Back in the mid-90s Marvel Comics made one of their boldest decisions: to kill Charles Xavier and by so doing set forth a chain of events which allowed the wildly under-utilized villain Apocalypse to rise to ultimate power on earth. This universe-altering sequence of events lead the well-known Marvel cast of characters into variant and differing versions of themselves.
Anyone who has checked out my profile knows that my entry into comics and the defining time of my young sci-fi life is rooted in The Age Of Apocalypse (AOA). So when I first heard they were doing a tenth anniversary I was genuinely excited. However, at the time it came out I was deeply invested in my hatred of Marvel and their ridiculousness so I vowed not to read it for fear it would taint my happy memory.
Now, long removed from the release of the comic, my hatred for Marvel has waned (thanks mostly to their recent films) I decided to give the mini-series a chance.
And boy did it suck.
After reading all seven issues I sought the opinion of the biggest AOA fan I’ve ever known (who for personal reasons wished to remain anonymous so I have donned him the pseudonym Holocaust, since he was clearly the best character of the AOA).
Holocaust: What I liked best about AOA, compared to X-comics in general, was that it was so fatalistic…since AOA was completely outside [the normal Marvel Universe] it was able to break a lot of the rules that X-series normally had to live by.
ME: After reading up on “AOA 10th Anniversary”, what are your thoughts?
Holocaust: My impression of the 10th anniversary was that they were looking to “rekindle an old affair” and it, inevitably, like so many “relapses to ex-girlfriends”, it falls flat. Everyone involved: writers, readers, the world around them, have moved on. The reason affairs burn so bright is because they’re unsustainable. I also felt this way about many of the AOA characters & plot lines that they tried to carry forward after the series. They just can’t let a good thing rest because there are story deadlines to meet & money to be made.
This is a valid argument. The comic fell very flat because it was, in no uncertain terms, BORING! Superhero comics are meant to be incredible by nature but AOA 10th Anniversary deals more with the nuts and bolts of the after affect set forth by the downfall of Apocalypse. It focuses on rebuilding and rounding up the villains that associated with Apocalypse.
The premise is that Bishop saved Charles Xavier and so by doing the alternate reality of AOA was destroyed. Turns out, that didn’t happen. Everyone believes that Magneto was the savior. Turns out, that wasn’t the case either.
The whole thing is a big bait and switch. It’s like, “oh, remember that totally badass ending AOA had with the world being obliterated in nuclear fallout after the destruction of the most heinous villain ever? PSYCH!” It’s a total robbery of what AOA stood for.
Where this series could have gone was where it started, in the one-shot that led things off they began to unravel some of the “untold stories of the AOA”, though the ones they told were pretty lame. If they had stuck with that theme and made the stories, ya know…good, this series could have been incredible. But, instead, Marvel fell into the trap of ruining something that was better left alone.
One thing that had great potential was the underlying Mr. Sinister thread that carried throughout the series and when it finally came to fruition they managed to shove it all into about twelve pages and make Mr. Sinister come across like a less-interesting and stupid version of the Joker.
All around this mini-series was an utter failure and earns my first F grade. Don’t waste your time or money on this drivel. Let the classic AOA stay true and pure in your mind.
If you have suggestions for future Bin Fodder reviews, drop me a line in comments! Or e-mail me at [email protected].
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Till next Wednesday…
Boy Sets Fire – Social Register Fanclub, They Might Be Giants – Dinner Bell, The Get Up Kids – Eudora, Story of the Year – Razorblades, Gin Blossoms – Allison Road, Live – Heropsychodreamer, Foo Fighters – Monkey Wrench, Further Seems Forever – Lead the Way, Fun – The Gambler, Elliot – Calvary Song, Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water, J.R. Richards – I Will Give You Life, A New Found Glory – Forget My Name, TOOL – Schism, Alkaline Trio – Continental, Band of Horses – The Funeral