Why did I wait until Comic-Con to pick this up? In spite of all the acclaim this storyline has received Amazon has yet to offer up the softcover edition for less than the hardcover. I don’t know why that is, but I wasn’t going to go for it until that happened. Then I spotted it (along with several other copies) while rifling through a bargain bin and here we are with the first half of a story that takes part of its name from one of the definitive “X-Men” storylines. The hook here is that since the death of Apocalypse, Angel’s “Archangel” persona has slowly started to dominate his mind in spite of Psylocke’s best efforts. The Shadow King’s tampering doesn’t help things either here. Faced with the possibility of having to do in one of their own, the team turns to a specialist in all things Apocalypse, Hank “Dark Beast” McCoy, who kindly informs them that they need a “life seed” which can only be found at this time in his home dimension, “The Age of Apocalypse.”
The setup for this arc proves to be another good mix of high action, intense drama, and the well-timed comedic beat (usually from Deadpool) that has made the title a lot of fun so far. Once they hit the “AoA” proper the tension ratchets up noticeably as writer Rick Remender does a great job of setting up the utterly dire straits the team finds themselves up against with Apocalypse’s replacement. He also gets some good drama by showing us Wolverine’s reactions to the characters who are dead in his world, Nightcrawler, Sabretooth, and Jean Grey, as well as the daughter he never had. That said, it’s his moments with Jean that generate the most heat.
I will admit that trying to keep the continuity of this alternate universe straight in my head was a little tricky. My memories from reading the original storyline back in the 90’s were a little fuzzy, and I skipped the mini-series that brought the timeline back a few years ago. So this might be the very rare “X-Men” story were the less one knows about the continuity here may make it a better read. It is, however, a good start to the storyline and ensures that I’ll be back in September when the second volume comes out in softcover.