A mysterious figure arrives at the Xavier Institute in the future to find it in ruins and the X-Men all dead. In the present, the X-Men Blue team saves a pair of young French mutants from a hate mob in Chicago. They bring the mutants back to the Xavier Institute for care. Later, Cyclops and Bloodstorm are ambushed while at dinner, and Iceman is attacked on his way back from a play.
Extermination #1 is…well, it's a setup. Like many of Marvel's big crossover stories, this first issue is just a setup. That, in itself, is not a criticism. Story's generally need a setup.
It's just that this is a pretty generic setup.
It's not awful, mind. It has some compelling moments and a couple of surprising turns. There is a surprise guest-star.
There's also a surprise death. It irked me a good bit, so I can't really list it as a positive.
There's little of significance to grasp from this issue. That's the main problem. I wasn't sad about the death. I wasn't made eager to see where the story is going. Time travel-y nonsense has been overused by Marvel of late, and Exiles is the only context where I'm genuinely excited to see it.
I'm predicting, and I'm far from alone in this assumption, that Extermination will end with the X-Men: Blue team, that being young Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, and Angel, being either sent back to the past or otherwise disappear. We've learned that they may not be from our specific timeline, and, if that's the case, one or two of them will likely die. The rest may be sent back to their own time or zip off deep into space to return for surprise appearances.
Pepe Larraz provides some solid artwork. Action scenes are given a lot of energy and motion. Characters are expressive. It straddles the line of realistic and stylized to give a good comic book-y aesthetic. There's nothing really to complain about on this end. Marte Gracia supports him with a colorful and often-moody palette that plays off the emotions of many scenes well.
Extermination #1 is an intro comic. That's all there really is to say. It's not exciting, but it's not bad. It gets this story started, but it doesn't energize the reader to read on. It barely feels like a major story — which could be a good thing or a bad thing of course. I can recommend it if you're really into X-Men Blue and these characters, but I can't quite suggest it for any other readers.