The X-Men’s world (and history) was drastically altered thanks to the time-traveling antics of Prof. Xavier’s son. For four months, the usual stable of X-Men titles gave way to alternate-reality versions. In this X-world, Xavier died before he could found the X-Men, but Magneto did form the team to fight for peace and tolerance in honor of his fallen friend. One wee problem, though—Apocalypse rules the world in a decidedly not-friendly way.
X-Men: Omega is the grand finale, and it demonstrates what a superb accomplishment this storyline is. Part of the nature of the comic book beast is they always need to be setting up the next storyline. Definitive endings are the minority, unless a series is cancelled, but even then the characters can live on in guest appearances or revivals.
But The Age of Apocalypse occupied the less common position. This alternate reality needed to give way to the proper Marvel Universe sooner or later, thus allowing the saga to achieve a proper conclusion. This freedom from the normal confines of continuity bolstered the creativity of an already exceptional team of writers and artists. There have been attempts at revisiting this timeline, but honestly I’ve never felt the need to check those out because this original storyline stands on its own in such a satisfying way.
Also, Apocalypse may be the title character and formidable threat, but he’s not what makes the story interesting. More than anyone else, that distinction goes to Magneto—he’s never been a better man than in this dystopian world. But he’s still no Xavier.
It was definitely nice to return to the “real” X-Men after four months, but this storyline continues to hold up as a big crossover event that was properly executed.
Writers: Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid
Penciler: Roger Cruz
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; included in X-Men: Age of Apocalypse vol. 3: Omega (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 12 and up