Exiles: Point of No Return
written by Jeff Parker
illustrated by Salvador Espin
Exiles is a great concept that has been floating around the Marvel universe for years now. Essentially, the idea is this: There is an infinite number of alternate universes, and in them, there are slightly varying realities, some rather similar to the world we know and some very different. (Of course, DC pioneered using alternate earths in comics ages ago, and Marvel’s use of it here is quite similar, but that’s hardly worth quibbling about at this point.) The Exiles are a team of misfits assembled from various earths and brought together to fix reality on other earths. Think of them as a cosmic cleanup crew who go in and infiltrate a world that’s on the brink of disaster and hopefully change it for the better.
Various Exiles teams have been assembled before, but this relaunch from earlier this year was a fresh start. The team consisted of some well-known heroes in the Marvel superhero genre. Polaris (the green-haired daughter of Magneto and wielder of similar magnetic powers), The Beast (superstrong furry former genius scientist Hank McCoy), The Scarlet Witch (also a daughter of Magneto, but one gifted with hex-projecting powers), Forge (a mastermind who can invent almost anything), Panther (very agile son of the Black Panther), and Blink (a mysterious woman with the ability to teleport herself and others). Each of the characters are pulled out of their respective universes just an instant before they were about to face imminent death. They can never return home again, but they can travel from alternate reality to alternate reality, on assignment from the mysterious celestial being who plucked them out of harm’s way, and try to stay alive in each.
The sad news is that Exiles: Point of No Return collects the entire run of the series. It was canceled not too long after its beginning, and it’s a shame, because writer Jeff Parker seemed to be off to a good start, and its likable cast was truly starting to come together. As it is, the series is forced to come to a rather quick and forced conclusion, so the rapid ending doesn’t meet the same standards as the first three-fourths of the book (there is a LOT of exposition about timelines and alternate realities, infinity and eternity, butterfly effects and the like, and none of it really makes sense to the casual reader (although it would probably be a great basis for a scientific or philosophical discussion). Once that point in the book is finished with, Parker gets back to finishing the story, and it’s nicely tied up, along with a juicy hint of what would have been to come if the series had continued.
What’s especially nice about Exiles: Point of No Return is the back matter of the book. Script pages from two issues are included revealing what Parker was going to do with the series later on. This is a nice touch, and it comes with some additional artwork.
It’s a shame to see this series come and go so quickly, but nonetheless, Exiles: Point of No Return is a very enjoyable, self-contained ride that plays out as a trippy riff on standard superhero fare.