Age of Apocalypse #7 takes the action to Latveria, introducing this reality’s version of Victor Von Doom. Major Spoilers reviews the latest action from Marvel’s most visited alternate reality.

Writer: David Lapham
Aritst: Renato Arlem
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: VC’s Corey Petit
Cover Artists: Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

Previously, in Age of Apocalypse: The mid-90s Age of Apocalypse event introduced one of the X-Books most enduring alternate realities, taking the idea of a post-apocalypse literally by depicting a world where Apocalypse was successful in taking over the United States. Rick Remender recently authored a reintroduction to the setting in Uncanny X-Force which establishes Wolverine (now Weapon Omega) as the heir to Apocalypse’s legacy. David Lapham then picked up the ball and focused on the opposition, in the form of the X-Terminated, a band of human freedom fighters which includes alternate reality versions of some of the X-Men’s greatest foes (such as William Stryker, Graydon Greed and Donald Pierce). As humanity dies out under Weapon Omega’s genocidal rule, the X-Terminated team up with two depowered mutants: his ex-wife (Jean Grey) and one-time rival (Sabertooth). That… that is a lot of continuity to know, to just understand the concept of this book.


This issue turns the series focus on Europe, with the X-Terminators traveling to Latveria to enlist the aid of Doctor Doom and find some of Reed Richard’s old notebooks concerning the Celestials. Seven issues in, I still don’t grasp certain truths about this world. When introduced to this version of Age of Apocalypse, it seemed like the X-Terminated were the world’s last humans, on the run from the destruction of the world’s last human city. But in these pages, we find out that while England is under Weapon Omega’s sway, Europe still has free humans. Except somehow Latveria is a country-wide extermination camp for crappy mutants run by Weapon Omega lackeys. Except that these camps are really full of humans (which our protagonists can tell just by looking with binoculars). And there is a bar next to the death camp, because why not? None of this feels mysterious, if that’s what it’s meant to be. It just feels like the plot and setting hasn’t been fully thought out.

There’s also a continuation of a strange subplot wherein Jean Grey tries to lure an alcoholic Graydon Creed into a reconciliation with his father, Sabertooth. She does this by promising… a date, ’cause that’s what people have time for at the end of the world. What she sees in an alcoholic, near-psychopathic killer is anyone’s guess, but to be fair, this world’s Jean Grey was married to Wolverine so what do I know? At any rate, the relationship between the jaded but still chipper Grey and the stumblingly drunk Creed reads false, and is the book’s only attempt at levity or any sort of human connection. There’s precious little sympathetic for a reader to latch onto with these characters (the theoretical viewpoint character unnecessarily shoehorned in from mainstream Marvel continuity barely appears), but even if Lapham’s aim is to craft a story of unsympathetic but engaging protagonists, it fails. All the protagonists are sadly one-note.


Renato Arlem’s style is very dark, suitable for the post-apocalyptic setting. The gloom can be quite oppressive at times; the sun never seems to shine in this series, but Arlem makes the most out of it, with a gritty, shadowy-heavy style. Arlen has a sketchy, rough style that usually appeals to me. Unfortunately, Arlem’s work combined with Loughbridge’s coloring can be a little too dark, obscuring the action sequences. He also has issues with facial expressions, with the characters often look stiff and grimacing, their features unchanging from panel to panel. The art really suffers from a lack of contrast – it’s almost so oppressive that the eye becomes numb, losing any intended effect.


The original Age of Apocalypse was a ballsy move by Marvel. It was a formative event in my younger comic reading days and is still one of my favorite settings ever. But with each return to the well, the AOA world has gotten muddier, more ill-defined, unfocused. This most recent foray suffers for it. David Lapham is no stranger to dark topics, writing boundary-pushing titles like Crossed and DeadpoolMAX. But Age of Apocalypse lacks the spirit of those other works. No doubt Lapham has had to rein in his more excessive urges on this more mainstream book, but that has seemingly robbed the story and characters of any spark. These are miserable people in a miserable world, which is something Lapham has wrung drama from before. But this setting feels half-baked, I still have no connection with the characters seven issues in, and I am dangerously close to dropping it from my pull list. I have been reading this series from the start, but it does not seem to be going anywhere. This issue did little to alter that feeling. Age of Apocalypse #7 gets one and a half out of five stars.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

The Author

George Chimples

George Chimples

George Chimples comes from the far future, where comics are outlawed and only outlaws read comics. In an effort to prevent that horrible dystopia from ever coming into being, he has bravely traveled to the past in an attempt to change the future by ensuring that comics are good. Please do not talk to him about grandfather paradoxes. He likes his comics to be witty, trashy fun with slightly less pulp than a freshly squeezed glass of OJ. George’s favorite comic writers are Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison, while his preferred artists are Guy Davis and Chris Bachalo, He loves superheroes, but also enjoys horror, science fiction, and war comics. You can follow him @TheChimples on Twitter for his ramblings regarding comics, Cleveland sports, and nonsense.

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  1. Rob
    September 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm — Reply

    Nice review I hadn’t been aware of this book, don’t think I’ll be picking it up somehow but as a fan of the original AOA I am confused. I thought the whole reason those stories were that Legion managed to change the main 616 universe instead of creating an alternate timeline and when Bishop fixed things at the end the whole thing just ceased to exist, even if hadn’t I recall a lot of nukes drawing a pretty definitive line under the whole thing. So what did I miss? How could anyone survive all that? Does anyone know or should I stop being such a nerd and just go with it?

    • September 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm — Reply

      That’s actually a very good question that doesn’t have a really good answer.

      As you said, the AOA timeline was originally a fractured timeline, and it was definitively wrapped up with the nukes and some juju involving the M’Kraan crystal and whatever else in X-Men: Omega, reverting the 616 back to normal.

      Storywise, I don’t think there’s been anything that really explains the continued existence of the AOA timeline (although it’s very possible I missed it) – I think that Marvel realized it could still make money by returning to the AOA well, so it’s now a separate timeline with the Earth 295 designation.

      The way it works in current continuity is that everything just takes place after Apocalypse died – rather than the world ending outright, it continues with Wolverine replacing him, etc. etc.

      • September 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm — Reply

        oh and sorry if that doesn’t make total sense. It doesn’t make total sense to me either, but I’m not sure if it makes total sense to anyone.

        • Rob
          September 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm — Reply

          Okay thanks, I can see why they would try for a second bite of the cherry just a shame they didn’t put a bit more thought in to it.

          • Rome
            September 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm — Reply

            From what I recall, they tried to explain how AOA stuck around in a 6 issue Age of Apocalypse 10th anneversary mini with art by Chris Bachalo.

            It was also confusing, in both story and visually, but nonetheless, it attempted to rewrite the destruction of the AoA reality all those years ago.

            Also, didn’t Doom appear in X-Universe 1&2 during the original AoA event? And didn’t they all die in the end too? What’s he doing back? Time to just kill this alt. U.

    • September 11, 2012 at 9:06 pm — Reply

      Look up “After the Fall”

      It was a mini-series that showed that Jean Grey kept everyone from dying to the nukes from using the Phoenix Force. It also showed something with Blink’s time with The Exiles combined with the M’Kraan Crystal being repaired made it an alternate timeline that could continue to exist…. which leads us to X-Force going there to bring us up to date on the hell that was created since that time to try to save Warren in recent issues of the comic….. which lead to this spin off comic occurring.

      …. whew!

      • September 12, 2012 at 9:42 am — Reply

        Ah, I missed that one. Thanks for filling the gap. Is “After the Fall” worth reading?

  2. Rob
    September 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm — Reply

    D’oh (the whole reason those stories were a big deal) is what I meant to say. Moving on.

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