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Jun 26

X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse #2 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2024 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

Writer: Steve Foxe
Penciller: Netho Diaz
Inkers: JP Mayer with Sean Parsons
Colour artist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Tom Brevoort


Despite being the title character, Apocalypse is barely in this issue. Aside from more brief flashbacks to show how he selected some of his twelve contestants, he doesn’t show up until two pages from the end, where he confirms that he did indeed lure Genocide to Egypt as part of his test – although Genocide isn’t in on it.

Apocalypse is unimpressed by his candidates’ performance against “my most despised child”. We’re not told why Apocalypse feels that way about Genocide – I don’t think the two have ever met – but the idea from the original Uncanny X-Force storyline which introduced Genocide was that Apocalypse viewed him  as a threat. It might also be that Apocalypse views Genocide as a moron who hasn’t understood his philosophy at all.

Apocalypse’s new base on Mars is an Egyptian-stye pyramid, albeit with more modern construction in the grounds.


Armageddon Girl is willing to fight Genocide, because his powers damage the biosphere. Mr Sinister shuts off her powers and Genocide seemingly kills her. Several characters seemingly die in this issue, but since we don’t get any normal bodies, it’s a fairly safe bet that none of them really die – and I don’t think the story is seriously trying to convince us otherwise. Last issue, Forge said that Apocalypse specifically “promised [him] no duels to the death”, and we haven’t yet seen Forge’s recruitment flashback. A string of apparent deaths in the first post-Krakoa X-Men story is also probably not a coincidence.

A flashback shows us that Apocalypse invited Armageddon Girl because of her mercilessness, which fits with her depiction in X-Men Unlimited.

Mr Sinister has brought some little devices with him that can shut down mutant powers. He makes no attempt to fight Genocide and seems to see him as a useful opportunity to thin the competition. Sinister makes little effort to conceal what he’s doing, and the remaining contestants turn on him at the end of the issue.

Oddly, Sinister shuts down Exodus’s powers even though Exodus has just declared that he’s still suppressing the late Genocide’s “bioplasma energy”, which would kill everyone otherwise. Maybe he doesn’t believe Exodus, or maybe the idea is that he thinks the energy will all be consumed in killing Exodus (which seems to be what happens).

Exodus does make an effort to rescue bystanders from Genocide, but only after some prompting from Emma. And even then, his initial reaction isn’t to protect humans, but to attack Genocide harder. Later, he decides that it’s all part of Apocalypse’s test – correctly, as it turns out – and uses his powers to move all the humans within a mile’s radius to safety. He seems to see them as a bit of an afterthought, and he may be relocating them simply to stop them distracting the teammates, or even as a way of showing off as part of the test. He defeats Genocide by crushing him into a small ball, apparently killing Penance in the process. Emma flags that he could surely have moved Penance aside, and Exodus never gives a straight answer to that. Once his powers are shut down, he collapses and seemingly turns to dust (the only apparent cause being Genocide’s uncontained energy).

A flashback shows that Apocalypse approached Exodus precisely because he would stand up to Apocalypse and set his own agenda. Exodus really doesn’t like Apocalypse, viewing him as having abandoned mutants on Earth to “purgatory”. He refers to the Arakko mutants as “your people” and seems to regard them as no longer part of mutantkind proper.

Penance gets a recruitment flashback in which Apocalypse interprets her attitude as an example of holding her peers to a higher standard, and taming the “savagery within” (presumably meaning her actual Penance persona). On the face of it, she dies heroically while fighting Genocide, but again, there’s no body.

Rictor likewise seems to get incinerated by Genocide while doing regular hero stuff, but with no body.

Gorgon seems quite content to join the other contestants in fighting Genocide, and doesn’t really articulate why. Maybe he thinks it’s part of the test, maybe he sees it as self-defence. He certainly seems annoyed by Genocide insinuating that Krakoa made people soft.

Cable, Cypher, Emma Frost, Forge, Mirage and Wolverine all do general hero stuff while fighting Genocide. Interestingly, it’s Mirage and Emma who seem to be calling the shots, with Cable very much blending into the pack. Emma is infuriated at Exodus’ apparent lack of concern over the loss of life; Mirage sees the apparent deaths more as a sign that they should all have rejected Apocalypse’s offer in the first place.


As noted, Genocide has been lured here by Apocalypse to provide a test for the twelve invited contestants, but isn’t a contestant himself. As the literal heir of Apocalypse, he’s not very happy about that. He calls himself as “the one true child of Apocalypse”, so presumably he’s never been told about the various Horsemen who are his half-siblings. He seems to want to confront Apocalypse hismelf, and only attacks the contestants in order to ruin the tournament.

As a teenager, he really doesn’t like being called a “child”.

The fact that Genocide never appeared throughout the whole Krakoan era is drawn to our attention, but with no indication as to what he’s been up to. He views Krakoa as something that weakened and diluted Apocalypse, and generally presents himself as a sort of Apocalypse Classic. None of which ultimately seems to matter, because Exodus squashes him into a little ball – and we do see the ball.


Archangel shows up at the end to confront Apocalypse on Arakko, and try to stop him from picking an heir at all. That picks up on last issue’s scene where Archangel refused the invitation to participate, and evidently regarded the “prize” as something life-ruining, much as it was when he became Apocalypse’s heir in Rick Remender’s X-Force.


Page 11 panel 1: “I told Pietro I wanted tea…” Penance and Pietro became a couple in Uncanny Avengers.

Page 15 panel 1: “I let my people through the desert…” Exodus is probably referring literally to his role in Immortal X-Men with the Krakoans who were banished to the White Hot Room – although he’s undoubtedly aware of the parallels with the Book of Exodus. For Exodus, to complete what he sees as his ordained role only to find no promised land at the end is unacceptable – he evidently regards his people now as specifically Earth’s mutants, and takes no comfort in the survival of Arakko, or the utopian Krakoa in the White Hot Room.

Page 16 panel 4: “For Rictor, girls. And poor Lin Li too.” This certainly reads as though Emma wasn’t really that bothered about avenging Armageddon Girl but realised at the last moment that she should probably count.

Bring on the comments

  1. Michael says:

    Im not sure that ALL the deaths were takeouts. Monet is currently Pietro’s girlfriend in the Scarlet Witch series, and Breevort and Simone have hinted she’ll appear in Simone’s X-Men, so she probably survived. Nature Girl is on a variant cover of issue 4, so that might be a sign that she’s survived. But then again, the variant covers often get things wrong. Rictor and Exodus might stay dead. Rictor was on the New Mutants and none of the New Mutants except Magik are being used in the first stage of From the Ashes. And Exodus might be considered disposable.
    Rictor was on the New Mutants when Cable was their headmaster and Monet was on Generation X when Emma was their headmaster, which is why they had strong reactions to their seeming deaths.
    Even if the candidates’ deaths were fakeouts., Apocalypse is definitely back to being a villain. He endangered countless civilians when he lured Genesis to the testing area.

  2. Si says:

    I quite like the stylised art on the cover, but that ugly title font absolutely ruins it. It didn’t look good the first time around.

  3. Jon R says:

    The “deaths” are kind of bad whether or not they’re real. If they are real, we start off the no-resurrection era with a bloodbath. If they’re not real, we starting off the no-resurrection era with a bunch of “Now their deaths matter! But not really…”.

    Go figure, slaughtering off bunches of characters is a bad idea no matter how you handle the end.

  4. The Other Michael says:

    Yeah. Taking resurrection off the table and then immediately incinerating a handful of Named Characters looks bad whether it’s real or a fakeout. It’s a bit tiresome either way.

    Especially since there’s just no way that Marvel’s going to start From the Ashes by killing off at least four characters of this nature in what feels like a throw-away schedule-filling storyline. And of course none of them left behind so much as a corpse.

  5. Ben says:

    I doubt that any of these deaths are real, if for not other reason than I doubt that queer writer Steve Foxe would kill off Rictor, one of the X-Men’s big out-as-queer characters, so unceremoniously. Especially during Pride Month. Like, maybe I’m reading too much into things, but either way: No way all these guys are so abruptly dead.
    Also, calling it now: I don’t think that death in general will have the same weight to it post-Krakoa. Sure, superhero stuff generally treats death lightly (literally today, a certain hero just got resurrected over in Blood Hunt after only being dead for six months). But even with the end of Krakoa… They couldn’t quite put the genie back in the bottle. Oh, sure, the Five are staying in the WHR, but I’m sure they’ll be back in 5-10 years for House of Triple X or whatever it’s called. So why should we care if Monet is actually dead? It’s not like it’s treated with much gravity by the characters themselves.

  6. The Other Michael says:

    “(literally today, a certain hero just got resurrected over in Blood Hunt after only being dead for six months)”

    Not that this should come as any surprise. Part of his entire shtick is that his patron has a habit of bringing him back. The only question was gonna be the length of his vacation. 🙂

    Heck, it’ll be more interesting to see who, if any, of the Named Characters to be turned into vampires will stay that way past Blood Hunt, and if so for how long. Certainly nowhere near as long as Jubilee. (I know Miles supposedly will remain a vampire for a storyline but…)

  7. Luis Dantas says:

    This series is not working for me.

    The basic idea might work well enough, but the art is really distracting me. I don’t know whether it is the pencils or the inks, but they fall squarely in the Uncanny Valley.

    The writing is also subpar IMO. The motivations, characterization and plot are all barebones. So many characters together and they barely interact with each other. The use of Genocide is just lazy, going by precisely the most obvious and predictable route possible.

  8. Maxwell's Hammer says:

    Yeah I’m kind of baffled that anyone is spending even a moment rationalizing or complaining about the ‘deaths’. It seems more than obvious that this was just a little plot shock for shock’s sake and will immediately be undone, possibly in the first few pages of the next issue. It’s clearly not meant to be taken seriously.

    Why would they kill off a bunch of important characters in a time-filling mini that only the completionists are reading?

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  10. Michael says:

    Also, am I the only one who thinks that Exodus calling Emma a harot felt off? I mean, it felt like something he might have done before Krakoa but not now.

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