As the Age of X-Man reaches its conclusion, the individual characters involved are seeing their lives fall apart and their world collapse around them. This is especially true for the X-Tremists, who have all learned that they themselves do not fit the mold of the universe they inhabit. Psylocke and Blob have fallen in love, Northstar and Iceman have started realizing their own sexual orientations, and Jubilee ended the last issue revealing that she remembered her son, Shogo. This issue picks up immediately where the last ended, and concludes this tale of forbidden feelings and repressed emotions in a bombastic, explosive finale.
The issue begins with Jubilee narrating over the riot that began at the end of #4, explaining the discordant feeling one may feel, a sense of wrongness of one’s self. The description is specifically referring to Jubilee’s own feelings as a mother being repressed, as she was at odds with herself with no idea why. However, the strength of this opening scene is how representative it is of the LGBTQ+ experience – thousands of people have this discordant feeling every day, completely unsure of what’s wrong, just trying to come to terms with their own identity. This page is really a microcosm for the book as a whole – it’s all about forbidden, repressed love, which is something the LGBTQ+ community is painfully familiar with. These parallels continue through the book, while the issue itself flashes back to how Jubilee came to discover this key part of her own identity.
Continuing the plotline that had moved along in the background of the series, Jubilee is the only member of Department X on watch when Sen Nezumi escapes from her makeshift prison. Busting out surrounded by rats and holding her newborn baby, Nezumi forces her way out and tries to threaten Jubilee into helping her escape. But Jubilee, upon seeing the baby, is hit with a flood of emotions and suddenly remembers Shogo, her child from outside the Age of X-Man. This is a realization that’s been 5 issues in the making, and the moment where Jubilee realizes is full of horror and anguish in a way that’s just intensely understandable and even relatable. The emotional impact of this issue hits perfectly, and the anguish the characters feel is conveyed in a way that is near impossible to not be affected by.
The issue proceeds as Jubilee decides to help Nezumi escape, while also deciding to rain hell on the society that kept her child from her. She discovers Moneta’s corpse as left in Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #4, and decides to turn all her anger and frustration against the world. This feeling of rage is just as palpable as the turmoil and anguish from earlier within this issue, as Leah Williams does an excellent job getting into the character’s head and baring it in full to the audience. As Jubilee’s riot begins, Blob’s home catches fire, and the focus pivots over to him and Psylocke. Psylocke reveals that she had not been wiping everyone’s minds, and only repressing their memories, before giving them back to the entire population. As the entire world begins to collapse due to the population remembering what was taken from them, Nezumi escapes, Blob protects Betsy from the world that has turned against her, and Jubilee, Northstar, and Iceman all come together in the agreement to make everyone pay for what’s been done to them. The story concludes on a shot of Nezumi off on her own, escaping the oncoming storm with her newborn child, wrapping up the story of the X-Tremists and setting up the final confrontation in Age of X-Man: Omega.
Williams’ storytelling has been improving dramatically even within this miniseries, and the final issue is no exception – it’s the strongest off the series by far. With all these moving parts and disparate plot threads converging, at no point does it feel disjointed or unearned. Georges Jeanty’s art works incredibly well here too, as characters’ expressions and body language are able to convey their emotions incredibly well. The combination of Williams’ narration and Jeanty’s art is exquisite. Roberto Poggi’s finishes and Jim Charalampidis’ colors accentuate the storytelling incredibly as well, providing very specific tones to each scene. The opening riot is angry, Jubilee’s realization is incredibly emotional, and Nezumi’s escape is hopeful, even in the face of a universe falling apart. This bombastic finale was just as explosive as Jubilee herself, and is an excellent showing from the entire creative team.