Comics : Exiles #44

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This story is part of an Arc: "A Blink In Time"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

The Exiles (Blink, Mimic, Morph, Nocturne, Sasquatch, and Magik) are a team of mutants culled together from different realities, fighting their way back home by repairing the broken links in the chain of time. In each new reality the Exiles visit, they must successfully complete a mission before progressing to the next reality, all the while always hoping to eventually return to their respective homeworlds and dimensions. Their only guide is a bracelet talisman known as the Tallus, that was given them by their mysterious benefactor, the Timebroker.

The Tallus provides Exiles with enough information, although sometimes cryptic, as to what task they must perform next in order to fulfill their mission.

In Detail...

Exiles #44
May 2004 : SM Guest
Summary: The Spider Appears (Alt. Spider-Man)
Arc: Part 2 of "A Blink In Time"
Editor:  Mike Marts
Writer:  Chuck Austen
Pencils:  Jim Calafiore
Inker:  Mark McKenna
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Still recoiling from the shock of their teammate Sunfire's death at the hands of Brood-infected Mimic, the Exiles have been sent to a new reality; with a new assignment. However, this is no normal assignment. The Timebroker has brought together the Exiles and the Weapon X Team on to a single world, with a single objective. They must kill be killed. Only six of them can survive, only six can continue on to their next mission, and eventually be allowed to return home.

In General...

Weapon X (consisting of Hyperion, Spider, Ms. Marvel, Hulk, and Firestar) is in Times Square, facing off the Fantastic Five and the Avengers, and - quite frankly - roundly kicking the living crap out of both teams, something that they have been doing for the past 25 days. They have been killing heroes and civilians and demanding that the President of the U.S. turn sovereignty of Manhattan over to Weapon X, or they will continue to kill people every hour until their demands are met.

Meanwhile the Exiles are arguing amongst themselves about the new assignment, that is to say, killing Weapon X. Mimic refuses to kill any more while Morph and some of the others are arguing the merits of the issue. Blink feels that having two teams of "time fixers" is a mistake. Still, as Blink points out, only six can move to the next plane, and there are already seven current members of Exiles (the six previously mentioned plus Gambit who was formerly with Weapon X).

While they continue to hash out plans and plans within plans, Hyperion checks in with Spider who has been searching for both the Exiles and Gambit. Spider hasn't seen anyone, so Hyperion tells to meet him back in Times Square in an hour for the executions. The Exiles work out how best to succeed without having to kill anyone, and then embark on their mission.

As the appointed time closes in, Spider has returned to Times Square, and the helpless civilians who are gathered to watch the executions fear the worse. The Hulk and Firestar (both of Weapon X) are bound up and helpless on a platform in the center of the Square. Spider wakes them up and lets them know that the end in near, even as the Exiles approach.

Just as The Exiles are ready to pounce, Sasquach realizes that Magik is about to do precisely what the Tallus wants, and kill six of them so that - at the very least - she will be able to move on to the next level, and thus she attempts to kill Nocturne but Sasquach gets in between them, and takes the blow. Magik then heads into the square to confront Hyperion, who rewards her by attempting to kill her. Magik bargains for her life by attempting to sell out her Exile compatriots, only Hyperion snaps her neck.

Enraged, Morph vows to take Hyperion down, and launches an attack. Hyperion kills the Hulk while Spider and Firestar wind up killing each other, just as Morph and Mimic arrive in the Square to take out Hyperion. The story concludes next issue.

Overall Rating...

While it is always somewhat confusing coming in on a story arc in the middle, this one held up fairly well. What with the introduction paragraphs in the front and the dialogue internal to the story, the story read quite nicely. My only problem with these "alternate Earth" variant hero storylines is that I'm not quite sure that I buy the characterization of the divergent heroes. Plus, I am growing weary of all the multiple versions of heroes and Earths out there.

Footnote...

A set of four uncut Real Toons trading cards (Kenny the Shark and Tutenstein) are bound into this comicbook.