WARNING: The following contains spoilers for X-Men Black: Emma Frost #1 by Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, Geraldo Borges, Rachelle Rosenberg and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
In the Marvel Universe, Apocalypse has always been one of the biggest villains around. Born in ancient Aqaba in the Middle East, he's considered the world's first mutant, later on merging with Celestial technology to become a godlike tyrant seeking the key to immortality and a planet perfectly shaped in his image.
Honestly speaking, one of him has been enough, as seen in his numerous battles against the X-Men, Avengers or smaller teams like X-Force. Come the events of X-Men Black: Emma Frost, though, the closing chapter of his "Degeneration" back-up story now reveals that things have been set in motion for the rise of yet another Apocalypse.
This five-part story closes off with a time-displaced Apocalypse on the mysterious island he used as a scientific base to experiment and find a new host. The project backfired and one of his test subjects D -- or as his subjects called him, Master D'Oerek -- became the group's leader in the time-jump, then proceeding to turn the tables on a primate form of Apocalypse and experiment on their former master. However, using his final reserve of mutant energy, Apocalypse transferred his essence into D, thus being reborn inside a perfect host. This finale sees him slaying all of D's remaining subjects, whom he views as abominations, but also because he recognizes they've merged with Celestial technology just like he did, and are potential carbon copies of himself.
He kills them off in brutal combat and proceeds to raze the island, which oddly enough has also been imbued with his DNA. It appears that, given the primordial state of life we see, this fight's indeed in the past, and Apocalypse wants to strike this entire experiment from the history books so he can be the only version of himself that's lived through Earth's existence. The despot destroys the island, sinking it to the bottom of the ocean, while fleeing with his mysterious science box, the Finch, to seek a way back to the present.
But as is the case with comics, you can expect an all-too dramatic twist to be strewn in. Every bit of life has been destroyed except for one piece; something which we can't fully describe. It could be like a flower, plankton or a sea anemone. Either way, whatever it is, Apocalypse made it clear all life on the island was sentient and could evolve to become the next D, or the next En Sabah Nur, and he had to eradicate everything before it even had the chance to become a better or more monstrous version of himself.
Well, the purge didn't work and the final panel highlighting this bit of sea life foreshadows something intriguing to come. It also leaves us wondering if Apocalypse missed killing off any other lifeforms on the island, which could mean one of D's subjects escaped as well. Of course, if things go awry after the events here, it wouldn't be the first time Marvel has had another Apocalypse roaming around.
In Rick Remender and Jerome Opena's Uncanny X-Force, Fantomex used the villain's blood to clone him and create Evan Sabah Nur (aka Kid Apocalypse, who ended being mentored by the X-Men to be a force for good). He would go on to become more like his father in Axis, physically at least, and also participate in a time-travel adventure against Apocalypse's father, Baal.
It became clear to readers at this point that Evan was walking a fine line between hero and villain, and now it appears that unless someone goes back in time to Apocalypse's former base, the building blocks have been laid for another product of their bloodline to evolve over centuries and make its presence felt. Whether the entity becomes good or evil, well, that remains to be seen.