As Ahab converts more of the X-Men to Hounds, the teenage O5 concoct a plot to finally return to their own time.
There was a lot to love about the final issue of Extermination. The plotting was excellently executed and the art was very effective for the story that it told. Once again, Brisson absolutely nailed the characterisations of the O5 and the dialogue had his usual brand of witty charm. Domino’s line about not wanting to be the one to kill Honey Badger was absolutely golden.
The fake-out of Mimic dying instead of Teen Cyke was relatively easy to see coming, but the point of this story was in the manner of the telling. We new from the outset that the teenage X-Men would eventually return to their own times. When you enter a rollercoaster, you know that you’ll very likely step off again, unchanged, on the other side.
The question is not whether you’ll arrive. It’s ‘how will you experience your thrill?’
In this instance, Brisson neatly sidestepped shoving Ice Man back into the closet and erasing the memories of the O5 by utilising the powers of the creepy mutant Hound-making twins. This was extremely clever.
It was a little disturbing to see Jean acting so callously towards Rachel, essentially abandoning her to life as a Hound, after the growth both characters experienced in X-Men: Red. Their relationship has always been rocky: the unwilling mother and the unloved daughter have never really been comfortable together. But allowing Rachel to be essentially drawn back into slavery was unfortunate. It’s true that Rachel badly needs a reset after regressing to a hound three times in the last year, and she and Kitty both need an overhaul after the atrocious way that they were written in Gold, but there had to be a way that would be less disturbing for the readers. I sense that this was an editorial decision, meant to take Rachel off the board now that Jean’s back on the team.
There were, however, a few loose ends. These would probably be inevitable, considering how long the O5 have been in the present. First, one of the final scenes showed the kids slipping seamlessly back into their old clothes, their old lives. In-universe, years have passed from the time they came into the present until their return. In Extraordinary X-Men, Jean had started university. There was that editorially confirmed eight-month time skip during which period Cyclops died. Bobby started a semi-adult relationship and started hitting clubs. And although Angel’s original wings had been replaced by Mimick’s, they’d still be a different size than his own. Teenage bodies change very quickly The O5 would probably be taller, broader, than they were. These are real, noticeable inconsistencies, but the medium forgives a certain amount and so these slips do not disrupt the narrative.
More interestingly, for the franchise, thanks to Teen Jean’s preservation of her memories, specifically those gleaned from reading Cable’s mind, middle-aged Jean now knows that Scott is alive. This was hinted at several times throughout the book.
What she will choose to do with this knowledge will be interesting to see. Even if she doesn’t tell anyone the effects will likely be dramatic.
In any case, this series was extremely satisfying, as a whole.
The conclusion of the Extermination series combined tight writing with beautiful art and manages to tie off most of the loose ends created by the time-displaced O5.
Extermination #5 Tying Off The Loose Ends
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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