Those accomplishments are respectable in the same way that losing a dick measuring contest with Ron Jeremy is respectable. Except now Jeff Lemire is dumping some habanero sauce into the mix. He threw a Venom-powered Old Man Logan into the conflict alongside an Apocalypse-infused Colossus. With O5 Jean still so young and vulnerable, like every camp counselor ever at Crystal Lake, I'm sufficiently intrigued by what Extraordinary X-men #11 has to offer.
Like most overly innocent teenage girls, O5 Jean tries to reason with the monster first. She goes into Old Man Logan's mind, hoping to help him fight the Venom symbiote. The fact she does this fully clothed may give her an advantage in a slasher movie, but against a version of Wolverine, she might have been better off flashing him her tits. She tries to be genuine, heartfelt, and encouraging. She's Jean Grey. That's one of her strengths. This not being the first moment she's shared with Old Man Logan, her effort has real depth to it.
However, she still might have been better off flashing him her tits. This isn't just Wolverine. This is Old Man Logan. He's killed all his friends before without the aid of a symbiote. O5 Jean might as well give flowers to Jason Vorhees. It's only going to make shit messier.
Despite sincere effort, Old Man Logan is now old, grumpy, and fueled by a venom symbiote. Like giving a racist a Twitter feed, it doesn't bode well for anyone. O5 Jean is forced to fight him while the rest of the X-men fight the other horsemen of Apocalypse. It sets up a battle that is epic in principle, but not in execution. Hamberto Ramos' art makes it colorful and pretty, but other than O5 Jean's efforts to save Old Man Logan, it feels somewhat muted. It's still more exciting than typical chase in a slasher movie, but Oscar Issac's performance in X-men: Apocalypse has set a higher bar and this one doesn't quite reach it.
That's quite a feat for a battle that involves a horsemen version of Deadpool. Except, Apocalypse Wars takes a page right out of the Wolverine Origins playbook and reveals that his mouth got sewn shut so he couldn't unleash unholy pestilence and/or bad poop jokes. Short of adopting the draft strategy for the Cleveland Browns, there aren't many worse models to follow so anyone who actually paid to see Wolverine Origins may have traumatic flashbacks.
This is not to say the battle doesn't have its moments. In addition to O5 Jean's effort with Old Man Logan, the young mutants who shined in earlier issues get to shine again against Colossus. Glob Herman still doesn't do much to make O5 Jean want to bone him, but Ernst really kicks ass here and it's always somewhat satisfying when a D-lister kicks a little ass. Sure, Colossus is a horseman and he's able to fight back and remind them that they're still a long ways from teaming up with Wolverine, Captain America, or even Squirrel Girl. Still, they get to accomplish more than most teenagers not named Kamala Khan.
While the battle in the future rages, there is also another ongoing side-plot in the past. This one involves Magik and her new student, who has powers that allow her to domesticate demons. In terms of a teacher/student relationship, it couldn't be a more fitting dynamic outside a Batman comic or a bad porno. However, that dynamic comes to an unexpected and somewhat forced end.
For reasons that are somewhat vague, Magik's new student decides to leave. She claims she just started having nightmares of killing her teacher. She's young. I don't think she understands that every teenager feels that way about certain teachers at some point. Granted, her dreams involve real demons, but it still feels abrupt and shallow. There is some heartfelt words in her goodbye note to Magik, but they're hardly Pixar level heartfelt. Anyone who saw Inside Out last year is not going to be very moved.
Back in the future, there's still plenty of battle to go around and it's not the kind of battle that would ever make it into a Pixar movie. Sensing that fighting Old Man Logan/Venom without O5 Jean willing to flash her tits is a losing battle, Nightcrawler and Storm decide to skip a couple steps and fight the source of this shit storm.
It also gives Nightcrawler a chance to show that his balls have descended again, which is important since he's dealing with Storm and he gave her a lot of reasons to question the integrity of those balls earlier in the series. He wants to prove himself by helping her take down Apocalypse. Short of getting nude pictures from Emma Frost, I can't think of a better way for any X-man to prove himself.
Nightcrawler and Storm channel their inner Indiana Jones, minus the Crystal Skull, and navigate Apocalypse's lair. It's full of the same traps and shit that Indiana Jones faces every other Thursday, but it also has Moon Knight standing in their way. Pretty sure Indiana Jones would have problems with that. There are just some obstacles that can't be overcome by a whip and an awesome hat.
It does give Nightcrawler another chance to prove himself and he succeeds. He's able to fight off Moon Knight and I'm a bit more convinced that his balls have at least partially descended. It's hard to say whether Storm is convinced, but I think she's more confident. Probably still would've helped if he got some nude pics of Emma Frost, but one step at a time I guess.
Finally, they reach Apocalypse. I won't say it's anti-climactic, but I will say that without Oscar Isaac, it's hard to have the right impact. He's not that imposing. He looks like a Vegan with food poisoning. It's like he spent most of his future in a shitty retirement home in Mississippi. He claims to be the heart of Omega World and I guess that's pretty strenuous. While this does provide a legitimate reason why he's not as imposing as before, it also limits the scale of the battle that follows.
That's not to say Apocalypse is a pushover though. Even at his weakest, he can still kick more ass than most people not named Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. In some respects, it makes the battle between him and Storm much more even. That doesn't stop Apocalypse from reminding her that mutants had their shot and they fucked up. He already decided that they shouldn't survive. She's just pissing into the wind at this point and blaming Cyclops for it. Can't say he's entirely wrong in his sentiment either.
Now the final battle against Apocalypse and the ongoing battle with his horsemen is escalating. It's all coming together in a final clash to decide the future. It's the kind of shit that gives X-men an appeal that the racist, Xenophobic, slave-owning Inhumans will never have. This battle might not be on the same level as Secret Wars, Messiah Complex, or even Deadpool fighting off squealing Ryan Reynolds fans. It is somewhat generic, but it's still a battle that has all the classic elements of an X-men vs. Apocalypse clash. It doesn't have Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence, or Oscar Isaac to give it some extra personality, but other than sewing Deadpool's mouth shut, it doesn't fuck up the formula too much.
It only becomes overly fucked when Nightcrawler shows up, having failed to save the ark of mutant embryos that instigated this shit storm in the first place. So how does he make up for it? He fucking impales Apocalypse with his sword. Okay, I'll say it now. Nightcrawler's balls are back and I'll gladly fondle them to make up for all the times I called him a whiny little bitch. Sure, stabbing a weakened Apocalypse is like winning a fight against a hung over Jackie Chan. It's still a badass feat none-the-less.
Unfortunately, it also means that the X-men are now fully fucked. They're stuck in the future, remember? Apocalypse is the heart of Omega World. If he does, what happens to Omega World? Same thing that happens when you rip the heart out of anything. Nightcrawler may have doomed the X-men, but at least he'll die with a full set of balls and I guess that's something.
So...is it awesome?
Well there's a lot of apocalyptic action and ominous foreboding, but that's fairly typical for the course for the penultimate issue of a major story. Shit is dire and grim. Again, it's the penultimate issue. It would be weird if the X-men didn't face a grim scenario where they are about to die, get exiled in the future, or be stuck in a locked cage with Deadpool for all eternity. There aren't a whole lot of revelations and there aren't a lot of tie-ins with the other X-men comics. It's not overly complicated or convoluted either, which is as rare as a decent Johnny Depp movie these days. So Extraordinary X-men #11 doesn't drop an atomic shit bomb or anything.
That said, it's not going to make anyone's panties wet. The character drama and personal moments that highlighted earlier issues aren't as intense. The clash with Apocalypse feels underwhelming. This is a guy who had to be taken down by the Phoenix in X-men: Apocalypse. Yet here, he's taken down by a sword that World of Warcraft fans probably have laying in their closet somewhere? Not saying that kills the story, but nobody can say their assholes clenched at any point during this battle. With one issue left though, Apocalypse Wars still has plenty going for it. The fact it resorts to sewing Deadpool's mouth shut gives me cause for concern though.
Final Score: 6 out of 10