The Age of Apocalypse storyline began in the Earth-616 world when Legion accidentally took out his own father , but it was eventually given its own alternate universe, Earth-295, as too many things were happening that would alter the future and retcon so much of what was already going on in the primary story. Earth-295 is a reality that was accidentally created by Legion, the son of Professor Xavier and Israeli diplomat Gabrielle Haller. Legion believes that the only way to bring peace between humans and mutants is to kill Magneto before he could incite the anti-mutant movement. So he travels back in time, taking Storm, Iceman, Bishop, and Psylocke with him.
Legion tries to take out Magneto with a psi-blade, but Xavier shields him and is downed instead. Having ended his own father, Legion made his own existence impossible. The M’Kraan Crystal resolved the paradox by restructuring reality, thus Earth-295: a world where the X-Men have vanished completely. This crazy fight attracted the attention of Apocalypse, who came to Earth 10 years before scheduled to arrive. Without heroes like the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, or the Avengers to stop him, his only opposition was Magneto, who took up Xavier’s mantle and brought together the X-Men. The outfits the mutants wear on Earth-295 are complete deviations from their typical Earth-616 counterparts. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. You be the judge. Just as their storylines are different in this world, so are the suits they wear. With that in mind, here are 10 of the best redesigns from Age of Apocalypse, and 9 of the worst.
19 BETTER: MAGNETO
On Earth-295, Erik Lehnsherr (aka Magneto) created his own team of X-Men after Charles Xavier was inadvertently taken out by his son, Legion, thus causing Legion and the X-Men to be erased from existence. His first team included Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Jean Grey, Storm, Colossus, Iceman, and the feral Weapon X.
He’s also much older and wiser looking in this universe, with the long wizard-y white hair, and his suit even looks cooler and more pronounced. The helmet he wears looks like something out of 300, a Spartan-esque helm, giving him a menacing appearance that should be replicated on other universes.
18 WORSE: APOCALYPSE
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Apocalypse, the primary antagonist of Age of Apocalypse, of course. The past history of En Sabah Nur was similar to the mainstream, Earth-616 counterpart, until the day David Haller (Legion) traveled back in time. This set in motion Apocalypse coming to Earth 10 years before his expected arrival… and it shows.
He’s much weaker in this storyline, getting beaten by Magneto. He did decimate Japan, but also looks less imposing: sure, he’s still very ripped, but now he’s very blue (like, Beast blue) instead of gray, doesn’t have those tubes connecting to his arms from his back, and he’s just a bit of a wimp in comparison to his Earth-616 counterpart.
17 BETTER: NIGHTCRAWLER
Nightcrawler is one of the most important X-Men on Earth-295. It’s his mission to collect the mutant precog known as Destiny (Irene Adler), which he succeeds in doing. Destiny helps repair the X-Men’s fractured reality. Kurt Darkholme, as he’s called on 295 (instead of Kurt Wagner) is a much more aggressive character than his 616 counterpart.
He’s had a strained relationship with his mother, Mystique, making him despise organized religion. He wields two swords adequately, he’s more muscle-bound and his black-and-red suit pops a bit more. He has a red tattoo over his left eye, and his hair is slicked back. Overall, he just looks cooler and more mature, like a battle-hardened soldier, than his Earth-616 self.
16 WORSE: JEAN GREY
We're not really sure what happened here, as Jean Grey had an iconic look on Earth-616, whether it was in her gold and green Phoenix suit, or her yellow X-Men suit, or even her gold and red Dark Phoenix suit. On Earth-295, she foregoes all of that, instead dressing in a plain suit with a red torso and blue arms and pants. Also, her red hair is cut short, and for some reason that makes her less powerful.
In the "X-Terminated" storyline, Jean was injected by the Death Seed, taking in the power of Apocalypse and turning her into an immensely powerful being. She wears a similar, robotic-looking suit as Apocalypse here, and looks much more evil and interesting. Her eyes become red and pupil-less, she has a black cape, and seems insanely powerful.
15 BETTER: WOLVERINE
Wolverine on Earth-295 looks much more rugged and battle-tested than typical Wolverines. Also, he’s not called Wolverine (there’s someone else with that name here). He becomes Weapon X, and then Weapon Omega, and he’s truly a sight to behold. He’s missing his left hand, which he awesomely turns into a hand-cannon. His hair is wilder and more unkempt than usual, and he has red markings and tattoos lining his face.
Being the best there is at what he does apparently require both of his hands, but his actual costume still remains somewhat true to his 616 look. Probably the most jarring change is the fact that he's donned in a blue and red costume as opposed to yellow and blue, or his brown look.
14 WORSE: SABRETOOTH
On the other side of the spectrum, we have Wolverine’s archnemesis, Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth. Sabretooth has an iconic, immediately recognizable look on Earth-616 that it’s hard to look past. His new look simply doesn’t do the old Sabretooth justice, because he just looks... plain.
He’s more muscled than usual -- overly muscled, if you ask us, like many Age of Apocalypse mutants fall victim to. His wild hair is now slicked back into a ponytail, and his suit is simply plain yellow or brown blacks and a tank-top, with a bronze collar. He looks like a WWE wrestler more than one of the most feared mutants on Earth.
13 BETTER: DARK BEAST
On Earth-295, Hank McCoy becomes a twisted, inhumane version of himself. Even more scary is that he’s still a genius… just a more evil one. When Apocalypse took over America, McCoy became one of his most valuable geneticists, devoted to creating the fittest beings. McCoy’s genius was second only to Sinister, one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen.
McCoy experimented on numerous mutants, notably Blink, the Infinite Soldiers, Jamie Madrox, and Wolverine (whom he actually created). Nonetheless, McCoy looks awesome as the Dark Beast. Instead of being blue, he’s dark gray, and for some reason that just makes him more menacing looking. He also has this grimace/smirk he shows often which is quite frightening.
12 WORSE: MONET ST. CROIX
On Earth-616, Monet St. Croix, also known as “M,” and doesn't really dress in a flashy costume. For whatever reason, Marvel decided to make Monet look like nothing more than somewhat of a gaudy circus performer on Earth-295. She’s lost her flare and pension for action, she seems even more arrogant and rude.
She’s known as Lady Penance in this world, and tries to rally mutants to her cause once Weapon Omega (Logan) replaces Apocalypse once he’s defeated. She uses her telepathic powers to restore Colossus’ memory and to break Weapon Omega’s control over him. So she has her uses, her redesign is just questionable.
11 BETTER: STORM
On Earth-295, Ororo Munroe is seen as a goddess called Orordius. She rises up when Africa is put in a state of disarray following the rise of Apocalypse. She declares herself the Windrider and carves out a small area of Africa as her own, intending to keep it safe from strife and the war between mutants and humans. Storm was subjected to mind-warping telepathy by the Shadow King and Dark Beast.
As Orordius the goddess, she looks like a powerful geisha, complete with the pupil-less eyes we all know and love, and a facial tattoo from her time as Apocalypse’s captive. While we like short-haired Storm (a look she rocks in this universe), we do wish she brought that mohawk back.
10 WORSE: WANDA MAXIMOFF
Scarlet Witch, or Wanda Maximoff, is one of Magneto’s first X-Men in the alternate universe of Earth-295 and it certainly shows, given the suit she’s presumably forced to wear. The problem is that Scarlet Witch has always had an awesome, unique appearance: her red and pink suit, with the red cape and the hairband keeping her hair out of her face looks awesome -- it makes her look like a sorceress, like it should.
On Earth-295, she just looks like another weak superhero (as does Quicksilver, who wears an identical suit but in a man’s version). It’s the typical red-on-yellow suit that all X-Men have worn at one time or another. She’s lost her cape and headband, and her fair flows freely. She’s just not as intimidating casting her hex spells dressed like this.
9 BETTER: FORGE
On Earth-616, the primary Marvel storyline, Forge doesn’t look like anything special: his suits are not really suits, they’re just normal clothes, like a leather jacket with the X symbol on it. His hair is black and slicked back or in a ponytail. Sometimes he wears the typical yellow-and-blue X-Men suit.
On Earth-295, however, he looks like a wizened old sorcerer! His right leg and hands were replaced with cybernetics. He teamed up with Magneto, and together they look like quite the wizardly pair. His purple robe is awesome looking and reminiscent of Doctor Strange, as is his purple hood. He only has one eye, and has cyborg implants all over, making him way more interesting than the Earth-616 Forge.
8 WORSE: COLOSSUS
Colossus has an iconic appearance on Earth-616. Piotr Rasputin is the younger brother of the famous cosmonaut Mikhail Rasputin. His power is to turn into organic steel and gain superhuman strength, while he fights for good. His suit is red and yellow and forms perfectly to his hugely muscled, steel body.
On Earth-295, the world of Age of Apocalypse, he’s still the younger brother of Mikhail, but now he’s turned into something of a ninja steel man. He’s a Soviet Super Soldier, wears a red bandana over his face like a bandit, and is permanently stuck in his metal form. He kind of looks like a cyborg bank robber more than he does a fixture of the X-Men. He does have a great storyline, as the trainer of a new team of X-Men.
7 BETTER: MYSTIQUE
The Darkholmes got great enhancements in the Age of Apocalypse, both in storylines and appearance. The Raven Darkholme we all know and love is of course all-blue, and typically wearing white torso and forearm guards, as well as a long white loincloth that shows off her legs. It’s not a bad look.
But the Raven Darkholme of Earth-295 looks much more like a fighter, almost like a swashbuckling, futuristic pirate. She wears her red hair long and in a ponytail, has an awesome black suit with red inseams, and sports a couple mean looking guns. She also was a big help in getting the X-Men together with the precognitive mutant, Destiny. Way to be Mystique!
6 WORSE: GAMBIT
Gambit, or Remy LeBeau, is one of those X-Men you can always count on to look cool... well, for the most part. His typical, timeless getup includes his long, brown trench coat, his Bo staff, his purple tunic, and the black neck brace/head holder that also protects his hair from his eyes.
In the Age of Apocalypse, he has two getups, and neither of them are as cool as his original. In one, he wears an off-color blue and ugly yellow suit, and a short brown cape. In the other, he sports some sunglasses, and an all black suit with a red cloak (with the cuffs popped). It’s not a terrible look, but this is one of the characters who looks better with his original suit. Also, his hair is more normal and less spiky here. He just doesn’t look as unique, overall.
5 BETTER: WILLIAM STRYKER
The Reverend William Stryker is an old man on Eatrh-616. He was a sergeant in the army and was involved with the Weapon X Program, which helped develop Logan into Wolverine, with his adamantium skeleton. Basically, he looks like a politician, without any suit to speak of.
In Earth-295, he takes a complete 180, and is known as the mutant Prophet. He has an awesome red mask, a black suit with a black sash, and looks like a killer ninja. He’s a human freedom fighter, looks like a stronger version of V from V For Vendetta, and becomes quite a force for good against Apocalypse and then Weapon Omega.
4 WORSE: MISTER SINISTER
Mister Sinister has a great look in Earth-616, where he looks like one of the baddest baddies around. Dr. Nathaniel Essex is a geneticist and mutant-supremacist. He’s basically a mutated virus, and wears his blue or purple full-body suit with that awesome puffed out, red and blue cloak with fringes. He’s got a red diamond on his forehead and on the chestpiece of his suit.
On Earth-295, he drops the “Mister” part of his name and gains a more superhero and less of a super-villain look. He’s ripped and robotic looking, is a Horseman of Apocalypse, and is a caretaker of a quarter of Apocalypse’s nation. He’s also the overseer of the breeding pens and does horrible, mutating experiments on many mutants. His cape doesn’t look as cool, and he’s got a bunch of tubes that belong on Apocalypse, rather than Sinister.
3 BETTER: ICEMAN
Bobby Drake was one of the founding X-Men in the primary storyline, constantly fighting for the peaceful coexistence of mutants and humans. He looks like the Silver Surfer but blue, and made of ice. He either doesn’t wear a suit and goes commando, or he wears a black and red suit, typically.
But on Earth-295, he really looks like a glacier incarnate, in a good way. He’s got spiky stalagmites sprouting out of his shoulders, head, and body. He was one of the first mutants located by Magneto. Unfortunately, Sinister Iceman as he gets to be known becomes a bit of a creep and a villain. Still, he looks completely awesome while he’s doing evil deeds, and the stalagmites definitely add to his “Sinister” alias.
2 WORSE: EXODUS
Bennet de Paris, or Exodus, looks all-powerful in the Earth-616 storyline. He’s typically dressed in a black suit with purple sashes and yellow boots and shoulder spikes. He has a flowing white cape, and is always flying around looking aggressive and mean, his hand at his sides.
On Earth-295, he foregoes all of that awesomeness and instead wears a crimson suit over his buff body, with blue gauntlets and long, black-and-blue hair. He doesn’t look nearly as imposing with his arms crossed over his chest as he does with his hands at his sides, floating and looking like a god. He does get to develop a relationship with Dazzler, so that’s a plus.
1 BETTER: CYCLOPS
Cyclops got a big upgrade in the Age of Apocalypse. He was already a big deal, but now he was basically on the wrong side of history. Scott Summers and his brother Alex were picked up by Sinister and placed in an orphanage, and Scott became a liaison between Apocalypse and the Inhumans, even going so far as to take out his biological father who was infected with the Brood embryo.
He is more muscled (like every other Age of Apocalypse character it seems) than in other universes, he’s grown his hair out and has it constantly covering one eye in his best emo impression, and he has a cool gold/yellow-plated arm. His suit looks pretty sweet. He’s also the one responsible for severing Weapon X’s left hand (Wolverine).