The story begun in the previous review continues. Last time the series was finding its legs and getting things together. This time, it hits the ground running.

General Information

Title: Exiles Vol. 2: A World Apart
Credited to: Judd Winick, Mike McKone, and Jim Calafiore
Original Publication Date: July 2002 reprint of material first
published from 2001 to 2002. (There must have been a typo on the
copyright date in the first collection, then. It should have been a
year 2001 date for the original issues.)
ISBN: 0-7851-1021-6
Cover Price: $14.99 US, $24.00 Can
Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Premise

The Exiles have new threats to deal with, including a rampaging Hulk,
and a Skrull-ruled Earth.

High Point

The last issue in the set. I wasn’t thrilled with Morph after reading
the first volume, but by the end of this one, I not only like the guy,
I feel some of his pain. Congratulations, Judd Winick. You’ve added
a depth to the character that will stay with me when I reread the
first volume.

Low Point

The participation in “Nuff Said.” This was a gimmick Marvel came up
with last year, where various major titles would run a silent issue.
Although the issue was effective at revealing characters and
developing relationships, I can’t help but think that those
developments would have been far more natural if Winick had written
them into an issue with dialogue.

The Scores

The originality of this volume will score a bit higher than
the first. That’s due in part because there isn’t the sense of
obligation to find a new concept; instead they just have to find new
things to do with this group. The two “mission” stories still suffer
in concept (one’s a Gladiator thing, while the other is very similar
to Wolverine’s dealings with Windigo way back when) but the two
stories that focus on the team’s off days are very fresh. The mission
stories even have some unexpected twists. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is still the clean, high quality stuff I like.
The introduction of Skrull world’s human scientist looks particularly
good. I give it 5 out of 6.

The stories told are bringing in more personal elements,
which helps us get to know and care about the characters. Also, major
characters still aren’t safe. This set did not depend on playing
“What If?” with continuity to keep me interested; those elements were
nice hooks, but the stories can stand on their own. I give it 5 out
of 6.



The characterization is better this time around. Two of the
characters that had full development in the first set take a back seat
while the other characters get their time to shine. Thunderbird and
Morph in particular get some nice treatment. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was much better this time around.
Morph seemed funnier (“The Skrulls are more paranoid than Mulder on
bad acid!” was one line that really got me), but I don’t know if
that’s because of a change in humour style or if he’s just growing on
me. (I guess I’ll know when I reread the first volume.) The missions
seemed more interesting, too. Once Winick managed to connect me to
the characters, situations not terribly different from those they
faced in the previous volume seemed much more dramatic. I give it 5
out of 6.

The flow was oddly effective, even though it jumped
chronologically back and forth near the end. Several interesting
missions were given a panel each, and the first month of the
Skrull-world mission was left out completely. While I’d like to see
some of the omitted missions, cutting out that much of the Skrull
mission was an effective way to get the characters to the point they
needed to be in, without spending oodles of time on some of the
uninteresting details that got them there. Again, I give it 5 out of
6.

Overall, this is a better set than the first. We’ve been
given a better feel for their lives and how they can cope with their
new existences. More importantly, we can see the characters bonding
to each other. In the first volume, they were a bunch of strangers.
Now they’ve had a few months of jumping through the multiverse to get
to know each other, and the reader gets to reap the benefits. I give
it 5 out of 6.

In total, Exiles Vol. 2: A World Apart receives 34 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

According to the March sales figures
reported by ICV2
, New X-Men is the highest selling
X-book, followed (in order of lower sales) by Ultimate X-Men,
Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, X-Treme X-Men,
and finally Exiles. In that top 300 list of all sales in all
comics for March, New X-Men is #6 overall, and the lower
selling of the two X-Treme X-Men issues is #14 overall.
Exiles is way down at #40. I’ve read some of the recent
Uncanny X-Men, and I’ve read all of the Ultimate
X-Men
books available in trade paperbacks. This volume of
Exiles is better than anything I’ve seen in either of those
titles, and it deserves higher standings than this, in my opinion.
The issue that ships on Wednesday (#27) is the second part in the
two-part storyline that should kick off the fifth volume of the trade
paperback collections. June 4 will see the start of a new storyline
that crosses over with the Uncanny X-Men in regular
continuity. I’d suggest checking it out, especially if you’re reading
the other X-books. If you have a chance to pick up one of the
existing trades, take a look at it. This is a good title. I compared
the first volume to a pilot episode of a TV series with a lot of
potential, and now that potential is being realized.