Graphic Novel Review: X-Men: X-Termination

X-Men: X-Termination

X-Men: X-Termination - Credit: Archant

Multiple X-Men teams travel across dimensions to save all of reality...

(Panini Books)

IT is necessary to have far more than a fleeting understanding of events in recent X-Men books to follow what is happening in this multiversal crossover saga, and it took more than one visit to Wikipedia to bring myself up to speed.

It doesn’t help that this story features several versions of the same character, albeit from different dimensions, and serves to wrap up the long-running plots of two separate X-books – Age of Apocalypse and X-Treme X-Men – while also including elements of a third – Astonishing X-Men.

The Astonishing team are the ones from our reality, and include the likes of Wolverine, Iceman, Northstar, Karma and Gambit. The X-Treme X-Men travel between dimensions in search of evil versions of Charles Xavier, and include an alternate version of Wolverine, Howlett, Hercules, Dazzler, Sage and a young Nightcrawler counterpart known as Kurt Waggoner.

Meanwhile, the Age of Apocalypse is the harsh reality once ruled over by the immortal mutant Apocalypse, where a coalition of human survivors have recently defeated the corrupted Weapon Omega, only to encounter a hole torn in the fabric of space-time by the return of their own Nightcrawler and Dark Beast from a sojourn in our universe.

With the Astonishing and X-Treme teams arriving soon afterwards, they witness the arrival of colossal energy-draining Exterminators, creatures from the void in-between universes which threaten to destroy all realities unless thwarted…

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This remarkably complicated set-up sort of makes sense once the key players have been introduced, as what we’re left with is a desperate battle to prevent the end of multiple worlds, with major characters dropping like flies in the process and at least one reality being wiped out as a result of the Exterminators’ onslaught…

The X-Men franchise has always enjoyed convoluted plots and a vast cast of characters, but these elements should never stand in the way of decent story-telling, something this book is occasionally in danger of doing. Not an entry-level story in any way, and at times a difficult read for even the most ardent Marvel fan, X-Termination is something of a disappointment coming in the wake of the relaunched Uncanny X-Men and time-twisting All-New X-Men, and can only really be recommended for completists.