The Dark Riders were a group of mutants, mainly Inhumans, who were Apocalypse's foot soldiers who strongly viewed his "survival of the fittest" ways. When Apocalypse traveled to the Moon and conquered the city of Attilan, he enslaved six Inhumans: Gauntlet, HardDrive, Tusk, Foxbat, Psynapse and Barrage. They became the Riders of the Storm, named after Apocalypse's earliest army. Apocalypse sent them to Earth to battle his enemies, kidnap Cyclops' son and infect the infant with a version of the transmode virus. X-Factor made it to the moon, where Attilan was then located, and joined with the royal family of the Inhumans in their battle against Apocalypse. Apocalypse was defeated, seemingly killed, and the enslaved Inhumans were freed, but young Nathan was sent into the future with Askani to save him from the virus ravaging his body. The Riders of the Storm remained loyal to Apocalypse, and took his body back to Earth to regenerate in his base.
The Dark Riders where created Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee and Chris Claremont and first appeared in X-Factor Volume 1 issue 65 (1991).
Major Story Arcs
Becoming the Dark Riders
Later, the Horsemen of Apocalypse, kidnapped Cyclops and Jean Grey. This was done at the behest of Mr Sinister, who was using his shapeshifting powers to pose as Apocalypse. The Riders, now calling themselves the Dark Riders, raised Apocalypse from his regenerative sleep and told him that somebody was impersonating him. Soon afterwards, attacked Apocalypse and his Dark Riders, seeking revenge against Apocalypse. He managed to defeat the Dark Riders, but Apocalypse escaped. The Dark Riders, following Apocalypse's tenet of survival of the fittest, now followed Stryfe. Apocalypse allied himself with the X-Men, and they fought Stryfe and the Dark Riders. While the X-Men pursued Stryfe, Apocalypse fought the Riders and was fatally wounded by them. The Dark Riders escaped.
Over the next months, the Dark Riders would still follow Apocalypse's teachings and try to 'test' mutants, eliminating all they considered unworthy. They targeted the mind-controlling and seemingly killed him, but in fact he used his hypnotic powers to escape. For his weak performance during this fight, the Riders apparently killed one of their own, Psynapse, although he later proved to have survived, and returned to the group. Their next target was Cyclops, who at the time was in discussion with Sinister. Sinister proved himself to be far more powerful than the Riders and warned them not to kill Cyclops, but added that he didn't object to them 'roughing Cyclops up.' Sinister teleported away and the Riders fought Cyclops, who managed to keep the fight to a draw. HardDrive appeared and told Cyclops that he was the first to pass their test. Cyclops tried to convince the Riders to stop with their useless actions, but they teleported away.
Genisis as Leader and meeting Cable
Later, the Dark Riders gained a new leader, , and several mutants were added to the team. The team again targeted one of their own, Foxbat, who was apparently killed by new member Lifeforce, and his body was taken to their base. , a former Horseman of Apocalypse, was another target, but he was saved by , and . They captured one of Tusk's Underlings, who claimed that the Riders had killed Tusk Prime and the other Underlings. The Underling led them to the Dark Rider's base, but it turned out to be a trap. Genesis appeared and revealed himself as Cable's son, Tyler. Genesis told them that he wanted to replace Apocalypse. Cable and his friends fought the Dark Riders and Cable tried to save his son, but Tyler and the Riders teleported away again. Genesis and the Dark Riders later battled Mister Sinister, Jean Grey and the after kidnapping Sinister's former lover, Faye Livingstone, in an attempt to crush Sinister's spirit. Although the Riders were defeated, Livingstone died.
Genesis then decided to recruit the X-Man to his cause. To further this goal, the Dark Riders broke Wolverine's -skinned foe out of prison. Although Genesis led Cyber to believe that he was being recruited to Genesis's cause, Tyler instead fed Cyber to flesh-eating beetles and melted down Cyber's adamantium carapace. Genesis tried to turn Wolverine into one of his soldiers by using this adamantium to replace Wolverine's adamantium skeleton, which had been forcibly removed by some months earlier. Wolverine's body forcibly rejected both Genesis's brainwashing and the adamantium. The adamantium exploded out of Wolverine's body in the form of shrapnel, which killed Lifeforce and Hurricane. Wolverine then proceeded to kill Deadbolt, Spyne and Genesis himself. Gauntlet was fought, but managed to survive, while escaped. Dirtnap later fought both Wolverine and the anti-hero . In a later battle with the X-Men's mutants-in-training, , Dirtnap apparently reformed, and seemingly sacrificed himself to save the young heroes.
Several months later, the surviving Dark Riders, inexplicably joined by Psynapse, worked again for Stryfe, who also had returned from death without any explanation. Stryfe ordered them to kill all other telepaths. When Gauntlet, Barrage and HardDrive attacked Jean Grey, showed up and used her powers to defeat Barrage and HardDrive, leaving them for dead, although their status remains unconfirmed. The other Dark Riders attacked , but Psynapse's attack only reactivated Nate's lost psychic powers, apparently killing Psynapse in the feedback, although he would soon reappear without explanation once more. Nate also discovered that Tusk is really a small, wormlike creature within Tusk Prime's large shell, although whether this was the true Tusk remains unknown. This mission proved to be the last time the Dark Riders have been seen to date, though Gauntlet himself continues to be active, working alone as a mercenary.
Deadbolt, Hurricane, and Spyne--the mutant members of the Dark Riders--were collectively resurrected via the Techno-organic virus and the Hellfire Club's former Black Queen Selene's mysticism. The revived mutants are mind-controlled into attacking Emma Frost, the X-Men, and the Hellfire Club as an act of revenge against all those who stood in her way of her becoming a goddess. The former Dark Riders fought alongside one another against the X-Men's Dazzler and Psylocke.