Extermination #5: Throw Moray From The Train

It's The Great Train Robbery, if the train was one made of pure reality-breaking super-speed thought itself.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Extermination #5

Extermination has been a fun, cool and occasionally gritty series from Boom! Studios, from the mind of Simon Spurrier. The basic premise of a superhero and his archnemesis having to team up to survive a post-apocalyptic hellscape where none of their old B.S. matters anymore is a compelling one, and with Spurrier's flair for sardonic wit and satire, it subverts and celebrates the genre at the same time.

Last issue saw Nox and the Red Reaper (think Batman and… well… a more nihilistic Dr. Nemesis) meet up with a crew of questionable superfolk like The Moray Queen and Musth (who got powers by being trampled by a radioactive bull elephant), and discovered the psyche-harvesting alien beasts have a hub nearby what needs defeatin'. Extermination #5 is a bit less amusing in tone, as the "heroes" find themselves concocting an elaborate plan to board "a conceptual vehicle made of pure thought" or "astral hellfire" that shatters reality. It's essentially a big wormy-looking cargo train not unlike the trains trucking Nazi prisoners to concentration camps, except these Nazis are big ugly space beasts who feed on humanity.

To boil it down, they're trying to hijack a high-speed choo-choo, or at least hide out in one of the cars like hobos until they find out where it's going.

Mixed in with this high-octane action/adventure are flashbacks to how Nox and the Red Reaper came to be teaming up in the first place – with Nox actually rescuing the Reaper from the wreckage of a super prison and saving him from one of the monsters. That was a fight where Reaper immediately realized how useless and outmoded his whole supervillain identity was in the face of this new threat – something he's been trying to drill into Nox's head since Issue #1. For added amusement, this is where Nox realizes for the first time that his archenemy is gay.

The art from V Ken Marion sometimes works really well, with impressive detail and landscapes and a truly ugly bug-monster-organic-tech train, as well as the truly ugly bug-monsters who control it. His human faces seem a bit like melty clay at times, but it doesn't detract too much from enjoyment of the story.

Hop on board the Extermination train, which certainly doesn't sound like something anybody should recommend to anybody, but trust me. It's a fun ride.