The Continuing Age of Apocalypse:
Dark Angel Saga to X-Termination
That dream wasn’t to last, though, as soon thereafter a Celestial ship landed on Earth and sparked a new era of misery for the world. Against Jean’s advice, Logan led a team of X-Men into the ship to discover what the cosmic beings wanted. They had come to Earth to judge it and Logan was given the choice of either letting the planet die or help them move evolution forward. Using a Death Seed, Logan was empowered and became Weapon Omega.
Over the next ten years, Weapon Omega waged a bloody war against humans and any mutants who protected them. The X-Men’s ranks were decimated and even Rogue and Magneto’s son Charles was killed. Omega created a team called the Black Legion and they killed billions of humans, leaving only isolated pockets surviving. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #12-13]
One day, a group of mutants from Earth-616 travelled to the Age of Apocalypse, looking for a Celestial Life Seed. One of their team, Archangel, had succumbed to the influence of a Death Seed on their world and they sought the Life Seed to counteract it. The team, X-Force, were being assisted by Dark Beast, one of the Age of Apocalypse refugees who had fled the world years before. They travelled to Dark Beast’s lab and found the Life Seed, but it was quickly stolen by one of the remaining X-Men, Nightcrawler. X-Force pursued him but they ran across the rest of the X-Men and a fight broke out. It was only when X-Force member Psylocke recognized Sabretooth as being from the team of Exiles on which she served that a truce was called. Unfortunately, it was too late by that point and Sunfire had destroyed the seed. Dark Beast gave both teams the slip and went back to Earth-616, stranding X-Force on the dystopian world. The X-Men took them back to their underwater hideout, where they met Jean and Magneto. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #11]
Whilst Jean and X-Force’s Wolverine were talking, they were attacked by a Sentinel which had been sent to scout the area. Knowing their base had been found, the X-Men quickly came up with a plan to help X-Force and get them back home. They would split up and one team would go find a Celestial that Apocalypse had killed years before and harvest another life seed from it. The other team would go and find Gateway and use him to open a portal to Earth-616.
Using the defeated Sentinel, the first team flew it to the Sky, the prison in which Gateway was being held. Though they passed the other Sentinel guards undetected, they were ambushed by Weapon Omega and his Black Legion. X-23 was killed immediately by her father and a bloody battle began. Jean stopped it when she used her Phoenix powers and took control over everyone. She confronted Weapon Omega, her former love, for the first time in years and tried to reason with him. He resisted and fought back, knocking her out and teleporting away with her. The rest of her team were surrounded by the Black Legion and Iceman bailed on the team rather than face death.
The other team wasn’t fairing much better. They had found the dead Celestial and located a Life Seed but had been attacked by Celestial drones. Fantomex’s ship was damaged and so the X-Men obtained the seed and fought the drones whilst it repaired itself. Gambit sacrificed his life to give the rest of his team enough time to escape.
Back at the Sky prison, Gateway was found and he teleported the team to Weapon Omega’s location. They immediately attacked Omega and he was seemingly beating them, but it was all an illusion to keep Omega occupied whilst Jean was saved. The other team soon arrived and joined the battle against Omega. Fantomex revealed they only had one Life Seed and so they couldn’t use it on Omega, otherwise there would be no hope for Archangel. X-Force didn’t want to leave Jean to face Omega but she forced Gateway to open a portal and pushed them through. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #12-13]
After escaping Omega, Jean Grey joined a small team to Earth-616 to help out X-Force in their fight against Archangel. Sunfire and Wild-child were killed in the battle and, when she returned to her home world, Jean discovered Gateway and the Silver Samurai had also died whilst she had been gone. They had been captured by agents of Weapon Omega and revealed to him the location of the last city of humans. With Omega’s forces closing in on the city, a human ally called Fiend took Magneto and Rogue to a secret lab that had been working on Jean’s orders to come up with a weapon. Magneto was horrified to see clones of his daughter Wanda floating tubes and used as test subjects. Jean had seen that Wanda had depowered the mutants on Earth-616 and hoped to use that same power here. She had Wanda cloned to use her power, but Magneto lashed out and destroyed all but one of the bodies. Soon after, the Black Legion started attacking the city and slaughtering the last human inhabitants. Jean arrived at the lab and began delving into the last clone’s mind in a bid to activate her abilities and remove the powers of every mutant on Earth. Weapon Omega found the lab and killed Magneto and Rogue when they stood in his way. Jean managed to activate Wanda’s powers but something went wrong and only she and Sabretooth were depowered. They managed to escape from Weapon Omega and watch as the last city of humans was obliterated in an explosion. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #19.1]
Jean and Sabretooth now found themselves as powerless allies to a human team called the X-terminated. Sabretooth was arrested by their leader, Prophet, for his past crimes under Apocalypse’s rule. Whilst the newcomers were being dealt with, the rest of the team gathered to track down another possible new ally that had caught their attention. Travelling to New Apocalypse, the city that had risen where Manhattan once stood, they entered the slums in search of their target Harper Simmons. They found him but unfortunately Keeper Murdock, one of Omega’s most trusted hounds, had done so as well. After a fight, they escaped with Simmons and interrogated him. They discovered he had travelled there from Earth-616 after investigating Dark Beast and the Sugar Man. The two villains had opened a portal back to their home world and Simmons had followed and become stuck. Seeing the atrocities being committed, he used his journalistic skills to distribute leaflets and propaganda covertly in a bid to undermine Omega’s authority. Simmons led the X-Terminated to the lab where he had first appeared but they were shocked to find a supposedly deceased Cyclops waiting for them. After a brief fight, Deadeye was captured whilst the others had escaped, all except Fiend. In the chaos, she had snuck into the ventilation vents of the lab so she could gather intelligence on what was going down there. As the lab was being disassembled, she hid herself in a container and tapped into the computers whilst they were being transported. The group that escaped immediately fled into the sewers, where they set a trap for the prison truck harboring Deadeye. They ambushed the guards and freed Deadeye before the Sentinels could arrive.
In the meantime, Jean Grey and Sabretooth had been getting used to their power loss. The X-Terminated’s chief scientist, Dr. Moreau, wanted to dissect Jean to unravel the effect the Scarlet Witch had on her. Prophet had other things in mind and started her off on a training course with Henry Gyrich. [Age of Apocalypse (1st series) #1-2]
Harper Simmons was taken back to the X-Terminated’s base two miles under the nuclear wasteland that was Nevada. There he met the rest of the team and learned of their operation. Thanks to Deadeye, they were now informed of Dark Beast and the Sugar Man’s experiments in resurrecting a select group of dead mutants. Elsewhere, Donald Pierce, now know as Goodnight, had set himself up within the newly emerged Hellfire Club and was acting as a spy for the X-Terminated. He realized Sebastian Shaw would be set to lose out on his newfound freedom if Weapon Omega succeeded in his plans and so bargained with him for the location of Dark Beast’s new lab.
Cyclops had already been brought back and Deadeye could only watch as Havok and Emplate were resurrected. When she saw that one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen, Abyss, was next in line, she decided to sabotage the equipment. She did so but was knocked out by Emplate and taken to Dark Beast. Before he could do anything, the lab was attacked by the rest of the X-Terminated and he fled. Beforehand, Goodnight had gone to see Bruce Banner and forced him into turning into the Incredible Thing. As the two factions were fighting, the Thing burst through the walls and gave the X-Terminated the upper hand. Deadeye shot Prophet and, with their leader seemingly dead, the team fled, with the Sugar Man as prisoner. The fracas had attracted the attention of Weapon Omega but the Thing took him on, sacrificing himself as the team escaped. Unbeknownst to them, Prophet had ordered Deadeye to shoot him and only make it look fatal. With the lab empty, Prophet radioed base and deactivated the remaining equipment, but not before he used it to bring back Monet St. Croix. He escaped with her and blew up lab so make sure no-one else could be brought back. [Age of Apocalypse (1st series) #3-4]
Jean Grey continued her combat training with Horror Show and also received an implant that would alert her to telepathic intrusion. She went with Prophet into the slums of New Apocalypse on a secret mission. They went to a diner to have lunch but, once inside, they were accosted by Quentin Quire and his Overmind. Quire had initially been ignored by the Shadow King when the malevolent being was assessing potential threats to Weapon Omega. Over the next few years, though, Quire had targeted a number of low level telepaths such as Moondragon and Mesmero and coerced them into becoming one of his hive-like Overminds. In the diner, he entered Jean’s mind, as he wanted to draft her and the Phoenix Force into his group. He was disappointed to find her powerless but she offered to help him deal with the strain of controlling so many other minds. Before she could act, Quire psychically killed himself, rather than continue dealing with the strain. Without Jean noticing, Prophet took a sample of Quire’s blood before they went back to base. [Age of Apocalypse (1st series) #5]
The resurrected Monet St. Croix quickly became a beacon of hope in the slums of New Apocalypse. Calling herself Lady Penance, she announced that she wanted to usher forth a new era for humans and mutants alike. Naturally, this earned her the attention of Weapon Omega, who recognized her as being one of the mutants he had wanted to resurrect but never gotten the chance. Omega sent Azazel, Cyclops and Colossus to bring her to him but she declined and managed to undo the brainwashing on Colossus. Azazel left with Cyclops before she could do the same to them. Afterwards, Prophet approached her and informed her that he was the one who brought her back. He offered her the Sugar Man as her chief scientist in aid for helping bring down Weapon Omega. Deadeye was disgusted by what he had done but he explained he was doing it to ensure their survival. Later on, Weapon Omega approached Penance himself and she let him know he had competition. Just as he left, Deadeye arrived with the Sugar Man and made it clear she did not approve of the trade. [Age of Apocalypse (1st series) #6]
Meanwhile, Prophet had Dr. Moreau use the blood sample he took from Quentin Quire to clone a new brain. Whilst that was slowly being grown, Dr. Moreau told Prophet of the journals supposeduly kept by Reed Richards, the foremost authority on Celestials who had been targeted early by Apocalypse’s forces. His journals had made it to Great Britain and then vanished, never to be seen again. Prophet took a group and set off in a submarine in a bid to track them down. They soon made contact with Peter Wisdom who led them to Emma Frost. She explained that the keeper of the journals, Susan Storm, had died and that in a last ditch effort she gave them to Victor Von Doom in the hopes that he would be able to understand them.
The team travelled to Latveria and found themselves in a very unusual situation. The whole country was now a giant processing plant and there were thousands of humans there, though none were being killed. The team split up to investigate and, whilst Prophet and Deadeye found Doom, the others were not so lucky. They were captured by the so-called ruler of the facility, the Queen, who turned out to be Emma Frost. She had supposedly been lobotomised so she couldn’t use her telepathic gifts but that was an apparent lie, as they had been restored. The group she took captive were soon joined by Prophet and Deadeye, who had been handed over by Doom. Azazel soon arrived to inspect the captive but once he left Doom enacted the next part of his plan. He had been the one to lobotomise Emma years ago and so he activated a failsafe and knocked her unconscious. He then freed the X-Terminated and showed them the things he had made from Richards’s research. He unveiled a giant device that could contain the Death Seed energy once it had been separated from Weapon Omega. However, Doom made it clear that he wanted to use it to empower himself to bring in a new world order for the humans. Prophet objected to this and fought against him but was stopped by Deadeye. Her apparent hatred of mutants led her to side with Doom and the X-Terminated were forced to go back home empty handed. Deadeye stayed with Doom for a few weeks, entering into a romantic relationship with him. It was all a ploy, though, as she murdered him when he guard was down and took his head back to the X-Terminated so that its secrets could be discovered. [Age of Apocalypse (1st series) #7-8]
With Doom dead, Prophet retrieved the device to hold the Death Seed energy and gave it to Dr. Moreau. However, he did not hand over Doom’s head; instead he gave it to the Sugar Man and Lady Penance. Prophet instructed them to extract the information from it so they could create a weapon to remove the Death Seed energy from Weapon Omega. The Sugar Man got to work and quickly developed a small pill that would split the death energies from Omega. The trouble was it could not simply be shot into Omega — it had to be ingested.
Elsewhere, Jean went on a date with Horror Show as part of a deal that he talk to his father, Sabretooth. After the date ended badly, she went to the hospital in which Fiend worked to talk. Unbeknownst to them, Keeper Murdock had been tracking them ever since they took Harper Simmons off him months ago. He located them and told their position to Cyclops, who stormed the hospital to capture Jean. The two women escaped into the sewers but were met by Emplate. Fiend used an explosive to stun Emplate, letting Jean escape further into the tunnels. Sabretooth found Jean and saved her from some sewer-dwelling mutants but Weapon Omega quickly caught them off guard. As Sabretooth took him on, Prophet approached Jean and gave her the pill Sugar Man had created. The X-Terminated fled and Jean was captured by Omega and taken back to his base.
Meanwhile, Dr. Moreau showed Goodnight the cloned brain of Quentin Quire and explained how it was essentially a psychic trap. Goodnight placed the jar in a canister that could be worn on his back and then used his Hellfire Club connections to find the Shadow King’s lair. Using an image inducer, he made himself out to be Quentin Quire and confronted the Shadow King. The psychic being was fooled and when he tried to possess “Quire,” he was unwittingly trapped in the cloned brain and taken out of the upcoming fight.
Back at his base, Weapon Omega had Jean scanned and tested, with the reports coming back that she was now human. He summoned the Shadow King to data mine her brain before she was executed but discovered his chief telepath was missing. At the same time, the X-Terminated attacked his base in a bid to provide a distraction for Jean to complete the plan. Inside, Jean got Weapon Omega talking and she tried to get through to her husband beneath. Though it didn’t work, he did kiss her as he stabbed her with his claws, giving her the opportunity to slip the pill from her mouth into his. Immediately, the pill stared to work and, as the death energies erupted from Omega, something stirred within Jean and she somehow directed it away from the city, preventing the deaths of thousands of people. In the Nevada Desert, the device Doom built suddenly screamed into action and Dr. Moreau confirmed the Death Seed energies were now housed within it.
On the streets of New Apocalypse, the citizens were confused by the apparent death of their overlord. Lady Penance immediately addressed them and assured them she would be there to guide them into a new, more tolerant age. Cyclops and Havok were in a different mindset and they started a fight to show they were still in charge. In the sewers, the X-Terminated gathered together but, since radios were down, they had no idea whether their plan worked or not. They split up to gather intel and Deadeye went to the streets and aided Lady Penance in taking out the Summers brothers. Goodnight went to the Hellfire Club to quiz Sebastian Shaw, but he discovered Azazel there, who subsequently blew his cover. [Age of Apocalypse (1st series) #9-12]
Over the next nine months, things started to turn around for the citizens of New Apocalypse. Lady Penance made good on her promises and she began rebuilding the city and the people rallied to her. The inevitable power grab caused by the fall of Weapon Omega never came and a time of peace had descended. As part of the deal she cut with the X-Terminated, Lady Penance handed over Hawaii to them and they immediately set out building a base there.
Logan, now returned to his normal mutant demeanour, spent his time hunting down and killing his former allies. He managed to kill Havok, but Cyclops proved to be more elusive. He eventually caught up with him in New York, where he finally put him out of his misery
Goodnight had been badly beaten by Sebastian Shaw for his betrayal and he spent a long time recovering. Shaw himself ended up in prison for his crimes where Goodnight found time to visit him. Rather than be goaded into fighting with Shaw, he simply bribed a guard into poisoning his water, killing him once and for all.
In the East, Omega Red had been building his forces for years, whilst waiting for the right time to strike the West. With Weapon Omega no longer a threat, he was on the verge of starting a war, but suddenly backed out at the last minute. Quite possibly, he learned that his supposed enemies had the Death Seed energies and thought better of provoking them. [Age of Apocalypse (1st series) #13]
Across the multiverse, a situation was developing that would once again spell doom for the Age of Apocalypse reality. The X-Treme X-Men, led by Dazzler from Earth-616, had been jumping from reality to reality trying to stop a burgeoning threat that could potentially destroy the whole multiverse.
They failed in their task and were now being pursued by an army of ancient beings known as the Exterminators. A while back, the Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler had stayed on Earth-616 to exact revenge on some traitorous refugees. In completing his mission, he had betrayed Wolverine and his team of “Astonishing” X-Men and was now on the run. Nightcrawler met with Dark Beast and they used the power of a Celestial to open a portal to the Age of Apocalypse so they could both return home. Once they made it through, they discovered the portal wouldn’t close and Dark Beast knew this had potentially devastating consequences. Nightcrawler met with Prophet and discovered what had happened to his X-Men since he had been gone. The rest of the X-Terminated went to the portal and apprehended Dark Beast but he told them he couldn’t close it. Suddenly, the Astonishing X-Men appeared and demanded that Nightcrawler return with them. Before they could sort it out, the X-treme X-Men appeared and immediately alerted everyone to the grave nature of the portal. One of the X-Treme X-Men tried to close the portal but, when three Exterminators appeared from it, he was killed by them.
The three teams joined forces and attacked the invaders but the creatures proved to be formidable and shrugged off any attacks. Karma, from Wolverine’s team, mind-linked with one of them and discovered that they had been imprisoned between the walls of the realities but the heroes’s constant reality-jumping had weakened the walls and set them free. Prophet and his team stayed back, collecting data, as the others attacked. One of the Exterminators jumped through the portal to Earth-616, another headed into New Apocalypse, whilst the third started to feed off the energy from the portal. After some persuasion, Prophet revealed that the Celestial Death Seed energy could be used as a weapon against the monsters. The heroes decide to split up, with some staying in New Apocalypse and the rest going to Earth-616 to fight the monster there. With one of the Exterminators feeding off the portal, a distraction was needed and so Horror Show and Sabretooth sacrificed their lives to give the others some time.
In New Apocalypse, Fiend, Lady Penance and the other heroes fought the monster decimating their city. Their results were in vain, though, and they were apparently killed. Jean Grey took a team, including Dark Beast, to go and retrieve the canister carrying the Death Seed energies. When they found it, Jean had Nightcrawler teleport the canister and herself away. The plan was to have Jean use the energies herself, as she had the most experience with otherworldly forces. Dark Beast ambushed them, took the canister for himself and disappeared. On Earth-616, things were not going well either as the Exterminator had killed more heroes and even a Celestial, using the energy it absorbed to grow even stronger. In the Age of Apocalypse, one of the monsters had found Jean Grey as it was attracted to the Death Seed energies. She fled and met up with the rest of the group that she had left only a few moments before. Dazzler found Dark Beast and forcibly took the canister from him, giving it back to Jean so she could complete her plan.
After using the dead Celestial’s black box, the group now knew that the only way to stop these creatures was to trap them again. The decision was difficult but eventually the heroes agreed that the only way to save the multiverse was to trap them in the Age of Apocalypse. After trying to lure the Exterminator on Earth-616 back through the portal, another hero had to sacrifice their life to teleport it through. With the three monsters together again, Jean absorbed the Death Seed energies and was empowered enough to fight them. As Jean struggled to contain the corrupting urges, the other heroes started evacuating the reality to the safety of Earth-616. More monsters started pouring from the portal and Jean was barely able to keep them occupied. Prophet watched as the world he tried to desperately to save was being destroyed before his eyes. He decided to stay there and die with it but Jean knocked him out and forced him through the portal. With all the heroes on Earth-616, Nightcrawler sacrificed his life and closed the portal. The Age of Apocalypse was sealed off from the rest of the realities but it had an army of omnipotent beings destroying it from within. A few refugees managed to make it to Earth-616, including Prophet and Harper Simmons, but the fate of the remaining citizens of New Apocalypse looks grim. [X-Termination crossover]