The teases at the end of various X-books showed the future X-Men being systematically destroyed by advanced sentinels in the distant future, one where the time displaced X-Men are adults. All this death and build-up behind made readers curious as to why Marvel’s greatest mutants were being hunted down. Now the truth is starting to come out, but in a underwhelming first issue.
The issue largely deals with mysterious attacks on the time-displaced team and the group’s efforts to discover the identity of their assailants, who are connected to that dark future seen in the teasers. Both the team and readers don’t know what is happening during all this, which engages readers as they are placed into the X-Men’s perspective until the very end. A very smart approach by Brisson’s that would have worked even better if the plot was interesting.
Extermination #1, despite that one detail, fails as a first issue because it is generic and feels like any other X-Men time travel story. There is no hook in this comic, nothing that makes it unique amongst the numerous time travel stories that the mutant team has starred in. It feels by the numbers and its connection to a previous time travel story from the X-Men’s history doesn’t help Extermination’s case.
One other thing working against this story is how it has yet to justify all the build-up and the existence of a dedicated mini-series. Based on the first issue’s focus, Extermination could have been another arc in X-Men Blue and that approach to publishing the story would have worked fine. Why it was billed as an X-Men epic baffles me.
Larraz’s artwork and Gracia’s coloring are great, making this somewhat dull read very nice to look at. The first major action scene in the issue looks great and Larraz’s art also captures the character’s emotions quite well.
While initially opening with a great story structure, the issue fails to make a case for why this time travel story should stand out among the many in X-Men canon. It needs to prove why people should pay attention to it, beyond finally solving a nearly decade old time paradox.