It’s time for the Exiles to face down their enemy…no matter the cost. And in historic Exiles fashion, not everyone will survive. Don’t miss the first arc’s epic conclusion!
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Pencils: Javier Rodríguez
Inks: Alvaro López
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: David Marquez & Tamra Bonvillain
Variant Cover: Mike McKone
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
The Exiles have been jumping from reality to reality trying to stay one step ahead of the Time Eater to enable them to best figure out how to deal with him. After finally arriving in his own hideout they discover not only are they down to their last reality but their nemesis himself has come home. And he’s not who they expected.
What You’ll Find Out:
Again the Unseen catches us up on recent events and we see things through his eyes briefly before joining Blink and the gang after just discovering the Time Eater is Kang in disguise. As they tackle him it is evident he is more of a threat than they imagined as he casually throws Valkyrie and her charge aside before setting his sights on the Tallus, recognizing with its destruction there will be an end to everything. However, he hasn’t accounted for a new arrival in the shape of Nick Fury, who arrives in a timely fashion to aid and distract before they realize it’s too much and has to flee.
Although they don’t get far and are trapped in Kang’s fortress. While they try to understand his motives for playing with them and Iron Lad agonizes over the fact they are dealing with a future version of him it is Khan who sets him straight on the issue and makes him see he is not to blame. When Blink agrees, he relents and comes to the conclusion that returning to the point where Blink first met the Unseen is the only course of action to take, but reasons that to do this will cause a paradox which will mean they will not be able to return to their home worlds even when they are fixed. Despite this, they all agree it’s got to be done. All that is except for Wolvie who runs away inconsolable to the fact that he will never see his friends again. Returning to the conundrum Iron Lad is still puzzled as to who it should be that meets the Unseen. Fury has the answer.
Just then Kang arrives and so they set their plan in motion. Valkyrie and Iron Lad decide to stall him and give the others a chance and so they head off through one of the mirrors, as Fury can sense it leads to the Unseen. As those left behind fight valiantly Blinks team finds their way to a strange cold wilderness to meet none other than Sabretooth. While Blink is overjoyed to find her old ally, Khan is not so pleased revealing he was the man who murdered her husband and daughter, despite his insistence it was clearly a different version of him. Before they have a chance to get to fighting Fury interrupts and reminds them they have a mission to complete. Meanwhile, Wolvie arrives to find Iron Lad and Valkyrie have fallen to Kang and even though he is dispatched by the villain returns to annoy him. As he insists all Kang needs is a hug we find Blink and the rest are battling multiple Kangs and Kamala makes the ultimate sacrifice to enable them to escape.
At the same time Fury arrives to meet himself as the Unseen as expected (and seen in issue #1) and Blink and Sabretooth take separate paths, Blink has a similar experience to Fury in a hall of mirrors, meeting at first a few and then many versions of herself, but Sabretooth disappears. Back with Kang and Iron Lad and Valkyrie are recovered and back fighting as he unleashes more multiple versions of himself. But Blink arrives and shows two can play at that game, fighting him to a standstill before he disappears. Valkyrie wonders if he is dead but Iron Lad has his doubts, he is defeated, but not dead. Before they have time to talk to those who arrive to help everyone fades out and the Exiles are left alone once more. Face to face with the Unseen, but before he can give them another mission Blink insists they have to give Kamala a proper send off. After visiting a rain-soaked Jersey City to pay their respects in Kamala’s reality Blink arrives in her family home in The Bahamas to introduce her new allies to her family.
What Just Happened?
Characters: It was so nice to see (even briefly) the return of Sabretooth and when we lost Kamala Khan and kept Wolvie….sigh… I had hoped he may have been on hand to replace the lost character already planned to be leaving this issue. However, in the forthcoming months, we are set to see Kevin, Talia, and Creed again so that’s something. With Khan gone maybe we will get a little better exposition and background on characters, although I’m not holding my breath here. Both Iron Lad and Valkyrie have had no development this issue and Wolvie had too much time on the show for me. I did find some interest in the phalanx of Blinks here and the return of some of the pirates from last issue and hope to soon see a return of even more of the people the Exiles helped to save here.
Writing: So much exposition here I thought we were witnessing a Claremont issue. But where the writing previously was only hampered by the inclusion of one particular character, this time around it simply doesn’t ring true or share the same depth and expertise in making the prose fit the art. Sooooo many word balloons and also over full of repetitive diatribe, it could easily have been pared back for the sake of the story. It was just too much hard work to follow the conversation and try to keep up with the action. Also, the exposition and agonizing of verbiage are not helped by the laughable panel with Wolvie trying to insist all Kang needs is a friend. And laughable for all the wrong reasons.
I’ve said it before and I’m afraid I just have to insist that this character does nothing to either offset the drama or lighten the mood in an appropriate way. Any sense of loss and pain Saladin Ahmed tries to deliver in the story is simply wiped out by this ridiculous character and I demand a retcon with the return of Khan and his immediate execution. Also it’s never really clarified how they arrive at the conclusion that visiting the Unseen back at the start is the only way to resolve things and also why Kang is bent on destroying every last reality, which will clearly mean no more nourishment, other than that he is like unto a God and petty ideals like those are beyond him, other than his intent to “become the Universe”. Also, there was a slight scripting error with the repeat of the scene from issue #1 where Fury is concerned. Maybe this was the paradox Nate was talking about?
Art: While the image above shows a change in dialogue at least the art was consistent, the scene carrying so well from its original first showing. And this goes for the rest of the issue in that the art is the only saving grace here. With a great cover showcasing the team going up against the Time Eater and Fury doing a superhero landing by David Marquez and Tamra Bonvillain, the interior was also a revelation with the appearance of Sabretooth and the vision of Blinks of many realities. We finally have something approaching what we know of the Exiles of old, both in terms of characterization and overall imagery. I can only applaud Javier Rodríguez for trying in vain to make the art believable when faced with adding in a cartoon character that clearly doesn’t fit in any scene with the others. I am heavily reminded of the Sesame Street song “One Of These Things”. Similarly Alvaro López managed to show great contrast between the scenes and was especially helped by the coloring of Chris O’Halloran, from the surreal fortress of Kang, snowdrift of where we find Sabretooth, the rain-drenched home of Kamala and the sunny side of the Bahamas, giving a clear indication of scenery shifting and the feel for different worlds, true to the Exiles flavor.
Final Thought: The wrong Exile has fallen!
Exiles #6. The Exiles land in the Old West! A dusty town of innocents is under the thrall of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, The Toad, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and their sharpshooting leader, Magneto! But this town ain’t big enough for all those mutants, and the Exiles aren’t about to let the Brotherhood get their way. Saddle up for a wild ride with guest artist Rod Reis! On Sale 8th August 2018!
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