I have to tell you, New Exiles had better be a good book, because this feels like the tenth comic book from Chris Claremont that I find myself saying, “Yeah, this issue was not that good, but it’s mostly getting stuff out of the way for New Exiles, so New Exiles can still be good.”
This issue was actually better than most of the other comics that I would describe as “An issue designed just to set up New Exiles,” but at the end of the day, it was “an issue designed just to set up New Exiles,” which is not a great formula for a good comic book.
The issue opens well, with Claremont evoking the first issue of Exiles (which was conveniently reprinted in the back of the comic – and, by the by, was not that good, either – the series was pretty good, but the first issue was a TOTAL info dump) to basically go over what has happened over the past 99 issues.
And there ARE a number of nice character moments, make no mistake, and the structure is actually quite sound (it appears as though this is the first Claremont comic I’ve read in months that reads like Claremont originally meant for the comic to go this way).
My biggest concern is that a lot of the character bits just don’t resonate. To wit, we JUST met Anna Raven/Rogue, and she had basically NO plot in the crossover, so essentially, we know nothing about her, so it seemed silly to suddenly show her as though she’s just another cast member. Same with Mystiq (how is that supposed to be pronounced, by the way? It better by pronounced Mystic). Claremont is already giving him “deep thoughts,” when we barely know anything about the guy!!
Sage gets better treatment, as her troubles dealing with having Roma’s memories was handled well.
But the departures of Nocturne, Thunderbird and Blink (ESPECIALLY Blink) just felt like “Well, we have to go!” It’s not that I would blame Blink for wanting to take time off, I just don’t think we were given a good enough reason in the comic for her to go (Claremont even obliquely throws in a “It is good strategy! They won’t expect this arrangement!” reason – which makes little to no sense, but whatever). Her actual departure was handled quite well, though, especially her talks with Sabretooth and Morph (I really wish someone would just retcon the Proteus thing).
Tom Grummett’s art was fine. Nice, solid performance.
One of the better Claremont issues in recent memory (and yes, there were plenty of silly Claremontisms, such as Rogue calling Cat Pryde “silly girl” two sentences in a row – “The silly girl’s gone too far” followed by “The silly girl’s in trouble,” Nocturne calling herself “Stroke Girl,” and Blink referring to herself as “a body,” as in “It’s the kind of thing could make a body believe in miracles.”), but still a bit light on interesting content.
But there’s some real promise there for New Exiles!
So for this issue – Not Recommended.
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