Extermination #4 Changes The X-Men Forever, And That’s No Exaggeration!

by Tony Thornley

Extermination has been all about how the presence of the original five X-Men can be a problem. It’s a plot point that hasn’t been focused on since the character’s first year or so in regular Marvel Universe. Now it comes back to haunt the X-Men in a big way.

Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz are joined this penultimate issue by Ario Anindito, Dexter Vines, Erick Arciniega and Joe Sabino. A lot of the plot points of the series so far are brought together, culminating in a shocking final page.
[**Major spoilers ahead!]

Ahab is coming for the X-Men in Searebro, knowing that his mission would be accomplished by taking out young Cyclops. Cable is able to convince X-Force to join in his mission, just in time for them to come to the rescue during Ahab’s attack. Unfortunately, it’s all for naught as Ahab appears to slay Cyclops!
This is an absolute game changer the X-Men. Time travel has been a major trope of the franchise ever since the seminal Days of Future Past. Not enough of the trope has dealt with the paradoxical dangers this poses, but Brisson finally pays off what should have been the number one concern the original five should have had all along.

Along with that, Brisson is able to keep this from simply being an action story. The conversation between young Jean and Cable is a great highlight, with the two interacting as equals in a very interesting way.
Larraz provides layouts in this issue, with Anindito and Vines on line art, and Arciniega providing colors. Though the line work isn’t quite as smooth as Larraz, it’s extremely expressive and they have a great grasp of action. It’s definitely a little disappointing to not see Larraz draw the complete series, this team did an excellent job of stepping into his shoes.
Arciniega’s color work is great. I’ve sung Marte Gracia’s praises for the last three issues, and Arciniega is definitely his equal. It’s deep, and really sets the tone. The highlight for sure is the issue-closing fight between Ahab and Cyclops, which is colored in nothing but shades of red. It works wonderfully.

I really don’t know how the series will resolve in #5, but I cannot wait to see how the team gets the X-Men out of this… or doesn’t.
Extermination #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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