Think of the X-Men intersecting with the short-lived television series Sliders, and you have the essentials of what the series Exiles entails. Time-shifted X-Men (or characters related to the X-Men Universe) are bound together by the Timebroker, a subconscious manifestation of the universe who tries to fix the time “mistakes” in each parallel universe. The Timebroker sends in this constantly changing group of heroes to fix something wrong in that particular universe, only to send them to fix some other universe when they are done. But the Timebroker has become much more vague and suspicious in the Exiles’ last few adventures, and a time of reckoning is near.
Growing tired of being manipulated, the Exiles take action. Springing forth from the Age of Apocalypse universe, the Exiles manage their way into the Timebroker’s labyrinth, only to discover the stunning truth: the Timebroker does not exist. The person running the show is none other than Hyperion, a twisted and raging super-being who obliterated his universe’s Earth. The ensuing battle rages on, costing the life of at least one Exile and seriously injuring several others. But in the wake of the Timebroker, what will the Exiles do? Can they return home or are they permanently exiled?
To be sure, this volume answers a great many questions that fans have been asking since the series first started several years ago. But even in answering the hard questions, new ones come to mind. It will be most interesting to see where the writers go from here.
As series go, Exiles works effectively for people who enjoy exploring parallel universes and alternate realities than the current Marvel Universe. A series like this provides you at least one, sometimes several, “what ifs” in every issue. What if the X-Men and Charles Xavier were evil? What if the Fantastic Four never saved the world from Galactus? What if Wolverine wore a dress and called himself Henrietta?
Since the first issue, the art in Exiles has maintained the same definition and color scheme. As this volume represents issues sixty-two through sixty-eight, that’s a significant feat for any ongoing Marvel series. The benefit of a series such as Exiles is that they can virtually redrawn any character they bring into the fold since the premise of alternative realities means any version of a character could be generated. In addition to finding answers, the Exiles find plenty of action and this volume overflows with some excellent battle sequences—particularly the fight with issue-spanning battle with Hyperion.
Exiles provides a unique space for people in that it gives you bits and pieces of the Marvel Universe without having to fully commit. That is, since the characters come from different parallel Earths, one doesn’t need specialized knowledge of any other series to enjoy, which isn’t always the case particularly when it comes to all the comic books related to X-Men (Uncanny X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, District X, and Academy X, just to name a few). And as this volume serves as a transition for the team to a new direction, it also would prove a decent starting point for new readers of the series.