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Extermination's First Prelude Teases the X-Men's Latest Dark Future

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for X-Men Gold #27's "Countdown to Extermination" by Ed Brisson, Oscar Bazaldua, Erick Arciniega and Cory Petit, on sale now.

Extermination is coming for the X-Men. Of course, Marvel's merry band of mutants have been down the extinction road before, but this crisis is shaping up to be vastly different than previous dangers.

The main reason for this is because it deals with X-Men Blue's time-displaced, original X-Men. A Mark Brooks teaser image announcing Extermination was released in April, featuring classic and time-displaced versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Angel merging together. Aside from a vague release date of August 2018, no additional information has been released by Marvel, but an epilogue on the final page of X-Men Gold #27 throws readers directly into "Countdown to Extermination" via a trip 20 years into the future.

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Fighting For The Future, Past And Present

The story takes us to The Xavier Institute For Mutant Education and Outreach, which is the current school that Kitty Pryde is headmistress of in X-Men Gold. With this taking place 20 years from now, the original X-Men members shown standing with Kitty have to be the time-displaced versions that never went back to their original timeline. Seeing as how they were always destined to go back to where/when they belonged, their presence is the first clue that things have gone awry.

Kitty's speech doesn't break new ground, and is similar to ones spoken by various team leaders before her; her final words, in fact, ("To me, my X-Men!") were made famous by Professor X decades ago. But though the X-Men have their backs against the wall and they've lost loved ones, they won't let it stop them from fighting for a better tomorrow. The way Kitty builds the drama, one would think the X-Men are charging into battle against the likes of Apocalypse, Magneto or some other combination of their greatest enemies. However, the villains shown are simply their old robotic nemesis, the Sentinels.

Sure, the mechanical mutant hunters are a worthy foe, but aside from other dystopian futures like in "Days of Future Past," they never actually end up on the winning side. Unless these Sentinels are tied to the nanite-mutated variety in X-Men Gold, there has to be another, bigger explanation as to why it will take multiple X-Men teams to stop them.

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It remains to be seen whether these "Countdown to Extermination" one-page stories will lead to an Extermination event or miniseries, but the cliffhanger ending guarantees there is a lot more story to be told. Why did the original X-Men stay in the current-day? What caused the Sentinels' rise to power? These questions, and more, should be some of the first to be answered.

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