In the new film, “X-Men: Apocalypse,” the titular X-villain unleashes his Four Horsemen — mutants who serve his cause, including some very familiar faces (Magneto, Psylocke, Storm and Angel). Nearly as long as Apocalypse has been appearing in Marvel’s comic books, he has been aided by his minions. G based on the Biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Pestilence, Famine, War and Death), the group has had many incarnations over the years.
Comprise of outright villains to X-Men themselves, the Four Horsemen have plagued the X-Men for decades, transforming their powers and psyches but always remaining a terrifying force for evil. With their on-screen debut having arrived, we look at the many Horsemen Apocalypse has assembled over the years, from the original group that debuted in 1986, to the current foursome wreaking havoc in Marvel Comics’ “Apocalypse Wars” mini-event.
The Original Four Horsemen
Apocalypse officially debuted in “X-Factor” #6 (following a brief silhouetted cameo in the previous issue). He didn’t have Horsemen at the time, but it wasn’t long before he began to assemble them. In “X-Factor” #10 (by Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson and Bob Wiacek), during the middle of the Mutant Massacre, Apocalypse saved one of the Morlocks, Plague, and recruited her as his new Pestilence. In the following issue, Apocalypse recruited a former soldier as his War, and the next issue he recruited an anorexic girl as Famine. The three debuted as his Horsemen officially in “X-Factor” #15, but they didn’t find their fourth until “X-Factor” #24. In a shocking move, founding X-Man and former X-Factor member Warren Worthington III (AKA Angel) joined the group as Death, complete with new artificial wings and calling himself Archangel. Worthington eventually broke free from the group, and Pestilence was killed in battle.
At the start of “X-Cutioner’s Song,” the two surviving original members of the Four Horsemen, along with a new Death, the Morlock known as Caliban, attacked Jean Grey and Scott Summers in “Uncanny X-Men” #294 (by Scott Lobdell, Brandon Peterson and Terry Austin). They believed they were serving Apocalypse, but in reality they were following the orders of Mister Sinister, who impersonated Apocalypse to get them to work for him.
World War Hulk
In a brief tangential story in “Incredible Hulk” #456 (by Peter David, Joe Kubert and Mark Farmer), Apocalypse manipulated the Hulk into being his new War for a brief period of time.
During the lead-up to the X-Men storyline, “The Twelve,” the X-Men were attacked by Apocalypse’s new Death. In “Astonishing X-Men” #3 (by Howard Mackie, Brandon Peterson and Tim Townsend), Death actually managed to kill Wolverine despite his mutant healing factor. However, that Wolverine turned out to be a Skrull. So where was the real Wolverine? Well, in “X-Men” #95 (by Alan Davis, Tom Raney and Scott Hanna), it was revealed that Apocalypse had indeed recruited and brainwashed Wolverine into becoming his new Death, restoring the mutant’s Adamantium-laced bones in the process. (The metal had been pulled form his body by Magneto in an earlier storyline.) In “X-Men” #97 (by Alan Davis, Terry Kavanagh and Mark Farmer), the rest of the Four Horsemen were revealed, with Deathbird as War, Caliban as Pestilence and Ahab as Famine. They were quickly defeated.
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