Simon Spurrier charmed the World, or at least a good 10000 people who live in the World, with his X-Club miniseries which was probably one of the best X-Men stories of the past decade. And hot off that run, he’s moved across to Boom! (my favourite current publisher, especially when you take their all-ages ‘Kaboom!’ imprint into account) for a new series, which mixes Superhero fun with Warren Ellis-esque anti-superhero hi-jink fun.
Extermination sees the world’s greatest hero and greatest villain forced into teaming up after aliens destroy civilisation, and much of the World. In the post-apocalyptic landscape, they have to decide whether they want to free the world from alien menace or keep themselves alive. Do you go for the big heroic sacrifice and save everything, or do you look after yourself and only yourself?
It’s a smart premise, and the book is filled with Spurrierisms where characters layer noun upon noun whenever they hit an insult or punctuate their irritation with something. Spurrier is very very good with dialogue, keeping things over-the-top but realistic at the same time. Extermination is filled with silly one-liners and expanded lines of insult. The main story doesn’t seem particularly important, thankfully, because it’s far more interesting to see the hero and villain bouncing off and influencing each other.
At the moment the villain is far more influential than the hero, eventually setting up a snappy fall from grace which leads into the cliffhanger for next issue. But the conflict is well-played, with the two characters butting heads in small ways instead of arguing wildly about every tiny detail. You can see how their motivations differ, but you can also see them placing their egos to one side in order to try and get through this problem.
The one problem for the book - and this is something which will likely smooth out in time - is the pencilling of Jeffrey Edwards. Edwards gets the characters right, and his expression and perspective are both good. However, his storytelling ability is still a little bit off, and needs work. There are a few points when we switch to an action sequence where the story is hard to work out, and the progression of a scene grows confused. This is just a matter of teething issues, though, as the creative team start to form a more cohesive style of storytelling. Just a little more clarity in some of the sequences is required, that’s all.
Si Spurrier is really moving up this year. Although we’ve already established that this is the year for Brian Wood, it’s actually the work of people like Spurrier which makes me more excited for the future direction of comics. Extermination is silly and fun, and may even grow into depth as it goes on.