Ever since they were transported from their time to the present-day Marvel Universe, the time-displaced original X-Men —Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast, and Angel— have (somehow) existed alongside their older selves.
But when a familiar foe comes to rid them from existence once and for all, it's all hands on deck for the X-Men past, present, and future to protect the time-displaced Original Five — or else.
Extermination is touted as the grand finale of a years-long story arc involving the time-displaced Original Five from All-New X-Men that started in 2012. Obviously, it promises nothing will be the same anymore for the X-Men moving forward.
Preceded by a series of stingers (titled Countdown to Extermination) that appeared in various X-Men titles note that tease developments in the storyline. There is also the X-Men: The Exterminated one-shot that deals with some of the fallout from the event. Finally, the series also leads into a new X-Force ongoing.
Not to be confused with the 2001 video game of the same name, nor the 2012 comic book from Boom! Studios also titled Extermination, or even the (similarly-titled) 2013 storyline X-Termination, also starring the X-Men.
Extermination contains examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: The Exterminated is one for Hope Summers, as she comes to terms with Cable's death.
- Back from the Dead: At the end of the story, it's revealed that the original Cyclops is back.
- Bat Family Crossover: Involving all the major players of the X-Men franchise; notably, this is the first time the coloured teams have all been together.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Original Five are back in their old time, but they are forced to erase their memories of their time in the future, setting them back to normal (although Jean plants a 'time delay' on their memories so that the present versions now remember that part of their lives). Ahab is defeated, but Rachel Summers remains a Hound due to her past as one. Kid Cable escapes punishment from Domino and the other X-Force members (for now), but he's prepared to return the modern day Cyclops to the present day.
- Black Dude Dies First: Bloodstorm is stabbed in the back by one of Ahab's Hounds, and dies, the first casualty of the storyline.
- Brought Down to Badass: Younger Cable surgically amputates Angel's Black Vortex-granted flame wings and replaces them with the angelic wings from Mimic.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Cable is casually and anti-climactically killed off in the first issue, and then is later replaced by a younger alternate version of himself, who is the one that murdered him in the first place.
- Episode Zero: The Beginning: The Countdown to Extinction stingers.
- Five Stages of Grief: Deadpool observes that Hope has reached the second stage as she attacks him with a burning sword.
- Grand Finale: Extermination has been promoted as being this to the original run of All-New X-Men, which brought the original five X-Men from earlier in their timeline to the present.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Ahab impales O5 Cyclops through the head. At least that's what he thinks. Turns out it was Mimic's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Irony: To stop the mistake of letting the teenaged O5 live in a time where they should be adults, a teenaged Cable hunts down his adult self and kills him.
- Meanwhile, in the Future…: The Countdown to Extinction stingers play as this to the happenings of the present day in their respective comics.
- The Mole: The French twins rescued by the Blue team turn out to be working for Ahab.
- Pun: When Hope runs into Deadpool while cleaning out Nathan's safehouses, he makes a point out of sayingDeadpool: I was really Hope-ing you wouldn't show up.
- Recycled Title: There was an X-Termination storyline featuring the X-Men in 2013, but it's not related to this one outside the similar titles.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Younger Cable's motivation.
- Shout-Out: In #1, Bobby is watching a musical called Jefferson, a blatant parody of Hamilton. Adult Bobby can't believe he went to see it without him.
- Temporal Paradox: Glimpses of the future reveal that by staying in their future and skipping a lot of traumatic experiences they know will happen to them if they go back, the O5 are undoing everything they will have done to save the world, thus creating this.
- Temporal Suicide: Old Cable's murderer is a teenaged Cable.
- The Reveal: The villain is a younger version of Cable.
- Tricked Out Time: The O5 are still expected to go home at some point and repeat the time between their time and the present the way their now-adult counterparts did. They end up doing so, and Jean locks their memories away so that their older selves will remember everything they went through when they reach the point in time just after the O5 left.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Maxime and Manon, who we meet when they were even younger than in the main story, before Ahab got his hands on them.
- Wham Line: Doubles are a Wham Shot. In the last pages of #5, Cable is back at his safe house, where he grabs a root beer for a guest.Cable: Everything is the way it should be. It's finally time for you to come back...Dad.
- What If?: The added flashback story by Chris Claremont included in X-Men: The Exterminated doesn't contribute anything to Extermination. It reads as entirely Claremont showing, "This is what I would have scripted happening with Cyclops and all his relatives — including his then-wife — immediately after Uncanny X-Men #201 if editorial had let me."