Appearing in "Tapped Out"
- Alliance of Evil (First appearance)
- Apocalypse (Real name first revealed) (Shadow only)
- Susan "Suzy" Nowlan, Michael's ex-wife
- Unnamed New Yorkers
- Madelyne Pryor (Vision)
Races and Species:
- Southern California
- Apocalypse's chateau
- Tomahawk Motor Lodge
- San Diego
- Susan Nowlan's apartment
- San Diego Airport
- Southern California
- New York
Synopsis for "Tapped Out"
Southern California: Mike Nowlan flees from a large coast-side mansion with the a group of mutants chasing him: They are the Alliance of Evil and they consist of Tower, Frenzy, Stinger and Timeshadow. Mike is a junky going through withdrawal, however this does not stop him from getting to his car and pulling a getaway. As the Alliance watches Mike speed off, Stinger begins to develop the shakes and she is worried that without Mike's mutant powers they will all begin to suffer from withdrawl.
While in New York City, the members of X-Factor are involved in their regular exercising regiment, when Jean begins discussing the negative impact their activities posing as mutant hunters might be having on mutant/human relations. The mood is lightened up when Iceman uses his powers to freeze the Beast's feet, however in retaliation the Beast hangs Bobby from his underwear on a post high off the ground, necessitating Jean to rescue him. As they goof off, Scott remarks how they are all acting like they did back in the day when they first worked together as the original X-Men.
Back in California, Nowlan has gotten a room in a cheap motel and desperately calls his ex-wife Susan to try and score off her. She is upset that her ex-husband is calling and tells him that she's gotten clean and no longer deals and hangs up on him. When she sees an X-Factor commercial on television, she picks up the phone and gives them a call. When the call goes through, Cameron Hodge pages the various members of X-Factor: He calls Bobby and Hank out of clothes shopping for designer threads for Hank. Scott is talking with Artie and Rusty when he is called in, when Rusty wonders why Scott is so glum, Artie pulls out an image of Scott's internal conflict over his feelings for Jean and Madelyine leaving the two boys to wonder who the other woman is. Warren is noting that Jean has taken up night classes in psychology at Colombia University, and they are called in just before Jean can start pressing him for answers about why Scott is acting so strange. When they meet with Cameron, despite the fact that Susan Nowlan's call is sketchy and her background checkered, they agree to check it out under in their mutant hunter guises.
While in California, Susan smells trouble and is packing a back when her home is invaded by the Alliance of Evil who have come seeking Mike. When they realize that he isn't there, they decide to take her captive and force the location of Mike out of her. X-Factor meanwhile arrives at the motel where Mike has been holed up in, and with Jean telekinetically picking the lock they enter in and find Mike sprawled on the floor. Upon searching the man's room they find a used needle and realize that he is a drug abuser. Putting the man in bed they wait for him to wake up. To their surprise when Mike's powers flair out of control it boosts their own natural mutant abilities revealing to Mike that the members of X-Factor are really mutants, and the group is forced to reveal to Mike their true cause right away, stripping off their X-Factor costumes and switching to their X-Terminator outfits. After calming Mike down they learn his story: He was a drug user before being sent off to Vietnam to fight the war, and when he came back the military put him in detox. He was never aware that he was a mutant because the drugs nullified his powers, however when he met a man who would later become the Alliance of Evil's Timeshadow, his mutant abilities would activate the latent abilities in the man, making him realize he was a mutant. Since then he never kicked the habit in order to keep his powers in check. With his origins told, Cyclops suggests that they keep him high to keep his powers in check until they can get him under control. Beast suggests an alternative, synthesizing the reactant in the heroin that nullifies his powers. Not wishing to become a test subject again, Mike tries to make a break for it.
Before they can stop him the Alliance of Evil smashes into the room and attacks the X-Terminators. When they try to fight back, Frenzy and the others threaten to harm Susan if Mike doesn't use his abilities to boost their powers and return to them. Mike complies and boosts the Alliances mutant abilities and they easily trounce the X-Terminators, knocking them all out and leaves with Mike and Susan.
Taking Mike back to his headquarters, he is brought before their leader who tells Mike that he will go back to their testing or his ex-wife will be killed. The man in the shadows swears that Mike's talents will be used in his war against humans swearing by his own name: Apocalypse.
This story is continued next issue....
- Despite only being a shadow; this was the first appearance of Apocalypse. Years later, however, Apocalypse was retconned into the origin story of the Living Monolith from Marvel Graphic Novel #17, which was released a year before this issue.
- Bob Layton intended to use Owl as X-Factor's main villain, but when he left the title this issue, Louise Simonson had the last page redrawn to show a shadowy figure - Apocalypse.
- The cover is a homage to X-Men #100.