"All-New X-Men #9" cover by Mark Bagley
Credit: Mark Bagley (Marvel Comics)
Credit: Humberto Ramos (Marvel Comics)

“Apocalypse Wars” is coming to Marvel’s X-Men titles in 2016, and All-New X-Men will be dealing with the biggest possible bombshell of all: what if Apocalypse was a member of the team? Well, he is, actually.

Evan Sabahnur, a.k.a. Genesis, is a clone of Apocalypse from Uncanny X-Force and joined the team with the recently relaunched #1. Beginning in May’s All-New X-Men #9, writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Mark Bagley will delve into Evan’s complicated origin and what it means for him in the present tense with “Apocalypse Wars.”

Newsarama spoke with Hopeless to find out more about this arc and how it relates to this younger group of mutants in All-New X-Men.

Newsarama: Dennis, how will All-New X-Men tie into "Apocalypse Wars," especially given you have Genesis onboard the X-Van?

Dennis Hopeless: This event came together so organically that it doesn’t really feel like I’m tying into a crossover. More like… Oh, it’s time to tell our big Apocalypse story. When Jeff Lemire, Cullen Bunn and I were cooking up our respective X-Men stories, each of us had the germ of big weird Apocalypse we wanted to tell. Mine centered on Evan and how he chooses to deal with his supposed destiny. Jeff’s had something to do with hot and spicy pickles, and I think Cullen wants to create evil anthropomorphized horses. We decided to dovetail those stories together and line up our schedules a bit.

Nrama: You've had Genesis as a part of the team well before "Apocalypse Wars" was announced, but how does this event allow you to delve deeper into his character?’

Hopeless: Our book is all about these heroic, optimistic teenagers with big scary destinies the world expects them to fulfill. Evan is probably the most optimistic and his destiny is absolutely the scariest. This kid is supposed to take over the world as ‘roid rage Hitler. Somehow he almost never lets it get him down. In “Apocalypse Wars” we’re going to make Evan deal with that destiny much more directly and see if he can maintain that optimism.

Nrama: Evan is relatively new to world compared to Apocalypse and Archangel, but he has a very interesting origin inside Uncanny X-Force. What interests you most about him, for use in this storyline but also generally?

Hopeless: Evan is an amazing friend who cares so much about his teammates. He’s compassionate and kind in a way that stands out even amongst super heroes. And like I said, all of that in the face of crazy impending evil growing inside him. Is he a walking, talking argument for nature over nurture? Or is some of that kindness and naiveté a put on that helps him avoid the dark reality of his existence? And does it really matter why someone is a good person? Evan interests me a lot so it’s tough to narrow down, but those are the questions we’ll be tackling in the crossover.

Nrama:  Previous crossover events like "Battle of the Atom" and "The Black Vortex" left major marks on the All-New X-Men team. Can the same be said for this one?

Hopeless:  Yes indeed. Two of our team members in particular come out of this very much changed. There will be several interesting twists in the road coming up for our road trippers.

Nrama:  Let's not leave those other team members out -- how will the original five, along with Oya and Wolverine be factored into "Apocalypse Wars"?

Hopeless: That’s tough to answer without spoiling anything. The whole team will be involved in the story but some much more directly than others. We’ll be moving the spotlight around a lot in the series and giving different characters their chance to star. “Apocalypse Wars” is very much an Evan story with one or two of the other characters playing major supporting roles.

Nrama: Dennis. for good or for bad you have a track record of teen heroes dying -- or seem to die -- in your stories in the past with Avengers Arena. Should fans worry here?

Hopeless: [Laughs] For good! Definitely for good. As much online grumping as Avengers Arena got us, I’m still crazy proud of that story. If that means readers will always assume I’m going to slaughter every beloved character for the rest of my career… So be it I guess.

That said, I don’t think the fact that I wrote Avengers Arena is the reason people should worry about the All-New X-Men. They’re young mutants who live in a world that hates and fears them, there’s a crazy Inhuman death cloud floating around killing and sterilizing mutants (while they more or less choose to ignore it), and they star in an X-Men comic book.

Nrama: Will Mark Bagley be continuing on the series in these issues?

Hopeless: Yes. Mark Bagley is our series artist and a badass. Mark can draw pages almost as fast as I can write them. So you can pretty much assume Mark will be drawing every issue of All-New X-Men for the foreseeable. Which is such a great thing to be able to say. Mark’s art gives everything this classic super hero feel while nailing the expression and emotion of the quiet moment. But of course he does. He’s Mark Bagley.

Credit: Marvel Comics

“Apocalypse Wars” will be no exception. This story is going to be as emotionally intense as it is weird. Mark does both so well. I can’t wait to see what he gives us.

Nrama: Lastly, how many issues is this taking place in All-New X-Men, and which ones?

Hopeless: The earliest seeds of the story start in #8 but the story starts in #9. I think it’s three issues of All-New X-Men but we’re not done writing it yet so please don’t hold me to that.

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