The Watchers finally catch up with the Exiles to bring them to book for their involvement in the Time Eater incident, including accomplices/witnesses Nocturne, Captain Carter, Becky, and King. However, when TJ uses her hex powers to free them all, the Tallus activates again and they leap from the frying pan into the fire and become separated in yet another strange new world.
The main thrust of this story was basically one of an origin retelling…for every single player in the saga… and as a consequence gave no real dilemma to the actual trial, making it just a set piece to inform the backgrounds of the accused. And while the character detail was much needed some of them came off a little rushed. The story of Blink was especially intriguing, with a glimpse into the childhood scenes we haven’t witnessed before, and the dramatic image of Apocalypse looming over those held captive to his rule.
But that then led on to Talia, who refuses to play any part in the proceedings, which was a hugely obvious omission. Out of them all, hers is the one voice we need to hear from the most. Valkyrie, Iron Lad and Wolvie follow and those were stories we didn’t really need. Though the Watchers comments about Peggy and Becky are quite telling, and serve to inform us who the replacements for Khan will be. This could get interesting for Val it seems.
The same will clearly apply to King and we will again have a Black Panther on the team as with New Exiles. Again his backstory is essential, but with too much of this rehashing going on for every character (except Nocturne) there is little to no actual detail given to the purpose and justification of the rogue Watchers kangaroo court, let alone their reasoning behind calling the trial in the first place. Or for that matter what purpose these Watchers serve as judge, jury, and executioners if any at all.
I kept asking myself niggling questions like “How do these differ from the ones we saw in issue #2 and what is their vendetta against the Exiles in particular?” “Where was the Unseen, if as they said he was supposed to be part of the whole thing as well?” “Why wasn’t Sabretooth there?” but the most important question of all…”Why do I hear the Watchers talk like the Coneheads in my mind?”
Though the inclusion of Talia was a welcome relief, as it hadn’t been made clear last issue that she would be included in the capture, her story was by far the most needed. Of all the characters that have now joined I am intrigued as to what has been going on with her and her old team. And with the death of Kevin and now no sign of Creed, we will have to wait to see what has been going on with her. Similarly the omission of Sabretooth was an obvious and clearly erroneous one. If the Watchers knew to capture Carter and Becky, they would surely have had no trouble acquiring him too.
While the face off against the Watchers was obviously going to happen, it seemed Saladin had almost written himself into a corner, but for the ‘fluke’ of Talia’s power being the only possible way out and of course their escape into this new unknown, which was of also inevitable. So I feel the trial set up was devoid of any consequence and motivation and almost came off as just a filler before launching into the next arc with the return of Javier Rodríguez on art, who we haven’t seen since issue #5. While the art this issue is perfectly acceptable in and of itself, following on from Reis was clearly some hard doing and was a little jarring, to say the least. The Watchers looked far too comical and didn’t have the gravitas or menace they gave off in their initial appearance depicted so memorably at the end of issue #2 and mirrored only by the stunning cover by Mike McKone, the high point of the whole issue, and yet still my one niggle about these is the rendition of Wolvie we NEVER see in the internal art, but let’s not go there again, I guess this is a permanent thing now.
With so many people involved in the pastiche art that was used to set up each individual backstory this issue I anticipated far more. With Joe Quinones involved in penciling, inking, and coloring, as well as being joined by Joe Rivera on inks and also Jordan Gibson, Chris Sotomayor and Muntsa Vicente on colors it all came off a little heavy handed, compared to the three-man team of Javier Rodríguez, Alvaro López and Chris O’Halloran on issues #2-5. And how I long for the return of Jordie Bellaire from her outing on the first issue. Similarly, I will greatly miss Rod Reis, as he gave the last arc a much-needed air of originality, grace, and simplicity, which has been sadly lacking so far this series. I also think he would have been a more organic choice for the coming storyline, as he leant the Western epic some really memorable set pieces and character designs.
COMING NEXT: ARABIAN NIGHTS! Javier Rodríguez returns on art duties with the start of a brand-new arc! On the run from rogue Watchers, the Exiles find themselves scattered in a dusty Arabian town, and with a bad case of mistaken identity! Who is the ne’er-do-well son of a tailor everyone calls “Aladdin”? What are the 40 thieves after? And most importantly…what classic Marvel villain plays the role of despotic Caliph? Saladin Ahmed brings One Thousand and One Nights to life in the pages of Marvel Comics!
Exiles #9 On Sale 10th October 2018!
Too many cooks spoil the broth. A hodgepodge rushed fill in issue with distracting art that was far too disjointed compared to the smooth and satisfying work of the previous two issues, with a story that didn't cover all the bases and so the game was lost on me.
Exiles #8 Who Watches The Watchers?
Writing - 4/104/10
Storyline - 3/103/10
Art - 5/105/10
Color - 5/105/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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