Character Issues: Apocalypse


The Stats:

Name: En Sabah Nur or Apocalypse
Height:  7’0 (variable)
Weight: 725 (variable)
Powers: All of them
Type:  Team Buster
Excels at:  Being the great unspoken evil
Fails at:  Living up to his reputation

The Character:

Apocalypse is  one of the X-Men’s signature baddies.  He has been central in multiple X-Team centric crossovers and exists as the threat that draws in battalions of X-Teams to stop.  If  Apocalypse wins, the 616 as we know it, comes to an end.  The Age of Apocalypse books pretty much confirms this.

Age of Apocalypse 1
That’s some pure, uncut 90’s right there…

The level of of menace he presents in the X-Men universe is similar to the menace Caillou presents to his family…a near demonic presence that is only sated by the suffering of others.  He has plot device level superpowers, is as strong as Thor and The Hulk, is immortal and is nearly completely ineffective in the Main Continuity.

The Issues:

Apocalypse occupies a growing space of superheros and villains who are magnificently overpowered but have a negligible impact in non-crossover stories.  He contributed to the awesoming of Warren Worthington III, a completely useless character before he Apocalypse upgraded him.   This is the only lasting impact he has had in the main X-Books.  Apocalypse became a mutant Boogie Man whose name carried weight that his presence never seemed to match.

He is literally an example of a character who is too powerful.   His combination of powers make him ludicrously overpowered.  He is an evil Martian Manhunter without the weakness to fire, powerful enough to beat anybody, but can’t seem to really beat anybody.  He can trade blows with the Hulk, overwhelm Professor X with a telepathic assault, absorb energy and literally give himself any superpower via shapeshifting, but somehow he just can’t get it together enough to impact the X-Men in a measurable way.

The Fix:

Apocalypse is overdue for a stint as a company wide crossover villain.  Age of Apocalypse showed exactly how menacing the character can be when he is a central antagonist in a crossover story… now it’s time for him to bring havoc to other areas of the MU.  This has been teased occasionally but we’ve yet to see this carried over to a fully committed company crossover involving all of Marvel’s earthbound heroes.   Other villains like Dr. Doom, Norman Osborn, Ultron, Red Skull have had their reputations reestablished as crossover villains. Apocalypse has powers that could give most Cosmically Powered Marvel characters a run for their money. A small buff in his power-set would make him a major problem for the Marvel Universe at large.

Apocalypse could be a central character in a Inhumans/Avengers centered crossover.   Have him resurrect Wolverine as his first horseman. Then have the first part of the crossover centered around him ambushing the both teams in times of leisure and taking central members of their team to convert them into Horsemen.  Off the top, I’m thinking Karnak, Crystal and Wonder Man. His motivation in the second part would be, wanting to possess and re-engineer the Terrigen Mist to ultimately undo M-Day.  The mutants repowered and the Inhumans empowered by the mists would be secretly susceptible to Apocalypse’s commands, giving him a mutant/Inhuman army to plague the Marvel Universe at large.  Now the fractured alliances of the X-Men, Avengers and Inhumans have to work together to stop Apocalypse.


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