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I'm not sure exactly how many volumes of this mini-saga Marvel are planning on doing, but if they're anything as exciting as this one then I'm in! Ever one to enjoy a Marvel comic with virtually no exception, and having loved the X-Men from an early age, I saw this and nabbed it quickly at the local library before anyone else got their mits on it.
It's the start of a tale featuring the deadliest enemy to walk the Marvel/X-Men universe: Apocalypse, an ageless near-god who seeks nothing but universal domination. This time, prophecy dictates that there are 12 superheroes who hold the key to this domination, but whether this key is that Apocalypse needs them or whether they are the ones who can stop him is unknown. As Apocalypse sets his plans in motion and tries to capture the twelve, they themselves are planning ways to halt the monstrous creature in his stride.
Marvel have pulled the stops out here, compiling issues from X-Men, X-Factor and Cable comics to try and tell the story in as fluid a motion as possible. When a saga like this takes place through a number of different issues and a number of different threads, it must be quite tricky to plan ahead and know this is your intention. I felt they did a very good job, and the Cable issues are nice to get some more background on what is perhaps a lesser character in the Marvel series.
The artwork varies as this is a compilation of different threads. However, there isn't a great deal of difference and this doesn't interfere with the flow of things. In fact, nothing does really, save the occasional need to give a bit of a recap or some background history. This does slow things down a bit, and I can see that they go all out on the colour and flamboyance when this happens in order to provide an exciting balance when there is an excessive amount of text. However, sometimes this makes things a little confusing as the frames are played around with and I'm not sure whether to read up or across, or what the exact sequence is.
Luckily, this is rare and only slightly annoying. The majority of the time it's fast paced, exciting and hard to predict exactly what's going to happen next. There are a few successful 'wow' moments, a few that don't quite work, and plenty of pace and action in the pages of this volume, and the end is quite a surprise, making you really want to pick up the second volume straight away. I like how they've amalgamated a few different issues from different threads, it certainly advertises other character comics very well by linking them with the mainstream X-Men, and the quality stands up to the test. Recommended
Setting his grand plan for godhood into motion, Apocalypse dispatches his agents to capture the world's most powerful mutants, the fabled Twelve: Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Iceman, Sunfire, Polaris, Cable, Bishop, Mikhail Rasputin, the Living Monolith, and Magneto. Having himself planted the seeds of the Twelve legend, Apocalypse hopes to siphon their power, granting him omnipotence. Desperate to stave off his ascension, the X-Men must strike a temporary truce with Magneto to battle the warlord's forces as the Twelve are assembled - and one longtime member seemingly sacrifices his own life to end the threat of Apocalypse once and for all! Collects Uncanny X-Men #376-377, Cable #75-76, X-Men #96-97 & Wolverine #146-147