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Extermination #6: Hand Me My Porno

Simon Spurrier's end-of-the-world saga features some spectacularly messed up superheroes.

Extermination #6

Simon Spurrier is a writer who won me over so hard with X-Club that he's on my must-buy list if he's writing it. Hell, with X-Men Legacy, he's even made me interested in Legion, which is something I didn't think was possible. His original series Extermiantion over at Boom!, however, is another ball of funky wax. Sure, he's got that Dr. Nemesis-style snarky hyperintelligent voice of satire in the Red Reaper, but there's also some twisted imagination at work.

The story thus far: hardass Batman-allegory Nox (possibly named because he's a knock-off) has teamed up with his super-scientist archnemesis Red Reaper to try to survive the end of the world, which is currently overrun with monsters and psyche-harvesting squid-beasts. They thought they were alone, but then teamed up with an enclave of super-whosits to whom we were amusingly introduced in Extermination #4. Now, the plan is to locate Absolute (i.e. Superman), whom the alien nasties have captive somewhere, and revive him so he can beat everything up – which he should do, because he accidentally BROUGHT all these freaks here in a misguided macho-off with Nox over the lovely Mynxx.

Now, in Extermination #6, they've tried to hijack a psychic bullet-train full of hostages, only to be cornered by monsters. And thus, the sacrifices of the also-ran super-folk roll on in earnest, since the Reaper is still a self-involved sod who views all of his allies as means to an end. We lost The Moray Queen and Yugei last issue (and no one really cared), and this time, and this time, Charon the Ghost Rider Baby gets used as a bomb, Kordite is offed as a mere distraction and even the Reaper's lover, the Synthesist, doesn't get out unscathed.

Then there's the matter of Dr. Ivor E. Tusker, who got the power of 100 rampaging pachyderms after being trampled by a radioactive bull elephant. However, in this issue, we learned that he was trampled during the height of its hormonal "musth" period, and thus… well, this is how he has to "musth out."

 

Extermination #6

 

Yes, folks. It makes you wonder what happens when Bruce Banner gets too frisky.

Lest you think this kind of delightful superhero piss-taking is all there is to the story, rest assured, there's some drama going on here about the nature of leadership, the value of nobility and trying to hold onto ideals in a post-morality world. Spurrier's dialogue is fun, and his treatment of characters is often ruthless – something he may actually be explaining in a roundabout way when the Reaper is explaining his command philosophy. Characters are means to an end, and you can't be afraid to do awful things to your brainchildren.

The art from V Ken Marion is solid, although it's a bit jarring here and there in this issue when we get flashbacks that are never labeled as such. It often takes a minute of 'wait, what, now?' to realize we've jumped back in time to get some backstory on each of these super-friends who are meeting grisly demises. But he does do some amazing detail work, and the colors from Michael Garland are impressive as well, as these psychic alien monsters deal with a lot of rainbowy power-stuffs.

Extermination is a very cool book full of action, malarkey and subversive undermining of the whole superhero genre, while at the same time celebrating how fun it can be. Go get it!

8.5