Following Extermination #1’s shocking last-page reveal, today, many readers will surely call in sick to work and instead speed to their local comic shop where they’ll lunge for a copy of Extermination #2 and flip through its pages in search of answers. X-Fans demand answers, dammit!
Cable killed… Cable???
Is this truly a younger version of Nathan Summers?
Is it actually Nate Grey and he’s gone prematurely… er… gray?
Is young, killer Cable actually… Cyclops? (Hey, don’t look at me, Marvel was the one teasing it. OK, you got me, I teased it too.)
Listen, you want answers, I want answers, BUT, this issue requires a degree of patience. Because rather than serve up the answers you seek, writer Ed Brisson tosses more mysteries readers’ way. I mean, it’s issue 2 of 5, did you expect anything less?
Now, if you do have patience, then you’re likely to enjoy this comic, as it’s another solid entry in this mini-series with even more fantastic artwork from artist Pepe Larraz and colorist Marte Gracia. And while the drawn-out mystery surrounding All-New, All-Different Cable is a bit frustrating, there’s so much great character work on display here, you accept it and carry on.
Extermination #2 kicks off with a new mystery (told you there were more mysteries): What does young Cable want with Calvin Rankin, also known as classic X-Men character Mimic? He’s recruited for Cable’s mission at the most inconvenient time–while grocery shopping!
New Cable’s kind of an ass, huh? At least he didn’t quip “Clean up on aisle seven.” You know what? He probably did, Larraz just cut away to spare us.
From there, we rejoin young Cyclops in quite possibly his most emo mood since he arrived in the modern era (where he likely discovered and fell in love with emo music). Bloodstorm is dead–and it’s all Scott’s fault! But teen Jean Grey is there to comfort him–but Scott just wants to be left alone! But Jean won’t leave his side! Agh!!! The drama!!!
I jest. Anyone who reads my X-Men Blue reviews knows I live for this Scott and Jean stuff. Despite the fact that Scott and Bloodstorm were on a date when she died, Jean is still there for Scott. It’s a testament to the strength of these characters’ relationship, even when it’s not romantic.
But beyond this quiet scene with Jean (hey, that rhymes!), emo Scott gets another chance to express himself after the older X-Men reveal their plan to keep the remaining original five safe from Ahab and his Hounds. They’re being hunted and Cyclops isn’t a fan of Kitty Pryde’s plan to put them in “little hidey holes.”
Yes, even when Cyclops is being the badass leader we all know he can be… he goes and slips “little hidey holes” into his angry diatribe. But you know what? Young Cyclops has been feeling sorry for himself for way too long. If the original five are truly going home, it’s nice to see Brisson exploring Scott’s more rebellious side. And actually, is there anything more rebellious than saying “little hidey holes” with a straight face?
Aside from some solid character work, the rest of this issue is a lot of setup. Brisson is moving those pieces into place as the likelihood of full extermination increases. For example, we learn why teen Jean teams up with the original X-Force on next issue’s cover. Also, I enjoyed the fact that in one scene, adult Jean Grey, teen Jean Grey, teen Cyclops and Rachel Summers, the daughter of alternate versions of Scott and Jean, were all a part of the same conversation.
The X-Men are so wacky.
You know what’s not wacky? This issue’s art! No siree, this is just gorgeous X-Men comics in the proud tradition of so many other gorgeous X-Men comics (you know the ones). From Scott and Jean’s intimate talk at dusk to a rain-soaked Jean standing up to young Cable, it’s just one masterfully composed image after another. With three more issues to go, I’m not sure I’m ready to live in a world where Larraz and Gracia aren’t producing X-Men imagery. Let’s hope it’s not long before they reunite with Brisson on an upcoming Uncanny X-Men arc.
Speaking of Uncanny X-Men, I’ll be honest–this issue made me think back to Uncanny co-writer Matthew Rosenberg’s Phoenix Resurrection mini-series, which also took its time balancing character work with new mysteries. And we all know how that turned out (spoilers: it was amazing!). So I continue to be optimistic about this mini-series, what it has in store for our favorite mutants and, of course, the sure-to-be satisfying answers to those Brisson mysteries.
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