We must be in possession of the stronger hand...
Marvel's X-Termination story arc continues with it's fourth part featured in Age of Apocalypse #14 which is also the final issue of the Age of Apocalypse series. Written by David Lapham, Marjorie Liu and Greg Pak and drawn by Andre Araujo and Renato Arlem, the issue sees the heroes continue to fight against extra-dimensional energy-consuming beings that threaten the multiverse.
Here's exactly why these cross-title crossovers suck: this is barely even an issue of Age of Apocalypse. Other than a few lines from Prophet here and there and then the last 3 pages of Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Beast, this isn't Age of Apocalypse at all. In fact, the last issue of X-Termination (Astonishing X-Men #60) was more of an issue of Age of Apocalypse than this.
Some quick catch-up, Age of Apocalypse is cancelled! That's why in the last part of X-Termination we saw Horror Show and Sabretooth have a pointlessly crap death scene together and that's why in this issue we get most of the rest of the cast killed off (by issue end, only Prophet, Deadeye and Jean Grey are alive). It's so damn insulting to someone who has read this book and genuinely found the X-Terminated to be interesting new characters. What I get? Fiend, M and Colossus all die off-panel, Goodnight has vanished off the face of the Earth since X-Termination began and basically the few characters that are still alive get nothing to do. We're losing a lot of characters that were just interesting and varied... and then this story still finds it appropriate to have TWO Wolverines and TWO Nightcrawlers flaunting around alive. For the record though, the team from X-Treme X-Men (another cancelled book) are also being killed off right and center. The X-Men team (aka the book that isn't cancelled) haven't even endured a single scratch. Transparent much?
This issue is pretty unspectacular. It doesn't really focus on anything in particular with just a bunch of X-Men and Hercules (who I'll admit is charmingly out-of-place) fighting one of the unnamed Cosmic villains. The only moment from this fight that is really memorable is Hercules dies a pretty lame death. I haven't been reading X-Treme X-Men, but considering it's written by Pak I'm not surprised Herc showed up, and I'm not surprised to see another character from a book that didn't sell die an unsatisfying and redundant death. Only other real notable part of the issue was Dark Beast acquiring the Death Seed to give himself the power of Apocalypse in the final scene.
The two artists do not work well together at all. Araujo draws scenes in the mainstream reality and Arlem does the Age of Apocalypse stuff. Their two styles do not gel together at all. I don't care if you argue that it is meant to symbolize the differences between these two realities by having completely different art styles, it just looks a mess. It's even worse that on some pages it features panels by both artists when the scene changes. Damn ugly presentation.
Really, it's just an average "heroes-fight-threat-they-can't-beat" story with a very bad management of cast and a poor balance between the heroes involved. It makes for a really disappointing and basically insulting end to the Age of Apocalypse series. Age of Apocalypse was a series which had a lot of neat and creative stuff going on that set it apart from nearly all the other Marvel titles. Here we basically see all that tossed away; most those new characters introduced a year ago are all dying, the book ends with a really weak-ass issue that doesn't at all give it a nice farewell and things don't look promising for the two remaining main characters or the entire universe they inhabit.