In the Marvel universe, wherever Apocalypse goes, his four Horsemen soon follow, wreaking havoc and spreading disaster wherever they tread. They have long plagued their frequent foes, the X-Men. In the film, X-Men: Apocalypse, which is set for release on Blu-ray on October 9, 2016, Apocalypse’s lieutenants consisted of Storm, Psylocke, Angel, and Magneto. These four mutants represent a new combination of the Horsemen, one that hasn’t been seen in the comics before.
Although it was an interesting choice of characters to play the minions of Apocalypse, it’s nowhere near the best or most intriguing version of the Horsemen. Anyone who reads the comics will know that there have been plenty of other more fascinating combinations revealed over the years. We thought we would bring you a list of the ones that we consider the most interesting, noteworthy, and just plain entertaining.
Here are Screen Rant’s 15 Coolest Incarnations Of The Horsemen Of Apocalypse:
16 Early Incarnation
The earliest incarnation of Apocalypse’s Horsemen made their first, and only appearance in a flashback sequence in Uncanny Avengers #6 (June 2013). Apocalypse was informed by that his future plans would be ruined unless he took out his enemies or their ancestors. He was given the names of his enemies and those that would be threat to him in the future. So, back in the 11th Century, he gathered his Horsemen and sent them to kill Folkburn Logan, an ancestor of Wolverine.
This incarnation consisted of four mutants: a mutant that looked like Orb, but had wings instead of arms as Pestilence (also known as Phantom Bats of the Twelve Minds), a Native American female with unknown origins and powers as Famine, a mutant that resembled an Egyptian mummy as War, and a mutant with a gaseous body who could fly as Death. Unfortunately(?), they were defeated single-handedly by Thor when he came to Folkburn’s rescue.
15 Age Of Apocalypse
One of the most famous alternate reality story arcs in Marvel comics, Age Of Apocalypse (1995-96) tells the story of Earth-295. In this reality, Apocalypse believed that mutants, due to their evolutionary superiority, deserved to rule the planet, and made it his life’s mission to make this happen. He ruled North America, in opposition to the Human High Council, who ruled everywhere else.
Initially, the Horsemen existed but did not use titles, with the exception of War and Death. They consisted of Candra, Gideon, an unknown female (possibly Selene or Lifeforce) as Death, and Abraham Kieros as War and the only member from the main universe. There was some upheaval amongst the ranks when Apocalypse eventually announced the War of Succession and in the aftermath, a new group of Horsemen were created to rule alongside him. The final incarnation of the Horsemen were Holocaust (who killed Candra), Mikhail Rasputin, Bastion, and Mister Sinister.
14 Ministers Of Apocalypse
After Apocalypse fell and Weapon X ascended as his new heir, now referring to himself as Weapon Omega, a new incarnation of the Horseman was formed. Although this time, they were now referred to as the Ministers Of Apocalypse.
This incarnation included Azazel as the Minister of Death, Emplate as the Minister of Pestilence, Cyclops as the Minister of Famine, and his brother Havok, as the Minister of War. They were the right hand men and muscle for Weapon Omega, often sent out to kill or capture his enemies. When the X-Terminated were eventually able to draw the Death Seed energies out of Weapon Omega and he went back to his Weapon X personality, he chose to hunt down and destroy his former Ministers and allies. Eventually the Age of Apocalypse version of Nightcrawler sacrificed himself to close AoA off from the rest of the Marvel multiverse, essentially trapping the members of that reality in their own universe.
13 First Modern Incarnation
The first incarnation of the Horsemen made their first appearance in X-Factor #24, in the story arc entitled Fall Of Mutants. The four Horsemen consisted of Plague (a Morlock recruited during the Mutant Massacre) as Plague, Abraham Kieros as War, Autumn Rolfson as Famine, and a wingless Angel as Death. His transformation changed him into the mutant known as Archangel.
The Horsemen were made to battle one another for leadership and Archangel emerged victorious. They battled X-Factor, who were shocked to see Angel alive. In the fight, Pestilence was killed by Power Pack and Angel comes back to his senses when he thinks he killed Iceman. Apocalypse, along with Caliban and his remaining team retreat. Caliban then replaces Angel as the Horseman of Death. As Apocalypse was now down a Horseman, he captured the Hulk and turned him into his new incarnation of War, along with weaponry and helmet. The Hulk eventually threw off Apocalypse’s control when he thought he had injured a friend.
12 What If Legion Had Killed Xavier And Magneto?
The Marvel What If? titles always bring something new and interesting to the table, even if it never actually makes it to the canon of the multiverse. This was never true than in the one-shot, What If? X-Men Age Of Apocalypse #1 (February 2007), where the question of what would have happened if Legion killed both Xavier and Magneto was answered. In this reality, with no one strong enough to gather the X-Men in opposition to Apocalypse, he wins and takes over the world. In this alternate reality, his Horsemen are Storm, Juggernaut, Namor, and the Hulk. The role that each of the Horsemen played is unknown.
Things go from bad to worse for the Defenders, the group of mutants that come together to defeat Apocalypse. Nate Grey kills Apocalypse and then tries to go back in time and alter the timeline. When the time stream is open, Captain America uses Thor’s hammer to try to stop him, accidentally sending a bolt of lightning into the stream. The devastation is catastrophic, with the powerful energy destroying everything it comes in contact with in the other universes.
11 Second Incarnation
This incarnation of the Horsemen was selected by Apocalypse during the The Twelve crossover story arc (January-February 2000). Their mission was to collect the chosen mutants laid out in Destiny’s diary, one of the Books Of Truth written by the mutant, Irene Adler. This time, the group consisted of the cybernetic mutant Ahab (Roderick Campbell) as Famine, the Shi-ar warrior Deathbird as War, Caliban, the same Morlock as in the previous incarnation but this time as Pestilence, and Wolverine as Death.
To make this work, Wolverine was abducted by Apocalypse and replaced with a Skrull imposter in his real life so no one would get suspicious. He was then forced to battle Sabretooth, the winner becoming the new Death. After killing his imposter, he battled the X-Men, eventually regaining his senses with the help of Jubilee, Shadowcat, Psylocke, and Archangel. The rest of the Horsemen were then teleported away by Mikhail Rasputin.
10 Cable & Deadpool
This alternate reality incarnation was revealed in the Enema of the State story arc in Cable & Deadpool #15-18 (2004). With the help of Forge and a teleportation device, Deadpool is forced to travel to a number of alternate universes in search of Cable, who disappeared after defeating the mutant hunter Skornn at the end of the X-Factor miniseries. In the first universe that he pops into he runs across three of Apocalypse’s Horsemen; an eight-armed Spider-Man as Pestilence, Blob as Famine, and Archangel as Death.
Of course, Deadpool, who is being followed by Siryn and Cannonball, realizes that the fourth Horseman is nowhere in sight, which is sort of strange. When Cable suddenly appears, War is quickly revealed to be a super-powered version of him in this universe. Cable defeats everyone and Deadpool is forced to teleport to another dimension when he realizes winning against such a tough foe isn’t possible.
9 Third Incarnation
In the story arc Blood Of Apocalypse (X-Men #182- 187), which followed the House Of M and M-Day arcs, Apocalypse is resurrected to find that the mutant population has been decimated by those preceding events. With the mutant population only a fraction of what it was before he had been defeated by Cable, his new goal became wiping out 90% of the human population to even the playing field. His new incarnation of the Horsemen consisted of Gazer, Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida), Polaris, and Gambit.
Sunfire and Polaris were "recruited" into the fold and forcibly altered into Famine and Pestilence. Gambit, volunteered to take on the role of Death, figuring he could enforce real change for the mutant cause at the right hand of Apocalypse, while also keeping his eye on the villain. Sunfire and Polaris were eventually able to break free of Apocalypse’s control, while Gambit remained a hybrid of himself and Death, refusing to kill Rogue, the woman he loved. Gazer was killed by Ozymandias trying to protect his master.
8 Marvel Mangaverse
The Marvel Mangaverse, depicting an alternate reality known as Earth-2301, had their own incarnation of Apocalypse and his Four Horsemen. Drawn in a manga-like style, they appeared in the title Avengers Assemble Vol. 1 (March 2002). This version consisted of Archangel, Juggernaut, White Queen, and Mister Sinister. It is never revealed which Horsemen each of the villain is representing in this, universe.
The two sides battled over the Iron Avengers a group of four piloted machines created by Tony Stark. The Avengers, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Hawkeye were able to defeat the Horsemen, who then fled. Disappointed in their loss, Apocalypse decided to take on the group himself. Increasing in size, he battled the Iron Avengers, who were no match for his powers. The Iron Avengers then combined their machines and transformed into the Ultimate Iron Man. On a more level playing field with the gigantic Apocalypse, they were able to defeat him once and for all.
7 Fourth Incarnation
Also known at the Final Horsemen, this incarnation was pretty much Apocalypse’s back up plan, in case things went awry and he ultimately failed in his quest. The members were handpicked by Apocalypse and Ozymandias, and they would only awaken if all else failed. Consisting of Decimus Furius as War, Sanjar Javeed as Death, Jeb Lee as Famine, and Ichisumi as Pestilence, they made their first appearance in Uncanny X-Force #1 (December 2010). They were all chosen because of the death and destruction they caused in their lives.
War, also known as the mutant Dark God Minotaur, had increased strength and durability as well as an axe that psionically infected his enemies with berserker rage. Death, also known as the Seraph of Death, had the ability to infect others with all sorts of terminal diseases depending upon what metal he was in contact with. Famine, was a Confederate spy during the Civil War and had the ability to create a percussive ‘cancer’ which fed on the flesh of anyone listening, and Pestilence was a geisha with the ability to release ‘yumi beetles’ from her mouth, which consume memories, thoughts, and flesh.
6 Alternate Age Of Apocalypse
Because, apparently one Age Of Apocalypse wasn’t enough, Marvel had to go and create an alternate version of the already altered reality in Avengers Vol. 4 #3 (September 2010). In the future, while trying to defeat the evil Ultron, Kang accidentally fractures time while gathering an army from different time periods. They consist of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Scarlet Witch, and Red Hulk, although it is not revealed which of the Horsemen each of these characters is portraying. This newest version are infected with the techno-virus, leaving them permanently fused to their mounts.
Along with Apocalypse, this alternate incarnation of Horsemen suddenly appears at present day Avengers Tower. Realizing that the only reason Apocalypse and his sidekicks would appear was because someone was messing with time, the Avengers head out to do battle. The fight ends when Apocalypse and his Horseman are teleported back into the time stream. The Avengers sends a team after them to try to find and ultimately stop them.
5 Fifth Incarnation
Part of the Marvel NOW! event, the tale of this latest incarnation of the Horsemen was told in the Avenge The Earth story arc of Uncanny Avengers #18-22. This time, the Horsemen consisted of dead characters Sentry, Banshee, Grim Reaper, and Daken, who were resurrected by the Apocalypse twins, the offspring of the Final Horseman of Pestilence Ichisumi and Archangel. Unlike previous incarnations, all four Horsemen carried the title of Death.
Each Horseman was sent after a member of the Avengers Unity Squad whom they had a personal tie to in their life. Banshee battled Havok (the brother of the man who killed him), Grim Reaper battled Wonder Man (his own brother), Sentry battled Thor (the man who killed him) and Daken battled Wolverine (his father). Their ultimate goal was to destroy Earth and transport all the mutants on Earth to Planet X, and they managed to succeed. In a convoluted bit of storytelling, their victory was reversed when the Avengers Unity Squad transferred their current minds into the bodies of their past selves. Sentry’s programming was broken and he headed to deep space, while Reaper and Daken escape and Banshee is taken into custody by the X-Men.
4 House Of M
Given the far reaches that the House of M story line, it’s not surprising that there would be a different incarnation of the four Horseman of Apocalypse in this new reality. Scarlet Witch’s reality altering event caused Apocalypse to be resurrected, and where Apocalypse goes, the Horsemen have a tendency to follow. In this case, they turned out to be Iceman, Angel, and Nightcrawler, as seen in Black Panther #7 (2005). The fourth member was not named, and the separate identities of each of the Horseman were not revealed. Unlike other incarnations, these Horsemen didn’t appear to be physically augmented or altered in any way.
There were other major differences in this new reality, as well. Apocalypse was portrayed as a former foe of Magneto. Now Apocalypse's subordinate, Magneto was tasked him with ruling North Africa and was sent to kill Black Panther in Wakanda. Apocalypse and his Horsemen also enslaved the human population in Africa and had them recreate famous Egyptian landmarks.
3 Mutant X
In the Mutant X story arc, which chronicled the life of Havok in the alternate reality of Earth-1298, Apocalypse and his Horsemen were active. Angel remained the Horseman of Death in this universe, but was transformed very differently from his alternate counterparts. In this incarnation he was given bat-like wings, chalk white skin and the ability to breathe fire. He also changed his name to The Fallen. The only other Horseman that was similar in this reality was War, who looked remarkably like Abraham Kieros. Famine and Pestilence were new, unidentified characters.
The Fallen had a bit of a tumultuous story arc. He eventually betrayed Apocalypse and sided with the Six, who are altered versions of the X-Men from Earth-616, led by Havok. He then betrayed the Six, and joined Madelyn Prior when she was possessed by the Goblin Force. He disappeared when she was defeated, but reappeared as Apocalypse’s right hand when the appeared to battle the evil Shadow King, who was possessing Professor X. Once again, he aligned himself with The Six, and was part of the team when the series ended.
2 Sixth Incarnation
The newest incarnation of the Horsemen of Apocalypse made their first appearance in this year’s Apocalypse Wars story arc (Extraordinary X-Men #6-12 and All New X-Men #7-11). When the X-Men discover six hundred new mutant signatures, they send in Colossus and a team of young X-Men to investigate. When the rest of the group arrives, they figure out that Sugar Man is back and that the signatures are embryos that he planned to take to the future and raise.
Somehow they end up a thousand years in the future and discover that mutants have been wiped out (making the embryos even more valuable) and the world is ruled by Apocalypse. His Horsemen are Deadpool, the Venom Symbiote, Moon Knight, and the missing Colossus from the past. With the exception of Colossus, who killed Man-Thing to take on the mantle of War, the other Horsemen's roles are not specified. As this is a current story arc playing out in the comics, it is currently changing and has not come to a definitive conclusion as of yet.
There you have them-- the most interesting incarnations of the Horsemen of Apocalypse in comics history. There have been quite a few different versions over the years, but one thing’s for sure; Marvel always chooses thought provoking combinations when it comes to the minions of En Sabah Nur. From Wolverine to Spider-Man, it seems that just about everyone in the main Marvel universe has been a Horseman of the big man at one time or another. While there are some, like Angel, who always seems to make the list, there are have also been some surprise inclusions over the years. Did anyone see the Venom Symbiote being included?
So, which incarnation is your favorite? Who would you like to see become part of Apocalypse’s team in the future? How badly do you want more of the eight-armed Spider-Man from that first universe in Cable & Deadpool? Let us know in the comments!