Over the course of its long and rich history Marvel has introduced numerous alternate worlds featuring variations of their heroes, or future or past iterations of known characters. Anything originally occupying more than a single comic was briefly revived to tie in with 2015’s reconfiguration of the Marvel Universe, Secret Wars, with the resulting material then issued as a phenomenal number of graphic novels. The Age of Apocalypse was the world as briefly changed to ensure the X-Men failed to stop Apocalypse in their original encounter, and so he established dominion over the planet. Assorted mutant resistance groups emerged to set themselves against Apocalypse.

Fabien Nicieza makes the interesting choice to set the start of his story around Douglas Ramsey, not much used in 2015, with the mutant ability to comprehend any spoken or written language. For some reason he’s a target for the ruthless generals of Apocalypse. These are exaggerated forms of known villains, pretending servitude yet all the while angling to promote their own interests over those of their allies. The X-Men that combat this regime are led by Magneto, and he’s convinced their world is going to end.

Gerardo Sandoval illustrates the opening chapters much in the manner of Adam Kubert in the original series, emphasising big images of steroid-infused brutes. Finishing artist Iban Coello takes his cue from this with regard to page designs, but there’s a greater element of cartooning about his figures.

Nicieza also involves the Legacy Virus, the disease lethal to mutants, and that’s about the only element of surprise in a disappointing story with a rapid ending that surely anyone will see coming once the relevant character has been introduced. Ramsey’s purpose diminishes in the morass, and any thrill of seeing alternate versions of Marvel’s mutants rapidly vanishes in so much blood and thunder.