Si Spurrier prepares Earth for humanity's Extermination

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Earth is lost.  Humanity is facing its extinction event, as the conquered blue planet is overrun by a superior and deadly alien force.  Everything we know about civilization, heroism, and villainy, all came to a climactic and deadly change when 90% of the human population was destroyed in a matter of days.

From Si Spurrier and BOOM! Studios comes Extermination, a brand new take on the idea of the superhero in that may not be possible to save.  What changes when society crumbles, when the world is lost, and the only heroes left are mortal enemies?  Si Spurrier takes an all-too-brief chance to prepare humanity for its oncoming extinction.

Broken Frontier: The alien invasion has already destroyed our world in Extermination.  What is this new Earth like, who survived, who is left to fight for humanity?

Si Spurrier: The disaster which befell the Earth – even before our story begins – wasn’t really an “invasion” at all. There was no overwhelming assault, Frisbee-shaped attack fleets or boring insect-like biological murder-swarms: rather a planet-shattering corruption of the planet itself. The sky split, the ground shook, the sea rose up… Only when 90% of the horror was complete did the aggressors – and what weird beasties they are, too – reveal themselves… to merely mop-up what few dregs of humanity remained.  The world we find ourselves in is comprehensively broken: an ash-waste of deadly terrains, lethal weather, seas of wreckage and constant horror for the (very few) survivors.

BF: What kind of world existed before the alien invasion?  Was the world of Extermination similar to ours, or was it dominated by capes and costumes? 

Spurrier: We’re playing with the idea that this world – before the Extermination event – was similar to a “conventional” superhero universe. Heroes and villains, teams and loners, science and magic and tech. Part of the conceit behind this series is that the “old” world is treated with a certain amount of contempt: this overly-colourful dream of idiots in spandex with overblown schemes and daft Team-Ups, whose antics are now revealed as completely and comprehensively irrelevant. For all the punching, posturing and po-faced morality, society was obliterated in the blink of an eye. What’s left is far grimmer, far nastier, and – weirdly – far more real

BF: Will Earth’s past be worked in as Extermination continues?

Spurrier: Very much so. We’ll be frequently juxtaposing the gritty new status quo with all that big, simple boldness. Part of that will be exploring the period of the invasion itself – how it started, who died, who survived (and how), and above all why the invasion occurred at all – but mostly we’ll be concentrating on a few story-threads which began during those halcyon days of heroic swagger, and not inform/resonate with the stuff going on in the ruined present.

BF: Since the invasion destroyed humanity’s way of life, the alien force must be vastly superior to our own.  What are these beings like, where are they from, and how did they come to control Earth so easily? 

Spurrier: They’re unlike anything we’ve seen before. I set out to make them as non-cliched as possible, because I always get fed up with the same old tropes being used for alien invasions: humanoid little dudes with big black glassy eyes, insect-swarms, tentacle-botherers etc. In Extermination the bad guys (as if things like “bad” or “good” have any meaning in an alien context) are almost transcendentally unknowable. Their bodies are merely corporeal echoes of their true selves – cosmic, dimensionally-unstable – whose “technology” is psychically-based: astral engines, transient telepathic machinery, ghost-weapons of mass insanity.  Part of the tale will be about our heroes uncovering why these guys invaded, so I can’t say much about that. But they’re smart, they’re nasty, and – in the truest sense of the word – they’re utterly alien.

BF: Extermination’s protagonists, Nox and Red Reaper, share a tenuous relationship.  What is the history between these two former enemies?

Spurrier: NOX was a street-level vigilante. As the name suggests: a nocturnal warrior. RED REAPER was one of his biggest nemeses: a sarcastic tech-villain with a penchant for clattering death-machines and enslaving mankind.  Their relationship is obviously at the core of the whole story, so we’ll be dipping into the past quite a bit to learn some of their history together, and see how it informs the ups and downs of their present (grudging) partnership.

BF: With Nox and Reaper being polar opposites, how will the differences between these two “heroes” be explored? 

Spurrier: I can’t say too much here, because that’s obviously at the heart of the tale. Extermination is part buddy-movie, part power-struggle, part hate-fuelled vendetta. They’ve formed this unlikely alliance because their separate skills combine pretty well to keep them alive in this deadly new world: one warrior, one thinker; one destroyer and one creator. The biggest fun to be had from the whole relationship is seeing how all the old ethical boundaries – the things which would define one person a “hero” and another a “villain” – have shifted entirely, and new roles emerge in unexpected ways.

Plus I can’t help myself having fun at the expense of really decent and morally upright characters, so Red Reaper’s snarky mincing nastiness frequently kicks Nox’s earnest decency right in the balls. Which is fun. 

BF: From the teaser art, Extermination seems to be set in a dystopian, even pessimistic, society.  How does that tone affect the superhero qualities of Nox and Red Reaper? 

Spurrier: It’s not really set in a “society” at all, per se. In fact (without giving too much away) that’s sort of the point: in a world without communities or cultures or laws, terms like “hero”, “criminal”, “viglilante” and “villain” need to be recontextualised. Tonally you’re absolutely right – this is a grim world – but it wouldn’t be a Spurrier story if it wasn’t underscored by a really thick vein of black humour. I’m a huge geek for superhero fiction, but I do worry sometimes that a lot of it treats morality very simplistically, so it’s enormous fun to flip things on their head in a way which isn’t only thrilling and visual, but also encourages a few wry sneers and above all makes people think about “conventional” superhero fiction with a healthy dollop of cynicism.  

At its core, Extermination is about seeing old tropes through very new – broken, scarred and ugly – eyes. 

BF: Without giving too much of Extermination’s future away, is there truly anything left for Nox and Red Reaper to fight for? 

Spurrier: Can’t say much without spoilers… Let’s just say the initial “mission”, such as it is, is simply to survive. There are minor goals to be pursued within that context – salvage to collect, food to gather, evil cosmic sky-bastards to escape – but the era of “fight the Big Bad Guy!”, or “ransom New York for 1 billion dollars!” is long gone. That said, our unlikely duo very swiftly encounter the chance to bend their efforts towards something far more far-reaching and – depending which one of them you ask – worthy. Of course, part of the joy of writing about such an acrimonious relationship is that even when they seem to have a shared goal, they’re probably pursuing it for very different reasons… 

Look for Si Spurrier’s Extermination to hit shelves this June!

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