Originally Published: March 3, 2011, on Comicvine.com

It looks like the members of Uncanny X-Force have been shaken to their core after completing their first mission. Many are questioning their role and the moral implications in the killing of a child who was to grow up into one of their greatest villains, Apocalypse. So what does a team of some of the most badass mutants in the world do when the going gets tough? ROAD TRIP!

With this being pushed as The Year of the X-Men, Uncanny X-Force looks to be really thrown into the limelight, as they will be sent on a mission that will take them to Earth- 295. That’s right, X-Force may be done with their universe’s Apocalypse, but they may be seeing him, or at least some of his cronies, a little sooner than they thought in the Age of Apocalypse universe. But just why is X-Force leaving Earth-616? I doubt this is some kind of therapy session to validate the killing (for now) of their universe’s Apocalypse so they can get their heads back in the game.

For those of you who need a quick history lesson, back in 1995 Marvel introduced us to an alternate universe where Charles Xavier’s illegitimate son Legion traveled back in time to kill Magneto, which he thought would allow his dad’s dream of human/mutant equality come to light. Instead, he accidentally kills his dad and creates a branching universe where Magneto, in honor of his good friend, takes up his creed and becomes the fighting de facto leader of mutantkind. Seeing all this take place, Apocalypse, who doesn’t attack for another 10 years in the 616, feels that this is the perfect time to strike and basically conquers North America and lays waste to much of the rest of the world.

In Age of Apocalypse, we saw some radically different takes on classic X-Men characters. Some heroes were villains, like Dark Beast who found his way to the 616 and continues to haunt this universe’s X-Men. Some villains were heroes, like Sabretooth who was a member of the Age of Apocalypse’s X-Men. And some characters were just turned on their heads and we saw mirror images of them, like Nightcrawler who is much more violent and prone to offense than his 616 version and also hates churches, which is in direct contrast to the 616’s Nightcrawler who was very religious.

The first major milestone of this event is that even though mutants from Age of Apocalypse have traveled to the 616 (again, see Dark Beast), this marks the first time that mutants from the 616 will be heading to the Age of Apocalypse. This continues to beg the question though: why? Something to take note of is that in this teaser image, we see Archangel is not present.

“Archangel is not there for a reason, and it’s a reason you don’t expect,” said X-Force writer Rick Remender at the press conference Marvel had to talk about the future of the X-Men family of books. An obvious answer would be that the rest of X-Force fears Archangel not being able to handle possibly seeing Apocalypse again, in any iteration, or he himself fears it and doesn’t want to put any further strain on his special relationship with Psylocke. But if it’s something we don’t expect and since X-Force are the ones doing the time hopping, maybe they’re searching for something, or someone? Maybe to get some answers from some folks more accustomed to dealing with Apocalypse on a daily basis to get some help for their psychologically troubled metal winged friend?

Aside from this little rift in the team lineup, there will be two things that draw a lot of people’s attention from this arc. The first will be how this affects the current members of X-Force who are actually going and mutantkind possibly as a whole. We know nothing phases Fantomex and that he will do whatever necessary to get the job done, which if anything, makes him a character to keep an even closer eye on to see if his cool exterior finally cracks. But the characters we know that should have a reaction is the remainder of the team and it should be interesting to see how it plays out.

How will Wolverine react to seeing these different versions of Jean Grey, the love he could never obtain, Nightcrawler, one of his best friends, and be forced to maybe work alongside his greatest nemesis, Sabretooth, again (AoA Sabretooth is officially missing after his work with the Exiles, but this could bring him back)?

How will Psylocke react to possibly seeing herself? Although not part of the original Age of Apocalypse, she made her presence felt in the 2005 limited series and we learned she was similar to her 616 counterpart, but more ninja-like. I sense an awesome catfight waiting to happen there.

And finally, how will Deadpool react to his AoA counterpart, Dead Man Wade, a special assassin for Apocalypse in the AoA, actually being killed by AoA Nightcrawler? If the other characters meet their counterparts, it would be out of Deadpool’s character to not openly make a fuss in finding out what happened to his other self. Of course, seeing Deadpool as the most shaken of the group after killing the child Apocalypse and the revelation that he never cashed any of Archangel’s checks could be the base to start seeing a bit more mature Deadpool and a little less of the joking maniac we have become accustomed to so we may not see this touched upon as deeply as we would like.

The other big aspect is that Remender also talked about naturally expanding the X- Force roster and about Dark Beast being a major character again in this arc. Could he be the catalyst that propels our heroes to Earth-295? Could Dark Beast be the reason why Archangel is not present with the rest of X-Force or that the team will land in the AoA universe 10 years after the events of the 2005 limited series? Dark Beast could also be a perfect fit for the darker, seedier missions that X-Force usually has to take on so could he actually find himself as a new member of the team?

There are also a lot of characters that weren’t even mentioned. What characters from the AoA would you like to see be prominently featured in the new AoA arc and maybe even possibly join the X-Force roster? Comment below and weigh in on all these questions and let us know what you think! We’ll start to get our answers to what is shaping up to be a huge shake-up with Uncanny X-Force #11 in June.

Advertisements