‘Exiles’: A Look Back At Marvel's Reality-Hopping Heroes
As we say goodbye to one team of Exiles, we’re taking the time to appreciate the classic teams as well.
This week, the saga of the Exiles is once again coming to a close. Storytellers Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez are wrapping everything up in EXILES #12, available now. But if history is any indication, it won’t be the last time we see a team of reality-hopping heroes pop up in the Marvel multiverse – especially since the twentieth anniversary of the Exiles is just two years away.
The Exiles actually go back even further than that, when the series was a featured title in Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse. Juggernaut and a few other Marvel characters joined the second iteration of that team. But the team as we know them began in 2001, with Judd Winick and Mike McKone’s EXILES #1.
It’s been a wild ride over the last two decades. But before we say goodbye to the current team of Exiles, Marvel.com is looking back at their primary incarnations.
Winick and McKone’s EXILES brought back Blink, a fan favorite character from the Age of Apocalypse timeline, and placed her in a leading role. That turned out to be a good choice, as Blink’s popularity helped carry the first book to a 100-issue run. For her first mission with the team, Blink was joined by Mimic, Morph, Thunderbird, Nocturne, and Magnus Lensherr, the ill-fated son of Rogue and Magneto who died on their first mission.
Because the Exiles were tasked with saving various realities, their membership was constantly refreshed by the Timebroker, an enigmatic figure who gave them their missions. Alternate versions of Sunfire (Mariko Yashida) and Sasquatch (Heather Hudson) eventually became mainstays of the team. Sage, Psylocke, and Longshot from the prime Marvel Universe also joined the team in its later stages, as did Blink’s mentor, Sabretooth, from the Age of Apocalypse.
NEW EXILES (2008)
Prior to the end of EXILES’ original run, Chris Claremont joined the series as the writer and began populating it with alternate versions of X-Men characters who teamed up with Psylocke and Sage from the Marvel Universe. In 2008, artist Tom Grummett joined Claremont on NEW EXILES, which also featured a male version of Mystique who called himself Mystiq, Cat (Kitty Pryde), and the Age of Apocalypse Sabretooth.
With Blink taking a leave of absence from the team, Psylocke emerged as the main character. She even began a relationship with Sabretooth that would have been unthinkable in her original timeline. After 18 issues, the NEW EXILES were done.
Shortly after NEW EXILES ended, Jeff Parker and artist Salvador Espin launched a new EXILES series. This time, Blink was set up in the leader of a team that included alternate versions of Beast, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Forge, and Polaris. Intriguingly, Morph took over the role of the Timebroker, and Blink was clearly keeping secrets from her new teammates. Because this volume only lasted six issues, the mystery behind Blink’s actions was solved fairly quickly, and we learned what became of the previous Exiles team.
After nearly a decade, the Exiles returned last year in a new series by Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez. The Unseen gathered Blink, Kamala Khan, Iron Lad, Wolvie, and Valkyrie to face a terrifying threat to the entire multiverse. This was one of the strangest incarnations of the team to date, especially since Wolvie was a cartoon version of Wolverine and Kamala was a much older incarnation of Ms. Marvel. This lineup was also fairly consistent for the title’s entire run.
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