The world of the X-Men has created some amazing alternate timelines, from the Days of Future Past to Cable’s Askani World. However, the one alternate universe set up in X-Men comics that stands above them all is the Age of Apocalypse. Created in 1995 as a massive 38-issue multi-title crossover, Age of Apocalypse ended up as the best fully-realized alternate timeline and brought forward some of the most brilliant, and very powerful, alternate versions of the merry mutants and their enemies in dark and disturbing ways. There is a reason that many critics and fans alike call it the best X-Men story of the ’90s.
The Age of Apocalypse formed when Legion decided to use his time-traveling skills to try to save the world by going back in time to take out Magneto before he could bring out his reign of terror. However, he accidentally assassinated his own father, Professor X, and Magneto ended up taking over the eventual role as the leader of the X-Men. Despite this, Magneto’s team of mutants could not stop the invading Apocalypse who was able to conquer and take over Earth, changing the history of every mutant in the Marvel Universe. The new world made heroes into villains and created fresh characters to battle, while also upping the power of some popular mutants to massive levels. What resulted is a cast of characters that make even the traditional X-Men look weak in comparison.
Forge was one of the mutant rebels who fought against Apocalypse and his army in Age of Apocalypse. He was also the man who helped train Nate Gray in ways to hone and focus his immense powers. Nate even came in between the partnership of Forge and Magneto, as Magneto wanted to use him as a weapon and Forge disagreed.
The world in the Age of Apocalypse timeline stretched on even after the original storyline eliminated Apocalypse from the world. In 2012, a new evil rose up in the world with Weapon Omega taking over as the new ruler and he named Azazel as Minister of Death.
This is the AoA version of the Azazel character from the mainstream Marvel universe, as well as the movie X-Men: First Class and he has the same powers. His strength is basic but he is thought to be immortal and is a master swordsman.
The Nightcrawler from the Age of Apocalypse world became a quick fan favorite. While he had fans in the Marvel-616 world, the swashbuckling Nightcrawler from AoA brought such a level of fun to the character that it made sense to bring him to the mainstream continuity as well.
Nightcrawler has above average strength for a mutant of his size and age, but he also has superhuman agility and reflexes and his bone structure allows him significant flexibility. He is also an Olympic-quality acrobat and master swordsman.
Gambit was a member of the X-Men after saving Magneto’s life while they battled Apocalypse and his Infinite soldiers. Gambit ended up helping Magneto try to change their timeline by traveling through time and becoming one of the key figures in the fight. He even got his own comic book line in the AoA world.
Gambit has the power of turning inanimate objects into explosives that is strong enough to shred even Colossus’ armored form. His strength is average for a man of his size and age, although he is a skilled fighter.
Bishop was one of the mutants with Legion when he went back to try to eliminate Magneto and ended up with partial amnesia since Professor X being also eliminated Legion and caused a huge mess. Bishop regained his memories and used his knowledge of the mainstream universe to help try to stop Apocalypse.
This is really the same as the Bishop in mainstream continuity with the mutant powers of energy absorption. When fighting without his powers, he has the strength of a normal man but he can lift about 550 pounds when absorbing energy.
25. SUGAR MAN
Sugar Man was one of the primary antagonists in AoA, a creature that ran human work camps known as the Core. He was a student of Mister Sinister and becomes a geneticist on his own. He proved to be capable of battling many mutants by himself, and eventually ended up escaping to the mainstream Marvel universe.
His strength level is determined by his size, as one of his two main powers is to control his own mass and strength levels. His second power is a prehensile tongue that is strong enough to pierce steel and stone.
Fans of the X-Men know all about Cannonball, from his rise from the New Mutants to the X-Men to X-Force. However, in the Age of Apocalypse universe, he also had a sister named Elizabeth who went by the mutant codename Amazon. The siblings were evil in the AoA world, ruling over the slave pens.
While Cannonball was a major player in the mainstream world, Elizabeth was not a mutant. However, in AoA, Amazon had the mutant with ability to manipulate her growth hormones and become extremely large at will — increasing her strength as she grew.
Deathbird is Cal’syee Neramani, the former Shi’ar Empire ruler and a member of the Starjammers. It was in the pages of Gambit and the X-Ternals that Deathbird and the Starjammers appeared. When it comes to her powers, she may not be as strong as someone like Guardian, but she lasted longer in the Age of Apocalypse.
Holocaust was possibly the son of Apocalypse. He caused many mutants and humans alike to perish as a member of the Horsemen of Apocalypse, including an attack on the X-Men headquarters, which took out Scarlet Witch. He eventually ended up on Earth-616 after Apocalypse fell in defeat.
His main power was to absorb the life-force of other beings into himself and he could completely sustain himself with those energies. He also had superhuman strength, and when channeling the energy he absorbed, could lift up to two tons.
Much like the mainstream Earth, Sabretooth and Wolverine (known as Weapon X in AoA) had a contentious relationship. However, Sabretooth was very important in this world as he was a member of the Horsemen of Apocalypse, although he later defected when tiring of genocide.
In the Age of Apocalypse world, Sabretooth had the same powers as his counterpart on Earth-616, although to a lesser extent. The reason was that he never had the augmentations of his powers that the mainstream Marvel Victor Creed had. That likely meant that he could lift over two tons, but not quite the 10 tons that Creed could on the mainstream Earth.
20. WEAPON X / WEAPON OMEGA
Weapon X is the Age of Apocalypse version of Wolverine. He started out as a hero but in later years, after the defeat of Apocalypse, he turned evil and became the heir to Apocalypse — Weapon Omega.
There is little difference between Weapon X and Omega, although Omega is pure evil. With that said, when he became Weapon Omega, his powers increased to almost the same level as Apocalypse. While his mutant powers were increased, his strength level remained constant, which is still a little more than Sabretooth.
An original character introduced in Age of Apocalypse is Nate Grey, also known as X-Man. He is also one of the few characters to escape from that world. Nate was artificially created from Scott Summers and Jean Grey’s genetic material.
X-Man was one of the most powerful mutants of all-time and one of the most powerful in the universe, until the Omega Machine wiped out a number of his abilities. While his strength levels are simply basic, he can use his telekinesis to lift massive amounts of weight.
18. LADY PENANCE
Known as M on Earth-616, Monet St. Croix went by the name Lady Penance in the Age of Apocalypse universe. She was not around at the start of the AoA, but first showed up after Weapon Omega took over as the heir to Apocalypse. Her goal was to unite all mutants and rebuild their world in opposition to Weapon Omega.
17. OMEGA RED
In the Age of Apocalypse, Omega Red was initially a black market arms dealer. He ended up face-to-face with Domino and Grizzly, who appeared to take his life when he couldn’t provide them with information. However, he lived and took over control of Russia and large parts of Eastern Europe.
16. DARK BEAST
The one character in the Age of Apocalypse that went through the darkest transformation was Henry McCoy. The blue, furry and loveable Beast from Earth-616 became the Dark Beast in the AoA world. He was sadistic, inhumane and one of the most disgusting characters in that world.
He ended up escaping to the mainstream Marvel Universe where he became an enemy to the X-Men after joining their ranks while pretending to be this world’s Beast. His strength is more than his 616-counterpart due to self-experimentation, and he can lift up to 10 tons.
Ch’od is a member of the Starjammers. Originally a slave to the Shi’ar Empire with Christopher Summers, they joined the Starjammers and opposed the Shi’ar Empire alongside Deathbird. Ch’od was part of the team that helped Gambit and the X-Ternals in their battle against Apocalypse.
Ch’od possesses superhuman strength and can lift up to 20 tons. He also has superhuman stamina, speed and durability. His strength level is a Class 20 according to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
14. IRON GHOST
Possibly the most interesting character in the Age of Apocalypse world is the Iron Ghost. Sadly, the character got almost nothing but a few glorified cameos. Iron Ghost is, as his name implies, a mixture between Ghost Rider and Iron Man.
While there is no real word on how powerful the Iron Ghost is since he was just thrown in as a fun character in a short fight, the idea is that he has the power of the two characters — as such, it is assumed that, since Ghost Rider can lift up to 20 tons, so can he… or she?
Sunspot was one of the mutants that joined Gambit and his group of X-Ternals when they set out to battle Apocalypse. The group ended up battling the Imperial Guard and then teamed up with the Starjammers. Sunspot met a tragic yet heroic end when he absorbed too much energy from the M’Kraan Crystal and exploded.
Ahmyor is the Age of Apocalypse version of the Earth-616 character Annihilus. This might be one of the most confusing characters in AoA, as he remembers things from his 616 version but is unique to the AoA world. He ruled the Negative Zone until Blastaar took over and a conflict between the two broke out.
When it comes to the characters in the Age of Apocalypse universe, Iceman is one of the most intriguing mutants. In the mainstream X-Men comic books, it has been said that Iceman is much more powerful than he has ever shown, and in the AoA, fans finally got to see how powerful he could be when he uses all his might.
Iceman could grow to monstrous heights and separate himself into numerous semi-autonomous beings. However, even when Bobby is in his basic ice form, his strength is increased to very impressive levels.
Just like her mainstream counterpart, the Age of Apocalypse version of Rogue has superhuman strength and was able to battle hand-to-hand with Gambit; she even cracked the armor of Holocaust at one point.
Rogue received her superhuman strength by stealing half of the powers of Lorna Dane, who had an unknown strength limit at the time that they battled. Rogue can also substantially increase her strength by absorbing the powers of others, meaning by touching Colossus or even Apocalypse himself, she can become almost as strong as anyone in a fight.
The Blob is pretty much the same, power-wise, whether in the mainstream timeline or the Age of Apocalypse universe. The difference is that, in AoA, he was a mutant that Dark Beast experimented on. Beast gave Blob cybernetic implants that increased his speed to make him even more dangerous. Blob is another mutant that made it to Earth-616 after the events of AoA.
8. STRONG GUY
Strong Guy was part of Gambit’s team of soldiers known as the X-Ternals in the battle against Apocalypse. However, in the world of AoA, Strong Guy was a traitor and worked for Apocalypse, which he revealed when he betrayed his teammates and turned out to be working for the bad guys the entire time.
His powers and strength are the same as his Earth-616 counterpart. This means that he can lift up to 50 tons at resting rate, and when he absorbs energy to increase his size, he can lift up to 100 tons.
In the Age of Apocalypse, Colossus is a very different mutant hero. Instead of a farmer taken in by the X-Men, he was the son of one of Russia’s greatest heroes and served as a Soviet Super Soldier. Colossus was still a hero, but more than that he was the protector of his sister, which ended up leading to his downfall.
For his strength levels, he remains the same as his Earth-616 counterpart. Colossus can lift at least 100 tons when the condition is optimal and is immune to fatigue, so he can fight as long as he wants at peak conditioning.
6. ABSORBING MAN
While not a mutant, Absorbing Man still played a role in the Age of Apocalypse. As with his Earth-616 counterpart, Creel went where he thought the tide was turning and sided with Apocalypse in the new world. He worked in Mexico where he defended the prisons.
Absorbing Man in the AoA is the same as the villain everyone knows and can alter the structure of his body and wrecking ball to the form of anything he touches. As a result, if he absorbs strong enough material, he can lift well over 100 tons.
No matter what world he exists in, Gladiator remains one of the strongest characters in the entire Marvel Universe. He is the Marvel version of Superman and serves as a member of the Imperial Guard for the Shi’ar Empire. In the Age of Apocalypse timeline, he appears to battle Gambit and the X-Ternals.
Gladiator possesses immense superhuman levels of strength. He is considered a Class 100+ level of strength, which puts him on a higher level than Colossus, The Thing and even Hyperion… though that last one is pretty darn close.
4. CAIN MARKO
The Juggernaut in the Age of Apocalypse is a curious character. Just like his alternate world counterpart, Cain Marko absorbed the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak but instead of remaining a villain, he became a pacifist and a monk in the Savage Land after he learned Legion had taken out his brother, Professor X.
While he refused to fight, he still possessed massive strength and power. He could have been a massive ally against Apocalypse as he can lift well over 100 tons and even more depending on what Cyttorak allows him to access at a specific time.
3. ORANGE HULK
The Orange Hulk is one of those creations from the Age of Apocalypse that was given almost no information about, except that in Uncanny X-Force #19.1, he states that he is powered by the sun. Orange Hulk was a member of the Black Legion, genetically created by either Sugar Man or Dark Beast.
2. THE THING
Bruce Banner is not The Hulk in the Age of Apocalypse world. Instead, he is known as The Thing. Banner worked for General Ross and was tasked with trying to create a super soldier to battle Apocalypse. He survived the reign of Apocalypse, mostly by being a traitor, and finally fell when Weapon Omega ruled the world.
While Weapon Omega ruled the world later in time, the fact that this is called the Age of Apocalypse should tell people all they need to know about who is the strongest character there is. Apocalypse came to Earth years before he did in the mainstream continuity and he conquered the planet long before heroes existed.
His strength is massive. He can lift in excess of 100 tons and has proven to be able to restrain even an enraged Hulk. The full level of his strength is unknown, but it is greater than any mutant in the world of AoA.
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