The trade paperback that goes with this collection is
due to ship tomorrow. Is it worth your hard-earned
money?

General Information

Title: Exiles Vol. 8: Earn Your Wings

Author: Tony Bedard

Illustrator(s): Mizuki Sakakibara for five issues,
and Jim Calafiore
for the sixth.

Original Publication Date: Issues 46-51 were
published individually
over the summer of 2004. The trade paperback
collection is set for
publication October 27, 2004.

ISBN: 0785114599

Cover Price: $14.99 US

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

These six issues contain three stories. The first is
a change of team
members, introducing Beak and Namora to the team in
place of Magik
(lost in the last story arc) and one of the founding
members.

High Point

Nothing stands out as a really good moment. The
first story arc was a
bit forced (particularly since Nocturne wasn’t close
enough to end
things that way,) the second felt like filler and
wasn’t as funny as
it needed to be, and the third ended too cleanly and
with too little
suspicion from the team. I suppose the best moment
would be the
meeting between Blink and The Big M.

Low Point

The lack of suspicion from the team in the third arc,
starting with
issue 50, outweighs even the lack of good humour in
the Impossible Man
story.

The Scores

This doesn’t feel that original. Starting
out by heading to
the regular Marvel Universe again didn’t help, and
the other two
stories felt like we’d seen them before. I give it 3
out of 6.

The artwork by Sakakibara is functional, but
not great. I’m
wholly unimpressed with this rendition of the
Fantastic Four. I give
it 4 out of 6.

The story feels forced throughout. The
banter doesn’t work
as well, and I’m not pleased with the decision
related to which team
mate was to be replaced by Beak. I give it 3 out of
6.



The characterization isn’t nearly as strong
as it was under
Winick’s pen. It’s similar to Austen’s, actually;
Bedard has a good
handle on some characters, particularly Namora, but
others just don’t
quite fit their previous versions. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The emotional response is flat. The opening
banter in the
first issue doesn’t work, since they should now know
not to expect
anything in particular from a given world, the
humorous issue wasn’t
funny, and the rest feels forced. I give it 3 out of
6.

The flow is well done mechanically, but
there were too many
times when I asked myself “why don’t they just…?”
and kept getting
dragged out of the story. I don’t think Bedard quite
has a feel for
how quickly these characters should be able to pick
up on
abnormalities. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s important to know what
happened in the first
story arc if you plan to read later issues, but
otherwise, it’s a
relatively forgettable collection. I give it 3 out
of 6.

In total, Exiles Vol. 8: Earn Your Wings
receives 24 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

I’ve put serious thought into dropping this title, or
switching back
to the TPBs for it. They are supposed to be facing
down the
Timebroker in issue #62, so I’ll give it at least
that long, but don’t
bank on seeing many reviews of the title after that
at this rate.
It’s just not what it used to be. Winick used it to
tell very
personal, character-driven, creatively non-linear
stories that kept us
coming back to see the team. Austen and Bedard seem
to think the
focus was on the realities themselves, and the
characters aren’t
coming across as strongly.