This series replaced Excaliber, which starred Nightcrawler and a bunch of other mutants that you won't see here. There's something so very 90s about the spelling of this title that always makes me shake my head. Fortunately, the actual story inside is better than that.
We start off following a woman who calls herself Switchback as she's making her way to a fabled location known as Avalon. She has left her home of Chicago because it's no longer safe there, and all her companions died on the journey here.
A monk named Cain (who with his massive bulk is obviously Juggernaut) leads her to the place. He does not seem to be the hothead we know him to be, though he obviously got a hold of the gem of cyttorak at some point. Switchback, meanwhile, seems to be an original character created just for the Age of Apocalypse. Her powers allow her to manipulate time, which you can probably imagine could be important in an altered timeline such as this.
We cut to New York where we get a taste for why Switchback left America - giant sentinels roam the streets. For now though, Nightcrawler is inside Heaven, which you may remember is Angel's club. The discussion between the two of them is tense, but Nightcrawler finally forces the information he needs out of Angel - he's trying to get passage out of America to find a mutant named Destiny.
Since he calls himself Kurt Darkholme, it's fairly safe to say this version of Kurt was raised by his mother rather than being abandoned as a baby. That leads to him being far more ruthless than the normal happy go lucky elf we know. And while our version eventually becomes a priest, this Nightcrawler hates churches and religion of any kind. He also somehow manages to break off John Proudstar's finger by teleporting it away but not taking the rest of him.
I guess the idea is that this is something Nightcrawler has the power to do all the time, but chooses not to in our reality. But considering that he normally only has to be touching someone to teleport them, it seems kind of odd. Does he mentally have to build some kind of shield around them so he takes all of the person and not just parts of them? That seems rather taxing. And wouldn't that mean the first time he tried to teleport someone he may not have realized it and only took their hand?
Anyway, their fight is primarily over the fact that Mystique is known to rob blind the humans and mutants who travel to Avalon. Dani Moonstar was there amongst the other Native Americans as a spy for Apocalypse. She informs him of Nightcrawler's plans and we get a fun Deadpool cameo for the trouble.
He's referred to as Dead Man Wade here.
Apocalypse also sends Damask out after Nightcrawler. In the main timeline, she is better known as the Black Queen because she was a major member of the Hellfire Club.
Back in Avalon, Cain brings Switchback to Destiny. Destiny extends her hand and when the two touch, a strange energy feedback occurs and Destiny cries out in pain. She announces dramatically that she can see "the apocalypse," and I think it's fair to say she doesn't mean the current leader of the not so free world.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this one because it's a bit different than the heavy amount of exposition we've been getting. The focus on Nightcrawler allows us to get to know him better and we learn how he's struggling with his current values as an X-man and his mother's more morally grey ways. I also think the inclusion of the Ghost Dance Organization is a nice touch, blending actual American history with this dystopian future.