(Warning: The following contains plot SPOILERS from multiple X-Men comic-book story-lines, some of which could theoretically find their way into future X-Men movies. Proceed with whatever level of caution that suggests to you is wise…)Now, with the first reviews for the increasingly imminent X-Men: Apocalypse having finally arrived, we’re beginning to get hints of just what we can expect from the movie – and from the sounds of it, Apocalypse is going to be just as dastardly and, well, Apocalyptic, as the movie’s promotional material has been suggesting for months now. With that in mind, then, it seemed a pretty good time to take a look at…
Y’know, so we can work out just how bad he really is when we finally get to watch the movie…
Now, Apocalypse wasn’t always Apocalypse. Back in Ancient Egyptian times, he was simply En Sabah Nur, a young man abandoned as a child due to his mutation. After his adopted family were killed by the Pharaoh, Rama-Tut (who was secretly the time-travelling Kang the Conqueror, but it’s probably best not to go into that), he posed as a slave in order to seek revenge. There, he found himself romantically involved with a young woman named Nephri – whose ultimate rejection upon seeing his true appearance prompted his final mutation into the ultra-powerful Apocalypse…and a mass killing spree.In other words? Apocalypse killed a whole bunch of Egyptians (and took over the country) because he was rejected romantically. This is never OK.
So, y’know how Apocalypse has four horsemen – typically ones named Death, War, Pestilence and Famine? Well, they don’t always turn out to be volunteers. More often, Apocalypse coerces powerful mutants into working for him, often genetically modifying them to better suit his stated goal of taking over the world, and reconstructing it on the basis of ‘survival of the fittest’ – with mutants being the fittest.Which, especially since he has a tendency to do it to beloved X-Men characters, is really not cool, and probably against hundreds of UN Conventions.
Now, back in the old days, the X-Men’s Scott ‘Cyclops’ Summers was a slightly old-fashioned and gently curmudgeonly grump, but one who could always be relied upon to do the right thing. Sure, he was a little dull, but he was a true hero in the vein of Captain America. And then Apocalypse started screwing with his life.After spending months trying to destroy Cyclops and his friends in the original X-Factor, Apocalypse finally managed to break his spirit by infecting Summers’ son Nathan with a techno-organic virus, thus forcing the hero to send his only son to the future to save his life, believing all the while that he would never see him again. After that, the 1990s and 2000s were a slippery slope for Scott Summers, during which he slowly became an authoritarian militarist who ultimately wound up being considered Earth’s most dangerous terrorist.All because of Apocalypse.
Speaking of sending small children to the future – it turned out that the 39th century that young Nathan Summers found himself in was in fact being ruled with an iron fist by a victorious Apocalypse, who had long since taken over the planet and turned it into a dystopian hellhole that only an ancient mutant psychopath could love.Now, thankfully, young Nathan Summers grew up into the metal-armed mutant killing machine that is Cable – coming to a Deadpool sequel near you soon, fact-fans – who promptly dedicated his life to destroying the villain, but even so. It’s never OK to occupy an entire planet and murderously transform it in your own image. Not even on a dare.
Now, Futurama‘s Bender may have claimed to want to kill all the humans, but Apocalypse really put his money where his mouth was. In an alternative reality created when Professor Xavier’s insane son went back in time and killed him before he could found the X-Men, Apocalypse found his path to global conquest far easier – and used his new-found dominance to systematically exterminate humankind as part of his doctrine of survival of the fittest. In this new world – The Age of Apocalypse – En Sabah Nur took his bastardized evolutionary theories and turned them into a living hell on Earth.We’re talking death camps, proactive genocide, horrifying scientific experimentation and, of course, full totalitarian occupation – making Apocalypse a full-on Hitler analog, only with superpowers.So, in conclusion? Maybe don’t invite Apocalypse to your next house party – even if he does look like Oscar Isaac.