Total Extermination is closer than it’s ever been in the penultimate chapter of this X-Men epic.
Annnd we’re back. It feels like it’s been a while — I guess that’s what happens when Marvel spoils readers by launching a mini-series on a twice-monthly schedule, then slows down the pace to one issue a month. If it sounds like I’m whining, it’s because I pretty much am… but it’s positive whining! Really, my impatience is more of a compliment to the Extermination creative team of writer Ed Brisson and artist Pepe Larraz. Since this event’s debut issue, readers have been treated to an X-Men story that is sure to become a new classic, alongside Matthew Rosenberg’s recent Phoenix Resurrection.
Right off the bat, readers should know that after a series of mysteries, Brisson finally lays all his cards on the table with Extermination #4. What’s the deal with Kid Cable? Why is Ahab here? Wait, was that X-Men Blue story arc set in the future an Extermination tie-in after all?
Even with all the progress made on the story front, trust me, you’ll still have plenty of reason to return for the final installment of Extermination. And be warned, that last page is such a doozy, it should come with a trigger warning for a very die-hard X-Men character’s fanbase.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Last issue, teenage Jean Grey joined forces with the original X-Force team to take down Kid Cable for murdering, uh, adult Cable (hey, no one ever said X-Men comics weren’t complicated). Jean’s banter with the always eXtreme X-Force was one of the most entertaining aspects of this already very entertaining mini-series, and that fun continues in this issue. I was already going to pick up Brisson’s upcoming X-Force relaunch, and this comic only reaffirms my decision.
Teenage Jean Grey: Domino! Stop shooting!
Domino: Sure. Once he’s dead.
Beyond the snappy dialogue, there’s more of that epic Extermination action featuring Ahab and his twisted crew. I still can’t believe how much I’ve been enjoying Ahab these past four issues. Like many ’90s kids, I had his action figure, but that purchase was always more about me completing my Toy Biz X-Men collection than pure love for the character. But now, 25 years later, I can finally be proud of my Ahab toy.
Thank you, Ed Brisson.
Now, there is a downside to this issue. And it’s not a total downside*–it’s a downside with an asterisk (I’ll get to that). While Larraz does this issue’s layouts, the final pencils are by artist Ario Anindito. I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was upsetting. Larraz’s pencils on this series have been astonishing, so I was sad to see him have to partially sit this issue out (for a good reason, I’m sure). With that said, the layouts he provides definitely provide a nice sense of continuity with issues 1-3’s visuals.
Now, the reason for that asterisk. Anindito does a nice job fleshing out Larraz’s layouts. Anindito’s pencils definitely feature thinner and more detailed lines than what we’ve seen before, but those same stylistic choices lend themselves well to the interior of Ahab’s ship, The Pequod, and flashes of the villain’s dark future.
Also dark–this issue’s final pages! But you’ll discover those for yourself once you pick up this issue. And then, you’ll need to wait. And I mean really wait, as the final issue of Extermination was moved to December. After you see this issue’s cliffhanger, the wait is sure to be eXcruciating.
But I’m pretty sure that’s what Ahab would want. Right, Ahab?Oh… I don’t think he’s happy with me after that took-me-25-years-to-appreciate-him comment. Uhh… gotta go.