'X-Men: Apocalypse': Who Are the 4 Horsemen?

Movie fans already know Magneto, but meet Storm, Angel and Psylocke.
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Promotion for next month's X-Men: Apocalypse continues apace, with new images spotlighting the Four Horsemen released to accompany yesterday's teaser video. Each image was tweeted out with a three word tease about the character in question, but to decode those clues, it should be asked: Who are Apocalypse's Horsemen?

Angel (Ben Hardy)

In the comic book mythology, Angel — real name Warren Worthington III — was one of the original five X-Men (debuting in 1963's X-Men No. 1 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee), and with the exception of a few brief periods — most notably his time with other super-teams the Champions and the New Defenders — it's been the primary association of the character's crime fighting career. He is, however, the only movie Horsemen who has also been a comic book Horseman; after a failed suicide attempt, he was brainwashed by Apocalypse, an experience he never quite recovered from even after breaking from his programming — and an experience that transformed him from an optimistic hero to a man struggling with an inner rage who could, in fact, be described as "savage, dark and fallen."

Post-brainwashing, he also renamed himself "Archangel," a name he used on-and-off until another near-death experience gave him amnesia and the chance to start over — albeit a chance that didn't last. These days, for reasons yet to be explained fully, he's little more a drone telepathically controlled by Psylocke in the Uncanny X-Men comic book series.

Storm (Alexandra Shipp)

Storm's comic book debut came in 1975's Giant-Size X-Men No. 1, created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. The child of a Kenyan princess and American photojournalist, she was orphaned at the age of six, and came of age as a thief in Egypt before relocating to the Serengeti, where her mutant powers giving her control over weather saw her worshipped as a goddess.

Recruited to the X-Men, she slowly emerged as the leader of the team in the absence of original leader Cyclops, displaying a confidence and righteous anger that made her fearsome as an opponent. She had good reason to be angry; in addition to being abandoned by her — admittedly dead — family as a child, she also had her powers temporarily stolen by a government agency while saving lives. Storm's life was not an easy one; no wonder she's filled with fury and feeling lost — even though she's shown repeatedly that she's a survivor.

Psylocke (Olivia Munn)

Psylocke has a complicated comic book backstory that is, perhaps, best explained by saying "Different writers and artists want different things from a character." Originally introduced as a white English pilot-turned-model in 1976's Captain Britain No. 8 by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe, she wouldn't become a fan favorite until she was transformed into an Asian ninja assassin-turned-good more than a decade later (Uncanny X-Men No. 256 by Claremont and Jim Lee, in 1989) — a character who bore little resemblance to her original incarnation, but who could definitely be described as "lethal, fierce and merciless." If, admittedly, looking to grow from the killer mentality that was forced upon her.

(The mechanics of the change are overly complicated in the ways that only superhero comics can manage, but essentially Psylocke's mind was placed into a different body, leaving her susceptible to a level of brainwashing and reprogramming that left her with an all-new skill set while nonetheless retaining her original psychic powers. It's really easier not to think about it too much; expect the movie version to have a far simpler backstory.)

Magneto (Michael Fassbender)

After appearing in five earlier X-Men movies, the reasons for Magneto's "rage, pain [and] vengeance" should be well known; a Holocaust survivor, he has suffered the worst of humanity, and now finds himself and others like him hated for their mere existence once more. The events of X-Men: Days of Future Past and Apocalypse are likely to increase his pain, with two former allies — Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) — now turned against him. Alone and filled with an increasing anger against humanity, no wonder he joins Apocalypse in an attempt to destroy humanity. (And no wonder he continues down the supervillain path, as seen in earlier X-Men movies, which take place after the events of the current series.)

X-Men: Apocalypse is set to hit theaters on May 27.

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