Horsemen of Apocalypse

Horsemen of Apocalypse



team_name=Horsemen of Apocalypse
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="X-Factor" #15
creators=Louise Simonson
Walt Simonson
members=Abraham Kieros (War)
Ahab (Famine)
Archangel (Death)
Autumn Rolfson (Famine)
Caliban (Death/Pestilence)
Deathbird (War)
Gazer (War)
Gambit (Death)
Hulk (War)
Plague (Pestilence)
Polaris (Pestilence)
Sunfire (Famine)
Wolverine (Death)
subcat=Marvel Comics

The Horsemen of Apocalypse is a team of fictional supervillain characters that appear in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team is first mentioned in "X-Factor" #10 (vol. 1, November 1986), and makes their full appearance in "X-Factor" #15 (vol. 1, April 1987). They were created by writer Louise Simonson and artist Walt Simonson.

The first comic book characters of this name, was a team of aliens from the race known as the Axi-Tun that attacked Earth in ancient and modern times. They appeared in "Giant Size Fantastic Four" #3 (November 1974).

Fictional biography

The group consists of four mutants, that have been genetically altered and brainwashed to serve the ancient mutant, Apocalypse, either willingly or forced. They are enhanced or endowed with new abilities, and are always given the same titles based upon the biblical Four Horsemen (Death, Famine, , and War). While Apocalypse has empowered other individuals to do his bidding, the Four Horsemen remain his elite minions, always playing a key role in his plans.

Earlier incarnation

In "" #1, it was revealed that Apocalypse centuries ago had already created his Horsemen and rode among them as well; a Horsemen of War led the Riders of the Dark, and singlehandedly defeated the pre-vampire Dracula's army as well as Dracula himself.

First modern incarnation


In the 20th century, Apocalypse recruits Plague, a member of the Morlocks, during the Mutant Massacre to fill the role of Pestilence. He approaches ex-soldier Abraham Kieros and grants him the position of War. An anorexic girl named Autumn Rolfson is Apocalypse's third choice and Autumn is given the position of Famine. Apocalypse afterwards saved the dewinged Angel from his sabotaged, exploding plane and choses him to be his fourth and final Horseman, Death.

The Four Horsemen were forced to battle one another for leadership, and Death emerges victorious. In their first battle against X-Factor, the Horsemen were nearly defeated until Death appeared, shocking his former comrades. While X-Factor are strapped down, the Four Horsemen are sent out by Apocalypse to destroy New York City. Meanwhile, Caliban confronts Apocalypse and asks for power to avenge his fellow Morlocks.

X-Factor frees themselves and take on the Four Horsemen; Pestilence is slain in the battle and Archangel comes back to his senses after assuming he killed his former comrade, Iceman. Apocalypse retreats with his remaining Horsemen and the newly recruited Caliban, who is transformed by Apocalypse and later replaces Angel as Death.

"X-Cutioner's Song"

While Apocalypse heals from his recent defeat at the moon, Mister Sinister disguises himself as Apocalypse and orders the Horsemen War, Famine, and Caliban to capture Jean Grey and Cyclops. The Horsemen are later defeated by the X-Men, when they discovered their hideout.


After a battle with the X-Men in their mansion, Hulk is taken by Apocalypse and becomes the third incarnation of War, by being supplied with weaponry and a helmet shielding Hulk from his father's abusive and severely distractive spirit. Apocalypse set Hulk against the Juggernaut to test the latter's strength. Hulk was able to stop and overcome the Juggernaut, after being empowered by energy from Franklin Richards' "Heroes Reborn" pocket universe. He likewise overloaded the Absorbing Man, but came to his senses after he had injured his friend, Rick Jones.

econd incarnation

"The Twelve"

During "" saga, Apocalypse sends his Horsemen to collect the chosen mutants written in Destiny's Diary. This new team featured the cybernetic mutant Ahab as Famine, the Shi'ar Deathbird as War, and again, the Morlock, Caliban, this time as Pestilence. As the Horseman of Death, Apocalypse had abducted Wolverine, and pitted him against Sabretooth. The winner of the battle, Wolverine, became his Horseman of Death, and Apocalypse strips the adamantium from Sabretooth and bonds it to Wolverine's skeleton once more. ["Wolverine" vol. 2, #145] As Death, Wolverine battles the X-Men and kills his Skrull imposter, who had replaced him to prevent his absence being noted.

When Death captured Mikhail Rasputin and failed to teleport out with him, he was chased into the Morlock Tunnels by the X-Men. He battled them and regained his memory, thanks to the efforts of Jubilee, Shadowcat, Archangel, and Psylocke. The rest of the Horsemen are teleported to another dimension by Mikhail.

Third incarnation

"Blood of Apocalypse"

Following the House of M and M-Day, Apocalypse resurrected, assembling a new cadre of Horsemen, with the purpose of wiping out 90% of the baseline human population. Apocalypse's new Horsemen were Gazer (as War), Sunfire (as Famine), Polaris (as Pestilence), and Gambit (as Death).

Gazer was saved from death and forced to battle an archeologist for the mantle of War, which he won with the aid of Apocalypse's scribe, Ozymandias. Both Sunfire, who had lost his legs at the hands of Lady Deathstrike and his powers to Rogue, and Polaris, an M-Day victim, were captured, and reluctantly altered into Famine and Pestilence, respectively. Gambit, however, submitted himself willingly to be transformed into Death, as he had come to believe Apocalypse could be helpful to the mutant cause though he would require to be watched. Sunfire was able to break free of Apocalypse's control with the help of Emma Frost, although he was weakened by the experience. Polaris was knocked out by Iceman in the final battle. She was abandoned, saved by Havok, and freed from her brainwashing by the X-Men. Gazer died defending Apocalypse, stabbed in the back by Ozymandias.

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In the alternate reality known as the "Age of Apocalypse", the four Horsemen also existed but didn't use any titles, with some exceptions such as Death and War. The only member who was also a Horseman in the main Marvel Universe was Abraham Kieros, War. The first group of Horsemen consisted of Candra, Gideon, Death (an unknown female, speculated to be Selene or the mutant Dark Rider Lifeforce) , and War. Later members included a never-seen Horseman named Bastion and Maximus of the Inhumans as the second Death. Ultimately, Apocalypse announced the War of Succession, a battle between all his Horsemen. The four remaining Horsemen would rule North America alongside him. These four were Holocaust, Mikhail Rasputin, Bastion, and Mister Sinister. It is mentioned that Candra was killed by Holocaust, and Bastion was killed after the war by Abyss making Abyss the newest horsemen and first recruit after the war. In a flashback, it is revealed that Mikhail was chosen after he defeated War during Apocalypse's attack on Russia.

Ages of Apocalypse

In one of the alternate realities created by Apocalypse during the "Ages of Apocalypse", Davan Shakari was the Horseman of Death.

Cable & Deadpool

In "Cable & Deadpool", the "Enema of the State" story arc, Deadpool went to find Cable who had disappeared and was forced to travel to alternate universes to find him. In the first universe, Deadpool found a new group of Horsemen. An eight-armed Spider-Man was Pestilence, Blob was Famine, and Archangel was Death. The three fought Deadpool, Siryn, and Cannonball. When Deadpool figured out there was still one more Horseman left, a superpowered Cable appears and defeated all of them. Cable was War, the fourth Horseman. Deadpool teleported to another universe when he realized he couldn't win.


One of the original members of the Exiles was Thunderbird of Earth-1100, who was transformed into Apocalypse's Horseman, War. As War, Thunderbird has lost his humanity and sense of taste but had enhanced senses. He managed to break through Apocalypse's mind control and rejoined his allies, the X-Men. When he went into battle-mode, he could even overpower the Hulk.

House of M

When the Scarlet Witch altered reality and created the "House of M", Apocalypse was brought back to life. He was a former enemy of Magneto who became his subordinate, ruling North Africa. Magneto had sent him to kill Black Panther. He went to Wakanda along with his Horsemen. Only one of his Horsemen was shown, which was Iceman.

Marvel Mangaverse

In the "Marvel Mangaverse" comic, Avengers Assemble, Apocalypse was a Sentai-esque villain that grew in size and battled with the Iron Avenger (four vehicular machines that can transform together in the form of a giant Iron Man) piloted by the Avengers team (Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Vision). The Horsemen included Archangel, Juggernaut, Mister Sinister, and the White Queen.

Mutant X

In the "Mutant X" series, Angel was chosen as Apocalypse's Horseman of Death, but went through a dramatically different transformation with bat-like wings, and he could breathe fire. To signify his transformation, he changed his name to The Fallen and sided against Apocalypse with Havok's group known as the Six. Eventually his treachery got the best of him and Fallen betrayed his teammates to realign himself with the Horsemen against an evil Professor X. The other Horsemen were all new characters except for War, who resembled Abraham Kieros.

Ultimate Horsemen

In the "Ultimate Universe", Sinister is mentioned to be the first Horseman. He is later transformed into Apocalypse.

What If...?

*In one alternate reality, Wolverine was turned into the Horseman of War. He turned against Apocalypse and killed him, then slaughtering Earth's criminals and villains. Eventually, he became the peaceful Brother Xavier.

*In the reality depicted in "What If Legion Had Killed Xavier And Magneto?", the Horsemen of Apocalypse were Storm, Juggernaut, Namor, and Hulk.

Other media

"X-Men: The Animated Series"

In the "X-Men Animated Series", the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse were the same ones as in the X-Factor comics. The lineup was composed by mutants that submitted themselves to the so-called Mutant Cure, developed by Dr. Adler - actually Mystique in disguise. The "Cure" process transformed the four mutants: Autumn Rolfson (Famine), Plague (Pestilence), Abraham Kieros (War), and Angel (Death) into altered mutants under the control of Apocalypse. The four-part episode "Beyond Good and Evil" featured another team of Horsemen, created by Apocalypse during his time in Ancient Egypt. The style of these Horsemen reflected their Egyptian origins. In the episode "The Fifth Horseman", Fabian Cortez, at that point a follower of Apocalypse, creates a team called Hounds, rather than Horsemen. One of them is Caliban, who resembled his appearance as "Death" in the comic books.

"X-Men: Evolution"

In "", Apocalypse enslaves two major heroes and two major villains to be his Horseman. Professor X became Death, with enhanced telepathy, telekinesis, agility, and strength, and the ability to conjure a "mental scythe" similar to Psylocke's daggers or knives. As War, Magneto had far more powerful magnetic abilities. Storm, as Famine, had no new abilities, except an increase in stamina. Mystique served as Pestilence, having enhanced shape-shifting abilities, (now able to transform into more than one object), such as a group of bats or snakes. She was also given enhanced speed and agility.

"X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse"

In "", the four horsemen of Apocalypse, as in the Age of Apocalypse, were Abyss, Mikhail Rasputin, Holocaust, and Archangel; Mr. Sinister was a kind of "fifth" horseman, working as Apocalypse's right-hand man.


External links

* [ Horsemen of Apocalypse at]

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