After an absolutely crazy last issue where Rick Remender killed almost every character he has off, this issue was probably always going to feel like a bit of a let-down (unless Remender decided to kill everyone else too), and it was, but it was still a very enjoyable read, full of the usual insanely epic scale this title is used to, tied in with some pretty cool character moments.
We open with Captain America and Havok racing towards The Twins, unaware of everything else that’s been going on, and having some pretty fun banter, with Cap showing a surprising sense of humour by still pretending to be deaf. However, just as they come across another load of crab monsters, Havok is teleported away, leaving Cap on his own. Havok has disappeared of course, because of the Mutant Rapture, which the other Unity Squad members failed to prevent, on account of them brutally murdering each other. Uriel and Eimin were aware of Scarlet Witch’s plans, and have stopped it, so everything is happening as intended, all of the Mutants on Earth are being teleported to their ship and placed into stasis, so they can be taken to a new planet. We see all of the various different groups of Mutants get raptured, Cyclops’ team, both X-Forces, Sabretooth, the Jean Grey School students, Sunfire and Cannonball from the Avengers, all of ‘em.
Whilst all this is going on, Wolverine is in the midst of battle with Grim Reaper and Daken, and they explain how all of this is because the Mutants were in all of those different groups, that they were divided, which really does make sense. The ‘Schism’ has been the cause of a lot of great stories, but it has hurt the mutant cause. Of course, before the fight can end, Wolverine himself is raptured.
The story then moves to the Wasp, and her fight with the Horsemanified Sentry, which on the surface is a mis-match, but Wasp more than holds her own. It was great to see her grow to giant size and just stomp on him, and wow, her sting weapon looks to be more powerful than ever. Horseman Sentry is a very effective, creepy villain, his dialogue is very portentous, but it works, and that page of him ripping off his burned head and revealing just a brain with eyes was so weird and awesome. McNiven’s art really sold that moment, a brain with eyes could look goofy, but under his realistic style, it has the right scary effect. McNiven’s art feels like it’s back to it’s best with these last two issues, and he is the perfect artist for this epic story. Just as Sentry has Wasp at his mercy, Thor comes back, and as you’d expect another round of Thor Vs Sentry is always welcome and always awesome. However, it’s Wasp who saves the day, as she uses her ability to talk to insects to summon a giant fucking Dune worm to eat the Sentry.
Back on the space ark, Captain America tries to go it alone against Uriel and Eimin, but they pretty much kick his ass easily and start doing some monologuing. Then, out of nowhere, a giant fucking Kirby-looking Celestial dude arrives and starts floating near the Earth. This guy is ‘Exitar The Executioner’, and the Twins are going to let him destroy the whole planet, and all of the Humans left on it. Thor and Wasp go to see The Watcher (who is more omnipresent than usual these days, they really are setting up his death heavily), and he says that the arrival of Exitar is Thor’s fault, because of what he did that Jarnbjorn axe that was used by Uriel to kill a load of Celestials, and that Exitar was drawn here by their deaths. The scale of this story blows my mind, and how the time-travel was all used to set it up, going back 1000s of years, it truly is epic. Thor asks Uatu if there’s anything he can do to stop Exitar, but nope, it’s a thumbs down, and Earth is going to be destroyed, no more humans.
I have no idea how Remender is going to write his way out of this cliffhanger, but I’m excited to see it. Despite not featuring the shocks of #14, this didn’t really let up the pace, big things are happening here, and the action was better than ever thanks to McNiven, I’ve been saying this series is underrated for a while now, and it is getting more attention now, but for the wrong reasons, let’s hope this issue gets people talking about more than supposed fridging, gets them talking about how crazy epic this storyline is.