Normally, at this point in an event miniseries, things may have slowed down. Wheels may get spun. There might be some stalling or decompression. Extermination #3 basically says forget that, ramping up the stakes and pushing the story forward in some horrifying ways.
The team – writer Ed Brisson, artist Pepe Larraz, color artist Marte Gracia, and letterer Joe Sabino – has thrown the X-Men deep in the fire in this issue. In true X-Men tradition, the group has separated, but instead of complicating things, it moves and drives the plot forward.
The Mansion is in chaos as Ahab has descended on it with his Hounds, which now includes Logan. He reveals the orphans from #1 are actually sleeper agents, which can hasten his creation of Hounds. Then, in one horrifying moment, he sets Logan on present-day Beast, and activates two others- Nightcrawler and Shatterstar.
This leads into two great brawls and one horrifying moment – X-Force and Jean fight ‘Star, ending with Cannonball ejecting with his gladiator friend in tow. Hank tries to stop Logan from finding his young self (which is a crisis averted at the last moment by Cable). Jean’s team has to save Cyclops before he’s killed by the crushing pressure of the ocean. Anger renewed, the remaining X-Force bursts into Cable’s base with righteous fury…
Brisson is able to pack so much story into these pages. None of it feels slighted or sparse. It covers a lot of ground, but it does it capably and without getting messy. Once again, it feels like a much bigger issue than it actually is.
He’s also still able to get the character bits on point. One interesting touch is how he writes both versions of Jean. It genuinely feels like the same character at two different stages – one younger and more brash, the other (as cliche as it is) older and wiser.
Larraz and Gracia’s work continues to give us the best looking X-Men story in ages. Larraz’s pages are able to swing from conveying chaos, to emotion, to danger effortlessly. His Hounds are an especially great part of the story, with the mutated X-Men taking on a more gaunt and weary look instantaneously.
Last issue, I complimented Gracia’s work with a gorgeous twilight. Here, he’s able to help the shifts in setting. Searebro is cast in deep blues, while Domino’s jet is filled with red light. It really helps flesh out the action.
This has been the most exciting X-Men story I’ve read in ages. This team has me on the edge of my seat.
Extinction #3 is available now from Marvel Comics.