Avast ye landlubbers, with no Tallus to save them how will Cap’n Blink and crew escape the trials of Blackbeard Ben and the Juggernautical?
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Pencils: Javier Rodríguez
Inks: Alvaro López
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: David Marquez & Matthew Wilson
Variant Covers: Mike McKone
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
On the run from the Time Eater, the team has encountered the Watchers, who deemed The Unseen to be meddling in places he shouldn’t. Barely escaping them, they then begin pinging back and forth to more and more unusual realities with the Tallus on the fritz. First encountering Morph, who informs Blink her old team are alive, they witness him being cruelly snatched from existence by the Time Eater. Then the team land on the world of Peggy Carter, Captain America and her sidekick Becky Barnes, in the midst of a war against an atom bomb wielding Red Skull, before thwarting him, only to see their new friends taken by the very atom bomb they sought to stop.
What You’ll Find Out:
After a recap from The Unseen, who is watching the proceedings, we find Blink and friends on a beach and pondering the loss of the world they just visited and the damage caused by the atom bomb. Never having experienced the power of a bomb like this but reading about it Nate is shocked and prays Carter made it. Khan and Blink compare notes on the destruction both their worlds have witnessed from it and Khan reveals there was yet more destruction on her world years later.
All the talk of homeworlds makes Wolvie homesick and he begins to cry. As Blink and Khan comfort him Khan points out her daughter would have loved to meet him and Blink realizes the Tallus is gone, causing Valkyrie to cry foul. Nate says that it isn’t completely lost and will be emitting some light effects that they can track when a cry for help distracts them.
As the slave catchers arrive and assume the team are more escaped slaves Valkyrie springs into action, incensed by the cruel nature of the new arrivals. Before Blink and the others can help she single-handedly sees them off and running. When the coast is clear Cassius reveals he has escaped after spying on Gyrich for a captain he is meant to meet and pass on valuable info to. Someone who just happens to show up and be someone Blink recognizes. And shiver me timbers, so do we.
Introductions have been made and Blink discovers Ben is also a traveler from another world, who opted to stay and fight slavery rather than leave with the rest of his Fantastic Four. He tells them he has witnessed the very effect Nate mentioned which they reason must be the Tallus. But before he will help them find it he says he has prior concerns in stopping Gyrich and freeing the slaves and asks them to help him, or he can drop them off to look for themselves. Blink says she needs to discuss it with her crew and he agrees this is best, but not before he introduces them to someone else who is part of the rescue effort.
As Falcon wonders, if they will help also, Ben calls on his first mate to see to their needs, while they await the third and final captain. Surprised to see yet another Becky Barnes, Nate says this is bad, that proximity between realities causes a collapse and insists they move out. Khan says she will abide by whatever Blink decides and clearly Valkyrie has decided to stay, distracted by Becky. Nate reminds her that last time they tried to help it didn’t end well. Blink is unsure and Nate agrees to abide by her wishes also and it seems decided. As they go below deck Becky tells Falcon he should go spruce up as the final captain has just arrived and she knows he has a thing for her. Telling her to be quiet he nonetheless flies off for a shave. Valkyrie suggests she should have a similar talk with Becky and talk turns to love and wooing, which clearly makes Nate a little nervous.
Nate confesses he is a little shy on such matters and Valkyrie says she will give him some pointers. By way of a plan, Ben suggests both teams do what they do best and just keep out of each other’s way and Blink agrees. After a pep talk from Falcon accompanied by the stern looking Misty complete with pirate hook arm they make ready for battle and he vows to fly and deal with Gyrich himself but Blink has a better idea. Porting him and Ben over they are met by Gyrich who says he isn’t impressed by the forces gathered and the rebellion will end here. But Falcon vows not while they draw breath and offers to spare his life if they lay down arms. Gyrich has none of it and calls for his ultimate weapon, the Juggernautical.
As brief as the battle is it is decisive and Falcon says a few more like this and the war will be won. Misty asks Blink if they will help but Nate reminds them they have to move on and continue with their own mission. And so Blink calls in the favor promised by Captain Ben. Hours later they arrive at the Rainbow Whirlpool and its confirmed its the site of the Tallus and as Ben offers the use of a boat, Nate says he can use his repulsors to get them there. When Ben asks him his name he isn’t surprised to find he is in the company another scientific brain called Richards and goodbyes and thanks are given and they set off to find the Tallus and though his sensors are going offline Wolvie can smell it and Blink ports them down to it. When they retrieve it they are ported to the moon but nowhere they are familiar with, it’s somewhere else altogether.
Shocked by the apparent hoarding of trophies they also find the missing bodies of the Watchers and Blink shields Wolvie, who is visibly shocked. Iron Lad finds records and realizes that the killer of Watchers has also destroyed a version of Galactus and is utilizing his powers. Nate surmises not just one but possibly many other versions of Galactus have fallen to the villain. A villain they have been running from who isn’t who they thought. Just as they discover the remains of a Galactus head, dead and trailing wires and the realization hits, the owner of the trophy room they are trespassing in arrives home.
What Just Happened?
Characters: So Khan finally softens in a believable way and I’m beginning to understand and see the merit of her earlier surliness, though I would have preferred it not to be to lil’ Wolvie that she decided to warm to. Speaking of whom, the credibility of this character is just not sinking in with me. Even with his breaking the fourth wall and understanding the slaves when they speak, all because of “those bracket things” I think I proffered him when he could just sense bad things coming and not acting like Deadpool. And Iron Lad is still the shy geeky one, nothing more interesting of note with him. After Wolvie he is still the least interesting character here to me. NEXT! On to Valkyrie, ever the carousing, fighting, drinking hero we know too well by now. She is becoming a little background, in that nothing is being done differently other than her flirting with Becky….another Becky. Elendil is by far the more interesting character, without even saying a word. And he was missing most of the issue, is seen briefly at the start and end of the issue and only one panel in the fight with Juggernautical. A waste as far as I can see, as he’s been one of the most visually interesting characters, with regards observational humor. At least there were other colorful characters thrown into the mix. Also, if we are to witness pirates from another world, I can think of worse versions than Ben, Sam and Misty and the replacement of bionics with a hook.
And someone finally addresses the elephant in the room. No not Valkyrie and her fixation with Becky Barnes of various realities, but Blinks racial heritage. Sticky situation, I know, but as she now clearly states she was born in the West Indies, it underlines what some people still seem to be confused about. Though it was already mentioned back in the new Exiles #1 and as far back as Blink #1 by Lobdell, I can’t help feel the negative feedback on social media has caused Saladin to draw a line in the sand on her origins. Since the colonial era of plantations, Africans or Afro-Bahamians have been the largest ethnic group in the Bahamas, whose primary ancestry was based in West Africa. The first Africans to arrive in the Bahamas were freed slaves from Bermuda, looking for new lives. Though White Caucasians are indeed also indigenous to the Bahamas, the original racial type would have actually been of South American heritage anyway so the interpretation can be wide open. As to her appearance being different than we saw in previous Exiles outings, it is far from the first change since her creation or even her first appearance in the AOA. When she first appeared in the first Exiles #1 in 2001, her eyes were suddenly green which wasn’t the case before in her AOA original appearance. And given the usual complaint of whitewashing characters by Marvel, I would think to relate her appearance to that of her true ethnic origins would be applauded not vilified. I for one am more bothered by the removal of the bubbly personality she exhibited in the Exiles series of old than her new hairstyle and non-Caucasian appearance.
Art: There are some memorable images used this issue, from the redcoats with baying hounds to the full splash page with the stampeding Juggernautical. And not to mention the final fate of the “Time Eater” or as we thought until we find he and the Watchers are mere victims of a bigger threat and were never even the real Time Eater all along. And everyone finally arriving on the moon to appear in the real villain’s lair.
Writing: The way the final battle is decided is a little odd. After Ben, Khan and Blink are clearly seen poring over a map the decision to just “keep out of each other’s way” seems at odds with the visuals when it comes to their previously seen organized tactics and planning.
Another thing confuses me, there’s a giant threat called the Time Eater bearing down on them all, with no exit in sight as they have lost the Tallus, they explain it all to Ben/Pirate Blackbeard….and STILL, everyone decides to prioritize the fight against Gyrich to free slaves? I’m no tactician, but why waste time on side missions when they know full well the big bad is breathing down their neck? Admittedly yes, they are heroes and it’s what they do and people were in danger. But where is the logic in saving people who would still lose their lives if they distract from their bigger goal here? They even mull this over given their failure to stop the atom bomb and save Peggy and the rest last time. Ben’s own statement “we can talk about the Multiverse after that” What? …NO! Even though it all worked out, it still was illogical given that without the Tallus they had no hope of escaping if and when the Time Eater shows up. Even Nate said so. Find the Tallus first THEN save the world. And though the Juggernautical was fun visually, it was dealt with far too quickly. The writing clearly needs to balance the humor element far more smoothly against the backdrop of extermination and imminent peril of world destruction.
Final Thought: Still not my Exiles. Hurry back Kevin and Talia!
Join our Age of Social Media Network consisting of X-Men, Marvel, DC, Superhero and Action Movies, Anime, Indie Comics, and numerous fan pages. Interested in becoming a member? Join us by clicking here and pick your favorite group!
User Review( votes)