• x men heralds of the apocolypse cover
    X-Men: Before the Fall - Heralds of Apocalypse #1
    Al Ewing
    Stefano Landini, Luca Pizzari, Rafael T. Pimentel
    Travis Lanham
    Cover Artist:
    Pepe Larraz
    Release Date:
    Ceci de la Cruz

The Fall of X rapidly approaches and the X-line from Marvel is brimming with tense anticipation. As part of a series of one-shots, X-Men: Before the Fall - The Heralds of Apocalypse #1 continues to set the stage for the next era of the Krakoan age. While Orchis' schemes have been at the forefront of the buildup to Fall of X, this issue focuses on a different angle to the impending struggles of mutantkind. The spotlight here is shifted to Apocalypse, Genesis, and the origins of Arakko as revelations bring war. X-Men: Before the Fall - Heralds of Apocalypse #1, written by Al Ewing with art by Luca Pizzari, Stefano Landini, and Raphael Pimento, colors by Ceci De La Cruz, letters and production by VC's Travis Lanham, and design by Tom Muller, dives deep into the history of Arakko and the relationship between Apocalypse and Genesis while planting seeds for future wars.

This issue heavily foucses on Apocalypse and Genesis. The issue opens with Apocalypse, in the fields of Amenth, as he speaks about his name, survival, and strength. It is revealed that Genesis wants to travel back to Arakko and Apocalypse is capable of opening a path. Apocalypse, however, does not want Genesis to return, and the two begin a duel to settle the matter. From here the book is split into two main threads, the present as the couple battle each other, and the ancient past before Okkara was split into Arakko and Krakoa.

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Apocalypse meditating in X-Men Herald of the Apocolypse.

Ewing brilliantly weaves the ongoing story of Arakko. This book is essentially a direct prelude to what is happening in X-Men Red, with Genesis arriving through the Okkara Gate in issue #12. There's an incredible sense of power in the way the history of Arakko is presented. It's biblical and as epic as it could be, with wars spanning millennia, yet it keeps a laser-focused emotional core through Apocalypse and Genesis. Their relationship feels so genuine in its roughness as the pair find themselves at odds with each other. The revelations that come with this issue bring a multitude of layers to each character and lay the foundation for the battles to come.

Both the present and the past sections feel like part of a whole, creating visual cohesion across the issue. The duel between Apocalypse and Genesis is intense, dynamic, and precise. Close-up shots of Genesis licking blood off a blade bookend kinetic panels of the two leaping at each other. The contrast between the war-torn fields of Amenth and the lush lands of Okkara is displayed in beautiful detail.

The lush lands of Okkara in Heralds of the Apocalypse

De La Cruz's colors are stunning. The blues and golds on the costumes of Apocalypse and Genesis always shine. There's a feeling of depth to the colors across the board. Reds get their time to shine in battle, while cooler greens, purples, and blues are brought to life in the beautiful vistas of Okkara. Lanham's lettering is top-notch here. This book carries a lot of exposition as its in truth partly a history book, but the text never feels overbearing. Muller's design on a few key ancient-looking data pages details the history of Arakko, bringing critical information in a relevant way.

This feels like the most personal of the Before the Fall one-shots so far with its focus on Apocalypse and Genesis. That said, the ramifications from this issue could be bigger than anything else in the X-line. The entire planet of Arakko stands on the precipice of war and this issue provides key insight into the motivations of Genesis. Apocalypse and his family have been one of the most interesting threads of the Krakoan age and their past continues to impact the present and future trajectory of mutantkind. With X-Men: Before the Fall - Heralds of Apocalypse #1, Ewing and the rest of the team deliver an intimate, epic history lesson that brings revelation and war.