Apocalypse: The Twelve

Release Date: 
January 2000 to February 2000
Plot / Theme: 

After more than a decade from the first mention of the fabled Twelve, their story is finally told. It is revealed the legend of the Twelve is actually the grand design of Apocalypse, who started the rumors himself long ago. They are in fact twelve powerful mutants that Apocalypse wants to lure together, as he needs them to ascend to godhood. His master plan is to take their powers, combine them and transfer them into his body. After doing so he will be omnipotent. Needing a suitable hostbody capable of containing this incredible power, Apocalypse decides Nate Grey will do just fine, and has him captured as the so called Thirteenth. The X-Men end up facing Skrulls, egyptian cultists, the four Horsemen and Apocalypse himself before events unfold into the mind-shattering conclusion where one man’s bold sacrifice may turn out in vain.

Characters Involved

Main characters :

  • Archangel, Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Marrow, Nightcrawler, Phoenix IV, Polaris, Psylocke, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)
  • Bishop, Polaris, Sunfire (former X-Men)
  • Cable
  • Nate Grey / X-Man
  • Cannonball, Domino, Warpath (all X-Force)
  • Jubilee (Generation X)
  • Mikhail Rasputin
  • Fiz, Zcann (both mutant Skrulls)
  • The Living Monolith
  • Magneto
  • Apocalypse
  • Wolverine / Death, Deathbird / War, Ahab / Famine, Caliban / Pestilence (all Horsemen of Apocalypse)

Secondary characters :

  • Moira MacTaggert
  • Irene Merryweather
  • Stacey Kramer, Cable’s girlfriend
  • Kenny Kramer, brother of Stacey
  • Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing (all Fantastic Four)
  • Franklin Richards
  • Abraham Kieros
  • Mr. Sinister
  • Fabian Cortez (Acolytes)

On the psionic plane :

  • Madelyne Pryor
  • Aliya Jenskot, Cable’s dead wife from the future
  • Slym and Redd Dayspring, aliases of Jean and Scott when they raised Nathan in the future
Issues Involved: 

Cable (1st series) #75-76, Uncanny X-Men #376-377, Wolverine (2nd series) #146-147, X-Man #59-60, X-Men (2nd series) #96-97

X-Man #59-60, are not officially part of the crossover, but they were released at the same time and show Nate getting captured by Apocalypse’s forces. Wolverine #147 is not really involved with the main events happening in Egypt. The issue focuses on Archangel and Wolverine, dealing with the changes they underwent while in Apocalypse‘s service.

Read Order: 

Part 1 - Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #376
Part 2 - Cable (1st series) #75
Part 3 - X-Man #59
Part 4 - X-Men (2nd series) #96
Part 5 - Wolverine (2nd series) #146
Part 6 - Wolverine (2nd series) #147
Part 7 - X-Man #60
Part 8 - Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #377
Part 9 - Cable (1st series) #76
Part 10 - X-Men (2nd series) #97


  • In outer space, Bishop and Deathbird found the remains of the Living Monolith. All of a sudden Deathbird betrayed Bishop, and knocked him out. He awoke on earth and soon after was transported to an alternate future ruled by his archenemy Fitzroy.
  • Shadowcat found a diary of the late precog Destiny hidden in an appartment of Mystique.
  • Colossus and Marrow rescued Mikhail Rasputin from the strange dimension called The Hill.
  • For weeks Polaris was stalked by Skrulls who then stole Havok’s old costume with the headgear.
  • The X-Men discovered that Wolverine had been replaced by a Skrull imposter. The real Logan has been kidnapped by Apocalypse, who upgraded and brainwashed him to serve as his Horseman Death.
  • Cable got captured by Caliban, aka Apocalypse‘s new Horseman Pestilence.
  • Recently Magneto’s mutant powers were overtaxed, and he no longer has his full magnetic abilities. He tires very quickly and needs the Acolyte Fabian Cortez to amplify him on a regular basis, so that his weakness will not be discovered.

At Xavier’s mansion, Cyclops is in the danger room thinking about his beginnings with the X-Men and how much they’ve gone through together. However, he wants to leave the X-Men and spend his life with Jean. The next day the Professor calls a meeting with everyone. The analysis on one of Destiny’s diaries has been completed. During his briefing they encounter a mutant Skrull named Fiz who snuck into the mansion. He tells them urgent news of trouble on Earth. The Skrulls have allied themselves with someone powerful. The only thing he knows is that there are twelve mutants that can’t be harmed and that something terrible is going to happen. Destiny’s diary has a listing of the Twelve: Xavier, Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, Iceman, Sunfire, Polaris, Cable, Bishop, the newly found Mikhail Rasputin, the Living Monolith and Magneto. Xavier warns the X-Men of the trouble ahead and dismisses them. Scott remains. He addresses his desire to leave, but Xavier tells him he needs him on this one. Scott reluctantly agrees to stay.

Over in Egypt, his cult worshipers revive the Living Monolith. Mr. Sinister is there as well. We learn about his experiment with the Monolith and Alex Summers in the past. Sinister reminds him that he is his to control. The Monolith is enraged and lashes out. Mr. Sinister uses a staff to control him. He is, after all, part of the grand design …

Meanwhile, Caliban and Deathbird had managed to kidnap Cable. He stands as a prisoner in Egypt. Apocalypse is with him and for the first time Cable fears that he may have failed his mission to stop Apocalypse. Apocalypse tells Cable about his past dealings with Sinister and why he infected him with the T.O. virus when he was a baby. He thought he was rid of him when Cyclops sent him to the future, but it’s all right now because Apocalypse has him right where he wants him. Apocalypse tells Cable to prepare for a test and shortly after, the brainwashed Wolverine shows up. They fight; during the battle Cable tries to get through to Logan, but it’s no use. In the end he hooks Wolverine in the shoulder with his psimitar knocking him down into a black pit. Apocalypse comes back and Cable attacks him. It seems Cable has the upper hand, but Apocalypse eventually breaks free and knocks him down. He tells Cable to give up or else Caliban will be killed. From behind we see Wolverine is back and he has his knuckles at Caliban’s throat. Cable has no real choice and gives up. Apocalypse doesn’t understand why Cable would give up; only the strong should survive. Cable tells him all life is valuable. Cable is chained back up and wonders once again if he has failed.

Nate Grey has been enjoying a day with the Fantastic Four. He contacted Reed Richards for help to track down the AoA baddies and also has his power levels tested. Suddenly, he gets an urge to leave and flies away. Shortly after, Caliban pops up through a teleportation disc and attacks him. Caliban, aka Pestilence, slashes with his claws across Nate’s face. He then manages to capture Nate and drag him through the disc.

From the mansion, Xavier enters Magneto‘s dreams and tells him they need to talk. In his citadel on Genosha, Mags wakes up and calls for Cortez. He needs one more hypercharge. They later meet at the Leningrad site and Xavier fills him in on everything he knows about the Twelve. Magneto agrees to help.

At the X-mansion things are back to normal, relatively speaking. Jean tries to locate Iceman because he’s one of the Twelve. She uses Cerebro and locates him. Unfortunately he’s busy battling with Deathbird, the Horseman of War. He loses and they both teleport away. In Japan, Sunfire shares a similar fate. He gets surprise attacked and defeated by Ahab, the Horseman of Famine.

In the mansion’s infirmary we find that Mikhail has fully recovered. The Horseman of Death teleports in, right next to him. Wolverine takes out Colossus and then Moira and Mikhail. He’s about to leave with Mikhail when Cyke and Storm show up. Storm uses her wind power to sweep them away from the teleportation disc. She manages to snatch Death but only after he is able to throw Mikhail through the portal. The rest of the X-Men show up in the infirmary. Everyone takes turns trying to take down Wolverine. Even Fiz gets in on the action, but to no avail. Wolvie manages to collapse the room on top of everyone and he makes his escape into the sewer tunnels. The team splits up into two groups. Archangel, Nightcrawler, Jubilee, Psylocke and Shadowcat go after Wolverine. The rest head for Egypt to fulfill the Twelve’s destiny.

Psylocke straps herself into Cerebro. She needs to use it to help track down Wolverine. Unfortunately she has the Shadow King locked within her mind and can’t use her powers actively without freeing him. Her telepathy amplified by Cerebro, she contacts the group members in the tunnels below and points them to Logan‘s location. Moving through the tunnels, Death had some past memories (mutant Massacre, Kitty about to wed Caliban) resurface, and the team intercepts him. He disposes of Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Archangel. Jubilee, who doesn’t fight as hard as the others, finally gets through to him with words and reminds Logan of the adventures the shared, allowing Psylocke to enter his mind and fight Apocalypse’s control. Wolverine breaks free and goes back to normal. However, now Archangel has changed. He stands holding his face in his hands and says ".. light it never dies not even in monster”.

Warren’s wings glow with light and he departs looking for something or someone in the city. His wings are oddly glowing. Wolverine is tracking him and follows as Archangel checks out the many hospitals of the city. Finally Archangel’s target becomes clear, he is searching for Abraham Kieros, the original Horseman of War. Psylocke is in telepathic contact with both X-Men, straining badly using Cerebro. From inside her mind the Shadow King gives her an option. If she releases him he will set everything right. She’s about to accept his offer when Archangel enters her mind and stops her. He tells her to disconnect from Cerebro and trust him. She does. Next we see that Archangel has found Abraham who is almost totally paralyzed. Wolverine comes into the room and grabs Warren. He threatens Worthington’s life. Archangel convinces him to sheath his claws. He uses his strange new light power to heal Abraham. Archangel’s wings turn back into feathers and him and Wolverine leave the hospital, knowing that they can overcome the darkness and they really can make a difference in the world.

Waking up, Nate Grey finds himself still in New York City. The whole place is filled with Coldsnap-9, a deadly gas. He finds other strange things too. The city is in shambles, a bunch of superheroes are dead, and he sees his reflection and his face looks like Caliban’s. The entire is a hallucination, caused by pestilence’s disease. Nate finds himself thrown into battles he already fought (Morbius, Gene Nation), and as he tries to help out the other superheroes of his dream, Nate finds that nobody can see him and he can’t touch anyone. Witnessing all the imaginary X-Men getting killed, Nate remembers his telekinesis and focuses with all his might. All of a sudden, Nate remembers what really happened before. Caliban had attacked him. This recollection brings him back to consciousness. He finds himself face to face with Caliban. He’s in some sort of containment field and unable to move. Apocalypse enters the room and Nate is shocked. Apocalypse tells him that he is the most important piece in his grand design.

The other X-Men and Magneto have made it to Egypt. They know where their kidnapped friends are located, but right away they are hit with an earthquake that damages their jets. A large group of Skrulls and cultists come out of nowhere and engage them in battle. All of a sudden, Bishop shows up when he is pulled from his time stream by Apocalypse. A lot of the Skrulls change their image to appear like X-Men allies, thus confusing them. Soon nobody knows who is friend or foe anymore, and the remaining members of the Twelve all get captured, either by shapeshifting Skrulls or by the three Horsemen Pestilence, Famine and War. The Twelve are contained in greenish orbs that prevent them from using their powers’. Now that Apocalypse has everyone he needs, the Skrulls and cultists become fiercer with the remaining X-Men above. Apocalypse reveals his plan to the Twelve and is ready to initiate it. He wants to bundle the Twelve’s energies through the Living Monolith and send them into Nate Grey, who shall become his new host body. In his engine, Magneto and Polaris represent opposing magnetic poles, Storm, Iceman and Sunfire are extreme forces of nature, Mikhail and Bishop provide control over space and time, Xavier is the power of mind, and Jean, Scott and Cable represent the unity of family.

Elsewhere in the states we see Cable’s current girlfriend, Stacey Kramer, is worried about him. He has disappeared and she doesn’t know to where. Irene Merryweather, the chronicler of cable’s adventures tells her that this isn’t unusual for Cable’s business and that he will be back soon. Yet she feels that this time it might be different and could have something to do with the end of the world.

In Egypt, the Twelve have been assembled in their null orbs. Cable finds out what’s really going on with Apocalypse. Suddenly, him and Cyclops are transported to the psionic plane. They find themselves in the future, Cable’s Askani future. They start off in a huge graveyard that was designated for the people who died fighting to stop Apocalypse. Nathan tells his father about his past with Aliya and what it was like growing up after him and Jean (Slym and Redd) left to go back to the present. He used to look up at the stars every night and light a candle for them. Cable is worried that he’s failed everyone. Scott tells him it’ s not true. They hug and it starts snowing. It gets real heavy and Scott disappears. Cable finds himself in Alaska where he lived as an infant. He sees a cabin in the distance and heads towards it. Madelyne Pryor is inside and she has Cyclops hovering above her in a stasis field. He finds out she’s responsible for pulling him and Scott to the psionic plane. She knows what’s going on and wants him to stay there with her in safety. He tells her that’s not going to happen. He realizes as long as he’s still alive he has a chance of stopping Apocalypse. She reluctantly sends both of them back to their bodies. They find themselves back in their orbs. Apocalypse is there and tells them the chamber is almost ready for his needs. He will soon rise to power.

The X-Men outside of Apocalypse’s lair are still fighting the Skrulls and cultists in Egypt. They are severely outnumbered. They Skrulls decide to make the mutant Skrulls join the battle. They’re ordered to go after Fiz, “the traitor”. Fiz manages to get through to a telepathic mutant named Zcann. Through her they manage to get all of the mutant Skrulls to switch sides and fight along the X-Men. Now that the tides have turned, Fiz tells the X-Men to go after their friends.

Inside the temple, the transfer process has begun. However, Magneto weakness causes the energy flow to stop, and the process starts reversing. The Living Monolith receives so much energy that he bursts out of his null orb and grows to gigantic proportions. He inadvertently breaks the rest of the Twelve free as he unleashes some of his power. They try to reason with the Monolith, but he is already too consumed. Cyclops, Phoenix, Professor and Cable head out to look for Apocalypse while the rest try to stop the Monolith’s rampage. The Horsemen enter the scene and try to stop them from going after Apocalypse. Mikhail intercepts them and teleports them away along with himself. Nobody can stop the Monolith, so Bishop decides to absorb all of his energies. He succeeds and is sent back from which he came by the temporal energies he absorbs. Meanwhile Magneto discovers that he can tap into earth‘s magnetic field through Polaris and uses this power against the Monolith. The original search party manages to find Nate and Apocalypse. They try to interfere, but Apocalypse is too strong now and easily keeps them all away. Cyke can think of only one thing to do and that’s to knock Nate out of the machine and take his place. The rest of the X-Men, including those not of the Twelve, enter just in time to see the horrifying end result.

To be concluded in: Ages of Apocalypse

Repercussions / lasting effects: 

Heroes :

  • Polaris accepted Magneto’s offer to join him on Genosha. With her to back him up, he would no longer have to rely on Fabian Cortez. In return Lorna would receive tutoring in her magnetic abilities and the chance to make a stand for mutant rights on the island nations.
  • None of the team believe Jean’s claim that somewhere deep inside Apocalypse a part of Cyclops might have survived. She bitterly leaves the team with this final battle having driven a wedge between her and Xavier. About six months later she returns to the X-Men, but by then Xavier is no longer on Earth.
  • Realizing the mutant Skrulls need training and guidance, Xavier accompanies them to outer space, where they become known as Cadre K. During the Maximum Security event, the Skrulls and Xavier come back to help Earth and the X-Men, and afterward the Cadre is deemed capable of continuing their training on their own.
  • Feeling guilty that his father had sacrificed himself in the battle that he had prepared his entire life for, Cable joined the X-Men, kind of replacing Cyclops. Yet he soon found himself not agreeing with the X-Men’s methods, finding their approach too passive.
  • Over six months after his disappearance, more and more signs pointed to Cyclops still being alive, so Cable and Jean embarked on a quest for him and found the merged being. Through the psychic rapport with her husband, Jean was able to tear Apocalypse’s essence out of hi sbody and Cable disrupted it with his psimitar.

Villains :

  • Apocalypse was considered dead after his essence was purged from Cyclops‘ body, but is next seen in X-Men (2nd series) #179.
  • The Living Monolith’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
  • It’s unknown where Mikhail and the Horsemen teleported too, yet Deathbird was seen again in outer space, encountering Bishop and getting blown through an open air-lock, while Caliban was slowly reverting back to his naive state after being released from Apocalypse’s service.
Last Updated: 
6th March 2007