Excalibur: If Apocalypse Is a Good Guy Now… Then Why Is [SPOILER] Back?

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Excalibur #1 by Tini Howard, Marcus To and Erick Arciniega, on sale now.

The Clan Akkaba is one of the oldest groups in the Marvel Universe, and now, it got a new lease on life as a coven in the epilogue to Excalibur #1. Furthermore, the appearance of the Coven Akkaba has heightened all of our concerns about Apocalypse — or A as he insists to be called in this issue – and his alignment with Charles Xavier’s vision for the future.

For the moment, Apocalypse has effortlessly assumed a leadership role on the new Excalibur team, and he seems to be working with the X-Men’s best interests in mind. However, the return of Akkaba adds a layer of mystery and distinction to the series right at the outset. After the issue put Apocalypse at the center or the newly-revealed world of mutant magic, Marianna Stern kills her covenmates and joins the Coven Akkaba at the end of the issue.

Coven Akkaba

While Apocalypse’s presence in Excalibur may have initially been puzzling, the series is about the fusion of magic and mutants. As a newly-revealed core figure at the intersection of those interests, Apocalypse and the mysterious Clan (no Coven) Akkaba seem positioned to have the perfect backstory for this new era of Excalibur.

Over 5000 years ago, Apocalypse was born in a small village called Akkaba, which was massacred by a scavenger named Baal. The raider took Apocalypse in, named him En Sabah Nur and raised him by the strict codes of his own tribe – the Sandstormers. They were devout believers in the “survival of the fittest” ethos, long before Charles Darwin introduced the concept to the rest of the world.

As Apocalypse lived through the ensuing years, he escaped death many times, had many children and figured out how to perpetually sustain his life. Apocalypse ’s descendants founded the Clan Akkaba and dedicated themselves to carrying out the designs of Apocalypse whenever he would rest/hibernate in order to restore his vitality. Clan Akkaba worshiped Apocalypse, especially embracing his ‘survival of the fittest’ ethos. Several members of the Clan embodied some of Apocalypse ’s extraordinary abilities used them when they fought Dracula and various mutant vampires in the Victorian era.

As of now, it is unclear what the current relationship is between Coven Akkaba and Apocalypse or if they’re even working towards the same goals. Apocalypse seemed to enthusiastically accept Xavier’s invitation to join the X-Men on the mutant nation Krakoa, and his presence on its ruling Quiet Council suggests that he is in alignment with Xavier and the other political leaders of Krakoa. Consider how much Moira MacTaggert’s own experience with Apocalypse informed how she, Charles Xavier and Magneto established Krakoa, it looks like Xavier’s ideology is converging with Apocalypse’s long-stated goals, not diverging from them.

While a vague notion of “survival of the fittest” is still guiding Krakoa, Apocalypse may have finally, truly become a team player for Krakoa in Excalibur. That’s only underscored by Apocalypse’s renewed interest in magic, which fits in seamlessly with Otherworld, Arthurian legends and the medieval magic that’s the cornerstone of the Excalibur franchise. Still, just because Apocalypse has decided to throw in his lot with Xavier, there’s no reason to assume that all of his descendants have (or will) follow suit. If the Coven Akkaba has a vision of the world, it wouldn’t be the first time that Apocalypse has found himself fighting the people he was once allied with.

Article by CBR.com


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