Appropriately titled, "DejÃ¡ Vu", the first issue of the third volume (not counting the Malibu incarnations) of "Exiles" felt like a summer rerun to me. Like some reruns, the next time around you notice new things while other things seem off, wrong, or stupid. This issue, thankfully, had more new than stupid. The characters gathered for this team were snatched from certain death in their own respective realities and put together by a time broker whose appearance will certainly please fans of the original Marvel "Exiles" series.
Parker gives all of the characters put in place heroic death scenes. Once spared their fate, they are set on their new mission, utilizing the Tallus, once more on Blink's wrist, to receive their assignment. Parker gives the characters some range and has chosen a divergent enough team that should successfully avoid most comparisons to previous volumes of this title. The characters do not, however, receive enough panel time in this first issue to become fully defined, nor are we given a clear interpretation of their assessment of the situation they are placed in.
Espin's layouts are dynamic, yet simple, rarely going over five panels per page. He uses dramatic angles to shake things up, so even if there are a string of five-panel pages (and there are) monotony never has a chance to settle in. His figures are distinct and instantly familiar, regardless of the variance in the circumstances of the worlds of their origin. As with most Marvel titles, the art would be incomplete without the strong coloring that completes the design work. Washington delivers texture and style, depth, and design. In some cases though, less would be more as the photo-realistic Earths are more of a distraction than a graphic element. They just seem misplaced with Espin's airy linework. Readers picking up this issue will also be treated to ten pages of sketch work from Espin. The issue features a "normal" length story that can be previewed on CBR with the sketchbook pages following.
In all, this issue has some appeal, with a collection of characters -- Blink, Witch (a variant of Scarlet Witch), Polaris, Forge, Beast, and Panther -- who are popular in smaller, devoted circles of readers, but overall, there is no one character that shines or sells the book based simply upon their inclusion. Fans won't be flocking to yet another Wolverine appearance, nor will they be picking this book up for the big "Yet Another Brand New Day" reveal. This is a bold move by Parker and Marvel, but it worked for the original iteration of Marvel's "Exiles." Maybe this volume will get a boost from its first storyline, which calls upon the Exiles to help Wolverine overthrow Magneto.