Review by Ian Keogh
As the Exiles jump from one world to another attempting to rectify some anomaly, they’re unaware that a second team also follow the guidance of a Tallus for exactly the same reasons. We saw some of them in A World Apart, and Judd Winick hasn’t allocated this as a slow release plot, so Deadpool, Sabretooth and others meet the Exiles in the opening chapters here. Let’s just say given Sabretooth’s reputation and that of some of his crew, Winick confounds expectation to start with.
What Sabretooth’s team highlights is that not all missions on these alternate worlds are palatable. Blink’s Exiles have so far had to change situations, but Sabretooth’s team are completely at home with killing people to ensure the instructions of the Tallus are followed. Winick’s playing a clever game with an appalling ethical choice, the Exiles having the consequences of not fulfilling a mission underlined for them.
For the final time the art is shared between Mike McKone and Jim Calafiore, and unfortunately McKone (sample page) is the departing artist, leaving Calafiore to define the look. He’s no longer attempting an approximation of McKone’s style, but moving more fully toward his own, which isn’t anywhere near as attractive. Calafiore’s people over-emote, their faces are pinched and their bodies often strangely twisted, and eyes are often too high on the face.
Of all the cast, Winick is best with Calvin Rankin, Mimic, a hero whose main Earth counterpart hasn’t been seen since his 1970s death. He’s an inspired choice for a team requiring as broad a power base as possible, able to absorb and retain the powers of up to five others, and in terms of personality Winick was handed a relatively blank slate. Almost all the remainder of the team have popular counterparts, and their personalities don’t diverge far. Winick can build Mimic, and does so well here, in creating an exciting series of divergent worlds for Out of Time. The best is a supremely creepy spotlight on a relatively minor villain, transforming them into a world changer. On the main Marvel Earth Dr Curt Connors became the Lizard when dosing himself with experimental formula to regenerate a missing arm. On the Earth visited by the Exiles, Connors’ formula has spread and only a massive wall bisecting the USA contains the rampaging results in the Western coastal states.
Among many other joyful moments, Dr Doom is given what for, Morph and Mojo exchange banter, the Vision is sinisterly transformed and there’s a great surprise about new member Sasquatch. Exiles is in fine form as it heads into Legacy. Alternatively the first three volumes of Exiles are now combined as The Complete Collection Vol. 1.