ByTom Bacon, writer at
I'm a film-and-TV fan who grew up with a deep love of superhero comics! Follow me on Twitter @TomABacon or on Facebook @tombaconsuperheroes!
Tom Bacon

Continuing the buildup for [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267), I'm running through the greatest secrets of the film's heroes and villains! Today, it's time to cast my eye to one of the Four Horsemen, the winged menace who calls himself Archangel!

1. Archangel Is A Descendant Of An Ancient Angelic Race

Let's start with the weirdest backstory comic writer Chuck Austen could devise! Determined to tell a cosmic tale involving gods and demons, he revealed that the X-Men Nightcrawler and Archangel were descendants of long-feuding mutant races. Yes, Warren Worthington's traditionally angelic visage was a legacy of his being related to the beings who inspired the legends of angels!

2. As The Avenging Angel, Archangel Was The Only One Of The Original Five X-Men To Be A Superhero Before Joining The Team!

Stan Lee had viewed "mutants" as a nice way of needing to tell an origin story, but his successor on the X-Men book, Roy Thomas, disagreed. Thomas happily fleshed out every member of the original X-Men, using a second story to tell of their actions before joining the team. Curiously, Archangel was the only one who gained a superheroic career — when Warren Worthington first grew his wings, Thomas showed him donning the guise of the Avenging Angel!

3. Archangel Was The First X-Man To Guest-Star In Another Comic!

Comic book art back then wasn't always great...
Comic book art back then wasn't always great...

In January 1964, the X-Men were still the new kids on the block. To help cement them in the growing Marvel Universe, Stan Lee wrote Tales of Suspense #49, which brought Iron Man into collision with the Angel (as Warren then was).

The plot was fascinating. Angel stumbled across one of Tony Stark's atomic bomb tests (he'd not abandoned being a weapon smith back then), and the radiation triggered a personality imbalance. Angel literally became an evil mutant! Although the concept was heavy-handed, and the dialogue was terribly scripted, this is the first hint of the personality conflict Archangel would have up to the present day.

4. Archangel Lost His Original Wings In Battle With The Marauders!

The so-called "Mutant Massacre" was one of the darkest periods in the X-Men's history, as a bloodthirsty gang known as the Marauders slaughtered the X-Men's helpless allies. Fighting to protect the innocent, Angel's wings were pinned to a wall by the brutal Harpoon, and had to be surgically removed to save his life. Angel fell into deep, near suicidal depression, but was approached by Apocalypse. The promise of restored flight was too much, but Angel's personality was warped too, and Archangel was born.

In the classic X-Men Animated Series, by contrast, Angel is tricked into undergoing a procedure he believes will cure him of his wings. Instead, he is experimented upon by Apocalypse and becomes Archangel. This "cure" plotline was adapted into the Angel plot in X-Men: The Last Stand.

5. Archangel's Flechettes Are Tipped In A Neuro-Paralytic Toxin!

As you'll see in the trailer, the new metal wings that Archangel has been given by Apocalypse are dangerous. He can project "feathers" — referred to in the comics as "flechettes" — in a deadly rain. More concerning still, these flechettes are tipped in a neuro-paralytic toxin. Once one of these hits your skin, it fries your entire nervous system!

6. Archangel Has A Long-Standing Romance With Psylocke!

Although X-Men: Apocalypse looks to be more faithful to the comics than any other X-Men movie to date, here's one thing it's not exploring: Psylocke and Archangel, two of Apocalypse's Horsemen, are not an item.

In the comics, the two have had an on-again, off-again tragic love story thing going on since the mid 1990s. Both are powerful mutants with a dark edge and a history of wealth, and they've been both fan-favorites and writer-favorites.

7. Not All Of Archangel's Romances Have Been Popular — Or Legal

None of Archangel's love stories have been more controversial than his romance with fellow X-Man Husk. Husk, the little sister of Cannonball, was a teenager who was part of the popular Generation X comics before becoming one of Chuck Austen's X-Men. In a twist that shocked fans, Austen decided that Archangel and Husk made a good couple.

Their worst moment was undoubtedly when he had them have sex in the air. In front of Husk's mom.

8. Psylocke Was Forced To Kill Archangel When He Inherited Apocalypse's Power And Mission!

Rick Remender chose to reawaken the Apocalyptic programming within Archangel's mind, and used that to set up a very deadly story. Psylocke's telepathy helped Archangel to control the dark and brooding presence within, but it could only ever be a holding tactic. It all came to a head in the Dark Angel Saga, in which Archangel claimed the mission and power of Apocalypse. Psylocke was left little choice but to stab him with a death seed, causing a death-and-resurrection that completely erased the man she loved.

9. A Young Version Of Archangel Has Been Brought Into The Present Day — And Is Dating Wolverine!

When Marvel's Brian Bendis launched All-New X-Men, he did so with a twist nobody saw coming! The idea was that the Beast used time-travel to bring the original X-Men — including the original Angel — into the present day. Doing so kind of broke the timeline, meaning we now have two versions of Archangel running around.

This new, younger Angel has encountered a powerful cosmic force known as the Black Vortex, getting a remarkable upgrade. He's also dating the All-New Wolverine, the female clone of the original!

10. Archangel Is The Focus Of 'Uncanny X-Men's' Apocalypse Wars!

In his current Uncanny X-Men run, Cullen Bunn is running a dark and dangerous arc in which Psylocke tries to unlock the mind of the man she loves. It's all part of the Apocalypse Wars event, a tie-in plotline designed to capitalize on X-Men: Apocalypse!

So, there you have it, True Believers! Ten facts you may or may not have known about Apocalypse's Horseman of Death, the winged Archangel! Don't forget to check out my previous posts on PSYLOCKE, CYCLOPS, NIGHTCRAWLER, and APOCALYPSE himself!


Which of these X-Men would you like me to write about next?


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