WARNING: The following contains spoilers for X-Men Black: Mystique #1 by Seanan McGuire, Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, Marco Failla and J. Scott Campbell, on sale now.
While the X-Men Black series has been steadily revealing new sides to the Marvel villains we know and love, there has been another story swirling in the background. That story is the strange and surreal trial of the villain Apocalypse, whose tale has been told gradually through each new issue of X-Men Black. This week's X-Men Black: Mystique #1 continues the story of Apocalypse, revealing that the ancient mutant supervillain's botched experiment might not have been the massive, potentially lethal waste of time it seems. Apocalypse might actually come out ahead, with a brand-new, shiny body to call his own.
Apocalypse's journey began back in X-Men Black: Magneto #1, where it was revealed that the villain had retired to an island off the coast of South America to start his own science project. This being Apocalypse, the project is pretty grotesque. The villain has corralled four human test subjects -- he calls them "lab rats" -- to try and alter their physiology with Celestial technology so that he can hijack one of their bodies, as he is known to do. Apocalypse has branded each of these human guinea pigs with a letter. We get a glimpse of spent subjects A, B and C, but this time it's D's turn on the creepy supervillain examination table. Things do not go well for D.
But they don't go well for Apocalypse, either. Something happens while Apocalypse is mentally connected with D, hurling the giant blue villain across the vastness of time and space, to a place that is very clearly not present-day Earth. Apocalypse's ordeal rapidly starts to worsen. The villain begins to degenerate, slowly losing his mutant powers, his physiology reverting to that of a normal, boring human. In time, his mind also starts to go. By the time X-Men Black: Mystique picks up the story, Apocalypse looks like the caricature of a caveman with some fancy blue lips. His intellect has been drained by the transformation and he can barely sound out a coherent thought. As far as Marvel time travel goes, this is one seriously bad trip.
However, just when things are at their worst, when a group of primates have him cornered, all looking to take the Celestial box dubbed The Finch from Apocalypse, something bursts out of a wormhole, seemingly looking for the villain. And who is it that has come knocking? Well, that would be none other than D, except this time around the former test subject -- identifiable by the brand on his chest -- comes bearing gifts in the form of Celestial weapons and a whole crew. It's unclear if D means Apocalypse harm just yet, but if you had been strapped to an examination table and had your insides violently lit up like a Christmas tree by the former Egyptian ruler, you probably wouldn't harbor many warm and fuzzy feelings towards him.
However, there are some clues in the pages of X-Men Black: Apocalypse that hint that D might have just delivered the villain everything he wants -- a brand-new body imbued with Celestial technology that could very well last forever.