You wanna read Exiles!
You don’t know who they are?
Well here’s a quick breakdown before we get into the new series. The Exiles are an X-Men team (technically) that are made up of characters from across the multiverse. They’re mostly mutants but are not limited to just mutants on the team. Their job is to go between universes and fix things that have gone wrong in each location. A key character on most Exiles teams is Blink from the Age of Apocalypse timeline. She’s a mutant with the power to teleport herself, others, and objects. The past three series’ have had them travelling across multiple earths and saving timelines from great threats and small nuisances alike. Now the series is back and let’s see what shenanigans and peril befall our heroes across the multiverse this time. Lucky for you guys, I’ll be reviewing the first two issues.
Two reviews for the price of one!
Issue one opens up with the Unseen, a.k.a. the original Nick Fury from Earth 616 who was given the job of the Watcher after killing Uatu (the original Watcher) in the Original Sin crossover. His job is to observe and right now he’s observing countless Earths being destroyed by the Time-Eater but he has an ace in the hole: his younger self from an alternate universe with the Tallus (the device that allows the Exiles to travel between universes).
Unfortunately this version of Fury is dying, but the moment has been prepared for and the device has found a champion to replace him, Blink, who at the moment is spending time with her aunt from an alternate universe until she’s summoned to the moon. There the Unseen informs her of the problem and while she argues against it, the Tallus attaches to her arm and sends her across the multiverse to gather a team to fight.
First up she’s sent to some sort of Days of Future Past-esque timeline where she encounters a group of Inhuman resistance fighters who don’t take too kindly to mutants. They knock her out and bring her to their leader, a version of Kamala Khan a.k.a. Ms. Marvel who just goes by Khaaaaaaan!!!!! (sorry, force of habit).. ahem… Khan. Anyway, Khan interrogates Blink who pleads for help in stopping the Time-Eater right before said Time-Eater wipes Khan's world out of existence.
Next is Iron Lad, a teenage version of Kang the Conqueror/Immortus/Rama-Tut/ (ugh my brain is starting to hurt). Blink finds him taking revenge on his bullies as he was just given his armor by Kang, but our heroes see this as an unheroic act and stop him. He’s stopped from finishing the deed but explains himself as a hero, not like Kang and also apparently not the same Iron Lad from the Young Avengers (sorry YA fans). Before we have time to get further into the universe Kang shows up to destroy his young self (it’s time travel just roll with it) but before that the timeline gets wiped out. Our heroes and Iron Lad escape to see that the Time-Eater is the decaying head of Galactus.
Jumping into issue two we have Nick Fury the Unseen recapping us in-case you didn’t read the previous issue and the Exiles escaping the Galactus Time-Eater by warping into a new universe where the only hero of Asgard is Tessa Thompson! … I mean Valkyrie… I mean… well both. It’s basically the Tessa Thompson version of Valkyrie from the Thor: Ragnarok movie but with the added bonus of talking like the original Thor; you know, “Verily”, “Forsooth”, “Doth thou knowest blah blah blah”. Anyway there the Exiles help her defeat Surtur and recruit her to the team but once again the Time-Eater destroys the timeline.
Next world up on this team gathering journey is … oh God it’s the darkest timeline, the Lil’ X-Men Universe, where they meet Lil’ Wolvie and stop Lil’ Magneto from stealing pies. Lucky for us we don’t have to spend too much time here because the Time-Eater wipes this world out too.
The Tallus brings them back to the moon of the Unseen where the team finds out that:
A. Maybe they can save the worlds eaten by zombie Galactus because he hasn’t “digested” them yet
B. The Unseen is technically a Watcher which means he must adhere to their code and can only watch and cannot interfere.
Fury is being punished by a tribunal of Watchers and the punishment is death. Blink tries to save him but a blast from one of the Watchers’ guns hits the Tallus instead breaking it and sending the team scattered across the multiverse, ending the issue.
And so we have the new Exiles series and I gotta say I love it! I was already sold on the concept of universe hopping because I love the Marvel multiverse but when you put a motley crew of heroes together and have them face off against a great evil, like the rotting head of Galactus, you have yourself one happy Marvel fan.
Saladin Ahmed does a fantastic job here on the first issue. The second issue feels like the same as the first, sans the ending, which is not the worst thing in the world but I feel like double-sizing the first issue would have made more sense. The other issue I have is with the Lil’verse characters. They’re not the worst thing and I get the joke they’re making here but I think it’s a little too much. Granted I’m not 100% against the idea so my mind could change over time.
I love most of the other character choices. Blink as the leader is a great choice. I was an Iron Lad fan the second I saw him in Young Avengers so I’m glad to see him here. The grizzled Kamala Khan is an intriguing take on the character. Valkyrie speaking like the old Thor is hilarious. The Unseen/Nick Fury is awesome as the man behind the scenes and the villain choice of the undead head of Galactus is really cool. The art is beyond awesome. I really love how Javier Rodriguez is able to change styles for every universe the Exiles visit. It reminds me of when cartoon shows crossover and keep the style for each respective show (Turtles Forever fans?).
What else is there to say? I can’t wait for the next exciting issue of Exiles!
Verdict: 9/10 Earths of the Marvel Multiverse