EXTEMRINATION #3 looks, once again, absolutely stunning thanks to Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia. Ed Brisson adds in some fantastic characterization to the mix. It continues this bombastic miniseries with panache.
95 %
Chilling Art

Writer Ed Brisson crafts a blood-soaked tale in EXTERMINATION #3. Various X-Men turn into Ahab’s mutant-hunting hounds thanks to some double agents in the X-Mansion. The dangers become more intense for the time-displaced Original Five X-Men. The plot development in this issue is somewhat light. In fact, half of the issue seems to serve as a backdoor pilot for Brisson’s upcoming X-FORCE book. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Brisson puts the focus on strong dialogue and characterization rather than big, shocking moments this issue. I think it pays off pretty well. EXTERMINATION #3 also serves as a beautiful way to showcase Pepe Larraz’ fantastic art skills. This issue looks as dark and grim as its plot, which is perfect.

You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog in EXTERMINATION #3

In the last issue, just about every surviving member of the X-Men met up at the X-Mansion to discuss both Ahab’s and young Cable’s threats to the Original Five. Kitty Pryde devised a plan for a few separate groups to watch over the Five so that they can avoid another ambush. In EXTERMINATION #3, the plan goes into effect, but it fails spectacularly. At the X-Mansion, Ahab attacks in order to get to younger Beast. He turns Old Man Logan into one of his hounds, who goes after older Beast. Ahab reveals that the two French mutant children who the X-Men rescued in the first issue turned out to be his own agents. They used their powers to turn a few X-Men into sleeper hounds. Each member’s sleeper program turns on.

EXTERMINATION #3 page 3. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

At Searebro, Hound-Nightcrawler teleports young Cyclops into the ocean, and the water pressure nearly kills him before older Jean rescues him. Now, Cyclops lays in a coma as a result. In the X-Wing jet, the reunited X-Force team flies Jean Grey to safety when suddenly Shatterstar becomes a hound. Meanwhile, at the X-Mansion, Ahab is near victory when the young Cable arrives and kidnaps Hank. Ahab calls off his hounds, but does the trouble end there? Read EXTERMINATION #3 to find out!

X-Cellent Dialogue in EXTERMINATION #3

Brisson delivers a rather thin plot this issue. Much of the book contains either characters fighting or Ahab delivering exposition. However, during these scenes, Brisson flexes his characterization muscles and ends up delivering a memorable issue anyway. For one, I really enjoyed basically everything involving older Hank McCoy this issue. He showed his true nobility and selflessness this issue. In recent times, way back since the first issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ ALL-NEW X-MEN, Hank has been characterized as a selfish, cold-hearted scientist. That’s not the Hank I know and love. Brisson remembers this, too, with Hank facing a crazed Logan and getting seriously injured in order to protect both his younger counterpart and his fellow X-Men.

The way Brisson writes him, you can clearly see how much he cares for his teammates. As he collapses from his wounds, the only thing he can say is that he’s sorry for letting Cable take young Hank. That scene nearly made me tear up.

The other part of this issue I loved was Brisson’s X-Force. It’s clear that he’s a fan of the old school ‘90s version of the team since he writes them with loving care. They’re not parodies of themselves. They’re a bit over-the-top, as they should be as products of ‘90s excess, but it’s done endearingly so. When they discuss what they’ll do when they meet the younger Cable again, they banter among themselves about how they’d kill him. It’s a cute — if a bit morose — scene. It also shows that Brisson’s the best choice to write the upcoming X-FORCE series. I can’t wait for it.

The Art Gets Dark in EXTERMINATION #3

In my review of the last issue, I noted how beautiful and serene Larraz and colorist Marte Gracia’s art looked in a few scenes. The duo does the absolute opposite in EXTERMINATION #3. The art is still a wonder to look at, but it’s no longer a nice, calming scene. Instead, every page in this book looks like it’s ripped out of a different horror film. The scenes in the X-Wing are draped in a sickly red hue, foreshadowing the violence that’s about to happen onboard. In Searebro, everything looks dark draped against the near-pitch-black depths below the sea. My favorite page, though, showcases Ahab in the X-Mansion. As he stands with his two double agents, Ahab looks absolutely frightening. His tiny, scarred and wrinkled face looks like the stuff of nightmares. The Wednesday-Addams-looking girl’s blank expression is chilling.

EXTERMINATION #3 page 6. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

On top of this, Marte Gracia’s coloring in the background is subtly scary. The realistic looking blood splatters all along the background adds an almost subliminal feeling of dread. I didn’t catch it upon my first read, but when I noticed the blood, I was taken aback.

Final Thoughts: EXTERMINATION #3

EXTERMINATION #3 is a strong showcase for Brisson’s dialogue and characterization skills. It also features some grim looking art from Larraz and Gracia. Overall, it’s another great chapter in this exciting miniseries.

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