exiles

My Comic Book Origin Story by Craig Kerbrat

Once upon a time, I was a baby nerd just figuring out that I didn’t really care if people knew I loved all things sci-fi and fantasy. It was about 15 years ago and my last year of high school was coming to an end. The first X-Men movie had come out, I was obsessed with the X-Men: Evolution cartoon, and I wanted more. And that’s when I discovered Marvel comic books for the first time.

One of the first titles I ever picked up was Exiles, a series about a ragtag group of X-Men-related characters from different universes pulled together to save the multiverse from destruction. I remember picking up a few random issues at first, simply because the cover art looked cool. I took them home, read them, fell in love, and immediately went about finding all of the back issues. I read every issue until the series ended in 2009, and I’ve been waiting for more ever since.

This week, Exiles has finally returned.

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I literally could not wait to read this one today. I bought and downloaded it and read it on my lunch at work. I might have run out of time and finished it when I was supposed to be working right after lunch. Oops.

The book is different, of course. The new writer even specifically mentioned that it won’t be the same old Exiles. But I loved the first issue.

They brought back Blink, one of the main characters of the original series, who lasted almost the entire run. To bring back a series like this, you’ve got to bring back a classic character, and she’s the obvious choice.

The other return from the original is the Tallus, a bracelet-like device used to jump between universes. Interestingly, in the original series it was basically just a tool, whereas now it seems like it’s got a mind of its own. One of the mysteries of the new series.

Everything else about the series, apart from the jumping between universes, feels new. There’s a new threat. New characters. New mysteries. I need to read more so I can get a better understanding of where the book is going.

One of my favourite things about Exiles classic and new is the characters. Every characters is an alternate version of a character you know. Even Blink is the Age of Apocalypse version of a less famous version of herself. This series so far has introduced Khan, an old grizzled version of Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel, and a seemingly less heroic version of Iron Lad, who is already a young Kang the Conqueror.

Getting confused? Don’t worry. Those details aren’t important, but they’re fun for a giant nerd like me.

Next issue looks to be a good one. We get the introduction of a version of Valkyrie based on the character seen in Thor: Ragnarok, who is very different from the usual comics version. I’m definitely excited to see Tessa Thompson’s likeness running around the Marvel multiverse. We’ve also got an X-babies version of Wolverine set to join the team. ‘Cause why not?

I'm really curious if there will be more to the team, and what kind of turnover we might see with the team members  the original series saw quite a few changes in the roster  no one was ever safe, and characters often died on missions, only to be replaced shortly after by another strange alternate version of a familiar character.

I'm also really curious if we’ll find out what happened to the rest of the surviving characters from the original series. Nocturne and Morph are two of my favourite Marvel characters, and neither has been seen since Exiles ended. I’d love to see them again at some point in the future.

Overall, it seems like it’s going to be a weird and awesome ride. I can’t wait. Comic books are one of my nerdy passions, and I love that Marvel is constantly renewing my excitement to read them. Fifteen plus years, and I’m still as excited about an Exiles comic as I was way back then.