Thursday, September 11, 2014

Waiting for the Trade: Exiles


Waiting for the Trade
 
New Exiles vol. 4: Away We Go
By Chris Claremont, Tim Seeley and Scott Clark
Collects New Exiles 16-18 and X-men Sword of the Braddocks

Why I Bought This: It was $5 at BAM and had a real nice Psylocke cover
 

The Plot: In the series finale the Exiles deal with a Shi’ar civil war and take down two of the recurring villains from Claremont’s run: an alternate Invisible Woman who serves as Madame Hydra and Slaymaster (a Captain Britain villain similar to Bullseye).
 

For those who don’t know what Exiles is, it is about a team of mutants who visit alternate reality earths (kind of like the TV show Sliders). The original Exiles spun-off from “Age of Apocalypse”—a story I never read but apparently everyone liked the character of Blink in AoA and since the main Marvel Universe version of her was dead to find a way to keep her around the writers decided she tried to teleport to safety when the AOA universe ended and she ended up in alternate reality. She also took the AOA version of Sabretooth, who is a hero and goes by Mr. Creed as well as Morph--another mutant who was dead in the main Marvel Universe but was popular in AoA--with her. Throughout their journeys through reality they picked up various other alternate reality versions of the X-men for a series that went close to 100 issues that I for the most part never read. I first picked up Exiles in the discount bin for their two World Tour trades in which the team visited alternate realities that had been stand alone books in the past like House of M, the New Universe, 2099, Heroes Reborn and Squadron Supreme—and I’ll say that it is a really fun story if you read some of those other universes originally and wanted to see them revisited. Plus I immediately saw the appeal of Blink as a great character: she is a strong team leader with interesting powers so it is no wonder after AoA they found a way to keep her around.

New Exiles was (I assume) a last ditch attempt to save the series by hiring Chris Claremont to write it with a new #1 and bringing in both Psylocke and Sage from the main Marvel Universe as members. Because Psylocke is my favorite X-man and I enjoyed the two “World Tour” trades I picked up one of the Claremont trades when it hit the discount bin too. But I missed one or two that occur before this final trade.
 
Anyway in this book the team lineup includes: Psylocke & Sage, Morph & Mr. Creed from AoA (but not Blink); an alternate reality Shadowcat who is identical to Claremont’s original interpretation of the character; a male heroic version of Mystique (although considering the original can imitate men as well as women I’m not sure that’s much of a difference either); an alternate version of Rogue who can control her powers and touch people if she wishes but personality wise seems otherwise the same, and a hero called Gambit who is the son of Namor and Sue Storm and has inherited variations of both their powers.

(spoilers below):

 
Chapter 1 – Evil Sue and not-so-alternate Kitty Pryde fight in a battle of defensive powers being used aggressively. Evil Lilandra battles an alternate version of Deathbird who has no powers and Morph. Alternate more powerful Rogue disintegrates some chick who apparently killed Misty Knight last trade and then kisses a purple alien. Kitty defeats Evil Sue by ripping out her spine but dies in the effort. Rogue takes purple alien’s War Machine armor and rejoins the battle.

Chapter 1.5 – Merlyn (an old Excalibur villain who either impersonates or is an evil alternate reality version of the Arthurian mage) battles Sage in some other dimension, and is about to kill her when some hologram chick that had been living in her head emerges from her body to save her.

Chapter 2 – Psylocke and Slaymaster have a two page martial arts fight until some other villain interferes. Slaymaster takes out his ally because he wants to win a fair fight. Cut to Rogue who uses the War Machine armor to take out three Shi’ar warriors. Psylocke wins the fight but when Slaymaster begs for mercy she spares his life. And then in classic villain mode when she goes to walk away he tries to stab her in the back but Mr. Creed makes the save. Before Creed can get the kill Slaymaster teleports away. Evil Lillandra surrenders.

Chapter 2.5 – Hologram chick beats the hell out Merlyn in hand to hand combat. She returns to Sage who is dying so to save her they remerge although this will erase both their original personalities into a new one. Once they merge they disappear in a flash of light. Merlyn recovers and lets out a primal scream.

Chapter 3 – The Exiles help the Earth the Shi’ar invaded rebuild. Rogue makes out with purple alien dude (who has his War Machine armor back). No-power Deathbird assumes control of the Shi’ar Empire and signs a peace treaty with the President. Morph decides he is going to stay behind and help Deathbird. Rogue also decides to stay behind because she loves purple alien dude. The rest of the Exiles return to the Crystal Palace (their homebase outside time where they can teleport to any reality) where Sage is now a hologram bound to the castle. Sage assures Psylocke she is okay with this setup even though it means never going home again. A teenage Valeria Richards wants to join the team. We see highlights of various missions that Claremont must of intended to write about but didn’t get to followed by Morph rejoining the team because his relationship with no-power Deathbird didn’t work out. This is followed by Gambit being called home because Namor died and he needs to assume the Atlantean throne. Psylocke and Mr. Creed have sex. We end with everyone watching the sunset as the series comes to an end.

Chapter 4 – In the Sword of Braddocks one-shot Slaymaster continues his alternate reality tour of killing Psylockes. This time he kills one that was married to a version of himself and to get to her he has to kill his analog upon which he absorbs him becoming twice as powerful. We then get a flashback of how the main Marvel Universe Slaymaster blinded Psylocke when she was Captain Britain (in his solo title before she joined the X-men). Psylocke trains on the holodeck fighting a false Slaymaster and she cannot defeat him. She gets a psychic flash that the Slaymaster from this series intends to go to the main Marvel Universe and kill her brother Captain Britain; and since their version of Slaymaster is dead she does not think her brother will have a chance of avoiding the ambush since he won’t remotely expect it (although considering how often people return from the dead in the main Marvel Universe that is dubious logic). Psylocke returns to her home universe and goes shopping. Slaymaster is there and attacks her but she’s ready for it. The sounds of battle draw Brian to it and Betsy takes a couple bullets for him. He’s ready to fight beside her but Psylocke insists on taking on Slaymaster alone. She channels the memories of every Psylocke he has killed and is able to anticipate his every move. This time when Psylocke wins she kills him. She bids her brother goodbye and returns to the Crystal Palace where Sage heals her and then she celebrates her victory with Mr. Creed.


Critical Thoughts: This is sort of a rushed mess which I guess is what happens when a series gets cancelled. Also because of the alternate reality gimmick this is sometimes a hard series to be dropped in the middle of. I really don’t see in the last issue why Morph quits and comes back. You’re cancelling the series let him live happily ever after.  

Still I bought this book because it had a cool cover and I like Psylocke and in that sense this is a perfectly serviceable Psylocke story. Her vendetta with Slaymaster began in one of the earlier Claremont volumes I have, and plays off history from both universes which is a nice touch. That two page martial arts fight in chapter two is well done and even though it is rushed the escalation between her being willing to spare him in the first fight and kill him in the second comes off as a natural progression. She learned from the first fight he is not going to respect mercy, and now he’s made it even more personal by going after her brother so I believe that decision and I think it is consistent with her character. Claremont also writes the rapport between the Braddock siblings quite well, which is no surprise as he’s been writing these two characters for decades. 

The Sue-Shadowcat fight is also fun in a fanboy sense as we’re seeing perhaps the two most famous defensive powers in comics pitted against each other and used in a very aggressive way as they fight to the death.

Otherwise I don’t have strong opinions about anything else that happens in this trade. The Meryln stuff is confusing and not very good—though if you care his subplot is finished off in the mini-series/trade X-Men Die By The Sword in which the Exiles and Excalibur team up to fight him but that book is truly terrible so I wouldn’t recommend seeking it out.
 

Grade C. I wouldn’t call this good even by the standards of a cult book like Exiles. In fact I would say of the four or five Exiles trades I have read this is the least of them. But it is far from terrible. There are no character assassination moments. The art and writing are both perfectly acceptable if not all that inspiring. That sounds like an average C-list comic to me, especially one I grabbed on the cheap.

 

 

 

40 comments:

  1. what kind of difference was Fatu trying to make in SF?? ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh

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  2. Well, he DID piss in his boots on RAW in 1998 :). That was actually one of Jarrett's better feuds.

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  3. Yeah this was right around the time of Ultimo Dragon and the like, huh? Wouldve been a perfect fit.

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  4. The guy who ran it is still doing updates at psmag.co.uk so it kind of survives in a stripped down form.

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  5. FUCK.

    Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose was my hottest feud and I was getting ready to blow it off in a Hell In A Cell match...and then Seth Rollins suffered a freak eye injury and is out for 2 months. Kill me now.

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  6. Adam "Colorado" CurrySeptember 11, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    This might not make sense, but I find it even more fake.

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  7. Adam "Colorado" CurrySeptember 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Shawn reffed a match in FMW with Shinzaki (against Taker, I think), that's about it.

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  8. Getting all those damn vagrant bums over to San Jose and away from prime real estate uh I mean keeping the kids off drugs.

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  9. Yeah, neither looked that tough- st least they were underdog babyfaces with good teamwork, but after a point, they looked silly. I guess girls dug them too, so they had looks going their way.

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  10. He was doing the 49ers bidding 20 years ahead of time.

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  11. No Takeover thread?

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  12. Yeah but Jarrett at least had some cred already. Roadie was basically a rookie with no proven track record.

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  13. Yeah, I can never remember if "quebrada" is specifically a moonsault or just covers any springboard dive to the floor from that position.

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  14. We don't even have Radio Shack here in Canada anymore.

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  15. Cassettes have been a hipster thing the last couple of years, and there has even been a cassette day (like Record Store Day). Of course, Limp Bizkit doing it has probably killed it for the hipsters.

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  16. Target too. Every time I stock them I just shake my head.

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  17. Should have known when he rubbed it all over this chest like that.

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  18. Man, I hated that Claremont just HAD TO include Sage in absolutely every story he wrote after a point. The character was just NOT interesting, yet he dragged her into everything, despite nobody ever liking her.

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  19. "Meanwhile, Vince McMahon insinuates that JJ may not have been singing at his own concert, and that’s the last we see of Jarrett for quite a long time."
    That long time would be five months right?

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  20. Actually, the one that got fired was Road Dogg.Kwik stuck around a little more.

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  21. Stan Lane. Given his two gimmicks -- it actually fits.

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  22. I'd mark hard if he still had the Hammer Jammer.

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  23. I remember your old P2B podcasts where you'd review a IYH then complain because Bret Hart or Undertaker wasn't on the card or something, but I agree what WWF did here. The B-PPV's should only feature half of your main eventers and they should save their A-PPV's by featuring all the main event talent as their biggest selling point.

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  24. Me too. I go back an forth on whether I feel that, or Hayes win over Luger, is the biggest upset in wrestling history.

    People shit on Garvin for being a lame duck champion, but he probably got paid pretty handsomely for it, and probably didn't give two shits.

    And while on Garvin Bash...88......Punching Dusty.....fantastic.

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  25. I'm pretty sure he brought him back in 1996 specifically to dick with Jarrett when he'd just signed with WCW. The whole "Real Double J" thing seemed more of an attempt to be assy rather than get Roadie over at all.

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  26. He had to lose 49+ times! ;-)

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  27. How'd they know he wasn't going to be a 'fan favorite'?! :(

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  28. I bought a VCR at Walmart a couple years ago. I needed one...


    ... to watch my WWF tapes.


    Sigh.

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  29. Wrestlemania VI after Hunka Hunka Honky Love....


    Jesse: "You're gonna get it on CD right Monsoon?"
    Gorilla (Dismissively): "Yeah, CD."

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  30. HEY that's not fair!


    He also had a light-up hat, sunglasses, and jacket a few times.

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  31. I never hated Sage but I will say Claremont never developed much of a personality for her. But yea Exiles is clearly just him playing with his favorite toys like Psylocke and Kitty Pryde also. The other Exiles trade I have by him even has Kitty alone hunted by Sabretooth which feels like a story I've read 17 times and he also used this run to revisit Psylocke as Lady Mandarin.
    But definitely agree on Englehart and Mantis. I really like Englehart's writing except for Mantis, who is just this god-awful character that not only does he insist on using but when he uses her he makes her the central focus of the book

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  32. Oh, OK. I thought it was an Asai moonsault.

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  33. I wonder exactly how shocking Sheik over Backlund was at the time.

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  34. I can see that. Guys taking 100 head bumps and still fighting, and "elite" guys requiring even MORE titanic head-drops to finish (with Secret Special Finishers needed), is just as fake as WWE's "1000 punches to the face do nothing" style.

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  35. Obviously he meant Jarrett's presence in the WWF. He would resurface on the October 20 RAW with this pipebomb: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMYkenMzS94

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  36. But he was an Armstrong.

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  37. If it wasn't hot, then why did Hogan immediately pull his hand away?

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