X-Factor (1st series) #12
unnamed parents, William Rolfson / Genocide (son)
Formerly Clan Akkaba, Horsemen of Apocalypse
• Desiccating power destroys organic matter by causing it to wither, rot, and ultimately disintegrate into ash
• Power induces a specific "starvation blight" in lifeforms that makes them physically emaciated with an insatiable hunger, a temporary effect that can become permanent if she sustains it
The young woman who would become Apocalypse's first Famine of the modern age was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Autumn's parents had very high expectations for their daughter and insisted that she achieve. They put a lot of pressure on her to get good grades so she could get a scholarship and not be tethered to office jobs like they were.
When Autumn's mutant powers developed her parents were terrified that Autumn could be taken away and everything they had been working for would be for nothing. With this in mind they made Autumn hide her powers and scolded her when she used them. While Autumn's parents' strict rules originated from a good place, like many teenagers, Autumn didn't see it this way. Feeling suffocated, Autumn became anorexic in an attempt to gain some sort of control in her life. Autumn's condition became quite severe and she was even hospitalized at one point. Dinnertime became a battle between Autumn and her father. One night Autumn lashed out with her powers and destroyed the food on the table. Autumn's father berated her and angrily sent her to her room. When Autumn got there Apocalypse was waiting for her. Apocalypse offered Autumn dominion over her own life and her parents. Believing his promises, Autumn accepted his offer. [X-Factor (1st series) #12]
Autumn was one of four mutants that were "recruited" by Apocalypse to be his Horsemen. There was the X-Man, Warren Worthington, the elderly Morlock woman called Plague, and the Vietnam veteran Abraham Kieros. Worthington was initially not as pliable as the others and remarked that he could tell that Apocalypse had drugged Autumn and her cohorts in order to manipulate them. The brainwashing caused the Horsemen to behave irrationally and they frequently fought amongst themselves. In particular Autumn and Abraham aka War bore an astonishing antipathy towards each other. Just before their debut to the world, they were questioning each other's worth as servants of Apocalypse. Despite Autumn's programming by Apocalypse, her anorexia remained and she voiced how disgusted she was by Abraham's large physique. After Abraham called Autumn an “ugly skeleton girl”, their fight became physical. Apocalypse had been encouraging the battle from the start and influenced the other Horseman, Plague into entering the fray. Plague afflicted both Autumn and Abraham with a fatal disease. As they both lay on the ground dying, they still cursed each other and dismissed each other's value. Apocalypse gave both Autumn and Abraham the antidote to Plague's touch and decided to test their theories. If they were as powerful as they claimed they should have no problem defeating X-Factor!
The Horsemen made their debut in Manhattan's Upper East Side against Beast, Iceman and Caliban. The mission was a disaster from the start. War attempted to lead the group but Autumn and Pestilence refused to listen to him. The three Horsemen repeatedly clashed and got in each other's way when fighting X-Factor. After Cyclops and Marvel Girl arrived, their added firepower turned the battle in X-Factor's favor. Noticing this, Apocalypse teleported the Horsemen home, claiming that this exercise might teach them the value of teamwork. [X-Factor (1st series) #19]
This skirmish also brought up another question within the group - who would be the field leader? Apocalypse decided to hold a contest amongst Famine, War, Pestilence and the newly-converted Angel who had been reborn as Death. Though Famine was the last to fall, like War and Pestilence, she was defeated by the Worthingon and accepted him as their field leader. [X-Factor (1st series) #23]
X-Factor would later arrive at Apocalypse's ship to try and reclaim Worthington. During the ensuing battle, Autumn faced Iceman one-on-one. As Iceman and Famine exchanged blows and barbs, she revealed she had no sympathy for humanity. In her view, humanity had brought their destruction on themselves as she attributed the birth of mutants like herself and Iceman to radiation caused by bombs and nuclear plants created by humans. Suffice it to say, Iceman disagreed and the Omega level Iceman easily overpowered the inexperienced Famine. Despite Famine's defeat, the Horsemen prevailed over X-Factor in this battle. With X-Factor in his clutches, Apocalypse dispatched the Horsemen to terrorize Manhattan yet again. As Autumn soared over Central Park, she attacked a group of humans eating fast food, something that disgusted her. Her onslaught was stopped by Marvel Girl. During their brief conflict, Jean attempted to reason with Autumn telling her that she was just a child and that she could help her. Despite having the upper hand in their bout, Famine didn't kill Jean. Instead, she hesitated for the first time since entering Apocalypse's control. This sudden burst of empathy seemed to frighten Autumn and she requested that Apocalypse teleport her to America's “Bread Basket” so she could destroy it as he had promised her she could. [X-Factor (1st series) #24-25]
Autumn's sympathy towards a fellow mutant like Jean certainly didn't extend to the humans from the midwest. Famine's attack on the farming region of America was brutal and she showed no hesitation in killing both cattle and farmers. She had downed several military jets before encountering a group of superheroes, Nomad, Falcon, Demolition Man and Steve Rogers, who at the time was going under the identity of The Captain. Autumn made quick work of Nomad and Falcon but The Captain proved to be something else entirely. Rogers spoke with such authority that it shook Famine to her core. Just like she had done with Jean Grey, Autumn hesitated and she contemplated trying to talk to The Captain to make him understand her pain. Her hesitation lasted only for a moment before Apocalypse's programming again took over. Before The Captain had a further chance to try and reason with her, Apocalypse once again teleported her out of “harm's way.” [Captain America (1st series) #339]
Famine and her fellow Horsemen would later be manipulated by Mr. Sinister, who was masquerading as Apocalypse, into capturing the X-Men, Jean Grey and Cyclops. While Caliban attempted to procure the duo, Famine and War distracted their teammates, Iceman and Colossus. Autumn faced off against Colossus. Her attempt to use her power on him failed dramatically due to his armored form. This caused her power to feedback into her own body. As Autumn screamed in agony as her body literally ate itself, War became infuriated. Despite their established antipathy towards each other, at some point War began to really care about Autumn and swore vengeance on Colossus. Regardless of War's claims, he too was defeated by Colossus and Mr. Sinister teleported the Horsemen to safety. Famine and War might have failed in their battle against the X-Men, but Caliban had been successful in capturing Cyclops and Jean Grey. The Horsemen returned to "Apocalypse" and handed over the couple, totally unaware that this was truly Sinister posing as their master. [Uncanny X-Men (1st Series) #294, X-Factor (1st Series) #84]
A group of X-Men would later track down the Horsemen to the warehouse in Chesapeake Bay were they had handed over Jean and Scott. Despite the X-Men's attempt at stealth, they were discovered by the Horsemen. At the start of the battle, Famine incapacitated the X-Man, Beast. Her small victory was short-lived as she was soon bested by Quicksilver, whose rapid metabolism made him virtually immune to Autumn's caustic touch. A hologram of Mr. Sinister appeared after the X-Men defeated the Horsemen, erroneously claiming that Apocalypse was responsible for the abduction. The X-Men took the unconscious Horsemen on their quest to find Apocalypse. This led them to California where they were quickly defeated by Apocalypse, who teleported away after the battle. What happened to Famine after this is unclear. Presumably, she regained consciousness before the X-Men did and fled. [X-Force (1st series) #16, Uncanny X-Men (1st Series) #295]
Famine vanished from view for years after the events of the X-Cutioner's Song. At some point, Autumn was reunited with Apocalypse who impregnated her with his child. It is unclear whether the two became lovers or she was impregnated through artificial means. The shock of finding herself with child finally allowed Autumn to shake off Apocalypse's influence to an extent. Autumn feared Apocalypse might view her child as a threat to him, so she ran. Some time later she gave birth to a boy who she named William.
William came into his powers much earlier than the average mutant. The boy was essentially a living atomic bomb. At some point, Famine was approached by Dark Beast and Clan Akkaba, a cult of Apocalypse's descendents. Dark Beast designed a containment suit for William based on the one worn by his alternate reality brother, Holocaust. Autumn and her son were both present in Clan Akkaba's North Pole city when Apocalypse's “heir”, Famine's former teammate, Archangel arrived. Dark Beast had told Archangel about William. Autumn was initially fearful of what Archangel might do to William and pleaded with Archangel not to hurt him. However, given her son's level of power even she was unsure if such a thing was possible. William had grown up with an idealized view of his father and was more than willing to serve his father's successor, Archangel. He was worried, however, that Archangel might punish his mother for hiding his existence from his father. Archangel assured William that he wouldn't harm his mother as he claimed that by concealing him, Autumn had changed the world for the better. Archangel viewed William in much the same way that Apocalypse had originally viewed his mother - he was a powerful young mutant he could exploit. William quite rapidly became essential in Archangel's plans to jumpstart evolution.
Archangel christened William, Genocide and took him to a small town in Montana where he had the young boy unleash his power. This act killed the thousands of residents in the town. Autumn was horrified when she found out how Archangel was using her son. She was now in the position her own parents had been in and wanted better for her child than she had gotten. In one final act of bravery, Autumn confronted Archangel. Holding a gun to his head, she told Warren that William was only a boy and that she didn't want him to turn into a monster. Autumn's change of heart came too late and she was swiftly struck down by Archangel's metallic wings. Her son disappeared during Archangel's final battle with X-Force. It's unknown if William ever found out about his mother's death or how she died trying to protect him. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #14-16]
In the Mutant X timeline, Apocalypse was a very different man. While he still believed in the survival of the fittest he claimed he didn't want to directly interfere in its progression. Charles Xavier had gone mad after a battle with the Shadow King and began hunting down other telepaths to absorb their powers. When this insane version of Charles Xavier attained such a high level of power that he threatened the natural order, Apocalypse sent his Horsemen to kill him. A woman named Famine was among their number. While the character never spoke, she appeared to have the same power set as Autumn Rolfson. Xavier fled to his former students the Six for protection. During a battle between the Horsemen and the Six, Famine faced Iceman in battle but was defeated due to Xavier's telepathic powers. When the Six realized their mentor's true nature, they allied with Apocalypse and his Horsemen. Ultimately, Xavier was defeated by the combined efforts of the Six, Apocalypse, the Horsemen and Magneto. This Famine character has yet to reappear. [Mutant X #19-22]