Age of Apocalypse

#13 cover.

If you can remember back to the bygone era of late November 2012, Marvel teased something called "X-Termination," along with an Ed McGuinness-illustrated cover featuring Wolverine and the Age of Apocalypse's Nightcrawler, most recently seen in Uncanny X-Force.

Now, all — well, most — can be revealed: X-Termination is a crossover between Age of Apocalypse, X-Treme X-Men and Astonishing X-Men starting in March with an Alpha issue, running through April and ending with an Omega bookend. The plot involves AoA Nightcrawler's interdimensional voyage home, which draws in not only the AoA's X-Terminated and the classic Marvel Universe's Astonishing team, but also the reality-hoppers of X-Treme X-Men.

Newsarama talked to Age of Apocalypse writer David Lapham — whose series intersects with X-Termination starting with March's issue #13 — for more.

Newsarama: David, before we dive into X-Termination, it's notable that the story starts the same month the Age of Apocalypse ongoing series turns one-year old. Making it that long, and to 13 issues, is certainly no guarantee in any market — how has the first year writing the series been for you, and how satisfying it to see a positive response for what's a rather unconventional book within Marvel's line?

David Lapham: I love this book, and it's been very ideal for me. My own pocket universe within the Marvel Universe to play with is beyond a dream set-up. I've had so much fun creating these characters and putting spins on familiar characters. My only complaint is that I have so many ideas and have had only one book to tell them in.

Nrama: As a crossover between three different X-books, you're also working on X-Termination with Marjorie Liu and Greg Pak, with the opening issue credited to all three writers. How closely has the collaboration been between the three of you? And since you're mostly known as a solo act, how different of an experience has it been for you?

Lapham: Very different. I'm used to being the complete dictator of my projects, but this is surprisingly tons of fun. Throwing out a bunch of ideas and having others throw out theirs, or play off yours and you play off theirs. So far I'd say the collaboration has been very close. We've talked on the phone extensively and emailed like crazy. I'll be scripting the Alpha issue off our collaborative plot.

Nrama: Naturally, a story centered on Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler would suggest involving the Age of Apocalypse series, but what can you share at this point about the specific role your book has to play in the larger story here — what side is it telling? And how does it relate to the other two books?

Lapham: Also, coming out of year one of AoA, it's the first time the characters we've been developing are meeting characters from the 616. So I'm really interested in how they'll play against each other.

One thing we all want to do is a bit of mix and matching, so it won't just be the X-Terminated all go over here and take care of this element, the X-Treme team go over here, etc. I want to see what Prophet thinks of the 616. I want to see AoA Nightcrawler meet young X-Treme Nightcrawler. I want to see AoA Jean meet up with Wolverine again. The event which brings them all together is massive, fate of the multiverse type stuff.

Nrama: On a similar note, how much is this story an outgrowth of what you've been doing in the series for the past year?

Age of Apocalypse

#12 cover.

Lapham: Without revealing too much about how the first year of AoA comes together in issues #11 and #12, there's an element that comes from that climax that plays a huge role in the crossover and will have major implications across all the books. Also there's a core idea here established by [Rick] Remender in Uncanny X-Force that's part of the Age of Apocalypse that directly relates to the scope of the event. It's very satisfying I think and the fulfillment of an idea come full circle. How's that for vague?

Nrama: And to focus specifically on AoA Nightcrawler: Uncanny X-Force certainly set him up as a compelling figure. What's your take on the character? And since the profound differences between mainstream Marvel Universe and AoA versions of characters have fueled many stories set in the Age of Apocalypse timeline, what do you find most interesting about the many obvious differences between the two Nightcrawlers?

Lapham: And we have a third Nightcrawler from X-Treme! The AoA Nightcrawler is just darker, as are all AoA characters. And that's as they should be. They've been living in a state of global genocide for a very long time. There's no sweetness and light in the AoA. There's no rock and roll, no NFL, no summer blockbusters, no relief. For example in the AoA Prophet is extremely moderate. If you dropped him in the 616, he'd be somewhere to the far right of the Punisher.

AoA Nightcrawler vies the AoA as his home — as the “real world”. His family is/was there. His friends are there. His fight against Weapon Omega is there. The 616 is like a shadow—an imitation of his real world.

To me this is very natural. If you went through a portal and were in another Earth where there were people like your family but slightly different would you feel as close to them as your real friends, your real wife? Of course not. But it's a very interesting notion, especially in an interdimensional story like this.


: What other characters play a major role in the story? And will characters from Astonishing X-Men and X-Treme X-Men pop up in your book?

Lapham: Yes. As I said, there'll be mix and matching. We don't have all those worked out yet. The Xavier heads have a big role. Wolverine, definitely. X-Treme Nightcrawler will be an important character.

Nrama: You've worked with artist Roberto De La Torre since the beginning of the series. Can readers expect any type of visual or tonal shift given the nature of the story?

Lapham: For the crossover, we're not so insular. Plus the nature of the threat comes from outside — it gets a bit cosmic. The trick here is to see how the characters handle the meeting. The AoA guys are pretty cool in their environment, can I still keep them being them in the face of a completely different tone, threat, and dynamic?

Nrama: It's been billed that this story will have major ramifications for all involved — how much does X-Termination affect the long-term future of Age of Apocalypse?

Lapham: For that you will have to wait and see.

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