WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Extermination #1 by Ed Brisson, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia and VC’s Joe Sabino, on sale now.
There are many mysteries heading into the X-Men event Extermination, ranging from what the final fate of the original, younger X-Men will be, to what effect the miniseries will have on the past, present and future timelines of the Marvel Universe.
One mystery that hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention has to do with the hooded figure displayed on the very first panel of Extermination #1. Of course, we took our own educated guesses at the character’s identity, but nothing could have prepared us for what Marvel revealed in the opening salvo of the series.
As we mentioned earlier, the unknown figure appears in the opening pages of Extermination #1, which take place twenty years in the future. We’re taken to the destroyed grounds of the Xavier Institue for Mutant Education and Outreach after an army of Sentinels wiped out the remaining X-Men. This attack was featured in various Extermination post-credits scenes leading up to the miniseries, but the mystery character believes things are not as they should be. He then quickly disappears in a flash of blue light, teleporting to the present-day where he picks the young Iceman as his first target.
Iceman isn’t the only original X-Man being hunted, however. Cyclops’ date with Bloodstorm is interrupted by Ahab and his mutant-hunting Hounds, resulting in Bloodstorm’s death. Believing Ahab to be behind Iceman’s disappearance, X-Men young and old regroup at the Xavier Institute to begin their search.
Luckily, Iceman has another time-traveling X-Man in his corner as back-up. Cable has arrived to offer his aide, and eventually has to step in once Iceman is rendered unconscious by a stun dart. Cable and our mystery character wind up sparring with one another, and it is here that we start to gain additional clues to his identity. The hooded figure blames Cable for everything that happens, declaring he neglected to do his duty. It’s not until Cable replies that we learn they’re both referring to the time-displaced X-Men.
“They needed them to see,” Cable says. “Needed to see what they became so that they… so they could go back with that knowledge and be better.” In essence, Cable is referring to Beast bringing the original X-Men from the past to the present, in order to knock some sense into present-day Cyclops back in Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen’s All-New X-Men.
So we know the mystery character has a grudge against the original X-Men, but we still don’t know his identity. Well, that wouldn’t come until the end of the issue, and the loss of another X-Man’s life.
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