Credits: Warren Ellis (writer), Ken Lashley (penciler), Wegrzyn, Moy, & LaRosa (inkers), Joe Rosas (colorist), Starkings/Comicraft (lettering)
A young mutant named Switchback travels through Antarctica to reach Avalon, a refuge where mutants and humans live in peace. She’s escorted by a large monk named Cain through the forest and finally through the entrance of Avalon. In New York, Nightcrawler intimidates Angel into making travel arrangements for his journey to Antarctica. After Nightcrawler meets his mother there, she’ll take him to Avalon to retrieve Destiny. At the X-Men’s base, Magneto makes an intercontinental call to Mystique, threatening her life if she doesn’t aid Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler travels to an abandoned building to meet John Proudstar, the mutant who will take him to Antarctica. When Proudstar criticizes Nightcrawler’s mother for charging refugees large fees for transport into Avalon, Nightcrawler severs his index finger by teleporting it away. Danielle Moonstar overhears the conversation, and reports back to Apocalypse that Avalon is in the Antarctic. Back in Avalon, Switchback meets Destiny for the first time. When they touch hands, Destiny cries out in pain that she sees the apocalypse.
Avalon is this world’s version of the Savage Land. Cain is the AoA version of the Juggernaut. Deadpool is revealed as “Dead Man Wade”, a lackey for Apocalypse who can only say the letter “X” apparently.
Nightcrawler meets Proudstar in a dilapidated warehouse once named “Stark Holdings".
Nightcrawler tells Angel that he exists “solely upon the excellence of your groveling to Apocalypse – and your worth to us.”
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Angel sarcastically lists “watering pot-plants” as one of the activities in Avalon.
It’s another satisfactory chapter for the massive AoA event. Ellis’ dark style is obviously a natural fit for the grim new world, and Lashley delivers his strongest artwork so far (even if it is still firmly rooted in the stereotypical ‘90s style). All that basically happens in this issue is Nightcrawler travels to Antarctica, but Ellis tells an entertaining story that gets him there, while also developing more of the AoA’s world. Revealing that Proudstar’s people are performing the same tribal dance they used to ask God to remove the white man against Apocalypse now is a nice touch that helps to convey the impact Apocalypse has had on all aspects of society. The inversion of Nightcrawler, that he’s a ruthless jerk with a disdain for religion, is a little obvious but Ellis pulls it off well. It’s too bad that Ellis was only used on this title during the AoA stunt, because he would’ve done a great job on some of the peripheral titles that came out during this time.