Comics : Exiles #98

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This story is part of an Arc: "Home Again!"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

Fearing an impending third world war, Victor Von Doom took measures to save the world from itself. To do so, he removed most trace elements of what make humans human from their DNA, and created the Four Fantastics (Hulk, Human Torch and the Invisible Woman) to serve as their protectors, with both Spider-Man and Sabretooth as their guests. Reed Richards, disfigured from an accident in school, leads the resistance against him, now joined by Blink, Longshot and Morph. Back at the Crystal Palace, Psylocke received a new visitor in an alternate version of Kitty Pryde, followed shortly thereafter by soldiers of Doom's using a copy of the Talus he created. All that, and Thunderbird's back as well!

CURRENT EXILES:

SABRETOOTH (Victor Creed): Enhanced senses and healing.

BLINK (Clarice Ferguson): Teleportation

MORPH (Kevin MacTaggert): Shape-shifting.

LONGSHOT: Agility and luck powers.

SPIDER-MAN 2099 (Miguel O'Hara): Spider-like powers and talons.

PSYLOCKE (Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock): Telekinesis.

ICON: Palace computer.

In Detail...

"The Doom of two Good Men"
Exiles #98
Nov 2007 : SM Spin-Off App
Summary: Spider-Man 2099 Appears
Arc: Part 4 of "Home Again!"
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Chris Claremont
Pencils:  Clayton Henry
Inker:  Norman Lee
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Review

The Fantastics have regrouped to track down Reed and his friends once again in his lair, this time joined by Spidey, Creed and Spidey's new woman Gwen Stacy. Torch and Hulk are eager for a rematch, but Spidey's wisecracks rub Torch the wrong way and the two of them have it out briefly. Sue finally breaks them up and they go off to neutral corners, reminding them of their mission. Shulkie warns them not to underestimate Reed, and tells them they'll break him down by using his love for her to do it. Now that things are back on track, both Spidey and Creed can't help feeling that something is very wrong with the situation. Elsewhere, Reed ponders the mess he's made of the situation, and what it will all boil down to.

Back at the Crystal Palace, Doom's occupation is complete. A doctor tries to administer the thing that infects all his subjects on his Earth to Kitty, but she phases before the needle touches her. Psylocke, however, is not so lucky. They plan to infect her and use her powers to capture Kitty, but their plan is spoiled by the appearance of Thunderbird. Within seconds, the heroes take down Doom's troops, and cut his signal to the Palace.

On Earth, Doom tries to call in his Fantastics for reinforcements to take the Palace back, but they get caught up in their own trouble. Before he can go to their aid, he finds Reed waiting for him. After a brief exchange, Reed unleashes his first attack, revealing that even on this world he has the power to stretch.

Meanwhile, the Exiles take on the Fantastics. The fight is pretty even, and Spidey tries to reason with both his team and Gwen to stop fighting and unite. However, neither side can. Doom defeats Reed, but Reed lectures him on the harm he's done and that he doesn't even realize it. Reed could only think of one way to stop him, and makes it happen.

Back at the Crystal Palace, Psylocke comes to find that the entire world their teammates were one, is gone, scattered across dimensions.

In General...

Gwen Stacy?! Seriously?! Claremont, listen, I know this character has Spider- Man in his name, but he's NOT Peter Parker. Why would there suddenly be a NEW member of the Fantastics, who HAPPENS to be an ex of the real Spidey? And who HAPPENS to have a love affair with this Spidey? This is far too big a contrivance to even be considered remotely clever. Her whole introduction was also poorly conceived, being little more than an unidentified cameo on one page which could have meant she was any random person off the street. Much the same way with Kitty, Claremont apparently relies heavily on the artwork to convey who these characters are. The fatal flaw in that kind of thinking, however, is that with every artist's unique style sometimes it makes characters with no distinguishing characteristics hard to determine.

Story-wise, this issue went pretty quick and didn't offer much depth. This was basically the fight issue. Once again, the artwork made some things confusing, like how Doom grew to giant-size while holding Reed...something left unexplained. And then there was the matter of where was Sabretooth during all the fighting? He's there in the beginning, then at the end, but no focus is given to him at all. You'd think with Spidey trying to reason with Gwen and the Exiles, you'd see Creed doing the same with Blink at least.

Overall, this chapter was very choppy and unsatisfying. There were a lot of flaws in the storytelling and, as is becoming the norm, the characterizations. Also, this issue confirms a flaw from last issue, that Shulkie's name IS Jennifer, not Jessica as Reed called her. Very sloppy.

Overall Rating...

2 Webs. An unsatisfying chapter that has many more flaws than it reasonably should by someone of Claremont's experience. Not to mention the contrivance of having Gwen Stacy fall in love with another Spidey.