Apocalypse: Who is the First Mutant?

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse:I am the rocks of the eternal shore. Crash against me and be broken!

X-Men “Come The Apocalypse” (Season 1, Episode 10)

An army of mutants attack a fortress. Projectiles of every description are hurled at the soldiers while a legion of superstrong warriors attempts to breach the walls. Despite the mutants’ best efforts, the humans inside the fortress are enduring the assault and killing their attackers. Hope begins to bloom in the humans’ hearts.

The thunderous sound of hooves echoes through the battlefield as four figures ride into battle. A man blasts through the fortress walls, bringing the war inside. A pair of women ride through humanity’s ranks, leaving diseased and emaciated corpses in their wake. An angel of death slays all in his path with steely wings. The horsemen stop and turn to the entrance as a blue skinned figure enters. Fear clutches the surviving humans’ hearts. Apocalypse has come.

Apocalypse is the X-Men’s ultimate enemy. He has lived since the time of ancient Egypt, gaining power and influence over the millennia. So who is he? How did he get his powers? Let’s find out.

Apotheosis: Apocalypse’s Backstory

Moira:Ever since the world found out about mutants in ’73, there have been cults who see them as some kind of second coming or a sign of God. I was tracking one of them, they call themselves “Ashir En Sabah Nur“. Named after an ancient being they believe to be the world’s first.
Alex: “World’s first… what?
Moira: “The world’s first mutant.”

X-Men: Apocalypse

Apocalypse debuted in X-Factor #6 in 1986. He was created by Louise Simonson and Jackson Guice. While originally thought to be Cyclop’s long-lost brother, it was soon revealed that he was the first mutant.

A gray skinned baby with blue lips was born in the city of Aqaba only to be abandoned by his superstitious parents. A raider named Baal rescued the child and named him En Sabah Nur. Fun Fact: Marvel frequently claims this name translates to “The First One”, but the actual translation from Arabic is “The Morning Light.”

En Sabah Nur was raised as a thief and warrior while constantly told by Baal that only the strong deserve to live. Their band of raiders were eventually discovered by the Pharaoh Rama-Tut, who ordered his troops to wipe them out. Baal was mortally wounded in the fight and used the last of his life to lead Nur to his greatest secret, a crashed spaceship filled with technology prophesying En Sabah Nur would be the leader of a new master race.

En Sabah Nur swore to avenge his people and infiltrated the capital city. While plotting against Rama-Tut, he fell in love with Rama’s sister, Nephri, who rejected him upon seeing his discolored face. This was the final straw, causing En Saba Nur to snap and unlock his molecular manipulation mutation. He razed the capitol to the ground, earning the name Apocalypse in the process.

 Age of Apocalypse: Apocalypse’s History

Apocalypse:I have been battling your kind for thousands of years. I ought to have triumphed long ago. But what if, like tortured Sisyphus, I cannot win, ever? What a cruel joke! Am I doomed to struggle with this filth until the end of time? Perhaps my new-found power can show me…

X-Men “The Lazarus Chamber” (Season 4, Episode 10)

Apocalypse traveled the world to gain power. His mutant abilities and technology inspired many myths and legends. He frequently battled time traveling superheroes and immortals like Thor and Count Dracula. The battles inevitably drained him, and Apocalypse returned to Egypt to enter a healing hibernation.

Apocalypse awoke in the modern day when the time traveling mutant Cable tried to kill him. Ironically, Cable was trying to stop him from being awakened and conquering the world. Apocalypse saw the boom of mutant births and was convinced that it was time to begin a final war between humans and mutants, with him ruling over the survivors.

Genesis: Apocalypse’s Modern Stories

Professor Xavier: “The human race does not need your help.”
Apocalypse: “Hm. Since when has mankind ever known what it needs?”
Professor Xavier: “You have to know that somehow, you will be stopped.”
Apocalypse: “What I know is… it will not be by you.”

X-Men: Evolution “Ascension” (Season 3, Episode 8)

Knowing he would need generals for his army, Apocalypse gathered a quartet of mutants to serve as his Horsemen. An anorexic woman became Famine. A Vietnam veteran freed from an iron lung became War. A disfigured mutant chose to become Pestilence. Finally, the crippled X-Men member Angel was convinced to join in exchange for his wings being healed. Angel became the Horseman of Death, Archangel.

Apocalypse led his Horseman in several attempts to conquer the world, but was always forced back by The X-Men. He eventually learned that the child of X-Men Cyclops and Phoenix was destined to kill him and infected the child with the Techno-Organic Virus. Thanks to some time travel shenanigans, the child would grow up to become Apocalypse’s archenemy, Cable.

Apocalypse was killed in battle and then resurrected as a child named Evan Sabahnur, alias Genesis. The X-Men saved Evan and raised him in the hopes that nurture would overcome nature, and he would become a hero. And who better to serve as a father figure to an insecure, volatile, potential world-ending threat than Deadpool?

Survival of the Fittest: Apocalypse’s Powers and Personality

Apocalypse:Humans are not the weaklings you take them for. Each, be he hero or villain, is dying from the day he is born. Each breath… each effort… is an act of courage against inevitable doom… such courage we immortals can only dream of.”

Acts of Vengeance

Apocalypse’s main power is the ability to manipulate his own molecular structure and alter his body at will. After millennia of practice, he has learned to alter his own DNA to give himself whatever powers he wants. His common powerset is superhuman strength, speed, durability, and shapeshifting.

Millennia of experience have allowed Apocalypse to become an expert strategist, tactician, manipulator, and expert in nearly every scientific field. On the rare occasion when his powers and intellect aren’t enough, he also owns a trove of alien technology taken from the crashed spaceship Baal gave him.

Apocalypse took his adopted father’s survival of the fittest mantra to heart. He will gladly kill mutants or humans that he deems weak. He respects powerful beings or those who show a strong will to survive. Apocalypse is honorable, keeps his word, and fulfills any bargain he makes to the letter. The spirit is entirely a different matter.

The Actors Who Play Apocalypse

John Colicos – X-Men: The Animated Series
David Kaye – X-Men: Evolution
Oscar Isaac – X-Men Apocalypse

Didya Get All That?

The X-Men’s ancient adaptive archenemy

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