Not surprisingly, Nicieza pulled me right into this reality like the 20 years that passed since I last read about it hadn't happened.
Like most of the other "Secret Wars" tie-in issues, Nicieza does a great job of laying out the dynamics of Apocalypse's realm on Battleworld in fairly short order. Apocalypse had previously sent Sabretooth (one of his Four Horsemen) to the Savage Land to find Doug Ramsey, but he was unable to do so. (He apparently got "distracted.") As such, Apocalypse then sent Holocaust (another Horseman) to find him, and he does. Before he can depart, however, Storm's team of X-Men arrive to try to save Doug. At this point, it's pretty clear that he's an important figure, but he's as confused by that as anyone. Both Holocaust and the X-Men die in the confrontation, and Doug is brought to Dark Beast's lab to recover from the ensuing explosion. Dark Beast asks Sinister (another Horseman) why they suddenly care about Doug, since he's been on their registry for years. However, Sinister can't shed any light on the subject. The Summers brothers interrogate Doug, but Cyclops realizes that he has nothing to reveal. Sinister orders them to take him to the human ghetto, presumably to ferret out any attempt to overthrow Apocalypse. Once there, Doug comes to realize that the humans are working on a virus to exterminate mutants, but he's conflicted about telling the Summers brothers, since they'd likely kill all the humans as a result. Before he can decide, Magneto's team of X-Men attack, demanding Doug.
Again, Nicieza really does a spectacular job laying all these cards on the table. It makes the mysteries all the more exciting. At this stage, we still don't know the answer to Dark Beast's question, why Apocalypse and the X-Men suddenly took interest in Doug (particularly at the same time). Moreover, it's clear that the humans were hiding the X-Men, but it's not clear if the X-Men know about their plans to release a virus that could destroy mutantkind. Plus, Nicieza has gone for the option of only alluding to the larger events of "Secret Wars," so it's unclear if they'll have any impact on the story at some point. I'll definitely be here to see.
*** (three of five stars)