Sunday, 7 January 2018

The Exiles return

Exiles is something of a special series to me. The original run started in 2001 and was part of Marvel's great turn of the millennium creative renaissance. It was my first experience of Judd Winick's writing and introduced me to two of my favourite comics artists: Mike McKone and J. Calafiore. I adored the series for its endless invention of not only interesting alternate versions of familiar and obscure characters but also the interesting situations they were injected into: alternate universes that needed something nudging back into order.
Hell, this was the series that even brought the best out of Chuck Austen whose other work for Marvel I was... significantly less fond of.

Oh, and it also did the Spider-Gwen thing years before Spider-Gwen was a thing. Exiles had a version of Mariko Yashida, in the “normal” Marvel Universe Wolverine's rather boring martyred true love, and reinvented by giving her her cousin Sunfire's powers and making her gay. The issue where she comes out to her teammate Morph remains, to this day, one of my favourite done-in-one character study issues up there Brian Michael Bendis' best one-shot Ultimate Spider-Man issues.
Her love interest, by the way, was a Mary Jane Watson who was Spider-Woman so more proto-Spider-Gwen there.

The series has been revived a couple of times. There was a not terribly exciting run by Jeff Parker that lasted all of six issues in 2009 and a pretty damn good revival of the concept as X-Treme X-Men in 2012 under Greg Pak. The later I highly recommend checking out, especially if you ever wondered why people are so fond of the Dazzler character.

The fun of the series has always been reinvention, which is probably why the Chris Claremont run and its odd decision only to feature versions of characters originally created by Claremont didn't sit well with me (though I did like that run's take on Mystique). Seeing the new line-up, especially an older Kamala Khan, really interests me. Plus Saladin Ahmed is attached as writer and this guy made me care about Black Bolt! I didn't think anyone could make me care about Black Bolt and he managed it.

Seeing what he has in store for Blink, Iron Lad and Kamala Khan is going to be a sight to see. 

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