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We've got a new baddy for the good guys to take down in this upcoming X-Men film, but what do you know of him? I go over not only his awesome powers and near indestructibility, but also ways this main man was beaten or killed in the comics.
I guess you could say there are potential spoilers in case that I am right, so bear that in mind. I wrote this before the movie came out.
Who is Apocalypse?
Without fully explaining his origins as Ancient Egypt's first mutant who became combined with alien tech, Apocalypse is a staunch believer of Survival of the Fittest. He sees mutant-kind as the next evolutionary step for mankind but makes little distinction in his potential world-ending schemes and plots to wipe out the weak. Actually, he's far more interested in killing the weak rather than promoting the strong.
Apocalypse's powers range greatly. Largely, he can control every cell in his body down to a molecular level, allowing himself to grow and shrink to whatever size, as well as to change his body into various weapons from blades to laser weaponry, to creating jet engines to fly with or resemble another human. In a way for those unfamiliar with the comics, Apocalypse is like the futuristic Sentinels from Days of Future Past. With this control, he can even outmatch the Hulk in physical strength.
He's proven to manipulate and absorb different kinds of energy projections, can teleport, has some sort of psionic ability, and is literally ageless. He can also bolster and improve other mutant abilities. He suffers from a condition that he shares with the character Cable that destroys his body, forcing him to find new host bodies. A lot of his powers are derived from alien technology, making him otherworldly even among mutants.
How Has Apocalypse Been Beaten in the comics?
As with most popular comic villains, Apocalypse gets beaten miraculously and comes back to menace again and again. Usually, one of the main reasons Apocalypse is taken down is by an offspring of Scott 'Cyclops' Summers and Jean Grey. This is usually one of three different individuals, all clones of one another: Cable, the character Deadpool has referenced in his after-credit scene, Stryfe, an evil clone of Cable, and X Man/Nathan Grey. This person is usually epitomized in Cable. Linked by time travel, Cable is infected by Apocalypse as a baby, only to go back in time to give Apocalypse the same disease that plagues them both. Time travel nonsense.
Apocalypse and pre-Mjolnir Thor once squared off and the Asgardian lost their first match, before coming back (armed with some trickery from his brother Loki) and Thor managed to put Apocalypse into a many year coma.
As you might guess from a predominate X Men villain, Apocalypse has been beaten repeatedly by the combined efforts of the X Men, as well as X Force. The Avengers and time traveling Fantastic Four have also faced and defeated Apocalypse. Due to his overwhelming strength, a plot device is largely needed, although Apocalypse is the sort to rely on his plans beyond simply beating up the good guys. When he realizes the aliens that bestowed him his greater power boost are coming for him, he tries to siphon mutant ability from the fated 'Twelve' which would theoretically give him enough power to resist them. The X Men screw up his plans, he attempts suicide, and the aliens simply resurrect him and take him away to be tortured.
If any instance in the comics are to be emulated for the film, I have two big ways he might be defeated.
Apocalypse's Death in Age of Apocalypse
Age of Apocalypse was an alternate history based on Charles Xavier's son coming back to kill Magneto. (He fails, kills his dad instead, resulting in a future where Magneto leads the X Men out of guilt and Apocalypse conquers North America.) Apocalypse has been raising Nate Grey for one reason or another but Grey decides to turn on his benefactor, beating him badly. Not nearly dead only weakened, Apocalypse comes across Magneto. While beating the life out of him, Apocalypse complains why Magneto isn't fighting back. Magneto replies, "I'm concentrating.' Then you have the panel above.
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Perhaps due to the mechanical suit/upgrades of his body, Apocalypse is literally torn in half in the worse way (because honestly, tear me in half horizontally before vertically if you've got to do it). The above panel is what actually occurs. Some fans don't like this because they claim Apocalypse is flesh and blood, or that the writers simply needed to kill Apocalypse so gave Magneto plot strength with which to do it, but it's pretty wicked when you consider Magneto ripping a greater, more deadly villain in half.
What are the chances of this happening? I'm not sure. I mean, Magneto is drafted as one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen. The thing is, they seem to be making a big deal about Quicksilver acknowledging that Magneto is his father, and if Magneto losing his most recent iteration of his family causes him to go to Apocalypse's side, there's a good chance Quicksilver will turn him around, giving us an opportunity to see this specific scene.
Granted, it doesn't really look like Apocalypse has a lot of metal going on biologically, so only time will tell.
Apocalypse's Death in the Ultimate Comics (Earth 1610)
Here's what I believe to be more likely. In the Ultimate Marvel universe (where stories are attempted to be more modern and a bit edgier), Apocalypse is a more powerful form of Mr. Sinister who is actually able to control mutants based on their genes alone, as well as incorporating and adapting to any kind of weapon used against him (SHIELD attacks him, but only makes him stronger). Xavier almost gets the better of him, but Apocalypse of course begins to win again.
Then Jean Grey lets the Phoenix Force loose. You might remember what the 'Phoenix' was in X3, but as you might have heard the film did it no justice. This very entity was the triggering point that causes a war between the Avengers and the X-Men in comics. Phoenix easily handles an overconfident Apocalypse left and right, not utterly destroying him, but causing him to regress back into Mr. Sinister. Considering the new casting for Jean Grey in the upcoming movie (as well as reports that the next film will take to space), it's pretty likely we'll get to see some Phoenix action in this film, especially considering a new batch of heroes will be hard pressed to defeat the titan that is Apocalypse.
Any ideas or instances I might have missed from the comics? Let me know below.
I'm still trying to figure out how Mystique could be a big player, especially since Apocalypse can copy her ability so easily and I don't see him being fooled by her transformations, but we'll see.
Travis Wood (author) from Woodstock, Georgia on October 30, 2017:
I'm afraid I have no idea. To be honest, I read up on the comics but I don't actually have any myself.
Kevin on October 30, 2017:
So I'm looking for the actual issue where Cable goes back in time and infects Apocalypse with the techno-organic virus. Do you know which issue(s) that is?
jimmy on January 11, 2017:
mystique can alter cells to the point of mutation duplication