If the nutjobs interpreting Mayan prophecies are right, today may be the end of the world, or at least the end of the world as we know it. It's more likely just the end of some cosmic countdown that will be replaced by another countdown. On the off-chance that the doomsayers are right, though, we at Topless Robot have constructed a list in honor of the end times by rounding up the best comic book characters named after them:
In the alternate reality of Earth 2182 (home to Nocturne of the Exiles) X-Men villain Apocalypse genetically engineered a son by splicing his own DNA with that of Jean Grey. Having the powers of both his parents, Armageddon was intended to be his father's ultimate weapon.
Most apocalyptic act: Youthful rebellion against his father.
In a rejection of his dad's world-conquering ideals, Armageddon betrayed his father and joined his world's version of the X-Men. The only other notable thing he ever did was to help his world's X-Men take out the Brotherhood of Mutants led by Cyclops. For having so few appearances, looking like Iron Man dressed as a USC mascot and not being all that destructive, Armageddon barely makes it onto the list.
Another alternate-reality son of Apocalypse, Holocaust came from the Age of Apocalypse universe (a.k.a. Earth-295). Originally going under the name Nemesis, he absorbed a nuclear-level energy burst from Sunfire, and after getting torn apart by Magneto had to be contained inside a suit of armor, which resulted in him looking like a walking nuclear holocaust (which is better than looking like a walking genocide against the Jewish people).
Most apocalyptic act: Beating the crap out of Sabretooth while wiping out millions of Californians.
One of Apocalypse's favorite activities while ruling North America was a hobby called "culling" which translates as "killing millions of people to improve the gene pool." During one of his mass murder missions, Holocaust noticed that his fellow Horseman of Apocalypse Sabretooth had lost interest in genocidal butchery. This lack of morale was met with a savage beatdown followed by shipping Sabretooth off to a prison camp for traitors to the dystopic vision of Apocalypse.
During the superhuman Civil War, Tony Stark and his colleagues Reed Richards and Henry Pym (who later turned out to be a Skrull in disguise) engineered a cybernetic clone of Thor who was (seemingly without a hint of irony) codenamed after the Norse word for the end of the world. While this guy didn't stick around very long, he did do one thing that had a major impact...
Most apocalyptic act: Escalating the Civil War by killing Goliath.
When Iron Man laid a trap for the anti-registration heroes in the form of a fire at a chemical plant, Cap's team was shocked see Thor (who was still thought dead at the time) fighting wit the the pro-registration crowd. That shock soon turned to horror when "Thor" used his lightning to blast a hole through the chest of Bill Foster a.k.a. Goliath a.k.a. Black Giant Man. This was the first casualty on either side of the conflict, taking what was already a tense situation and exploding it into full-on anarchy.
Created eons ago on the surface of pre-Krpytonian Krypton, Doomsday was engineered to be the ultimate life form. By sending a an infant out to be killed by the harsh environment and then cloning the remains again and again, a mysterious scientist accelerated the process of evolution to create a dominant, badass monster. Unfortunately, the memories of all those deaths drove it mad and it eventually developed an intense hatred for all life. After becoming strong enough to tear through ancient Krypton, Doomsday went on a multi-planet rampage across the universe that was halted on Calaton, where he was shackled and launched into space. He then spent the next several millennia drifting in the void until eventually landing on earth.
Most apocalyptic act: Um... take a guess.
Let's not even beat around the bush here: the only reason pretty much anyone has ever heard of Doomsday is because of the Death of Superman story arc. That's the whole reason he was created, after all. It may seem like a quaint bit of '90s wackiness now, but back when it happened the Man of Steel's demise was a big deal. I could explain further, but Max Landis does it better in the (NSFW) video below:
Marvel's go-to guy for epic villainy, Apocalypse has been roaming the planet for over 5,000 years. Born in ancient Egypt as the first mutant in the world, he went from being a lowly slave to becoming a conquering menace. Fading in and out of the spotlight over the millennia, he's had a habit for coming back to threaten the world again and again. Emerging again in the late 20th century, he became the most dangerous X-Men foe of all time and a fan favorite. Anytime he showed up, readers could be reasonably certain that some heavy shit was about to go down.
Most apocalyptic act: Taking over half of the world in Age of Apocalypse.
While it may seem less awesome for having taken place in an alternate universe, Apocalypse's conquest of North America in the alternate timeline created by Legion's botched attempt to remove Magneto from history was an audacious act that turned an entire continent into a hellish wasteland. Unlike most super-villains who manage to take over a large region for a brief time before being defeated, Apocalypse held power for decades. During that time he wiped out millions of humans while experimenting on others to perfect the evolution of humans and mutants into his vision of perfection. The only thing that stopped him from being able to take over the entire planet was that reality's X-Men working out a way to reverse Legion's disruption of the past.
Congratulations! You made it to the end of the list, which means we didn't all die. Now go have a soda.