This tightly constructed, action-packed comic opens with Young Cable kidnapping Mimic as he shops for breakfast food. Back at the mansion, Teen Jean has a heart-to-heart with Young Scott, who is overwhelmed by guilt at the death of Bloodstorm. They don’t have much time for introspection, however, because Kitty has called a meeting of the senior X-Men with the goal of determining the best way to keep the teens safe. Rachel discloses what she knows about Ahab’s mutant-hunting methodology and Kitty makes another in a series of extremely poor decisions (she’s really not great at the whole leadership shtick) by ordering that the remaining members of the original team be split up among groups of X-Men. Teen Scott reacts badly to this and runs out into the night. He’s followed by Angel and, as they argue, Young Cable attacks them. He drugs Hank, electrocutes Angel, and vanishes into the time-stream with Angel in tow. Young Cable mounts Angel in something that looks like a futuristic torture device and uses a machine to slice off his metallic wings. Back at the mansion, Ahab attacks with his hounds, determined to murder the surviving O5. Rachel and Old man Logan attack Ahab and he harpoons Rachel through the chest. Teen Scott cradles her body, but Ahab tells him that he doesn’t intend to harm her. Young Scott should, instead, be worried about the rest of his Hounds. The last page reveals Old Man Logan, transformed and feral, bearing the markings of a Hound.
This was an extraordinarily well-constructed comic. The writing was exceptionally tight: there wasn’t a single wasted line or panel – neither was there any excess. Every page, every scene propelled the story and developed the characters – and that’s a difficult task. Young Cable resembles his older counterpart, but (being younger) he’s much more impulsive. Being desperate, he takes greater risks. Young Scott’s emotions are much less controlled than his older counterparts were (you know. When he was alive) and Rachel seems more like herself than she has throughout the entirety of X-Men: Gold. This isn’t to say that Brisson is ignoring the contributions of other books. He’s incorporating the choices made (for better or worse) by other writers and he’s cleaning up a lot of messy loose ends while still respecting the previous continuity.
An example of this is seen in the fact that Brisson is using Rachel’s Hound markings (which returned in Gold) while providing an explanation for this re-occurrence (that Ahab has returned) which makes considerably more sense than the one provided by Guggenheim.
There’s consistency, also, in Brisson’s depiction of Kitty as a leader. It’s unfortunate that her time in Gold has been primarily defined by her tendency to make terrible choices. This doesn’t change, here. Splitting the O5 up is a terrible idea (as anyone who’s ever watched a single horror film or episode of Buffy could happily tell you) but the writer’s decision to have her do it was true to the person that Kitty has become.
Kitty, making consistently terrible choices since the beginning of Gold.
The art was a major part of the success of this book. Let’s look at the pages where Teen Jean and Tyke are speaking on the steps of the institute. The scene is tranquil: children playing (baseball, of course – it is an X-Book), the sun setting over the city in the distance. But there’s a bloody color to the light, and leaden shadows collect in every hollow, emphasizing the fact that although the outer world is beautiful and calm, Scott is seeing it through the lenses of grief and rage. So we see it this way, too.
In terms of plot, it’s fairly clear what’s happening. Young Cable has kidnapped Mimic in order to use his imprinted DNA to help him ‘reset’ the O5 to their original states before he can send them back to their proper time. We all know how this story is going to end. The fun, for us, is in seeing how we get there. And (I’m telling you) this series is a lot of fun.
This is an extraordinarily tightly-wrought, action-packed comic that is laden with character and balanced by finely-accomplished art. Pick it up.
Extermination #2: I fled Him down the arches of the years…
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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