By Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado and Victor Olazaba
To say that Apocalypse War has been underwhelming is a bit of an understatement. We’re a fairly decent way into the crossover and Apocalypse hasn’t even shown up. Each of the X-titles have been dealing with a different aspect of Apocalypse, with Extraordinary X-Men handling the horsemen, which has honestly been one of the more intriguing storylines of the three titles. Having said that, the whole crossover has pretty much been a bore, but hopefully a battle with the horsemen will change all of that.
Jeff Lemire gets a lot of criticism over this book. There could be any number of reasons why, but there is no denying that Extraordinary X-Men has failed to meet expectations. There are some decent things that happen this issue, but there are also some not so wonderful elements. Starting with the good, Lemire is writing Nightcrawler very well lately, and this issue saw him take a very central role. He took action and saved the day on more than one occasion. Lemire has Colossus use some interesting new powers to attack Martha and we figure out why Deadpool hasn’t been talking. Also, it’s hard to deny that the Four Horsemen are pretty cool. One of the negatives in this issue is that Lemire has been writing Storm as a fairly incompetent leader of the X-Men when traditionally Storm has been a very strong and proud character. She has been in just about every tough situation you could possibly think of, but in this issue we have her questioning herself and making bad decisions. Thankfully Nightcrawler is there to help and take charge, but Storm has not been great under Lemire’s pen. Another odd sequence is a few panels between Old Man Logan and teen Jean. Their connection seems incredibly strong for some reason, almost as strong as actual Jean and Logan. We’re eleven issues into this series, and while these two characters have spent a decent amount of time together, it seems like it’s a bit rushed or forced. As Logan is overtaken by the symbiote, Jean enters his mind to try to pull him out of it. Her words seemed too friendly, like that of people who have known each other for ages, instead of a few weeks. Despite the negatives, Lemire did write a decent issue, but Extraordinary X-Men is still not a home run.
The pencils this issue are handled by Humberto Ramos with colors by Edgar Delgado and inks by Victor Olazaba. The art is also a mixed bag here. With Ramos’ name on the cover, it’s pretty much a given that you’re going to get some exaggerated work. Any scene with the symbiote in it is a little blown out of proportion, but rife with energy. That thing is huge and just all over the page to a distracting degree. Ramos does draw some good panels as Jean is in Logan’s mind. The background is all white and nothing seems overdone, and the pencils look realistic. No one’s body is oversized or distorted. There is also a panel in this issue where Magik’s little protégé is standing over her lifeless body digging her soul sword into Magik’s stomach. This is an example of Ramos at his best; The characters look real, it’s clear he took his time on this panel and nothing seems rushed. The colors by Edgar Delgado are pretty good this issue. Panels where Deadpool unleashes a swarm of bugs on Iceman is a bit of a tough panel to color, but Delgado does it just fine. He really excels when powers and effects are used. Storm’s lightning looks bright and flawless as she attacks a foe. Overall, the art was decent, but if you don’t like Ramos’ style, this issue isn’t going to bring you around.
Extraordinary X-Men has been a book that has struggled with it’s identity and that continues here. It’s hard not to feel like this isn’t a series or storyline that we’ve read before. Jeff Lemire is a talented writer, but this hasn’t been a good platform for his talents. The art is hit or miss and is more likely more miss. If you’re a casual reader, this may be an okay series for you, but if you’re a die-hard X-fan, it’s far from anything special.