World(s) Travelers: Exiles (Marvel Comics 2018)

Exiles_BlinkSo, my “new” rule is that I won’t actually write up a review until I have read at least three issues of a book.  I know I reviewed Oblivion Song after two issues, but I really feel the three issue rule gives me a better sense of a series. So, sorry Domino…next month.

So, the Exiles debuted all the way back in 2001. It was an X-Men book in which Blink led a revolving team of familiar characters with a twist. They were from across the Marvel multi-verse. This allowed the creative teams to put new spins on classic characters. And if a character died or desired to return to their own universe, they could be replaced with another character from another universe.  It ran for 100 issues. In 2009, Marvel tried reviving the series, but canceled it before the year was out.

Exiles_issue_001This year, a new volume has been launched.  Blink has been trying to reconnect with her family on earth. But her dimension hopping devise goes off and brings her to the moon where she is greeted by the observer the Unseen, who once was Nick Fury. He has been stuck on the moon, forced to watch the earth without interference.  But a new threat has appeared.

Entire realities are being devoured by an ominous force known as the Time Eater. Blink’s Tallus (the afore mentioned dimension hopping device) starts to bring her to new worlds, the first being one ion which she meets an angry, older and battle hardened Kamala Khan.

Exiles_FuryShe has ditched the Ms. Marvel moniker. At first she does not trust Blink, but soon after arriving, Blink is stunned to see the Time Eater arrive.  She is only able to save Kamala. What follows is a race against time, as The Tallus appears to be taking Blink to realities a brief step ahead of the Time Eater.  They pick up Iron Lad (Kang the Conqueror before he goes evil).

Iron Lad is a teen who is picked on by bullies, but uses his powers to get back at his tormentors.  It is wish fulfillment for angry nerds, but Blink appeals to the part of him that wants to be good and heroic.  He does not want to become Kang the Conqueror and he sees joining Blink and Kamala as a path to avoid that.

Exiles_WolvieIn Issue # 2, They find themselves in the rather goofy universe where everybody looks kind of like they were drawn by a really happy Scottie Young.  There they meet Wolvie, a cartoonish version of Wolverine who is exited to make new friends and eat pie.

This is a pretty entertaining bit in the book.  But as the Time Eater appears, they are taken to an alternate Asgard where they are pulled into a fight alongside Valkyrie.  They succeed in defeating the monsters and Valkyrie greets them quite jovially.

Exiles_Issue_002The look of Valkyrie is clearly based on the Tessa Thompson version, but the personality is quite a bit different. In the Exiles, she is a cheerful warrior, welcoming of new friends and more than willing to join this mismatched group.

She also speaks in a pattern reminiscent of old school Thor. This rounds out the current team, with the third issue bringing them to a new alternate universe.

After an amusing excursion in which Blink meets one of her former teammates moments before the Time Eater interrupts the reunion.

This results in the team being shuttled off to another universe. The Time Eater is not the immediate trouble here, and the team finds themselves helping Captain America in World War 2. What makes this universe different? Sharon Carter is Captain America.

Exiles_issue_003_altSo far, Exiles is delivering on being a fun series. Writer Saladin Ahmed is careful to make sure we have the information we need. As someone who has read a whopping three issues of the original Exiles book? I appreciate this.  I mean, I knew the basic concept going in…but I had no idea that Nick Fury was now the Unseen, and Ahmed has made sure to clarify his role.

He balances fun flights of fancy (Like Wolvie’s cartoonish world, and a world populated by sentient gun toting dinosaurs) with action packed sequences. And he is building up some mysteries regarding the team that are quite intriguing.

Exiles_fractureNow comes the part I am hesitant to address. I fear it may be misinterpreted as a criticism of interior artist Javier Rodriguez. It most definitely is not.  I can be a bit…well, anal retentive in regards to art.  I struggle when the interior art is very different from the cover art when I am not really familiar with the interior artist.  The covers and promotional art for the series has been by David Marquez. I really like Marquez’s line work.  Javier has a significantly different style, and for my eye, the change from cover to interiors can be a slight adjustment.

This is not to say Rodriguez is not a good artist or that I dislike his style. I, in fact, enjoy his work in the book.  He has a lot of fun, visually speaking, with his side of the storytelling with Ahmed’s ideas. Where as Marques is more traditional “comic book realism”, Javier Rodriguez has a looser and more cartoonish style.  So far, this really has served the series well, as Saladin is clearly letting his imagination go freely all over the place with the alternative worlds and characters.

Exiles is a fun and exciting series, with lots of promise for the future.


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