Join Date: Jun 2013
Re: X-Men: Age of Apocalypse 2015 (Secret Wars Tie-In) FABIAN NICIEZA!!
1995, the X-Men as we knew them ceased to exist.
In the blink of an eye, a powerful mutant rewrote history and the Children of the Atom entered the Age of Apocalypse, dragging an excited and apprehensive fan base along with them. For months, the characters and comics we knew ceased to be, replaced by a familiar faces given new roles on a world where mutants ruled and only the strong survived.
This daring break from the norm proved a daring gamble that paid off, as the saga earned a place in Marvel lore as one of the most dynamic explorations into alternate reality storytelling to date and set the bar for massive events to come. Now, beginning in June as part of Secret Wars, one of the architects of the original epic, Fabian Nicieza, welcomes artist Gerardo Sandoval to one of the Warzones! he knows all too well with AGE OF APOCALYPSE.
“This Age of Apocalypse, taking place on Battleworld, is a story about the choices heroes have to make after they have already lost,” explains Nicieza. “What are the X-Men about if a dream of coexistence between humans and mutants has become a lost cause?”
As with the initial tale, this slice of Battleworld sees the immortal mutant Apocalypse having filled a power vacuum left by the absence of Charles Xavier from the larger landscape. Nicieza recognizes the potential in mining this perennial challenger to the X-Men in a realm where he has found the success that’s eluded him in the Marvel Universe.
He is no longer the challenger to the status quo, he is the status quo, and that makes for a different approach to the character,” the writer elaborates. “He doesn't have to scheme to prove his worth over others, he already has.
“And that’s where the real fun begins in exploring the character. So for Apocalypse, the question becomes, once you have proven you are the fittest in your crazy Darwinian game, then what do you do?”
While they may look and act drastically different from the mutant champions we know, the X-Men still oppose Apocalypse and his rule. Who will make the roster cut remains to be seen; Magneto leads the team and Age of Apocalypse stalwart Blink remains a key member, but the balance of the squad will be a mystery for now.
“The X-Men, whose branding as ‘freedom fighters’ in this world has long ago degenerated to the label of ‘terrorists,’ have seen their membership whittled down quite a bit—especially after our opening scene, he said with a cackle of evil in his voice,” teases Nicieza. “As with the original series, I decided to take one character and redesign them pretty dramatically. That should play out both in terms of a minor mystery and some fun character conflict as the series progresses.”
Beyond Apocalypse and the X-Men, expect to see a wide cast participate in AGE OF APOCALYPSE, with both sides—and more in between—padding their forces and vying for power.
“The Four Horseman serve [Apocalypse], though their composition is a little different from the original series,” Nicieza says. “Also, one gets taken off the board early on, setting up a secondary storyline about the characters vying to take his place.
“Cyclops and Havok still lead the Elite Mutant Force and their squad consists of multiple mutant siblings. Angel’s Casablanca-like nightclub plays an important part in the chess game between humans and mutants. And pay attention because you may see a partially lobotomized red-haired young lady working there as a hostess.
“And speaking of the humans—though in this world they are relegated to slave-caste status and live in a very small, defined ghetto—we’ll see familiar faces including Peter Corbeau and Carol Danvers.”
Surprisingly, the most key player in the fight against Apocalypse could be one of the most underestimated figures in X-Men history: Doug Ramsey, aka Cypher.
“The only thing I’ll say is that Doug Ramsey can not only interpret all languages, he can also discern the intent behind the words spoken,” Nicieza intimates. “That’s a very important power to have when one group of mutants is trying to find out what secret weapon the humans seem to be working towards and another group of mutants is trying to convince everyone that Apocalypse is bat-crap crazy!”
While readers will no doubt relish the opportunity to return to the Age of Apocalypse, it represents a significant homecoming for Nicieza as well, who not only crafted the original story, but spent years shaping the X-Men in the 1990’s, contributing hugely to the mutant tapestry that spread mightily across Marvel.
“The characters are so haunted and hopeful, megalomaniacal and majestic, that I imagine it’s what writing an opera would be like if I knew the first thing about opera,” he reflects on this latest assignment. “Working with [editors] Mike Marts and Xander Jarowey has been an absolute pleasure. The one aspect of the series that has really surprised and delighted me the most, because I wasn’t familiar with his art, was the dynamic, incredible power of Gerardo Sandoval's work! When I open up a new page on my laptop, they threaten to burst my screen apart from sheer, brute force!
“I can’t wait for people to see this book—new and old fans alike! Original AoA readers or those who have joined the mutant merriment more recently will find everything they love about the X-Men rippling through this series!”