With a trio of writers contributing to the story, but David Lapham being individually credited as “writer,” accompanied by a platoon of pencilers and inkers, “X-Termination” #2 is a giant freaking mess of different art styles, characters, versions of characters and uninspired page composition. I understand and appreciate the preference of comic companies to present events on a grand scale as well as a more intimate scale, as the “X-Termination” crossover between “X-Treme X-Men,” “Astonishing X-Men,” and “Age of Apocalypse” attempts to be. Those three titles, with deep roots in the X-Men mythology bring much to the table, but the execution of this story is simply dull.
Lapham chooses to use the Age of Apocalypse version of Nightcrawler as his voice to the reader. Through that selection, readers learn of Kurt Darkholme’s regret and witness his attempt to balance the scales. This is a strong choice, but not strong enough. There is a lot of story trying to squeeze into the panels of “X-Termination” #2, and most of it is trying to do so with some degree of finality. The end result is a story that has lots of people doing and going, but not a whole lot of heart.
The artistic brigade assembled to deliver the visuals on this comic book includes four pencilers with a wild array of styles, from moderately realistic to manga-wannabe, jammed into twenty pages of story. I presume that there was some degree of planning that went into this crossover, especially given that it involved three titles, but the pages present here show little evidence of that planning. Presuming the pencilers are listed in the order their work appears in “X-Termination” #2, David Lopez’s pages offer the most coherent portions of this tale, but before we find the staples in this issue, Guillermo Mogorron steps up and Dazzler loses her irises and pupils, the characters get more angular and the shadows more intense. Raul Valdes lightens it all up with some Brett Booth-like work that is more manga than mainstream as the story turns into a bunch of characters looking at one another with surprise and ridiculously long faces. Matteo Lolli rounds out the issue with the prologue, but the characters included there are mired in melancholy and don’t make the most of Lolli’s tighter style. Through it all, however, the colors by Andres Mossa remain true, tying “X-Termination” #2 together despite itself.
As crossover conclusions go, this one sets a new low for me. I like several of the characters present in “X-Termination” #2, but the fortunate way the story wraps and the price paid is just a little too predictably satisfying. Lapham throws some telegraphed finales our way, but they don’t come anywhere near becoming a satisfying read. Nightcrawler gets to go out with a “BAMF!” and that’s about the best “X-Termination” #2 has to offer.