x35's X-Treme X-Men #13 - X-Termination, Part 4: The Ultimate Sacrifice review

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A Celestial-powered monster is about to usher in a billion more just like him to eat the Universe

AF Reviews: X-Men

Marvel's X-Termination crossover continues as David Lapham, Marjorie Liu and Greg Pak deliver the 4th chapter in the Cosmic X-Men crossover with art by Guillermo Mogorron and Raul Valdes.

This issue continues on from last issue and... well, that's really all it does. Not a great deal happens here. Jean Grey and Nightcrawler get the Apocalypse seed back from Dark Beast like it's no thing and the teams are still unable to beat the Exterminator things. The issue mostly stars Dazzler and Kid Nightcrawler (both from X-Treme X-Men), and while this is the final issue of that title, it just isn't great for an issue that begins with a recap page boasting 21 starring characters, to then see most of those characters barely scrape a panel's worth of an appearance. Even the A-listers involved like Gambit, Iceman and Wolverine barely appear if at all.

The only real commendable thing about this issue is the dread I felt turning every page. I was asking myself "Is Deadeye gonna live?" and "Is Prophet going to live?" and "Is Goodnight even going to appear?". I mean, this is tense reading but not because it's written superbly to evoke those feelings, it's because this crossover is purely a mandate to clear out presumed deadwood due to cancelled books without much respect given to the people who did read books like Age of Apocalypse or X-Treme X-Men. For example, there's a scene in this where Prophet gets hit in the head with a rock and my immediate reaction was "oh for god's sake..." assuming that was the characters unglorified send-off. With that said, the causalities list is much shorter than last issues and this time we really only lose Kid Nightcrawler (and possibly a Dark Beast, it's not very clear). With that said, Kid Nightcrawler's demise is actually quite touching even though I have never read anything with the character in before this crossover.

Dark Beast grabbed the Apocalyse seed at the end of last issue and wanted to use it on himself to become the new Celestial-powered overlord of his reality. This is actually an ok little idea and added an extra threat to the story that so far has just been X-Men vs. Cosmic things. To see it so abruptly finished the next issue with literally nothing coming of it is a bit disappointing. And as I said, it simply wasn't clear what the hell was going on with him half the time because of how it was drawn.

Which neatly brings me onto the art... the art styles of these crossover have been all over the place and made even worse by issues having on average 2 artists often sharing pages. The art in this issue is easily the weakest of the art from the whole X-Termination event so far. In fact, really bad in places. I can't deduce what is Mogorron and what is Valdes, One of them draws ugly characiture noses and the other draws some of the worst faces I've ever seen drawn. In parts "nose artist" is passable when he doesn't drawn characters sideways but then "face artist" is really bad - imagine John Romita Jr. square faces with even less expression and sometimes not even a proper face drawn on.

I just don't feel anything was really accomplished in this issue and what we did have just seemed like more of the same. Heroes fight impossible Cosmic threat and can't win. While Jean attaining the Apocalypse seed is plot progression, at the end of the last two issues we've been in the position where Jean is going to get the Apocalypse seed so her actually getting her hands on it at the end of this issue isn't exactly a major jump in terms of plot.

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