We all knew it was going to come to an end eventually. The only thing we didn’t know was how. Extermination #5 finally answers how the original five X-Men end up going home, and what it means for the X-Men.
Ed Brisson, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Joe Sabino draw their story to a close here. It’s an issue that’s explosive but also very personal and impactful for its cast.
[**Major spoilers ahead!]
The teen original five and Kid Cable spring into action, traveling the timestream to find out how to undo the damage Ahab has done and return to their home era. Thanks to their actions, the day is saved, but at the sacrifice of all they’re learned and grown. However, there might be greater ramifications than we realize…
This is a really great issue, as Brisson’s story hits the story beats we all knew were coming, but adds the emotional moments we needed. There are some pacing problems, just due to the amount of ground the issue has to cover, but it’s mostly successful. In retrospect there was no other way the O5’s story could have ended, but it doesn’t erase the growth and progress the characters made.
It’s also full of important emotional beats, most importantly dealing with Bobby Drake’s sexuality. In a heartbreaking sequence Bobby doesn’t want to go home, because it will erase what he’s come to learn about himself, but his older self reassures him that isn’t that case one bit. It’s not perfect, but it works.
Larraz’s work continues to be absolutely beautiful. He evokes Stuart Immonen- the artist that started this massive story–a lot here, but also keeps his own style. His actions scenes are explosive and chaotic, but thanks to his sense of perspective and scope, remain easy to follow. His personal moments are completely fantastic as well, as the aforementioned Iceman scene wouldn’t work without the body language and facial expressions he uses.
Marte’s color work helps with the clarity of the scene, using splashes of color to help the line art direct the eye and the add impact to the action. He also uses color to great effect to set moods. It’s on great display when blue skies suddenly turn red upon Ahab’s arrival.
As an overall whole, this is the best X-Men event we’ve gotten in years, and I’m glad to have seen the saga of the time-lost original five come to an end in such a satisfying way.
Extermination #5 is available now from Marvel Comics.