Blink is back and must gather a team to save the whole Multiverse from being extinguished by an unknown threat.
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Penciller: Javier RodrÍguez
Inker: Alvaro López
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover: David Marquez & Matthew Wilson
Variant Covers: Javier RodrÍguez & Mike McKone
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
Summoned by the Tallus to the moon Blink is informed by the Unseen that the Time Eater is slowly destroying the Multiverse one reality at a time and it falls to her to gather a group of individuals from different locations to end the threat. After journeying to two separate realities and rescuing and recruiting Kamala Khan and Iron Lad, just before their respective planets are destroyed, the unwitting allies come face to face with their nemesis. None other than the zombified head of Galactus. And he’s still hungry.
What You’ll Find Out:
The Unseen serves as our compére as he rehashes the crux of the dilemma faced by this new band of Exiles, while Blink, Kamala, and Iron Lad are shocked to see the power of the Time Eater as he erases Kang from existence. As Iron Lad discovers he is formed of matter and energy, Blink realizes he must have followed them and they should escape. Just in time, the Tallus lights up and she warns them to hold on as they are about to be transported again.
And are unceremoniously dumped onto the snowy landscape at the edge of a seemingly inhabited village. Blink is unable to tell Kamala where they are but assumes it’s to collect their next recruit. Kamala isn’t happy with the guesswork and argues their worlds are destroyed for nothing. Iron Lad isn’t so sure their realities are done for just yet and uses his gadgetry to surmise that if they defeat the Time Eater they can save their worlds. Blink takes this to mean he’s onboard and he admits that though he doesn’t like his home he has to do something about it, which is music to her ears. Just then Khan hears the sound of battle and we see Valkyrie gleefully taking on the might of Surtur and his denizens. As she waxes lyrical of her vow to destroy him he is stopped mid retort as he almost treads on Iron Lad and Kamala. Nate takes the opportunity to point out they are in trouble and Kamala blasts one of Surtur’s men as she mocks his stating the obvious.
Almost scoring a home goal Blink narrowly avoids hittings Khan with her energy javelins, causing Kamala to tell her to watch what she’s doing. In response Blink asks Kamala’s advice, being as she has military expertise. Kamala says she can take point if everyone else can cover the flanks and leave Surtur to Valkyrie as she clearly is capable of dealing with him. As Surtur beats a hasty retreat the allies rally together and is introduced to Valkyrie and her winged horse Elendil. Valkyrie declares they have the skills of Asgardian warriors but clearly are strangers, based on their dress and asks where they hail from. Blink tells Valkyrie of their quest and her possible part in it and she says that though she’d love to join she can’t abandon her post. Suddenly this becomes a non-dilemma as the Time Eater arrives and in a now familiar flash of light begins to absorb her world. Problem solved.
As they again depart for another trip the runaway heroes discover their next port of call is far more bizarre than any of them have seen before as they land outside the gates of Xavier’s Playtime Fun School for Gifted Youngsters. Valkyrie is adamant she should be fighting back, not running and Blink assures her they need to find a way to beat the Time Eater and for that they need answers. To which Valkyrie vows to be ready to fight. Just then Kamala hears someone approach and tells her she may get her chance soon. Enter Wolvie, who declares that they should come with him if they want pie, much to the shock of all assembled.
As he begins to track said pies they follow the animated adventurer, he answering Kamala’s questions in that unguarded way only kids have. Valkyrie enters fully into the spirit of the thing and says though it is a nefarious crime they are dealing with a much larger threat, that of the destruction of the Multiverse. This is unbelievable to Wolvie who says they are silly and runs off, clearly on the trail of the missing pies. Kamala declares that despite her forty years of battle this may just be the worst day of her life. And it’s not just hyperbole, as we find that it’s Li’l Magneto who stole all the pies. To which Wolvie cries…
As we join Blink in realizing things are a little out of hand and Iron Lad falls to the Magnetic Mite, she takes control of things and gives ‘Magnetyke’ a firm telling off and he and Wolvie shake hands and make friends again. Just as the group hears the rallying cry of “pie for all” someone else arrives who hungers for more than pie. Wolvie tells Blink he is scared and she agrees, they all are, but promises they have his back and Kamala asserts she’s had enough and wants to fight, a sentiment echoed by Valkyrie. The decision is again taken out of their hands however as they are once again teleported away, this time to the very moon where Blink first discovers her mission and she hopes, some answers. They find the Unseen, who begins to answer their questions and explain that although realities are often wiped out, sometimes in their thousands, each is replaced in turn. But the Time Eater is destroying realities faster than new ones can form to fill the void.
As Blink asks how they can, Nate says he is sure he may have the answer himself. He explains the Time Eater is like a python and is slowly digesting realities as a snake does. As such he can be split open and they can return the realities before they are fully digested. This is news Valkyrie can understand as battling cosmic snakes is nothing new to her. As she and Wolvie gleefully celebrate and she declares Nate her friend, much to his bemusement, Kamala snarls that she may throw up reminding them all it isn’t summer camp or a field trip but it’s war. Blink isn’t cowed by her assessment of the situation, reminding her that she too is from a dystopian world and has been fighting this battle and losing friends for a long time.
Kamala changes the subject by asking Iron Lad just how they can do it, but he raises the question as to whether they even should. What if they make it worse? As she asks how things could possibly be worse, the question is interrupted by the arrival of a group of armed Watchers led by a female Watcher called Acitua. When Blink asks her what they plan to do to help, she replies they have only come to judge. They have gleaned the fact of the former Nick Fury’s meddling and breaking of the Watcher laws, to which he has nothing to say and is suddenly not so verbose as before.
Blink says that is madness, it was the Tallus that called them and not him and the Watchers must let them save the Multiverse. As Acitua simply declares interference is not their way Blink counters that even doing nothing is doing something. This elicits nothing but a repetition of the Watcher law so she goes on to argue that is hypocritical. When Acitua declares a death sentence for the Unseen Blink refuses, and Acitua brandishes her weapon and it opens up to reveal a glowing energy core as Wolvie leaps in the way. She unleashes a blast at the Unseen and Blink as teleports to stop Wolvie the bolt of energy hits the Tallus, shattering it and sending fragments hurtling away, each one seeming to capture each of the shocked Exiles as well as reflect various other realities including World War II bombers, the Red Skull and what looks like Dr. Doom in possession of Captain America’s shield.
What Just Happened?
The coloring of the battle between Surtur and Valkyrie was perfectly balanced and the change of colorist from Jordie Bellaire to Chris O’Halloran was well managed and he is a great addition to the artistic team. Aside from the cartoony world of Wolvie, the art of Javier Rodríguez and Álvaro López was once again outstanding. We went from the moon to Asgard, to…that place that shall remain nameless…and then finally back to the moon again. Each new scene was well rendered, not to mention every drop of drama fully realized in each Tallus flip as they were buffeted around from reality to reality. Every entrance of the Time Eater (which reminded me of the build-up of drama in the Resident Evil game when Nemesis enters the scene) was visually pleasing.
The facial expressions too, from Kamala sarcastically saying meeting Wolvie is the worst day of her life and Valkyrie’s returning stare as well as Valkyrie’s horror at seeing the time Eater were spot-on characterizations. And the fadeout scene as the team escaped the Time Eater at the start was a good touch. Even seeing Elendil the horse grazing on the moon, strange surreal touch that it was.
Character-wise, cranky Kamala is a little too gruff for the sake of it here once again and reminds me of Wolverine from back when he first joined the X-Men. All “grr… I’m going to argue with everything you say and play the tough nut”. Particularly her exchange with Blink about “this is war, not a field trip”. But at least she’s offset by the more than gung-ho and chirpy Valkyrie, these two are a good balance at least. I did enjoy the pure Shakespearean eloquence of Valkyrie especially in a war of words with Surtur. And Kirbyesque Watchers….with guns? Truly the standout moment of the issue.
Iron Lad is again a diluted nobody character who serves no other purpose than to explain the science bit to us. He was, however, a welcome distraction in comparison to what came next, *sigh* Wolvie and Li’l Magneto. OK, so here it is, it finally happened and although I knew it was coming I was sort of expecting/hoping for a more X-Baby Mojoverse Wolvie, not this Cartoon Network version. Even the little tyke from Super Hero Squad may have been a bit more palatable. But this is just not on at all and my worries about the addition of this character have been confirmed in the worst possible way. His first appearance being an homage to that of his 616 counterpart in Incredible Hulk #180 wasn’t lost on me but still failed to impress. The shock on everyone’s faces as he showed up mirrored my own discomfort.
Not only is his childlike perkiness annoying to the max, but the visual of the character itself doesn’t fit alongside the others. I get that they are all alternate versions of other characters and with Valkyrie and even Kamala I can get behind that, especially as their character traits are so diametrically opposed to each other. And I have to give SOME kudos to Saladin Ahmed here for the interplay with them, as these two actually balance each other very well, even if Khan IS a simulacrum of Wolverine…but this just simply a bad joke. As the last addition to the team (I just REFUSE to say its name), it ruins any credibility the other characters have and just has the look of an Emoji and as a result, I can’t visualize him in a way that sits well in my head. For the first time in two issues, I was actually pleased to see the eradication of a world. The whole trippiness of that cartoon land looked distinctly out of place. We should have seen a little less of Marvelite World and much more of Asgard, especially Valkyrie’s battle with Surtur, which was far too short and sacrificed to add more Wolverine. I’m sure the winged horse found grazing on the dust of the moon much easier to stomach. The whole addition of the cartoon element was a letdown, in what would have otherwise been a vast improvement on the last issue, sorry to say. I can’t be sure, but I think I may have said that already? Well in case I haven’t…NO!
Final Thought: Giant steps aren’t what you take, horses on the moon.
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