The Age of Apocalypse was one of the most dangerous and deadly incarnations of the X-Men ever, with the original timeline even being bombarded with nuclear bombs moments after ensuring the restoration of the core-Marvel Universe. However, in all that chaos there were actually a handful of figures who escaped the chaos and made their way into the greater Marvel multiverse.
Now, we’re taking a closer look at who the original survivors of the Age of Apocalypse were and how they escaped that reality after 1995’s X-Men: Omega, by Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid and Roger Cruz, marked the initial end of that timeline.
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In the Age of Apocalypse, Hank McCoy still embraced his scientific curiosity — but in this reality, he did so with a much more brutal hand. Becoming a veritable mad scientist, he experimented on the various prisoners of Apocalypse’s regime as a loyal servant of the ancient mutant. During the final battle of the event, the X-Men stormed the tower to reach the M’Kraan Crystal and use it to send Bishop back in time to prevent the creation of this reality in the first place.
In the chaos, a captured Beast was able to teleport himself into the crystal as well, allowing him to escape to Earth-616. Arriving twenty years before the then-modern day, Dark Beast quickly returned to his work and became a secret player in multiple events — even experimenting on the Morlocks and leading Mister Sinister to order a massacre of the underground community. He became a recurring threat to the X-Men for years until he was finally killed by Magik in the build-up to House of X.
Sugar Man was one of the mutants who thrived in the cruel landscape of the Age of Apocalypse. He operated a human work camp in this world, which came under fire from Generation Next when it was discovered that one of his prisoners was secretly the Illyana Rasputin of this reality. Sugar Man barely survived the encounter, shrinking himself and hiding in Colossus’ shoe until the right moment. This ended up being the final battle of the event when the X-Men stormed Apocaplyse’s base.
During the conflict, Sugar Man escaped into the M’krann Crystal much as Dark Beast had, and arrived twenty years earlier in the core-Marvel Universe. Like Dark Beast, Sugar Man was able to quietly impact the Marvel Universe, including helping construct the technology for the villainous Genosha Magistrates. He was last notably seen being seemingly killed after confronting Bishop — but his advanced healing factor may restore him.
Nate Grey was a clone built from the genetic structure of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, combined into a single overwhelmingly powerful telepath by Mister Sinister. Escaping Sinister’s clutches, Nate was taken in by Forge and grew to be a noble person. Eventually returning to face Apocalypse after Forge was killed by Sinister, Grey proved to be an unexpected trump card for the X-Men in the final stretch of the event. During the battle, Nate ended up fighting one-on-one with Holocaust and stabbed him with a shard of the M’Kraan Crystal.
Not realizing what it would do, the energies of the M’Kraan Crystal brought both figures across realities. Nate was brought into the present-day of the core-Marvel Universe. X-Man became a consistent hero for his new home and did what he could to protect it — even once sacrificing his life only to be restored. X-Man was most recently seen in the Age of X-Man storyline, where he tried to create a reality where mutants were beloved instead of persecuted. Although the X-Men eventually returned to Earth-616, X-Man remained in that realm along with the Age of X-Man-version of Magneto.
Originally known as Nemesis, the man who’d become Holocaust was a son of Apocalypse who first encountered the X-Men during the early days of Apocayplse’s conquest. Although he killed Scarlet Witch, Holocaust was forced to eventually begin using a unique power armor to stay alive. In the final battle of Age of Apocalypse, X-Man stabbed the villain with a shard of the M’Kraan Crystal — sending them both across realities and back to Earth-616.
A comatose Holocaust was found by the Acolytes and quickly turned on them — leading directly to the destruction of Avalon and the deaths of multiple mutants. Holocaust became a frequent villain across the universe, fighting X-Man, the X-Men, and even the Avengers over the years. He briefly served under Onslaught and was eventually recruited to the Exiles, and forced to face off with a force more brutal than himself — King Hyperion, who was able to kill the villain.
Created and killed in the main Marvel Universe by Scott Lobdell and Joe Madureira shortly before the Age of Apocalypse, Blink was one of the X-Men, a young and powerful teleporter who’d been rescued from the chaos of her world thanks to the actions of Sabertooth. She quickly became a pivotal figure within a secondary team though, with Blink being pulled from the final battle just moments before her world was bombarded by nuclear bombs. This was thanks to the interference of the Timebroker, a multiversal figure-head for a group monitoring the multiverse — and using a team of unmoored heroes to repair fractured realities.
Dubbing themselves the Exiles, Blink quickly became the leader of the group. Her upbringing gave her the skill necessary to survive the chaos that such a mission would entail, and despite brief departures from the team, she’d usually end up back with the group at some point or another. Even after the Timebreakers were defeated, Blink has worked to protect the multiverse, even recently leading a new incarnation of the team and confronting a group of Watchers.
In the Age of Apocalypse, Sabertooth initially served under the command of the villain. However, the semblance of restraint grew within Sabertooth — leading him to eventually join the rebellious X-Men. There, he forged a strong connection with the young Blink and became a surprisingly dedicated member of the group. When the world was seemingly wiped out, Sabertooth was saved by the Timebreakers, much like Blink. He wasn’t made a member of the Exiles however but instead assigned to the reality-hopping team known as Weapon X.
Eventually encountering the Exiles, Sabertooth betrayed his team and helped them try to save reality. He eventually served with the Exiles and briefly even had a romance with the Earth-616 Psylocke during her time on the team. Sabertooth eventually returned to the reconstructed Age of Apocalypse and worked with the human resistance against the armies of a corrupted Logan — who’d become Weapon Omega. Sabertooth fought on even after losing his powers and eventually sacrificed his life during the X-Terminated storyline, fighting alongside his world’s version of his son, Graydon.
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