The PoP! Stars narrow it down to the cream of the crop in categories ranging from (but not limited to) Comics, Movies, Toys and Geek Culture in general. This is the PoP! Top 6-Pack.
But K-Whack! Apocalypse only has four Horsemen! Relax, I know. I also know that Rick Remender has gone on record saying that the new Uncanny X-Force will be facing off against a new iteration of Apocalypse and that the big bad’s favorite followers are already out there, among Marvel’s merry mutants. Let’s then take a look at six potential front runners for The Four Horsemen: The New Class.
Why: When Apocalypse gathered the Twelve in a bid to enhance his power beyond what the Celestial ship had provided him, it was his intention to transfer his live essence into Nate Grey. Sacrificing himself to save the boy, Cyclops pushed Nate out of the way and instead became host to Apocalypse’s evil spirit until it was driven from him by the combined efforts of Jean Grey and Cable. This was the first step to a new, edgier Scott Summers.
Why not: He’s the de facto leader of all mutantkind and just got a medal from the President. This would be a pretty drastic swerve that would almost certainly derail the plot of every other core X-book. Fans and writers alike love surprises, but this seems a bit too far out there.
Why: When Apocalypse last struck, he formed a new group of Horsemen. Among them – Gambit as Death. Though forgotten for a few years, this plot thread has recently been picked up again in the X-Books, with Gambit manifesting an Archangel-like alter ego.
Why not: Of all the characters on this list, Gambit’s connection with Apocalypse was perhaps the most ill-advised from an editorial standpoint. While other members of that class of Horsemen, such as Polaris and Sunfire, generally manage to be useless within the greater scheme of the X-mythos, Gambit is a fan-favorite character and an extended stint as an ebon-skinned Horseman could only cause that popularity to suffer.
Why: Longtime X-Factor supporting cast member Caliban got his shot at the big times during the mid-nineties X-Cutioner’s Song story-arc wherein he was made the new Horseman of Death. After breaking free of Apocalypse’s control, he joined X-Force (back when they wore purple and yellow and were led by… Cannonball? I think) but shortly thereafter wound up back in the clutches of Apocalypse, this time demoted to the role of Pestilence. After being killed during Messiah CompleX, he recently made a return to the (sort of) living during X-Necrosha.
Why not: Seriously… why not? This is a character who has nothing else going for him right now, and his ability to track down other mutants seems a perfect fit for the New Horsemen in a post-Second Coming world.
Why: Bennet du Paris was a knight of the Crusades who became obsessed with the legend of Apocalypse. After tracking down the ancient mutant, his own latent abilities were unlocked, and he became Exodus. Paris rebelled against his master, however, and this earned him a centuries-long slumber before Magneto discovered and freed him. He pledged his servitude to the master of magnetism, but has recently struck out on his own.
Why not: Exodus has never been known to work with Apocalypse, for starters. Plus, his break with Magneto came at a time when Lensherr had been depowered. Now that Erik’s powers are back, might Bennet throw in his lot with his former liege? Barring that possible turn of events, it would seem the perfect time for Exodus to pay his dues to the immortal one.
Why: In the Age of Apocalypse, he was considered the son of Apocalypse and was one of the despot’s Four Horsemen (though there, they didn’t seem to represent the typical war, famine, pestilence, and death). That version of the character was psychotically loyal to his “father,” but above and beyond that, it’s been hinted that the 616 may have its own Nemesis/Holocaust waiting to rear his ugly head.
Why not: The Holocaust we all know and love was last seen being absorbed into another being in the pages of Exiles – in between realities. While his potential return is not completely out of the question, it certainly seems unlikely. Still, the long-anticipated introduction of his 616 counterpart – over fifteen years in the making – could be too good to pass up.
Why: No character in the Marvel universe or anywhere else is as intrinsically tied to Apocalypse as Nathan Summers. He was born of a clone and a coupling conceived of by Mr. Sinister (himself a former servant of Apocalypse) to be the ultimate weapon against the millennia old mutant master. He was infected by Apocalypse himself with a Techno-organic virus which demanded he be sent into the future to be “cured” of. There, he and his clone Stryfe grew up in the shadow of Apocalypse – Stryfe eventually took his mantle, while Cable became his sworn enemy. It’s even been retconned in that Apocalypse’s techno-organics were given to him by Cable in the first place, thus creating a causality loop to make one’s head spin. Simply put, both Cable and Stryfe share their destinies with Apocalypse on a fundamental level.
Why not: Well, both of them are currently dead, but that’s never stopped a writer from using a character before. Combine the immortal nature of Apocalypse with the fact that both of these characters are time travelers, and the possibilities for bringing either back are nearly endless.
Will the Horsemen of Uncanny X-Force be anyone from this list? That remains to be seen. Did I forget someone with immutable ties to Apocalypse? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.