For whatever reason, it seems that slow pacing has popped up as a recurring problem in the world of comic books as of late. Too often, readers pick up a comic book to find out that the first three-quarters of what they're reading consists of one large exposition dump. More times than not, the story doesn't get started until halfway through the title. Fortunately for fans of the X-Men, there need be no pacing worries when it comes to Extermination #5.
A fitting end for the best X-Men title of the year, Ed Brisson is able to beautifully craft a well-paced tale that only gets better each time you turn the page. Between Brisson's brilliant plotting and Pepe Larraz's gorgeous artwork, this simply isn't a book that is easy to put down.
The storyline of this miniseries isn't anything groundbreaking or innovative. In fact, it's something we've read through time and time again. There's some radicalized terrorist that wants to end mutantkind as we know it. The thing is that somehow, someway, Brisson makes it exciting. He makes it intense and exhilarating. And about Larraz's artwork? It really does make you want to hop right in and fight alongside the X-Men.
Using the shock-and-awe value from the last page of Extermination #4, this title opens up with a twist, and believe it or not, that's not the only one in this issue. Twist after twist and turn after turn, Brisson manages to always iron the wrinkles out without the story becoming convoluted at any given point.
One of the things that stands out most, in particular, is the fact that the time-displaced X-Men finally make the realization that it's bizarre they're still in the future. The character growth exhibited in witnessing these kids realize they're their own worst enemy was an astonishing sight to see.
Reading through this issue, it's increasingly hard to pick out legitimate criticisms about the book — it's easily the best of the miniseries. When you think there are too many characters involved, Brisson's able to give each character their fair share of the spotlight. When you think the pages are starting to might get too cluttered, Larraz uses a unique layout to keep you interested. Not once does it feel like there are too many characters in the book, even though there are scenes that include dozens of characters in a single panel.
If there's one major flaw in the book, it's the fact that we'll have to wait until next month to find out what happens with the monstrous — seriously, probably the biggest — reveal at the end.
From the moment the cover was opened, Extermination #5 was a pedal to the metal thrill ride that didn't let up once, not even for a second. Packed to the brim with action and brilliant pacing, this issue is the perfect end cap to the best X-family comic of the year. This book had it all — action, heartbreak, lessons learned, and jaw-dropping twists and frankly, it's quite the high note for the House of Ideas to end their year on.
Published by Marvel Comics
On December 19, 2018
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Pepe Larraz
Colors by Marte Gracia
Letters by Joe Sabino
Cover by Mark Brooks