EXTERMINATION #5 is, from beginning to end, a beautiful, exciting book. Ed Brisson makes this into his tribute to the Original Five, and boy is it amazing. All X-Men fans need to read this book, especially if you’re a fan of the Original Five. Pepe Larraz’s art is fraught with emotion, and that makes it look simply astounding.
99 %
Sensational Series End

The best X-Men event in years finally reaches its final issue with EXTERMINATION #5. In this issue, the Original Five X-Men and Kid Cable team up to stop Ahab’s assault on all the X-Men. Ed Brisson finishes this miniseries just as strong as he started it, if not stronger. There are loads of bittersweet moments, as well as multiple heartwarming scenes involving both the Original Five and their modern counterparts.

This issue was a very long time coming, ever since the first issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ ALL-NEW X-MEN. This issue serves as a near-perfect end of an era; it’s a fantastic bookend to the Original Five’s story. Plus, all the fight scenes in this book look absolutely stunning thanks to Pepe Larraz’s beautiful artwork. All-in-all, this issue proves to be instantly memorable, making this series a high point for this era of the X-Men.

WARNING: There are SPOILERS ahead!

The Young X-Men in EXTERMINATION #5

In the prior issues of EXTERMINATION, Kid Cable came from the future to prevent an apocalypse from occurring. In doing so, he kidnapped members of the Original Five X-Men in order to remove any physical augments they may have gained before sending them back to the past. He also killed the older version of Cable, who would have interfered with his plans. Meanwhile, Ahab hunted the Original Five, which brought him face-to-face with nearly every X-Man imaginable. He used two young mutants to quickly turn many of the X-Men into his brainwashed hounds. In EXTERMINATION #5, Mimic sacrifices his life in order to save young Cyclops from Ahab. The X-Men face Ahab, and, one-by-one, nearly all of them become hounds. The outcome looks grim, so young Jean Grey decides that Kid Cable’s plan is correct. She agrees that the Original Five must go back to their timeline.

EXTERMINATION #5 page 9. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Before doing so, Kid Cable brings them to a possible future in order to learn how to turn the X-Men back from being hounds, and to stop Ahab. While in this timeline, the Original Five also destroy Ahab’s time-traveling ship. Once Jean gets her information, the Original Five travel to the point when Beast took them way back in ALL-NEW X-MEN #1. Jean wipes their memories, but she ensures that their memories will return to their older counterparts immediately after the mind-wipe ends. She succeeds, and in the present, older Jean quickly brings back her brainwashed teammates. But does she save everyone? And why, exactly, was Kid Cable so intent on helping the Original Five, and where does he go from here? Read EXTERMINATION #5 to find out!

A Beautiful Finale in EXTERMINATION #5

EXTERMINATION #5 doesn’t only serves as the finale to the event series. It also doubles as the finale to the entire Original Five saga. This controversial storyline, which began back in 2013, started with the Beast bringing the Original Five X-Men to the present in order to, somehow, bridge the divide between Wolverine’s team and Cyclops’ team. Since then, Cyclops and Wolverine died, teams rearranged their memberships multiple times, and the Original Five learned many new things about themselves and went on various new adventures. Now, Ed Brisson brings that to an end with EXTERMINATION #5. It was inevitable that they’d eventually go back, but we got the best possible ending to their story with this issue. Brisson treats their return very gracefully. He doesn’t erase their existence; instead, he lets their memories live on through their older counterparts. It’s a very reverential and respectful ending.

I think that even those who don’t care for the Original Five will enjoy this ending, and not just because it means that the characters won’t appear again. It really serves as a great love letter to the Original X-Men in general, and not just the Original Five’s modern adventures. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Merry Mutants and Brisson shows these same characters love and respect. In that sense, Brisson also inadvertently let this issue become a tribute to Stan and his eternal legacy. He sent his characters where they belong, but he also made sure that their adventures and contributions won’t be forgotten in the present or the future. To me, that’s simply heartwarming.

Stunning Artwork in EXTERMINATION #5

Pepe Larraz brings his A-game this issue (not that he didn’t in prior issues, of course). The scope of the intense, epic battle scenes Brisson scripts truly widens through Larraz’s art. You really see just how many X-Men contribute to the battle and how heated the fight’s become. One page in particular shows nearly all the X-Men together at Searebro fighting back against Ahab and his minions. I could really see the emotion in many of the characters thanks to Larraz’s cartoony-yet-expressive artwork. Laura looks incredibly angry that she has to fight a brainwashed bastardization of her father figure. Beast screams as he tosses minions around like they’re empty cardboard boxes. Young Angel admires his older counterpart’s skill and grace in taking out a minion.

EXTERMINATION #5 page 10. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

These moments of emotion shown solely through the art continue throughout the issue. Larraz really kills it with EXTERMINATION #5.

Final Thoughts: EXTERMINATION #5

EXTERMINATION #5 lives up to the hype as the final issue of a fantastic event series. You cannot miss this issue if you’re an X-Men fan. It’ll set the stage for many X-stories for years the come. Not to mention that it’s an emotional sendoff to the Original Five.

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