Graphic Novel Review: X-Men: EXtermination

X-Men: EXtermination

X-Men: EXtermination - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Plucked from the past to save the future, the original five X-Men have resigned themselves to the fact that they might never return to their own era, and have evolved and grown as a result of their experiences in the present.

But their absences from history threaten to cause irrevocable damage to the timeline, leading to drastic intervention from a younger version of the X-Man Cable. After assassinating his older self for failing to set history back on its correct course, “Kid Cable” begins kidnapping the original five and restoring them to the state they were in when they were first dragged from yesterday to today.

With the entire line-up of the X-Men mobilised in response to the murder of their friend, protecting their young cohorts remains their prime objective, especially following the arrival of the deadly Ahab.

The leader of the mutant-hunting Hounds has come from the future to secure his own timeline by killing the O5 before they have a chance to return back into history. Apart from merely leaving a trail of death and destruction in his wake, Ahab uses the powers of two mutant siblings to convert X-Men into Hounds and swell the ranks of his army while depleting those of the heroes.

Inevitably, decisions must be made to thwart Ahab’s machinations, even if that means taking extreme measures to restore Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Beast and Iceman to their proper time and place, but can the contemporary X-Men live with the consequences of their actions?

If all that sounds rather complicated, then you obviously haven’t been reading the X-Men for long! Surprisingly, it not only all makes sense, but successfully draws on the mutant misfits’ rich history while charting a new direction full of untapped potential.

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The creative team of Ed Brisson, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia and Joe Sabino have achieved the impossible by clearing up the mess left by Brian Michael Bendis, who established the time-twisted teen X-Men concept but then left the franchise without resolving it. The clever resolution to the conundrum not only ensures Marvel history is set back on its proper course, but doesn’t undermine any of the O5’s character development over the past few years.