Comic Review – “Exiles Vol. 1”

Judd Winick, recently known for his work on DC’s Green Lantern, started off a series that takes an assortment of X-characters and throws them into some very unfamiliar situations.

General Information

Title: Exiles (Vol. 1)
Author: Judd Winick
Pencils: Mike McKone
Inkers: Mark McKenna with Cannon, and Jimmy Palmiotti
Original Publication Date: March 2002 reprint of material first
published in 2002.
ISBN: 0-7851-0833-5
Cover Price: $12.95 US, $20.75 Can
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Combine one part Sliders, one part Quantum Leap, and
one part X-Men. Stir vigorously.

This is the story of several X-Men from various realities getting
dragged together to correct things that have gone wrong in other
assorted realities. Most of these characters (such as Nocturne,
daughter of Nightcrawler and the Scarlet Witch) have never appeared in
regular Marvel continuity, but they have ties that are close enough
for X-fans to figure things out. While this volume can be understood
by those who have never read an X-comic (since there always seems to
be at least one person on the team who is completely lost and needs
things explained to them) knowledge of X-history will give some of the
stories a bit more emotional weight. This collection contains the
first four issues of the series. (Issue 27 will be on sale this

High Point

The use of new characters who aren’t from the normal continuity allows
for higher stakes in the storytelling. Death is a very real option
for everybody.

Low Point

The action started too quickly. We barely get to know some of these
characters in these pages.

The Scores

The concept doesn’t feel that original. It’s been described
as a hybrid of various TV shows, or as What If? with a
rotating cast of characters. (Either description is accurate.) What
did feel new was the quick death of a teammate. (I say quick because
that character was known to have abilities and emotional ties that I
expected to see explored, but that didn’t happen.) Still, although
the similarites to these others works is readily apparant, the style
is well removed from them. Actions can have serious consequences, but
it’s still a pretty bright and happy set. I give the originality 3
out of 6, because the rehashed concepts are handled in very different

The artwork is the clean, consistently on-model line art
stuff that I like. This is some mighty fine work. I give it 5 out of

The story is split into two plotline, each of which moves
very rapidly. These characters are here to get the job done, and
nothing more. They don’t have time to really learn about the worlds
they’re in, which can lead to serious problems. The plot seems
rushed, but I think that was Winick just setting the stage and the
rules he planned to play by as soon as possible. Much like the pilot
episodes of many TV series, this shows a lot of potential, but isn’t
quite on the ball. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization of Morph, Nocturne, and Mimic is well
done, but Blink, Thunderbird, Magnus and Sunfire could use a bit more
page time to get fleshed out properly. (Two of those last four are
only in two issues each, so it doesn’t seem as sparse it could be.) I
give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was mainly due to my
familiarity with normal continuity and the implications of the changes
in these realities. I did laugh at times, but oddly enough, it was
usually because Nocturne, rather than Morph, who is the team’s
self-styled clown. I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow from panel to panel was good, but this story might
have been better told in six issues than four. Again, I give it 4 out
of 6.

Overall, it reads like the pilot episode to a new version of
Sliders. It’s enjoyable, but it’s not completely on the ball
yet. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Exiles Vol. 1 receives 28 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

I bought the second volume at the same time as the first, which seems
to be a seven issue set that tells only one story. That should
compensate for most of the misgivings I have above. If I’d only
bought the first volume, I’m not sure I’d be going back for the
second, but I bought both at once on the strength of this title’s
reputation, so we’ll get a decent picture of the first half of the
series. The third volume is also available, and the fourth is due out
on June 11. I currently have no plans to pick those two up, but the
second volume may change my mind.