I’ve always loved the Age of Apocalypse redesigns. And this take on Rogue was quite a departure from the Jim Lee design, that I had grown to love. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t mind change now that I’m grown up and a fully functioning member of adult society. But trying to explain change to a younger teenage me was like trying to convince me to jump out of a plane without a parachute! No seriously I was, and still am that dramatic! Now I’m not going to do the usual write up character synopsis, and how to. Instead I am going to tell you my story.
I remember at the time I knew the event was coming up and I had seen the cool looking previews of the new X-men Alpha X-Calibur on the back of the previous comics and I’ll be honest I was nervous! I mean they looked like the characters I had invested so much of my youth in, but what’s going to happen? Will I like them? These were really big questions to my younger self and as the event was running for a whole year this quite simply could have ruined the whole of 1995 to 96, I mean a whole year! Was my 13 year old self really prepared for the kind of change that was about to happen to my beloved X-Men universe! So one morning I excitedly got up and plonked my slightly awkward arms longer than legs, weird prepubescent body on my bike and cycled to the nearest comic book store. On arrival I threw my bike down outside as I hurried in and there, there it was, X-men Alpha #1 …and it was in a foil cover. Eeeeeeeeee! Shining under the shop strip lights, the same shop strip lights that my older self would come to avoid, like a vampire avoids daylight! And in all its glory! I opened the page and Boom, everything changed! Gone were all the Jim Lee costumes! The shoulder pads were replaced with even bigger ones! No more big hair, replaced by even bigger hair! And gone were all the backstories I had invested all that time in. …..my world had changed, like the X-men forever.
So after paying for my new shiny purchase I hurriedly cycled back with all the what if scenarios running through my brain. On arrival I threw my bike in the garden, well actually placed, as it was a weekend and did not want to face the wrath of Parental units. They would make me do chores or even worse take the dog out if I was to awaken them from there slumber!
I tiptoed upstairs to my room which I shared with one of my brothers Craig, who was at the time engrossed in his own very intense battle on the Megadrive involving Liu Kang triple kicking Shang Tsung into the stabby pits of hell of Mortal Kombat.
My one last obstacle was to climb over Craig who was furiously bashing the codes into the Megadrive controller for the perfect fatality! This was a crucial point in every teenagers life so if I was to ruin this for him it would have involved many nights of me whispering down through the slats of the top bunk trade deals from my chosen list of owned items just to bring peace and harmony back to our shared room. Finally I made my way to the top bunk with the agility of one of the cirque du soleil performers ahhhh I had made it! Now let’s have a look!
So as I flicked through the pages trying to take in these new but familiar characters and their crazy apocalyptic world, I began to realise that all my fears had come true! oh no! It was different! Really different! So different in fact that I closed the comic and sat staring at the ceiling in a kind of weird catatonic glaze huh? What was that I thought? Did I just cycle through some weird dimensional portal on the way to the shop?
As I sat there with my mind trying to take it all in, I kept going back and forth through the pages again to stare at all the art. That’s it, I thought I have to speak to someone but it was Saturday and the usual comic book kid I would have long debates in the school library about who was more powerful Thor or The Hulk lived too far away. This was the era before mobile phones so I had only one option, Craig aka The Craigster!
Now this had to be done absolutely perfectly! Timing was crucial. One slightly over estimated move might cause him to lose the game, and I would have to go through days, even weeks of the aforementioned trade negotiations.
So I waited, and waited! ……and waited! Just as I was about to give up and go out there was a loud frustrating noooooooooo! Yes, I thought. Crap! Did I say that out loud? I mean noooooo!
The time was now. I had to go for it before the next game was loaded. I threw the X-Men Alpha down to him and said, what do you think of this?
As I watched him look through the pages, I looked intently for any sign of disdain, but nothing! No horrified gasp, nothing?
“Well, what do you think?” I said.
Surely he would agree with me. Surely he would throw the comic right out of the window and say Stewart we are going to D.C. Well actually that came later, but that’s whole other story, isn’t it Craig?
“Cool!” I suddenly heard?
“Really? but they have changed everything.” I replied.
“Well, change is good, things can’t always stay the same way forever.”
Epiphany, lightbulb moment.
Huh? Change is good. I repeated to myself slowly! And with that small sentence of calm collective wisdom, my younger brother of two years had completely brought me back down to earth. And with that, he turned around, pressed play and continued his game. Little did i know that this moment would come in quite handy for my own personal Age Of Apocalypse, in the year 2020.
As I stared open mouthed at the back of his head, “He’s right.” I thought. Things won’t and can’t stay the same. So in reality it was me, not Marvel who was trying to destroy my 1995 . It was me and my complete inability to accept anything different than what I already knew.
So I decided to give it another go. With my newly found wisdom, and fresh perspective mantra, I opened the page and started to read… and something strange happened! I actually really started to like this new take on the X-Men! Look, I mean it wasn’t the X-universe I had known but after I got through the first issue and was completely hooked. I needed to know where this was all going to go.
Also side note this would give me a whole year of endless new material to debate with comic book kid at lunch time.
Charles Xavier is dead! Accidently killed in the past during a time travel mission. A brand new world is created in his absence and it is the X-Men’s worst nightmare, welcome to the Age Of Apocalypse!
If you haven’t read the Age Of Apocalypse, then I highly suggest you pick it up, as it’s now a classic must read in the X-Men timeline. I will warn you as it was an event that lasted the whole year there is quite a lot of story to get through but it’s well worth it, you can get it in graphic novel form ‘X-Men Age of Apocalypse Alpha’, ‘Omega’, ‘Raign’ and ‘Dawn’. There have also been a few revisits over the years, one of them being in the pages of the brilliant Rick Remender, ‘Uncanny X-Force’. you can find them at wordery.com, Amazon and Forbidden Planet in the UK, or Amazon, Marvel Unlimited and Marvel.com and all other good local comic book stores in the US.
Thanks for reading, if you would like to get in touch with me, just click here.
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