Earth-295 is a reality that was accidentally created by Legion, son of X-Men leader Professor Charles Xavier and Israeli diplomat Gabrielle Haller. Legion believed that the only way to bring peace to humans and mutants was to kill Magneto before he could incite the anti-mutant movement. He traveled back to a time when Xavier and Magneto both lived in Israel and were working at a hospital, taking the X-Men Storm, Iceman, Bishop, and Psylocke back with him.
Legion tried to stab Magneto with a psi-blade, but Xavier shielded Magneto and was killed instead. By killing his own father, Legion made his own existence impossible. The M'Kraan Crystal resolved the paradox by restructuring reality. All the X-Men vanished from that reality, and a new reality came into existence. Bishop, already displaced in time, remained; but the chronal backlash fractured his mind. He wandered Earth for the next twenty years.
The super-powered fight attracted the attention of Apocalypse.
The Rise of Apocalypse
Apocalypse believed in natural selection, the "survival of the fittest". By his reasoning, super-powered beings deserved to run the world. When he saw such beings in action twenty years early, he set off to an early start on his campaign for world domination. Without heroes such as the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and the Avengers, there was no one to stop him.
The only opposition was Magneto, who took up Xavier's cause and brought together the X-Men.
World System of the Age of Apocalypse
The world powers, as well as the face of the Earth, were drastically changed as a result of Apocalypse's war against normal humans. The world was divided between two superpowers: Apocalypse in North America and the Human High Council everywhere else. Both groups claimed to act in the best interest of their genetic breeds.
Militarily, the sides were in a stalemate. North America was protected by a sea wall. The High Council had a large cache of nuclear weapons. As in our own Cold War, both sides were calling for peace while plotting the other's destruction. Any incident could have spiraled out of control and led to the annihilation of all humanity.
During this period, Apocalypse had various ties with nonhuman groups: some favorable, as with the Inhumans; some unfavorable, as with invaders from the Negative Zone; and some unforgivable, as with the natives of Planet Poppup, who were subjected to medical experiments.
Below are the various regions of the Age of Apocalypse:
The southern part of the continent was divided between Apocalypse and his four horsemen. These provinces were:
- The Badlands: western and central Canada, with scattered human hideouts
- The realm of Holocaust: west coast of the United States, with capital in San Francisco. Holocaust's land was mainly used for genetic culling and the creation of Infinites.
- The realm of Mikhail: part of the Midwest. Very little is known about what Mikhail did here; he resided mostly in Europe, speaking for Apocalypse.
- The realm of Mister Sinister: Although Sinister had secret labs all over North America, he was given the other part of the Midwest, with capital at Chicago.
- The Realm of Apocalypse: centered on the Eastern Seaboard, from Quebec to Florida, with capital at Apocalypse Island (formerly New York City). Somehow the X-Men escaped detection in the ruins of Xavier's mansion in Westchester County.
Central America disappeared, possibly to make room for the sea wall (the exact means and motive were never disclosed).
There was an Infernal Gallop to Avalon in the seas not far from Bermuda.
The people who escaped from the United States gathered here. They were governed by the Human High Council (also known as the Eurasian High Council). The region was defended by Sentinels, created by Bolivar Trask, and a nuclear arsenal large enough to destroy the entire North American continent. Areas of interest included:
- Muir Island: a possible Sentinel manufacturing plant.
- London: home of the Human High Council. Mikhail was also stationed here aboard Apocalypse's ship.
- The German Colonies: possible Sentinel manufacturing plants.
- Pythagorean's Mountain: former base of Magneto and the X-Men, destroyed by Apocalypse's troops.
- Human Settlements: scattered across northwestern Africa.
Avalon (the Savage Land in the Earth-616 Universe) was a lost world independent of Apocalypse and the Human High Council and was a safe haven for mutant and human alike.
Twilight of the Age of the Apocalypse
The beginning of the end came when the X-Men discovered Bishop, the only person on earth who remembered the way reality should have been. After learning of the existence of this alternate reality (backed up by Magneto's own memories of Xavier's death), the X-Men embarked on a quest to stop Apocalypse once and for all and to restore the timeline to its intended course.
Half of the X-Men assisted the Sentinels in evacuating human survivors on the east coast to Eurasia. Meanwhile, Jean Grey and Weapon X assisted in the deployment of the nuclear arsenal destined to blow up the North American continent. The other half of the X-Men traveled to the west coast to stop Holocaust's human culling and destroyed his Infinite plant.
Gambit and his X-Ternals traveled to the distant Shi'ar galaxy to steal the M'Kraan Crystal and bring it to Earth to restore history. Strong Guy, a traitor in the group's midst, gave it to Apocalypse. Nightcrawler and Mystique traveled to Avalon to find Destiny, the second part of Magneto's plan to restore history. Generation Next were sent to the slave pens to rescue Colossus's sister Illyana, the third and final part of the plan.
Magneto and Bishop were captured after Apocalypse learned of Magneto's quest to restore history.
Mikhai plotted to take over the Eurasian continent and assassinate the Human High Council, but was stopped by the combined efforts of normal humans: Victor von Doom, Donald Blake, Gwen Stacy, Susan Storm, and Ben Grimm.
Destruction of the Age of Apocalypse
The final battle in Apocalypse's stronghold for the M'Kraan Crystal saw many casualties, and marked the deployment of both Apocalypse's sea wall defense perimeter and the Human High Council's nuclear arsenal, which threatened to destroy the whole world.
During the battle, Magneto battled Apocalypse to the death, ripping the mutant in half with his magnetic powers.
Also during the battle, Bishop, Destiny, and Illyana traveled into the M'Kraan Crystal. Destiny and Illyana's powers helped send Bishop back in time to the point where Xavier was about to be killed by Legion. Bishop managed to stop Legion, and the two were consumed by the backlash of psi-energy.
The Age of Apocalypse, and all memory of it, was seemingly erased with the prevention of Xavier's assassination and the restoration of the Earth-616 timeline. However, the Earth-295 timeline had actually been saved by Jean Grey. Her enhanced Phoenix powers stopped the weapons from destroying the world and maintained reality.
Escape from the Age of Apocalypse
The following characters managed to escape the Age of Apocalypse before its apparent destruction:
- X-Man: Nate Grey was transported to Earth-616 when he attempted to kill Holocaust with a shard of the M'Kraan Crystal. He was trapped in a shell of the crystal in orbit but was freed when it plummeted into the atmosphere. He became a prominent figure in the future of Earth-616.
- The Beast (aka "The Dark Beast" or "The Black Beast"): Escaped by teleporting himself to the center of the M'Kraan Crystal and was transported to Earth-616 at the same point in history as Bishop. He continued his heinous experiments in this reality. His presence was discovered during the Onslaught crisis.
- Sugar Man: Also escaped through the M'Kraan Crystal (after hitching a ride inside Colossus' boot) and ended up in Earth-616 at the same point in history as Bishop. He was apparently killed by Earth-616's Callisto, but appeared alive and well when Beast asked for his help in solving the Mutant Decimation. He declined.
- Holocaust: The son of Apocalypse was hurtled to present-day Earth-616 when he was stabbed with a shard of the M'Kraan Crystal. He was trapped in a large chunk of it in Earth-616's orbit until he was freed by the Acolytes. He recently was recruited by Hyperion (posing as the Timebroker) to be a member of the Exiles team. Ironically, when the Exiles confronted Hyperion, Holocaust's life force was consumed by the super-man. He is now deceased.
- Blink: Became unhinged in time and was recruited by the Timebroker to be the leader of the Exiles, a group of reality-hopping super-beings who fix errant time-lines to save the multiverse from crumbling.
- Sabretooth: Like Blink, was recruited by the Timebroker, but Sabretooth became leader of Weapon X, a more aggressive and less conscientious group than the Exiles.
The New Age of Apocalypse
Sinister claimed to Magneto that he was responsible for the continuation of this reality. Everyone else believed it to be Magneto, who took the credit in order to be the figurehead for mutant-kind. He pledged to keep Sinister's secret, which meant turning a blind eye to his experiments.
Over the coming years, Magneto and his X-Men rebuilt the world and freed all the surviving humans from the slave pens. The old world system was reestablished, and Magneto was elected the head of Mutant Affairs in America.
Magneto opened a school for mutants in Xavier's mansion and began hunting down all of Apocalypse's surviving henchmen and bringing them to justice. Under constant pressure, Magneto finally went after Sinister.
The ensuing confrontation revealed that the timeline had actually been saved by Jean Grey, the genetic descendant of Alpha, the first mutant. Her enhanced Phoenix powers stopped the weapons from destroying the world and maintained reality. The X-Men won the battle and freed Jean from Sinister's control.
Shamed by his lie, Magneto turned himself over to the authorities in a self-imposed punishment for his deception. The X-Men vowed to remain together and fight for equal rights for humans and mutants.
The New Apocalypse
For some time, things became good until a spaceship landed in the middle of Manhattan. Weapon X and a squad of X-Men went to go and kill whoever was inside it but none have returned so they were presumed dead for ten years.
However, the spaceship belonged to the Celestials who came to judge the planet. Weapon X offered himself to the Celestials to prevent the planet's judgment and was further augmented by the Celestial technology; while he had ascended in form and power, his mind had become so twisted to the point of assembling a deadly group of genetically modified warriors known as the Black Legion and sent them to kill Charles Lehnsherr, the infant son of Magneto and Rogue and started a genetic culling which killed billions of people including the parents and friend of his wife Jean Grey. He also captured his teammate Storm and renamed her as Orordius after using the Celestial technology on her to enslave and transform her into a blind seer made of living stone and Gateway who locked in a prison named Sky. When the X-Men and X-Force from the main reality came to save Gateway so he could help them, Weapon X killed his daughter Kirika and revealed himself.
The team was shocked to see that Weapon X is the heir of Apocalypse. His counterpart was also shocked to see Kirika, the daughter he never had, lying dead in his arms, so he became enraged and went feral, attacking his evil counterpart along with the other members of the X-Force. Weapon X was not interested in fighting them but does when he knew they would not leave only for his wife to stop them. He asked her to listen to him for a while but she questioned his actions and what he had done to their world. He told her he had no choice and if evolution didn't move forward the Celestials would have destroyed the planet if they saw it as failure and he ascended to save everything and to save her. She questioned him about what he had become and he answered that he serves a natural cosmic force for evaluation: there is no right and wrong in what he does and he clears the dead branches to make room for a healthier stock. After hearing this, Jean declared him as not the man she loved. He told her he took a few step above him, the Celestials didn't intend for the humanity to the final stage, humanity has to go, the culling is almost over and there is no undoing this, but with her power their world can be reborn and she can save her friends, stop the war and they can be together if she help him rebuild. Jean was tempted with this offer, but refused and attack him while telling him she will never build a life atop a graveyard of his own making. Hell her she will change her mind before he hit her unconscious with one hit. He teleport with her to somewhere else intending to turn her into the Horseman of Death, but his efforts were prevented by the Uncanny X-Force. Wolverine from Earth-616 wanted to take Jean back with him to their world this make Weapon X enrage so he fight and defeat his former teammates to get to her so he can implant the Death Seed in her he was seen approaching Jean with the Death Seed in his hand while she push the X-Force through a portal to their world.
Apparently he didn't succeed as Fantomex returned to the Age of Apocalypse to ask and bring help to stop Archangel which led to the death of Wild Child and Sunfire leaving only Sabretooth and Jean Grey to return to their timeline.
Jean Grey, who saw what the Scarlet Witch did in Earth-616, intended to do the same thing to Weapon X and his forces in her timeline using clones from their Scarlet Witch created in the last city/stronghold of humans. However, when Magneto saw the clones of his dead daughter, he flew into a rage and destroyed them all except for one after he was talked out of it, leaving them with one chance to try their plan. Weapon X and his forces reached the city and started killing the humans, while Weapon X himself went to search for Jean and killed both Rogue and Magneto. When Jean arrived she learned that the humans wanted her to use the Wanda clone to depower every mutants on the planet. Jean was appalled, but agreed to do it only for her depower herself and Sabretooth as the effect only covered a dozen feet. When Logan entered the room he found Jean powerless and was attacked by Prophet (William Stryker). The X-Terminated and the depowered Jean and Creed fled the city while Weapon X destroyed it.When the Earth-295 Nightcrawler accessed the power of the Dreaming Celestial to return to return to his native reality, he unwittingly cracked the walls between the universes that were put there by the Celestials. With these walls broken, ancient Celestial experiments, whose sole apparent purpose was to absorb energy and life, were released from their prison universe into Earth-295 and Earth-616. Unable to defeat these creatures, or otherwise save both universes, the X-Men instead sealed the creatures in Earth-295, which would become their new prison universe. It is presumed that these creatures consumed the universe, although they cannot escape it.
- The Age of Apocalypse originally took place across the X-Men titles during the year 1995.
- In What If? Vol 2 #81, the human resistance joined up with Magneto to figure out a way to save Earth from the coming of Galactus.
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- Reality Gallery: Earth-295