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Exiles #1

Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2009
By: Christopher Power

Jeff Parker
Salvador Espin
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Exiles #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, April 8.

Well, here we go again. I would not have thought that Exiles was that hard a concept to get right; however, it is clear from the last incarnation and now this new first issue of the relaunch, it is much harder than I would have expected. I really wanted to like this book; honestly, I did. I even read it three times to try to see if it would grow on me, but sadly, I just cannot recommend it.

Really, the Exiles should be an easy concept: get a bunch of mutants from other realities, join them at a point in time just before their deaths, and have them work together to save other worlds. Here is the problem: why? WHY are they joined together? Originally, it was the Timebroker, a mysterious force, that pulled the mutants out of time to help them earn their place back into their own realities. That idea, and the mystery about who the Timebroker were, combined with the 50 years of stories to play with, seemed to keep readers interested.

Later, after the Timebroker mystery unfolded, the artificial (but plausible) idea of the characters volunteering to try to fix time and space took over. This resulted in stumbling, and then recovery, and then stumbling again which eventually pulled the reader away from the interesting relationships that could be formed within the team of misfits. The reasons for the missions became more contrived, and the explanations for team members became more and more obscure.

But this book seems to offer no explanation. Morph is the Timebroker, even though last time we saw him he was going to live his life for a while on one of the many dimensions that the previous team had visited. A team of people are pulled out of time just at their deaths, and then there is a litany of introductions that painfully point out the differences in characters from their known (to the reader) counterparts. Part of the fun of the old Exiles was the reader trying to figure out how the characters will react to various situations. No danger of that now, except in one bizarre exception. Blink, the original leader of the Exiles and possessor of the Tallus that gives teams their missions, the reason many readers wanted this relaunch, has no connection to the story. Her origin is not shown. Her being pulled out of time is not shown. Her arrival is not shown. Indeed, I had to look back in the book to figure out if she was even in the opening scenes. I realize that this might be writer trying to instil some continuity, and that she was waiting for the new team; however, the art depicts Blink as being as surprised as everyone else by the explanations given by the newly minted god Morph.

Sadly, many of the characters, instead of being compelling alternatives to mainstream Marvel characters, seem like forced and bad caricatures. The dialogue from Morph goes on and on without a real point or even real prompting from the characters listening to him, and to make it worse, the dialogue is so stilted, it is painful to read.

The art in this book is strictly okay, and I'm not keen on the style as it makes all of the characters look like teenagers. However, many of the character designs are very good, and I particularly like the feral version of Beast.

Next month I will give the second issue a shot, but this is not a good start.







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