Dennis Hopeless is kicking that logic in the balls with Apocalypse Wars. He is rewriting our understanding of who Apocalypse is. He makes the case in the pages of All-New X-men that any kid growing up around the Sand Stormers is bound to become a genocidal asshole. It's just a matter of inspiring the genocidal tendencies in any kid. Now, Kid Apocalypse and O5 Beast are trying to change that. Fate, destiny, and dick-fighting over movie rights are working against them. All-New X-men #11 shows how much they succeed or fuck up. I'm not used to rooting for Apocalypse, but if I just picture a younger Oscar Isaac, I find it's easier.
Not going to lie. I really am rooting for Kid Apocalypse this time and my inner woman doesn't need to picture Oscar Isaac naked to justify it. In the last issue, Dennis Hopeless put time and effort into showing Kid Apocalypse getting to know the boy who is destined to become the Big Bad Asshole Apocalypse. It's more time and effort than some people spend on their hygiene. It doesn't just paint Apocalypse in a new light. It gives Kid Apocalypse a fuckton of incentive to save this kid before he becomes that big bad asshole he doesn't want to be.
This means working with young En Sabah Nur to save O5 Beast in a way that won't end with someone embracing genocidal tendencies. This already leaves them half-fucked. Young En Sabah Nur explains how the Sand Stormers don't fuck around. They arrange meetings in places so tough to defend that Zack Snyder can make multiple movies out of it. That means they have to walk into a trap with their dicks hanging out and a big target on their ass. I'm still rooting for Kid Apocalypse, but even I can see how fucked they are.
There's no Solid Snake style stealth or elaborate Mystique level deception. Kid Apocalypse and young En Sabah Nur ride right into the trap where they find O5 Beast in a semi-crucified state. That is to say he isn't dead, but probably wishes he were. I won't say he deserves worse because he isn't quite the same douche as his adult self, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't appreciate this moment to some degree.
Kid Apocalypse and his non-genocidal counterpart easily free him. It's too easy, essentially confirming that they are definitely walking into a trap. This is like every James Bond movie ever made. It's going to all go to shit at some point before they start passing out martinis. They already went swimming with a topless girl in the last issue so it's only a matter of time before they endure a heavy punch to the dick.
As such, nobody whose attention span is longer than Dory from Finding Nemo can say they're surprised when the trap is sprung. It's not quite the same spectacle as a typical Zach Snyder movie, but it is fitting. The creepy old blind guy who spends way too much time in tents with teenage boys shows up and uses a little Dr. Strange type magic to capture En Sabah Nur. That means he's going back to the Sand Stormers where his genocidal proclivities will be back on track. Not saying it's a very elaborate trap, but it gets the job done. Work smart, not hard. It applies just as much to Ancient Egypt as it does to the 21st century.
Naturally, Kid Apocalypse is pissed. Lucky for him, the Sand Stormers are nice enough to throw some troops at him, thinking they have a chance at containing a pissed off teenage boy. Clone or no clone, even the ancients have no excuses. Pissed off teenagers can never be contained. Not in this era and not in any era. When that teenage boy just sees his hopes at fixing his fucked up destiny, he's extra pissed.
However, it's because Kid Apocalypse connected with his younger self that his anger feels more meaningful than a typical teenage temper tantrum. He comes so close to getting En Sabah Nur away from the asshole Sand Stormers. Then, some creepy old guy with magic fucks everything up. He's right to be pissed. It's usually hard rooting for pissed off teenagers in any situation, but it's amazingly easy this time around. It's a testament to the time and effort that Hopeless put into Kid Apocalypse.
Despite doing exactly what everyone in the universe expected and falling into the Sand Stormer's trap, Kid Apocalypse is determined to save his younger self. He didn't come this close, go swimming with a topless girl, and connect with his younger self to just throw his hands up. That's something the Inhumans do. That's not what X-men do.
However, this leads a tough argument with O5 Beast and yes, O5 Beast does find a way to come off as a total ass. While Kid Apocalypse's destiny remains in flux, O5 Beast remains right on track to become the asshole we know and despise. He basically tries to tell Kid Apocalypse that it's no use. Not only that, they may tear the timeline one too many assholes. On top of that, if he saves his younger self, he might not even exist. Kid Apocalypse doesn't give a shit. Unlike O5 Beast, he's actually willing to make a noble, genuine sacrifice. Compare that to O5 Beast's older self, who joined the fucking Inhumans.
It's a great moment for Kid Apocalypse. It makes me root for him even more. We know now that a big part of Apocalypse's douche-bagger came from just spending too much time with the Sand Stormers. He wants to create a better future for him. How much good could someone like Apocalypse do if he got the chance? Not going to lie. That's an intriguing thought. Maybe he would make it so that every teenage boy has a chance to go swimming with a topless girl. How much better would that world be?
The Sand Stormers are intent on denying us that world. They truly are assholes. Ba'al is getting ready to put young En Sabah Nur through some ritual that will help make him a man, but we all know that's just code for making him pro-genocide. I get that every culture has manhood rituals. I just think that any ritual beyond spankings, tea-bagging, and drinking dog piss are excessive.
Kid Apocalypse must feel the same way because he comes storming in, trying to disrupt the ritual in the most blunt way possible. Again, there are no tactics, no subtlety, and no cunning of any kind. Again, he's a pissed off teenage boy. You can't expect a lot of cunning from that.
That's not to say there aren't some tactics involved. While Kid Apocalypse is doing what pissed off teenage boys do, O5 Beast is trying to be productive. That involves finding the Third Eye of Horus, which brought them to this time in the first place. He also has to avoid the creepy old guy/mystic as well. He better clench his asshole tight is what I'm saying.
It makes for an intense, dramatic battle. Kid Apocalypse takes on Ba'al and there's no ambiguity here. We know who to root for. Even if he does have hidden genocidal tendencies, Ba'al makes clear throughout Apocalypse Wars that he's still the bigger asshole. He doesn't just inspire genocide in others. He probably jerks off to it every night. There are some great moments with Kid Apocalypse. He makes clear that he's willing to nullify his own existence in order to change the future and save his younger self. It may or may not be a futile effort, but it's hard to deny the kid's passion and heart.
That's why it's so damn heartbreaking when O5 Beast once again steps in to be the necessary asshole. He stops Kid Apocalypse in the middle of the fight, having retrieved the relic, and transports them back to the future. On some levels, it is a reasonable recourse. They've probably done enough damage to the timeline, giving young En Sabah Nur some time away from the Sand Stormers. They need to get the fuck back before Beast can claim he's fucked up the timeline as both an adult and time-displaced teenager.
While reasonable on some levels, it's still a dick move. It still basically ends the battle too abruptly. Kid Apocalypse doesn't get a chance to say goodbye to his younger self. We don't get a hint of what kind of person Apocalypse would be if he didn't have the Sand Stormers encouraging genocidal hobbies. The drama is there, but the way they just up and leave feels so abrupt. It's an overly simplistic resolution to a conflict that had grown so dramatic.
I'm still rooting for Kid Apocalypse. However, if you read this and still don't think Beast is a douche, then you're just being difficult.
They return to the present. Near as they can tell, the timeline is intact. That may be necessary at a time when Marvel is fucking around with cosmic cubes and retcons, but it's still bittersweet. It still feels rushed and forced. That doesn't take away from the dramatic impact on Kid Apocalypse. He finally knows with more certainty that being a genocidal asshole isn't innate. It takes nurturing from assholes like the Sand Stormers and O5 Beast just doomed his younger self to a live with those assholes. That, in some respects, makes O5 Beast an even bigger asshole. It's sad, but that's what we've come to expect from O5 Beast.
So...is it awesome?
Well before I answer, let me say this. Hank McCoy is a dick, regardless of whether or not he's time displaced. All I'll say about his O5 self is that at least he pretends to have a reason for being a dick. It's not always a good reason, but unlike my old gym teacher, I do give points for trying. The reason he gives in All-New X-men #11, which effectively dooms Kid Apocalypse, is lacking. Then again, it isn't exactly a new reason. Changing the future and fucking up the timeline is kind of what the O5 do every second they exist in the future. So it's not like he pulled the reason out of his ass. He's not a televangilist.
Even so, Dennis Hopeless still manages to give All-New X-men #11 a heavy impact. He succeeds in using Apocalypse Wars to rewrite our understanding of who Apocalypse is. Granted, it didn't end up fucking over the timeline. However, the timeline is fucked enough thanks to the O5, Inhumans who predict the future, and deals with Mephisto. I can't really blame him for not wanting to fuck it up even more. The impact might be somewhat muted in the end, but it still has more kick than a light beer or the last two Seth Rogan movies. Hopeless proves that it is possible for Apocalypse to be a more well-rounded character. That's a hell of an accomplishment and he didn't even need Oscar Isaac's sex appeal to do it.
Final Score: 7 out of 10