Comic Book / Apocalypse

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"Peace does nothing to test — to INCREASE — mutants' strength. To force them to evolve into the strong."

"I am the rocks of the eternal shore. Crash against me and be broken!"

Apocalypse is a Marvel Universe character created by writer Louise Simonson and artist Jackson Guice. He first appeared in X-Factor vol. 1 #5 (May, 1986). He has since gone on to plague the X-Men and other heroes. Born 5,000 years ago into a desert tribe in Ancient Egypt who took one look at the blue skinned mutant and left the supposed abomination behind to die, the infant who would become Apocalypse was found by the leader of a band of desert raiders called Baal, who adopted the boy and named him "En Sabah Nur" — "The First One", as he believed that the child was the first of a Master Race of beings who would one day inherit the Earthnote . Baal raised En Sabah Nur and indoctrinated him into the brutal philosophy of his raiding band — Survival of the Fittest, and the idea that life is and should be a never ending struggle of the strong against the weak and each other to earn the right to live and prosper.

Throughout the centuries, the immortal Apocalypse traveled to numerous civilizations and cultivated worship of himself, and manipulated them into conflict and civil war to separate the strong from the weak. He eventually gained more power after discovering and bonding with the technology of a crashed Celestial ship, granting him a wide range of abilities but making him so powerful that he had to begin to periodically enter lengthy periods of regenerative rest to prolong his lifespan, and seek out powerful mutants as host bodies. He awoke at various points to influence history and attempt to recruit useful people to his cause, activating the powers of the mutant Exodus in the 12th century and transforming Victorian Mad Scientist Nathaniel Essex into the immortal geneticist Mister Sinister.

The explosion in the mutant population in modern times awoke Apocalypse from his slumber and set him loose upon the world once again. He now actively seeks to provoke a war between humans and mutants so that mutants can inherit the Earth under his guidance, whilst trying to increase his power by finding powerful mutants to serve as his new host. His plans often bring him into conflict with the X-Men, who he regards as Worthy Opponents who have earned the right to live in his dystopic mutant empire, when he isn't brainwashing them to serve as his minions or trying to steal their bodies, or trying to destroy them as threats to his plans.

Apocalypse is one of the X-Men's most powerful and dangerous recurring foes. There is more than one Bad Future and Alternate Universe where he rules the world, and all of them are hellish Death Worlds built on billions of corpses where people have to fight and kill each other to earn the right to live. Unsurprisingly, even without all that, Apocalypse has earned the hatred of a number of prominent characters for his millenia of atrocities, genocide and evil schemes.

He is the Big Bad of the 2016 movie X-Men: Apocalypse, making his live-action debut. He is played by actor Oscar Isaac.

Apocalyptic Tropes

  • Above Good and Evil:
    Cable: The world won't stomach your evil forever.
    Apocalypse: Evil? I am not malevolent! I simply AM!
    • He turned down membership in the Acts of Vengeance crossover conspiracy because he didn't see himself as evil.
    • He is also written this way in X Men 92, as revealed with the following exchange:
    Joseph: You're not one of the good guys!
    Apocalypse: Good. Bad. Meaningless words used to describe lesser beings. I am he who was born to save the world. Will you join me?
  • Actually a Doombot: The boss battles with him in Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge and X-Men (1993) both count as this, being a Murderworld doppelganger and a Danger Room simulation of him respectively.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • The 90s animated series version of him is way more of a Large Ham, and gets to be way more epic since he doesn't have to share space with the other worldbeater Marvel U Big Bad types.
    • His Evolution counterpart may be the strongest version, and is slightly less evil.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse establishes him as easily the most powerful mutant ever seen in the X-Men Film Series, excepting Jean Grey in full out Phoenix mode.
    • X Men 92 made him one of these too, given that he survived the "Westchester Wars" in the backstory (which was apparently a big enough conflict that all the X-Men believed he was dead in the present day), terrified the duo of Cassandra Nova and Joseph into submission, and at one point was even shown casually dragging the body of defeated archdemon N'astirh behind him.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • His video game appearances, on the other hand, usually have him playing second fiddle to Magneto. He's a generic mid-game Boss Battle in both of the Sega Genesis X-Men games and a Bait-and-Switch Boss in X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.
    • He also tends to get nerfed heavily in alternative universe tales, so much so that even in his own titular Age of Apocalypse he is one-shotted and Killed Off for Real by Magneto in the story's climax, albeit after a knock-down drag-out brawl with Nate Grey, who'd been specifically engineered to kill him and had raw power estimated to be on par with the Dark Phoenix. House of M and Mutant X are other prominent examples of this.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Five thousand years is a long time to manipulate things behind the scenes, and he's The Man Behind the Man for the Externals, a lesser Ancient Conspiracy of younger immortals.
  • Anti-Villain: In X Men 92, where he gathered a notably less evil incarnation of his Four Horsemen and recruited a Heel-Face Turned Joseph and Cassandra Nova to stand against the threat of Xodus, the Forgotten Celestial.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Angel and Cable, as well as The Eternals who regard him as an ancient foe. However, by this point he has managed to piss off half the cast at least, as well as many other heroes (e.g. the time he brainwashed the Incredible Hulk), to say nothing of the entire alternate and future Earths that have to endure his rule.
    • Thor also carries a grudge against him, and has since the early 1000's.
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: He supposedly has an Arabic birth name, even though he was born in Egypt around 3,000 B.C.—several thousand years before the Arabic language existed, and long before it would have been spoken in Egypt. Semi-justified; although "En Sabah Nur" has an Arabic translation (roughly, "The Seven Lights") he was actually named by the leader of a band of desert raiders with their own tribe and- fictional- language, so this can be easily handwaved as coincidence.
  • Avenging the Villain: During a period where he is believed to be dead, Cable's son Tyler Dayspring reinvents himself as Genesis and appoints himself Apocalypse's successor.
  • Ax-Crazy: Depending on the Writer, Apocalypse has been written as completely insane and suffering from grandiose delusions which he expresses through genocide and killing those he perceives as weak.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: A signature pose he uses to assert his superiority.
  • Badass Boast: (Most likely in 1990s X-Men cartoon)
    "I am Apocalypse! Look upon the future and tremble!"
    "I am as far beyond mutants as they are beyond you! I am eternal!"
    "I am the rocks of the eternal shore. Crash against me and be broken!"
    "Beast, how many peoples have dreamed of my end? You are no closer than the Babylonians with their swords and fire sticks!"
    "There exists no freedom from me; there is only freedom through me."
  • Bald of Evil: Although in his youth he sported a long mane, nowadays he prefers to go without.
  • Barrier Warrior: His Celestial armour comes equipped with powerful forcefields which he can use in a variety of ways.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Various flashbacks and exposition dumps over the years have shown his recurring effects on history over the centuries. There was the time he spooked Alexander the Great into fleeing Egypt, for example. He is also stated in-universe to be the reason why Amenhotep I's tomb has never been found, as he killed Amenhotep and dragged his body out into the desert to rot.
  • Benevolent Boss: Genocidal maniac though he may be, Apocalypse is surprisingly consistent in his treatment of those who serve him well. The best example of this is the mutant Caliban, originally put to work as his bloodhound before heavily physically empowering him at Caliban's own request (compare Caliban before and after) as a reward for his faithful service. He took in and provided for Autumn Rolfson, the first Famine, even after she failed him as a Horseman (this became a plot point in Uncanny X-Force when The Bus Came Back for her) and fulfilled his pitch to the Incredible Hulk to the letter. Even with disobedient ex-minions he tends towards lenience, letting them act freely as long as they uphold his ideals (prime examples being Exodus and Mr. Sinister, though a good chunk of X-Men also fall into this category thanks to his curious habit of poaching their ranks for new Horsemen).
  • Big Bad: For the original X-Factor and Cable, and shares this spot with Magneto for the X-Men as a whole, since he is their most powerful recurring villain by far (not counting one-offs like Dark Phoenix or the Adversary).
  • Blood Knight: Strip away the Celestial tech, the Superpower Lottery and the Time Abyss that make up Apocalypse's character and this is what you have at his core — a ferocious warrior who glories in war and believes that civilization is uplifted only through the continuous propagation of it.
  • Brought To You By The Letter A: He wears an A-shaped device like a belt buckle. It's actually a Celestial transporter that grants him his teleportation abilities.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: His origins are somewhat ignominious, as he was introduced as the mastermind behind a throwaway generic evil organization called the Alliance of Evil. (Originally, the Owl was supposed to fill this role.)
  • The Chessmaster: Frequently works behind the scenes, manipulating others to his will.
  • Combo Platter Powers:
    • Apocalypse's natural mutations are physical prowess, intelligence, immortality, and his strange gray skin and blue lips (surprisingly enough), and his Master of Your Domain ability, as shown in the Rise of Apocalypse mini. The rest of his abilities such as the technopathy, psychic abilities (maybe; the comics are inconsistent on whether or not the psychic abilities are natural or augmented), his armor and other powers are either derived from technology on loan from the Celestials or by altering his genetic structure.
    • In the 2016 film, the only power he has that we know for a fact is natural to him is the ability to exist as a body-jacking psionic entity. An undisclosed number of his other powers, which include technopathy, Super Strength, and Super Empowering other mutants, are the result of his ability to "assimilate" powers from his hosts and retain them in all future host bodies.
  • Composite Character: In the movie, carrying on a "proud" X-Men movie tradition. Specifically, movie Apocalypse is an amalgamation of comics Apocalypse and the Shadow King.
  • Dark Action Girl: His cultist follower Anais, who tried to resurrect him when he was reduced to a ghost and possessing Cyclops.
  • Dark Messiah: Occasionally written this way, such as in 2006's Blood of Apocalypse where he claims to have literally been awakened by the screams of millions of mutants (due to M-Day) and offers his titular Blood to all of mutantkind as an antidote to a plague (that he himself created to weed out humanity). The movie version also has some elements of this, but his X Men 92 incarnation might be the most triumphant example yet.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • It's been revealed that the Celestials knew about Apocalypse using their technology, and allowed him to keep it in exchange for future services (although, technically, the Celestials are not evil, so in a sense Apocalypse was the Devil in this case, except he was on the poor end of the deal). While they have yet to collect on said services, the Celestials did at one point prevent Apocalypse from dying to ensure that he would be able to pay them back someday.
    • Apocalypse himself does this quite a bit, empowering Bennet du Paris, Nathaniel Essex, and a slew of modern-day mutants (including a few of the X-Men) in exchange for service. Ironically, this has helped the X-Men more than once, since it restored Angel's wings and Wolverine's adamantium. He also created one of his own worst enemies by empowering and granting immortality to Sinister.
  • Demonic Possession: After the Fusion Dance incident in The Twelve (keep reading for more on that) a later issue had Jean Grey state that Cyclops had been "possessed by an evil spirit called En Sabah Nur", leading to some misconception that the incident was a case of this trope, rather than the Fusion Dance it actually was. Whether this was a clumsy attempt at a Retcon or a genuine misunderstanding on the part of Grant Morrison remains unknown to this day.
  • Depending on the Writer: Whether he is a cosmic-level entity that can pimp-smack the likes of the High Evolutionary and go toe-to-toe with Asgardians like Loki and even The Mighty Thor, or is a has-been dependent upon regeneration chambers. Justified partially by Apocalypse's original body being killed in X-Factor #68 by Cyclops channeling the full power of the Summers bloodline, aka Deus ex Machina. His evil quotient is also writer-dependent, with Louise Simonson tending to write him as more of a Noble Demon and Well-Intentioned Extremist while later writers tend to dial his evilness as far in the other direction as possible.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In X Men 92 he effortlessly defeats the Limbo arch-demon N'astirh.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Cable, and his alternate universe counterpart the X-Man, are each two of the most powerful psychic mutants alive. And they were both created by Sinister for the express purpose of killing this bastard.
    • Apocalypse is feared by even high-tier supernatural monsters like Dracula. Deadpool's wife Shiklah tried to attack Evan (En Sabah Nur's clone) when she thought she saw the real deal reborn.'
    • In X Men 92 Joseph and Cassandra Nova, both of whom have absolutely dominated every other villain in the series up to that point, are positively petrified when he drops in on them.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: His ideal society in the Age of Apocalypse is a bombed-out radioactive wasteland littered with genocide camps and Nazi-style genetic experimentation labs. Think Benito Mussolini on crack. Various Bad Futures ruled by him tend to be little better, though he has managed to restrain himself (or been restrained) from doing this in the normal timeline.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • He teams up with the X-Men to fight Stryfe in the X-Cutioner's Song and even helpfully saves Professor X from the weaponized virus Stryfe infected him with.
    • The threat of Crisis Crossover villain Onslaught is great enough to necessitate one of these between him and his Arch-Enemy Cable.
    • He teams up with none other than the famous vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing to fight Dracula's legions in Apocalypse vs. Dracula.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • He's disgusted by Loki's banal motives for "annoying the heroes of Earth" and refuses to join the "lesser villains" in Acts of Vengeance.
    • Despite the fact that his solution to the problem was to try to kill Franklin Richards, even he was horrified by the actions of Onslaught.
    • He holds no truck with vampires or other supernatural baddies, as Apocalypse vs. Dracula demonstrates.
  • Eviler Than Thou: To Exodus, Mister Sinister, Bishop, Stryfe, Sabretooth, Dracula and even Loki at one point. He frequently pulls this, but puny lesser villains keep thinking they can take him and have to find out the hard way how wrong they are.
  • Evil Is Bigger: He's 7 foot tall in his usual form, but he'll often invoke this by using his shapeshifting powers to increase his size and utterly dwarf his opponents.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Especially in the 90's cartoon, basically every line that came out of his mouth was a grandiose Badass Boast using archaic language exalting his might.
  • Evil Is Petty: In the Rise of Apocalypse miniseries chronicling his backstory, he as a young man was rejected by the girl he loved due to being physically ugly. When it turned out his powers made him immortal, he went back to her as she was dying of old age and taunted her on her deathbed.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Of the "fight to the death and prove your worth" variety.
  • Evil Overlord: Particularly in the Age of Apocalypse, where he rules North America with an iron fist.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The six-issue Apocalypse vs. Dracula miniseries, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Apocalypse ultimately wins, though not without some help from Abraham Van Helsing.
  • Four Is Death: The Four Horsemen, anyone?
  • Freudian Excuse: Abandoned at birth due to his obvious mutations, adopted by a tribe of violent raiders who imparted their "only the strong are worthy" ethos that later became a defining element of his character, saw his entire tribe killed and also saw his adoptive father die in front of him not long after as a result of Kang the Conqueror's attempts to find him, was enslaved, had a particularly bad encounter with Kang himself, was rejected by the girl he had fallen in love with... his formative years definitely weren't pleasant. He's still an absolutely vile being, but it's not hard to see how he became as awful as he is.
  • Fusion Dance: The Twelve storyline ended with Cyclops performing a Heroic Sacrifice to keep Apocalypse from achieving godhood. The results were... not pretty.
  • Genius Bruiser: Not a natural genius like Mr. Fantastic or Dr. Doom, but he's had five thousand years to build upon the basic education he received as a nomadic Egyptian raider. He's also had the benefit of Celestial technology to tutor himself with.
  • A God Am I: He may or may not believe he is an actual god, but he is certainly happy to be worshipped as such if it furthers his interests, and he definitely has a monstrous God complex note . There was also the Twelve storyline, where Big Blue literally attempted to become a god by absorbing the power of the titular Twelvenote .
  • God Guise: He is worshiped as a god in his own right by some, but in ancient times he was sometimes mistaken for local deities. He played along as this served his ends well enough anyway.
  • Good Is Bad And Bad Is Good: According to his doctrine, war, conflict, inequality, struggle, destruction and death are good and natural, because they make people stronger. Consequently, peace, kindness, equality and the rest are bad, or irrelevant at least, because they make people weak.
  • Grand Theft Me:
    • Tries to pull this on X-Man in The Twelve (along with stealing the powers of several powerful mutants, the titular number), and in a Bad Future on his (willing) adopted son Stryfe. He failed both times, though in the former case he managed to pull a forced Fusion Dance on Cyclops. Toyed with pulling it on Hope and has attempted it on others. He is always on the look out for powerful mutants to serve as his host body.
    • In the '90s animated series he pulled this on Fabian Cortez in his final appearance.
    • In X-Men: Apocalypse this is perhaps his only original mutant power, and his whole modus operandi basically amounts to seeking the most powerful mutants to body-jack because he steals the powers of his hosts and retains them for himself.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: When he's being written by his co-creator Louise Simonson, usually (with the monsters in question being either malevolent gods like Loki or the Celestials).
  • Hero Killer: He is capable of taking on whole teams of heroes by himself, and has directly or indirectly killed numerous characters. One episode of the 90's animated series ends with him effortlessly killing the entire team of X-Men sent to stop him (time-travel saved them) and the Age of Apocalypse storyline kicks off with him committing nuclear genocide all over the planet.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Occasionally stories have portrayed him as this, using the very logical rationale that if the Benito Mussolini on crack dystopia was really what he wanted that he's had more than enough time in his five thousand years of life to make it happen. Before the Celestials were brought in to be The Man Behind the Man, this was the prevailing explanation for his strangely-lax approach to taking over the world.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: That bit below about culling the weak? He taught that to his followers, so after he got badly beaten by Stryfe they judged him to be weak, and changed sides.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Used as the name and titles of his four top lieutenants. Because most Horsemen tend to either die or turn on him, he's constantly on the lookout for new mutants to serve as his bringers of Pestilence, War, Famine and Death. A number of X-Men have served in these roles over the years: Archangel, Wolverine and Gambit have all been Death for a time, Sunfire was Famine and Polaris was Pestilence. As of Secret Wars (2015) and X Men 92, his last known Horsemen were Bastion, Exodus, Mystique and Senator Kelly.
  • Humans Are Survivors: Expresses these sentiments to Loki during their fight in the Acts of Vengeance Crisis Crossover:
    Apocalypse: Humans are not the weaklings you take them for. Each, be he hero or villain, is dying from the day he is born. Each breath... each effort... is an act of courage against inevitable doom... such courage we immortals can only dream of.
  • Hypocrite: Apocalypse's Social Darwinist screed is rather undercut by the fact that, in the comics, he became as powerful as he did through sheer dumb luck. Most of his power actually stems from the Celestialnote  technology he discovered and managed to master. Meanwhile, in the 2016 film, his entire modus operandi is hinted through his interactions with Charles Xavier to really be seeking out or engineering powerful mutants so he can take their bodies, and thusly their powers, as his own. Meaning he's not refining his own strength, he's stealing the strength of others, which is arguably worse than his comic version.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: He very decisively rejects Stryfe in 2009's Messiah War storyline after discovering that Stryfe is his chosen heir from the future, pronouncing Stryfe to be a weakling unworthy of the honor.
  • Irony: During the Evolutionary War Crisis Crossover Apocalypse (then still a relatively new character and still under the creative direction of his original creators) fought the High Evolutionary. During the fight he chastised the Evolutionary for his impatience and referred to his invasive methods as "unnatural selection", advocating for more patient methods in keeping with his status as an immortal (see here). Later, when creative control of him passed to other writers, Apocalypse would himself adopt methods very similar to those he advocated against.
  • It Amused Me:
    • In the Blood of Apocalypse storyline he flat-out admits this is his motive for transforming the timid mutant Gazer into his Horseman of War.
    • This was also his motive for rescuing Fabian Cortez in the 90s series after his failed attempt to usurp Magneto. Recruiting an open sufferer of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder to his cause doesn't sound like the best of ideas, but ultimately the real danger to Apocalypse's plans was Cortez's incompetence.
  • The Juggernaut: Not as extreme as the Trope Namer, but Apocalypse is still a force of nature.
  • Large and in Charge: In the animated series at least, he is shown to be perfectly capable of altering his size to be as large as he wants; however, every version has his default size as somewhere around the 15 foot range, and even before he got Celestial tech he was still taller than any normal human.
  • Large Ham: One of the absolute Kings of this trope, especially in the 90's animated series.
    Jean Grey: Sinister, why have you kidnapped me?
    Apocalypse (coming out of the shadows): BECAUSE I TOLD HIM TO!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
  • Legacy Character: In Uncanny X-Force it's revealed that Apocalypse is part of a long line of beings who made sure evolution headed in the direction the Celestials desired.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: When he awakens crusader Bennet du Paris's latent mutant abilities and rechristens him as his herald Exodus, the first thing Apocalypse does is pit him against his best friend, fellow crusader Eobar Garrington. Predictably, this leads to an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight that ends with Exodus snapping out of it and turning on Apocalypse.
  • Light Is Not Good: His name "En Sabah Nur" means "Birth of light', "Awakened Light" and "Dawn" but is also a villain of divine motif with his cults.
  • Love Makes You Evil: He was pretty well on his way to villainy already when Nephri rejected him, but said rejection was probably what pushed him over the edge. During the time he convinced Hulk to be one of his Horsemen it greatly hinted that while he sees emotions and love as a weakness, he himself still have not gotten over the rejection of his first love.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: On rare occasions in more modern day and future storylines, Apocalypse's fearsome exterior visage of an ancient and incredibly powerful mutant is torn away to reveal... an ancient and incredibly old man with a physique roughly akin to that of Mr. Burns, whose current power is largely due to being encased in what is basically glorified (albeit very, very advanced) Powered Armor, while his own power ate away at his body. However, every appearance after X-Factor #68 is a host body not capable of handling his full power. He can subvert this trope via Grand Theft Me, and finding a suitably powerful host to contain his awesome energies (or better yet, elevate himself to cosmic-level evil using one or a number of even stronger hosts) is one of his more common plots.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • Not only did he awaken the powers of Exodus and grant Mr. Sinister his powers outright, Apocalypse is also the original source of much of the latter villain's resources. He also has at least one mutant cult and a number of minions, and was once even worshipped by a group of Skrulls. He was introduced as the leader of a throwaway generic evil organization, the Alliance of Evil and an alternate version of him was the master of Dark Beast and other evil survivors of that timeline.
    • He also ends up being The Man Behind the Man for the Externals, a secret society of immortal mutants introduced in the pages of X-Force. This is highlighted pretty effectively in the Age of Apocalypse, where all the surviving Externals are shown to be working for him.
    • Though Apocalypse hates to admit it, the Celestials are his Man Behind The Man.
  • Manipulative Bastard: As Warren Worthington, Wolverine, Cyclops and many, many other people can attest. He has no qualms about manipulating the fates of entire cultures and nations either.
  • Master of Your Domain: This is his baseline mutant ability, and the in-universe explanation for his New Powers as the Plot Demands, as he has complete control of his own body down to the molecular level. Mutant powers being genetic, this basically allows him to effect Powers as Programs however he sees fit.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • His given name is translated as "The First One" - he and Selene both have very good claims as being the first mutants alive.note 
    • The ancient definition of the word 'Apocalypse' was actually something closer to "divine revelation" than "the end of the world", and Apocalypse has indeed spent centuries seeking out individuals he judges as potentially worthy to impart "revelations" to, with the caveat that they prove themselves worthy of them first.
  • Mind Control: Pulled this on several mutants, including Angel and Wolverine. On one occasion, he even pulled it on the Incredible Hulk - and, even more impressively, he is one of the few to pull it on the Hulk successfully.
  • More Than Mind Control: Directly related to the above, as he actually talked Hulk in that instance into willingly becoming his horseman by promising to silence the voices in his head (Hulk's schizophrenia was at a high point and he was constantly hallucinating visions of his dead father) in exchange for his service. The helmet Apocalypse equipped him with was built for this very purpose, and as long as it was working Hulk was more than happy to do Apocalypse's bidding. It was only after the helmet broke and his father immediately reappeared taunting him that Hulk rejected the role, tearing off the rest of his armor and leaping away.
  • Mutant: One of the first mutants born, though probably not the first as he often claims (Selene is probably older, though not stronger). His Powered Armor and Celestial augmentation makes it difficult to gauge which of his abilities derive from his mutation and which are technological in nature.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Played with, as seen in the Meaningful Name entry above. While his name is very much this to a modern-day perspective, the original meaning of the word was a bit more benign. Counts as an unintentional Genius Bonus.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: No one's ever been able to give a precise listing on what his powers actually are, and the writers of his comics have admitted they just give him whatever abilities are needed to make him effectively menace the heroes.
    Frank Tieri: So what... this guy's kind of like Mr. Fantastic on steroids? Yeah, his powers have always been sort of nebulous, but as long as he's cutting through X-Men teams like Kirstie Alley through Sizzler, I don't think the fans care.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Whether by accident or design, a lot of his attempts to recruit new horsemen end with him helping the heroes in the end, such as him rebonding Wolverine's adamantium skeleton, regenerating Sunfire's legs and restoring Polaris's sanity. Sometimes he at least has the sense to add in a touch of Be Careful What You Wish For, as was the case with the 'improved' wings he granted to Angel when remaking him as Archangel.
  • Noble Demon: This was apparently the original plan for him, as revealed in Louise Simonson's X-Factor Forever. Turns out all of Nur's villainy in the modern day is to keep Earth safe from the Celestials, and when Arishem the Judge shows up he even pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to save Scott and Jean's baby. Even leaving that aside, Apocalypse does have standards of behavior he holds himself to, such as keeping his word and respecting worthy opponents.
  • One-Man Army: Case in point- in ancient times, even in his youth, he would sometimes take part in a battle and fight both sides, even the side he was supposed to be on, and he would win, or at least he'd come out alive despite everyone trying to kill him. Keep in mind that this was before his Celestial-upgrade, so while he was still superpowered, he was not the invincible demigod he would later become. It goes without saying that since said upgrade, he more than qualifies for this trope.
  • One-Winged Angel: During the final issues of X-Factor Forever he sprouts a pair of metallic wings very similar to those of Archangel, his most well-known Horseman. The times he's grown to a colossal size and become an Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever may also count.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Frequently accused of this, as with his power and age there really aren't very many good explanations as to why he's not already ruling the world Age of Apocalypse-style if that is truly his aim. The most common explanations are either that he has another, deeper goal or that his hand is being stayed by some higher power (usually the Celestials).
  • Path of Inspiration: He has claimed to have been worshiped by numerous civilizations over mankind's history, usually under a God Guise. In the modern day he definitely has scattered cults of worshipers, among them a group of Skrulls, and in the 90s animated series he had a Mayan cult that was led by Fabian Cortez.
  • Pet the Dog: He allows Generation X member Chamber to leave his temple without a fight, and promises the boy that "Apocalypse protects his own" (Chamber is one of Apocalypse's many descendants, though he didn't know it at the time).
  • Physical God: Not that he gets to show it off often, but he is powerful enough to qualify, plus he is actually worshiped as a deity. He possesses virtually every physical superpower in some form, as well as a range of others, and is immortal and an absolute beast to kill.
  • Powered Armor: Ridiculously advanced armor no less, on a multi-millennia loan from some of the most powerful aliens in the universe.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: When severely weakened he can drain the life force of others, and he also has power siphoning machines that allow for a more complete transfer.
  • Psychic Powers: It's unclear if Nur has any actual psychic powers of his own (he's used telekinesis, though that could just be a function of his Powered Armor) but at the very least his psychic defenses are formidable enough to make even the likes of Professor X think twice about trying to read his mind.
  • Put on a Bus: His current fate as of 2015, after the Celestials abducted him for reasons unknown. He'll be back sooner or later, of course.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: His Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are usually Brainwashed and Crazy mutants (or superhumans, at least) under his control, and more than once brainwashed superheroes. Also, the Dark Riders and the Alliance of Evil, though the latter group was buried like so much cat litter for being a little too Obviously Evil even by comic-book standards.
  • Really 5000 Years Old: Born in the days of Ancient Egypt, Apocalypse is one of the oldest beings on Earth.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives an epic one to Loki of all people, in what is definitely a crowning moment of awesome for the character:
    Apocalypse: Your so-called Acts of Vengeance is already a failure. Remember, Loki, that Apocalypse is not one of your petty villains.
  • Sadist Teacher: This is more or less what he has remade himself into in the modern day - a crazy and ruthless "teacher" whose students are entire cultures and species. The biggest problem, of course, is that what he teaches is absolutely bonkers and tends to result in his "students" destroying each other, which he seems to find acceptable as long as they got "stronger" (ie. become merciless Blood Knights) while doing it. One could get the feeling that he does everything he does because war and conflict and struggle are the only things that he is capable of understanding; thus, if people are not fighting and killing and dying all the time and everywhere, obviously the world is wrong and he has to fix it.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Can take any form regardless of size or shape. He almost never reduces himself to petty espionage, however, though he has occasionally taken human forms to better manipulate others or move about freely in society.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: Apocalypse can make anything from battering rams and saw blades to Energy Weapons from his arms.
  • Size Shifter: This is a noticeable part of his shapeshifting powers, especially in the animated series. Usually he'll just settle for towering over his opponents, but on occasion he increases his size to such a degree that it becomes Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever.
  • The Social Darwinist: His whole schtick is culling the weak so that the strong survive. This extends to himself, as well; he has been entirely willing to die whenever he's been defeated due to his belief that his own failure makes him unworthy of life.
  • Start of Darkness: The Rise of Apocalypse mini, which reveals how he was abandoned at birth due to his obvious mutation, adopted by bloodthirsty nomadic raiders, lost his adoptive father, encountered Rama-Tut/Kang the Conqueror, was rejected by the girl he'd fallen in love with, escaped slavery, and eventually rose to power as pharaoh.
  • Super Empowering: In addition to Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse has also empowered most of his Horsemen, either giving them brand new powers or upgrading what was already there. This has even helped the X-Men on occasion (despite the brief episode of brainwashing), as he has restored Angel's wings, Wolverine's adamantium skeleton, and Sunfire's legs. Though it later turned out that Angel had a Healing Factor and his wings would have regrown naturally anyway, and Wolverine probably wasn't too happy with having the adamantium once again forced upon him, so it's for a given value of "help".
  • Super Prototype: Exodus was his first attempt at empowering a herald, and by far his most powerful. Though Nur was able to contain his rebellion easily enough, it says something that none of his later minions, from Mr. Sinister to the Dark Riders, came anywhere close to Du Paris's level of power.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: The Clan Akkaba, entirely composed of his genetic descendants, often have powers. Presumably, following their cult to his beliefs, they subjugate if not cull any muggles. Most of them inherit his Voluntary Shapeshifting ability, one Frederick Slade has that along with the pink coloration and teleportation ability (with the same sound effect even) of his distant relative, Blink. Three known descendants have Playing with Fire powers; Chamber as an Energy Being in a human shell, his father can breath fire, and Apocalypse himself has a bastard son that's a flaming skeleton in a suit.
  • Super Strength: He is easily Class 100, though he rarely demonstrates the full extent of his strength.
  • Super Supremacist: Kind of. He definitely considers mutants to be the Master Race compared to humanity, whom he usually wants to totally eradicate. However, some mutants are more equal than others in his philosophy, since he only cares about literal survival of the fittest. Therefore, by his own logic the weaker mutants are to be destroyed by the more powerful mutants as well. And of course he considers himself to be the apex of evolution.
  • Technopathy: His Powered Armor lets him interact with and take control of virtually any computer system that he wishes to.
  • Teleportation: One of the abilities he has that's confirmed to be technological rather than biological in nature. He takes it to Teleport Spam levels when you fight him in X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Apocalypse was granted much of his power by Celestial technology.
  • Training from Hell: His entire childhood was basically this at the hands of his adoptive father Baal. He later subjects 12th century crusader Bennet du Paris to this as well, in order to awaken the crusader's latent mutant powers as Exodus.
  • Troll: His appearance in the video game X-Men 2: Clone Wars consists of his intentionally deactivating his fortress's defenses and allowing the Phalanx to assimilate it, seemingly for no other reason than to annoy the X-Men. He also trolls them and the player in the boss fight against him, foregoing his usual Blood Knight attitude in favor of hovering out of reach for 75% of the fight and chucking mines down at them as they try to disable his disco computer. It really has to be seen to be believed.
  • The Unfettered: During the Onslaught Saga he was the only one willing to go into Would Hurt a Child territory, reasoning that killing Franklin Richards was better than letting Onslaught retain Franklin's Reality Warper powers.
  • Urban Legends: Comic book urban legend has it that Apocalypse's dismissive attitude towards Loki during the Acts of Vengeance Crisis Crossover stemmed from writer Louise Simonson’s resentment at having to derail her book's plots for obligatory participation in the latest "next big event", leading to Apocalypse effectively giving Loki a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and booting him out of the X-Factor title altogether. Read more about it here.
  • The Vietnam Vet: Abraham Kieros, his first Horseman of War, was a Vietnam Vet.
  • Villainous Legacy: Being as old as he is, he has literally thousands of descendants. He's also had at least one son in the modern day, William Rolfson (better known as Nemesis/Holocaust) and Cable's son Tyler also attached himself to his legacy when he became Genesis.
  • Villainous Valour: Generally keeps his word, and treats his opponents with great respect. Given the sheer amount of hell he often puts them through, this tends to make them hate him even more.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: An incredibly powerful version of this trope, and one he effects through his Master of Your Domain ability. Celestial tech has amped it, but even before he acquired their technology he had the ability to duplicate physical superpowers through molecular manipulation. He's since used it to morph his limbs into space-age weaponry and act as a highly-efficient Healing Factor that makes Wolverine's look tame, as well as alter his size (most prominent in the 90's cartoon) and occasionally just plain old impersonating people.
  • War Is Glorious: Firmly believes that conflict and struggle are what life is all about. He has started wars that have ended with the destruction of entire civilizations because he truly believes that peace is stagnation and leads only to weakness.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: En Sabah Nur's plans are horrific in scope and devastation, yet he's not in it for the power. He genuinely buys his own sell about making the world a better place through ruthless Darwinism.
  • The Worf Effect: Subjected to this by Stryfe in the 90s X-Cutioner's Song story, but it was yet another case of...
  • Worf Had the Flu: Falls into this way too often. He is rarely depicted to be as powerful as he used to be and logically should be, and the most common justification for this is that his host body is weak and he is dependent on his regeneration chambers to survive (see The Man Behind the Curtain).
  • Worthy Opponent: The only reason he allows the X-Men to live is because he considers them among the strong.
  • Would Hurt a Child: His solution to end the Onslaught crisis was to kill Franklin Richards. Needless to say both Apocalypse's archenemy Cable and Franklin's mother the Invisible Woman put a stop to that.
  • You Will Be Spared: After Abraham Van Helsing saves him from being hypnotized by Dracula, Apocalypse foregoes his usual policy regarding humans and lets the man live.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicBook/Apocalypse