break down and weep on my shoulder. I said, "There there, little naked hairy man. You'll be fine as soon as I gut you like a trout and see what makes you tick." He looked confused for a second before I stuck him with an elephant tranq on his right buttocks (the buttocks of betrayal). After he was out, I carved him up like a turkey and found out how he was able to heal so fast: I believe it had something to do with the stomach full of PBR and the lungs filled with heavy cigar tar. So as of today, my new diet is nothing but liquid refreshment with a chaser of a nice fat Cuban. Ahhhhh, let science reign supreme!

I have to give my experimentation with that berserker mutant an A+. One of my best living autopsies ever.