Written By: Greg Pak, David Lapham, David López
Illustrations By: Matteo Buffagni, Andre Arujo, Roberto de la Torre
Publish Date: 2013
Rating: C –
X-Men: X-Termination brings together 3 different X-men series (Astonishing X-men, Age of Apocalypse, and X-treme X-men). If you haven’t been following at least X-Men: The Complete Age of Apocalypse you’re going to be pretty lost since the majority of the story focuses on previous plot points from that series. I picked this one up to finish out the X-Treme X-Men series without having read Age of Apocalypse (AoA), so I was confused over several points. (Such as AoA Jean Grey not having mutant powers anymore, AoA Nightcrawler’s vengeance mission, AoA’s Beast being evil, and the AoA team’s dislike of Scott Summers.)
At it’s heart, this story revolves around the AoA Nightcrawler’s mission of redemption after having been obsessed with avenging his wife’s death without consideration for the consequences of his actions. It’s also a story arc for AoA Jean Grey who gets tasked with a mission to save the multi-verse. So, if you’re reading this as a wrap-up to the X-treme X-men story, like I was, you’re going to be extremely disappointed. Those story arcs and characters get shoved into the background or are efficiently dispatched to make way for AoA to take over.
Separating this from X-treme X-men, X-termination was an okay story. Nightcrawler is one of my favorite characters and AoA Kurt had a lot of page time here, so I did enjoy that aspect. I also enjoyed his character arc but I wish I had been following his story prior to reading this volume since X-termination is the wrap-up to a larger plot. Outside of that, I was too lost to enjoy a lot of what was going on. I didn’t understand the dynamics of the AoA team and I wasn’t a fan of the main “villains” here since they were just mindless consumers of power.
All in all, a very disappointing ending for X-Treme X-men which had shown so much promise in its first volume. I would recommend this only if you’ve been following all of the series that come together here.
X-Treme X-men, Vol 2: You Can’t Go Home Again
Written By: Greg Pak
Illustrations By: Stephen Segovia, André Lima Araújo, and Paco Diaz Luque
Publish Date: 2013
Series: X-Treme X-men, vol. 2
Rating: B –
After adoring X-Treme X-Men, Vol. 1: Xavier Must Die! I had high expectations going into X-Treme X-men, Vol 2: You Can’t Go Home Again. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to them. The first volume was fast paced but stream-lined and had some really interesting character development happening. In comparison, this volume was disjointed and I found myself confused about what exactly was going on in several parts.
This collection starts out where the last volume ended with Issues 6 – 7 which finds Kurt accidentally back in his own universe. These two issues were fantastic. The story is that Kurt is trying to find out what happened to his parents in a post-robot uprising landscape. Like Howlett’s (and even Emma’s) development in the first volume, Kurt’s character development here was extremely well done and I was glad to see such a great conclusion to his story-thread. However, this is where the collection lost me.
Issue 7.1 (which was the worst one, IMO) to mid-10 seemed to be all over the place. The main reason was that things became extremely rushed. Up until 7.1, some time had been taken in each universe to build-up to the final battle with the “evil Xavier”. They had also taken time to build-up character conflicts and distrust of the Xavier who has been navigating them to each world. This made the overall story more engaging because it dedicated time to making sure you got invested with the characters and what they were trying to do. After Kurt’s plot though, it was like someone pressed the fast-forward button. The pacing was very Grant Morrison-ish, as we jumped from one emergency (or several) right into the next one with very little build-up and at the expense of engaging character arcs. To give some idea of how much the story was sped-up, in the first volume we made it through 3 Xaviers while in this volume we got through 6. I’m guessing that things became rushed because they (whoever they is) wanted to get to the X-men X-termination story?
I will say that in the middle of issue 10, the plot managed to slow it’s pacing back down and re-engage me. So by the end, I was back to full investment and am looking forward to reading X-Men: X-Termination.