Many of the Secret Wars tie-ins have familiar names like Infinity Gauntlet, Planet Hulk and Civil War. For most of the series with names you have heard of before, reading the original series is not usually required. I found E Is For Extinction to be the opposite of that.
While I guess I cannot really say because I haven’t read the original run by Grant Morrison, I really felt like I was missing something with this series. Not that I couldn’t understand it, but for 4 issues I felt like there was an inside joke that I was missing out on. Tom Kelly has also made some comments about them nailing the tone and feel of the run.
After the cut I’ll take a spoilery look at E Is For Extinction #1 thru #4. For those that have read Morrison’s run, feel free to jump in and let me know what I’m missing, or what would help me understand this series better.
Be sure to check out our latest Secret Wars Power Rankings, which also features links to the other parts of my read through.
E Is For Extinction #1
We start with…the suicide of Professor X. Poor old Charlie sure has a long history of dying. Luckily he also has a long history of being resurrected.
Years later, Magneto’s “special class” from Morrison’s run have replaced the X-Men who have all become old and are slowly losing their powers. The kids still attend school at the Xavier Memorial Education Nexus, aka The Atom Institute.
In the basement of the Institute, Magneto has a secret that he confides in Quentin Quire. A gestating Phoenix egg with Jean Grey inside. She’s been that way since being psychicly connected to Professor X during his suicide.
Cyclops is also aware that Magento has Jean and he is getting the band back together for a rescue mission. The “classic” X-Men line-up of Cyclops, Wolverine, Emma Frost and…Xorn?
Meanwhile, Beast has a visitor at his home. A non blue mutated version of himself that collapses on his doorstep.
E Is For Extinction #2
With Xorn in tow, it’s “classic” X-Men vs New. Even with their reduced powers, the classic line-up seems to have the advantage. Especially with Quentin Quire as their man on the inside. A position which doesn’t last much longer as Mageneto discovers his treachery and kills him.
While Cyclops and the others are their to save Jean, Xorn confronts Magneto and informs him that, “No one can possess or control what is inside the egg”, and that he will destroy it and anyone that stands in his way.
Beast arrives and is also looking for the Phoenix Egg. He believes it is responsible for a virus that is all around them and that killed his human counterpart. He suggests that all join forces and find the egg. They don’t have to bother as the battle between Xorn and Magento brings the egg to them. At which point Xorn senses “something” and “surrenders”. He disappears and then Magneto is crushed below the egg itself. The egg then goes dormant (and Quentin Quire comes back to life…he might have mentioned something earlier about bonding to the egg).
Looks like things wrapped up nicely. And a lot quicker than usual. That is until an army of alternate Beasts show up for war.
E Is For Extinction #3
It’s the X-Men, old and new, verses the army of Beasts from across Battleworld. But thinks look dire when the local version of Beast also falls under control of the Beast Army thanks to that pesky virus that is floating around and kills the mutant Esme. He he about to kill Cyclops as well, but is taken out of the fight by Quentin Quire…or is that Professor X in Quire’s body? Typically, there is no time for explanations. And using his powers combined with those in the body of Quire, he destroys the virus and cures all the Beasts.
Looks like things wrapped up nicely. And a lot quicker than usual. That is until the Phoenix Egg hatches and it seems Cassandra Nova, Professor X’s evil twin sister, has taken control of Jean and the Phoenix Force itself.
E Is For Extinction #4
So it seems that for years the minds of Professor X and Cassandra Nova have been trapped inside the Phoenix Egg battling for the soul of Jean Grey. With the Professor now merged with Quentin Quire, it would appear that Cassandra has won and taken over one of the ultimate forces in the universe.
Cyclops makes the first attempt to defeat her by trying to appeal to Jean, because he knows she’s still in there. That doesn’t work out so well…
With Cassandra taking control of the New X-Men, the X vs X battle rages anew. And since Plan A to stop Phoenix worked so well with Cylcops the first time, let’s try the exact same thing, this time with Wolverine. And this time it works, because Wolverine is just the coolest. He draws Jean to the surface and she takes control…just long enough for Wolverine to pop his claws and kill her. On the astral plane, Professor X takes advantage of the situation and does the same to Cassandra.
The issue ends with Xorn returning…with balanced restored and a giant flaming phoenix in place of his head. O…k…