Exiles has to be a hard comic to write. This comic is really in the service of a few different audiences. There’s the crowd that’s been following this book since its beginning. There’s the crowd that reads this comic because it’s a mutant book. Then there’s the crowd of people like me who read occasional issues because they take place in places that we feel nostalgic about. I picked up the recent set of issues that took place in the New Universe, for instance, because some small fanboy side of me was once intrigued by that ill-fated line of titles. In the same way, I picked up this issue of Exiles because I have fond memories of the Avengers when George Perez was doing his very first comics work. Perez’s first extended storyline took place on the slightly odd planet of the Squadron Supreme, and I’ve been intrigued by that world ever since then.
Of course, there’s been a lot of changes to the Squadron’s universe since 1975, including a JMS mini-series and a famous ’80s mini and graphic novel. I was cool with that. Mostly what I wanted was some silly fun and some good-natured jabs at the DC Universe. The Squadron Supreme, you see, is intended as a spoof of the JLA, so this would have been a nice opportunity to tease DC about the Infinite Crisis. But the comic didn’t have that silly vibe. Instead, what Bedard delivers is a comic that’s intended more for the long-time readers of this title and not casual readers like me. So, you know, your mileage may vary on this one. But I really didn’t get a hell of a lot out of Exiles #77.
In this issue, some nasty bad guy has taken over the body of Hulk 2099 and gone to the Squadron Supreme’s universe to try to take over the body of Hyperion, a hero with Superman-level powers. Hulk manages to trick the Squadron into thinking he’s an ally, and that the Exiles are villains. And that’s really about it.
There’s some clever stuff at the beginning of the issue about infinite crystal palaces existing outside of time, and it was fun seeing Spider-Man 2099 as a member of the Exiles, but the Squadron Supreme characters seem flat, and the whole thing lacks that special energy that I tuned in for.
Calafiore and McKenna’s art is very professional and polished. They’re a solid art team, doing suitably nice work. There’s nothing special about their work, but it is very solid and well-told. I enjoyed the jokey way they draw Mimic, in particular the ersatz Superman costume he wears when first appearing on the Squadron’s world.
I wanted to enjoy this more than I did. There was too much Exiles and not enough Squadron Supreme for my taste.