Extermination #5 // Review
It’s the time lost original X-Men’s final mission in the present in Extermination #5, by writer Ed Brisson, artist Pepe Larraz, colorist Marte Gracia, and letterer Joe Sabino. Years of story have been building up to this moment and the creative team stick the landing, giving a readers a beautifully drawn and expertly written end to the adventures of the O5.
Ahab’s seeming victory from the last issue is dashed as it’s revealed that Mimic took the spear for the young Cyclops. The X-Men take the fight to Ahab, but his enslaved mutant twin, Mammon and Maxine, keep turning more and more X-Men to Hounds. As the odds go against the heroes, young Cable is able to convince the O5 to go back to their own time… but first they make a stop in the near future, where the young Jean learns how to stop Mammon and Maxine’s powers from their past selves as Cable and the rest of the O5 destroy Ahab’s time ship. Cable sends them back to their time and takes Ahab back to the present. In the past, young Jean prepares to erase the team’s memories, but makes it so their adult selves will remember everything that happened to them… including how to stop Mammon and Maxine’s powers. In the present, Jean is able to shut down all of the Hounds but Prestige and Ahab escapes. The X-Men lick their wounds and bury their dead, as young Cable tells someone it’s time for them to return.
To start off, the art in this book is phenomenal. Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia are completely sympatico the whole time. There’s some beautiful full page action spreads in this book, as the X-Men battle against Ahab and their own friends for the fate of the future. The pencils are rich and detailed and the colors are lush and make the whole thing pop. Their art takes a great story and lifts it to the next level.
As great as the art is, without Brisson’s script it would just be pretty pictures. This book is action packed from the nonce. The pace never flags and Brisson finds clever ways to keep things going. The mystery of Mammon and Maxine is solved in this issue and Brisson comes up with a novel way to make sure the X-Men are able to defeat them and Ahab. Allowing the O5 to regain their memories also does a service to these characters. Readers have been divided by the time lost X-Men since they came back. Some love the idea and others felt it was unneeded. Most have thought they’ve overstayed their welcome and it would be easy to mindwipe them all and be done with the concept, but Brisson finds a way to end the whole thing for them rather respectfully.
The book also does a great job of setting up multiple threads for future stories, from Ahab being trapped in the present with Prestige, Rachel Grey, still at his side, to young Cable and his new mission to the final reveal that by now everyone knows and has expected. This book is basically a mini X-Men event and it delivered everything an event should- it told a complete story with a satisfying ending and gave future writers multiple threads to work with.
Extermination #5 is the perfect ending to time lost original five X-Men’s story, while also being one of the best X-Men stories in years. Action packed, clever, and immaculately drawn, this is the rare Marvel event mini series that delivers everything it needs to and more. Brisson, Larraz, Gracia, and Sabino deserve all the praise for this book. Even for people who hate the idea of the O5 in present, this is a perfect story and this last issue is the icing on the cake.