Jeff Parker & Salva Espin
The reality-jumping, roster-switching team Exiles relaunched this past week with a new #1. This book's had a pretty damn impressive run. You'd think a premise like this would get old fast, but it just kind of keeps going. When I was reading the early issues of the original series, I remember that things were kept pretty fresh simply because when one character died and a new one came on, the new character brought a new group dynamic with them, a new soundboard for the more popular characters of the book like Blink and Morph, to play off of. But I also remember that some of the storylines were kind of boring. There are only so many alternate-universe-Magneto's-the-good-guy type of stories that can be more interesting than the last. The shock value wears off pretty quickly, so the writer has to be strong enough to keep things pretty engaging. Jeff Parker may be up for such a task. I admit that I was kind of excited to hear that he was coming on to this book. I'm really digging Agents of Atlas, and this type of straight-forward superhero book with a shifting group of characters could be a fun team book for him to take on. He begins his run with some short scenes introducing most of the Exiles he's chosen to start out with: Polaris, Forge, Beast, Blink and The Witch (The Scarlet Witch). Blink is the only character whose past life is neglected, which would be appropriate if she were the Blink that's been the team leader of the Exiles for most of its run, but...that doesn't seem to be the case. She seems as clueless and lost as the others as she's confronted with a new, skewed world. It's interesting to shroud things in mystery surrounding this character who is pretty much a staple of the Exiles at this point. Introducing a different Blink is a smart move - keeping fans satisfied, but still giving her a blank slate to build off of (if that's even truly the case). I also really like this version of Polaris he's introduced, very confident and strong - not the hanger-on that she tends to be in the regular Marvel U, but a real force. The others are kind of throw-away characters to me at this point, but we're one issue in and they haven't even begun to be developed. Morph is the Timebroker, which was another smart move that doesn't bog the team down with old faces, but keeps a mainstay with the book. And the art by Espin is very nice. There's a sketch gallery in the back of this debut issue too, for some extra goodies - I especially like the facial expressions of Black Panther that are thrown in. But anyways, a nice start for this book's latest incarnation, complete with some great choices by the creative team.