The X-Men‘s Krakoa Era is so great because it digs into every facet of the team’s history. No one character has always been in the lead. Some characters are more popular than others, obviously, but the era has been stronger because of how many different characters it’s showcased. Krakoa has redefined many characters, but few have been as changed as Apocalypse.
Apocalypse joined the Quiet Council and become the most even tempered leader of Krakoa. While members of the Quiet Council like Xavier, Magneto, Emma Frost, Mister Sinister, Sebastian Shaw, and Mystique all had their machinations, Apocalypse just wanted to make the people of Krakoa stronger. As Fall of X breaks the X-Men and Krakoa, some are looking at Apocalypse as mutant’s only hope. The fact that Apocalypse is in this position, and not Xavier or Magneto, shows just how different the Krakoa Era has been.
An Apocalyptic Change
House of X #5 was Apocalypse’s first big appearance in the Krakoa Era. Xavier had invited the mutant villains of the world to Krakoa. Apocalypse stepped forward and praised Xavier for Krakoa, decreeing the mutant nation strong. This wasn’t what any expected. Apocalypse wanted to make sure that the mutants of Krakoa were as powerful as they could be. He began working with Captain Britain and Excalibur to show them mutant magic, a discipline he himself helped create. He was a temperate yet stern voice on the Quiet Council and he fought against the depowered mutants in Crucible, allowing them to prove they deserved their powers again. While he had a bit of an ulterior motive – Apocalypse’s family had been lost on Arakko, Krakoa’s sister isle and part of the mutant supercontinent called Okkara and he hoped to reunite with them – he truly wanted his people to thrive.
Apocalypse’s changes in the early days of Dawn of X transformed the ways fans saw the character. Most X-Men fans enjoyed Apocalypse, but there hadn’t been a lot of excitement for the character. Apocalypse was a beloved villain, but he wasn’t looked at as a character with the same pedigree with Magneto. Apocalypse was the perfect bad guy when a creator wanted an evil big bad, but other than that there really wasn’t much else to the character. The Krakoa Era added to that by filling out Apocalypse’s past after he left Egypt, taking him to the mutant homeland of Okkara. Apocalypse’s survival of the fittest maxim came from his position as the Celestials’ arbiter of evolution, but he refined it in Okkara when he met his wife, Genesis.
Giving Apocalypse a family he actually loved was a huge step forward for the character, because it wasn’t something readers had seen before. In fact, stories like X of Swords went out of their way to show that Apocalypse wasn’t even the most hardcore member of his family when it came to survival of the fittest. It felt like the beginning of the Krakoa Era was all about showing readers that even someone like Apocalypse could be given a second chance on Krakoa. Most X-Men readers just assumed he was going to betray Krakoa to fight alongside his return wife and children when they were introduced. However, Apocalypse never lost faith in the promise of Krakoa, fighting to free his family and the mutants of Arakko, who he had lost millennia ago, from the clutches of Amenth. Apocalypse became a true hero.
Apocalypse Became Krakoa’s Greatest Hero
The final battle against Amenth and the forces of Arakko tested the X-Men like no other challenge they had faced. It took not only the Champions chosen for the contest against Arakko, but basically every Krakoan that had ever worn a costume and the full power of the new Captain Britain Corps. Even then, Apocalypse’s final battle against Genesis wearing the Golden Helm of Annihilation still could have doomed the whole affair if he had failed. Apocalypse was able to defeat Genesis, but that meant that according to the rules, he had to put on the Golden Helm of Annihilation. No one had ever been able to overcome the Helm’s power and keep their own minds, but Apocalypse did the impossible. Conquering Annihilation was the true end of the battle for Krakoa.
The Krakoa Era has seen the people of the mutant nation get some great wins, but there are few actual heroes. Sure, Xavier and Magneto have been the island’s guiding lights, but no one would call them heroes. Cyclops has been leading the X-Men, but the team was kind of secondary. Wolverine and X-Force were doing the dirty work of keeping Krakoa going, but no one wanted to pin a medal on them. Apocalypse’s two-pronged victory against Annihilation was different. It showed that there were heroes on the island and that Apocalypse was one of them. From almost the beginning, Apocalypse had been at the forefront of Krakoa. He had thrown himself wholeheartedly into battling on the side of his people. Apocalypse wasn’t beholden to Xavier’s dream, but he loved mutantkind.
Apocalypse fought in Krakoa’s greatest conflict and was the hero of the whole affair. Apocalypse embraced Krakoa completely, and showed everyone that he could be more than what he was. He became someone that every mutant could emulate. In fact, looking at Krakoa’s most important citizens, he’s the only one who can be looked up to. Krakoa became a place where mutants could have a completely new lease on life and for Apocalypse, it was a place where he could make sure that everyone was as strong as he was.
Krakoa’s Heroes Aren’t What They’re Cracked Up To Be
Apocalypse became more than anyone could imagine on Krakoa, but it feels like he’s an outlier. Xavier and Magneto are the great architects of Krakoa, but that doesn’t mean that anyone should look up to them. The two of them many have worked with the Quiet Council, but more often than not, they were the ones dictating terms to the rest of the council. They weren’t the idealistic leaders of Krakoa, who had succeeded in building a mutant utopia; they were the keepers of secrets. They were the ones who made the back market deals to keep Krakoa going. They held all the cards, but they weren’t exactly people to look up to.
Apocalypse left Krakoa after winning the battle against Amenth, going to Otherworld to reunite with his family. He went out on top, because soon nearly every Krakoa bigwig would fall from grace in some ways. The secret of Moira MacTaggert, and Magneto and Xavier’s complicity in keeping it, hurt the two of them. Magneto decided to retire to Arakko and although he died a hero defeating Uranos, his reputation took a hit. Xavier held on to power, but lost the respect of his fellows. That was made worse when Professor X surrendered to Orchis – he sold out mutantkind to save human lives.
Emma Frost may have defeated Sebastian Shaw’s power grab, but no one trusted her to begin with. Mystique and Destiny formed their own little power couple that no one else was invited into. Cyclops became leader of the X-Men again, but he also revealed the secret of Krakoan resurrection to humanity. Mister Sinister’s attack on the Quiet Council saw him replace Xavier, Emma, Hope Summers, and Exodus, costing all four of them trust and stature. Storm is beloved by everyone, but she’s been spending all of her time on Arakko, trying to help the mutants of that world build a new culture. Even big name X-Men like Jean Grey and Wolverine haven’t really done anything of note that can looked up to.
With the destruction of Krakoa at the hands of Orchis, the remaining mutants of the Earth have only one hero they can pin their hopes on. Xavier has taken defeat after defeat. Magneto is dead. Cyclops can’t be fully trusted, Wolverine has fallen into a rut of killing everyone in his way. Jean Grey is Cyclops’s shadow and Storm is off fighting a war for people she’s taken responsibility for. The Quiet Council has been sullied. There’s really only one person all the surviving mutants of Krakoa could look to as a savior and that’s Apocalypse. Apocalypse left Krakoa after saving it from a demonic horde. The spoils of that victory were being reunited with his family. He won Krakoa’s single greatest victory. Apocalypse has become a modern mutant folk hero.
Apocalypse Cares About Everyone
Fall of X has devastated Krakoa. The former citizens are scattered to the winds, their power broken. There’s really no one for any of them to look up to left. Xavier is a broken shell and Magneto is dead. The X-Men’s greatest all have strikes against them. However, there’s one mutant that everyone can look to with hope and that’s the last mutant anyone would expect – Apocalypse.
From the very beginning of Krakoa, Apocalypse has done his best to make sure everyone on the island is strong. When he first learned of the promise of Krakoa, a side of him that no one living had seen came out. Suddenly, Apocalypse was no longer the enemy of all who lived, but a doting grandfather, ready to teach the younger generation everything they needed to know to not only survive, but thrive. Apocalypse wanted to create a world where the strong survive and Krakoa became the best hope for that.
Apocalypse didn’t join Krakoa for a dream or to become powerful. He didn’t join it for peace. He joined to make sure that it fulfilled the promise he saw in it. Apocalypse saw Krakoa as a way to create the world that he wanted for years, a paradise where the strongest people get to have their homes. No Krakoan is weak in his eyes and it’ll be interesting to see how Marvel handles what Apocalypse does next. Genesis and Storm are at war, Krakoa is ruined, and Apocalypse could be the one person to lead the survivors in wrath against Orchis. He has no other motives other than making sure that mutantkind is as powerful as it can be. For once, every mutant can trust Apocalypse to make the decisions that could save them all.
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