Extermination #3 // Review
Ahab unleashes his secret weapon against the assembled X-Men in his quest to get his hands on the “Original Five” time-lost X-Men in Extermination #3, by writer Ed Brisson, artist Pepe Larraz, colorist Marte Gracia, and letter Joe Sabino. This issue hits the ground running and doesn’t let up til the finish, with enough twists and turns to keep the action from being gratuitous.
Ahab’s Hounds, along with the new inductee, Logan, attack the X-Men at the Mansion, trying to get their hands on the young Beast. Ahab reveals how it is he was able to so easily turn Logan into a Hound and activates X-Men-turned-Hounds in other locations, where the temporally displaced Original Five are being hidden. Young Cable shows up to the Mansion to grab young Beast, and Ahab and his Hounds retreat from their attacks to plan their next move. Young Jean, along with the former members of X-Force, begin their hunt for young Cable.
Brisson hasn’t tipped his hand about why both young Cable and Ahab are hunting the Original Five, but, in an issue this entertaining, that’s okay. The pace of the series so far has been breakneck, but Brisson still finds time to fit in interesting little story developments. For example, it usually takes Ahab years of torture to make a Hound, but Ahab reveals how he’s now able to turn people pretty much instantaneously. It’s a rather ingenious idea, and it shows Ahab has a definite plan in place.
The interactions between Jean and X-Force are also spot on. Brisson is a master of character, and he deploys that mastery in moments like this. The members of Cable’s old X-Force team want revenge on his killer, and they aren’t going to be nice about it. They outline this to Jean, and she doesn’t bat an eye. Over the years, young Jean has proven herself to be a pragmatic sort and, in this case, she has no idea what young Cable has done with her friends, so it’s completely fitting that she would be okay with X-Force’s take-no-prisoners attitude. Really, the only complaint that can be had about any of the writing in this book is Ahab’s retreat, from not just Mansion, but also the other three locations where he was trying to get the young X-Men. It would have made more sense to keep them where they were, either trying to accomplish their goal or distracting the remaining X-Men.
Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia’s art is still gorgeous, and this issue’s pretty much wall-to-wall action looks great. Their action scenes are fluid and detailed. There’ are a few places where the panels are a little chaotic, but that chaos gives the reader the impression of the chaos of battle, and it fits the general tone. Pepe Larraz draws a wicked Ahab, capturing not only the sadistic glee of the character, but also making sure his armor is detailed and fearsome looking.
Extermination #3 easily hurdles the high bar set by the previous two issues, adding some interesting ideas and keeping the plot moving. Brisson has set up a very nice pace for this series, keeping it fast without sacrificing story telling. The art is mostly fantastic, with even its few deficiencies adding to the overall feel of the story. Ahab’s retreat is the weakest part of the whole thing, but, as tightly plotted as this story seems, it could very well play into something spectacular. Between this and Old Man Logan, Brisson is proving himself as one of the premiere writers of the X-Men franchise.