Welcome back to X-ual Healing, the weekly recap column where we obsessively read every X-Men and X-Men-adjacent comic that Marvel publishes, tell you what happens, provide additional context where necessary, and examine whether the comic makes good use of the long and convoluted history of the X-Men by referencing it in a way that’s accessible to new readers, because we here at X-ual Healing love the X-Men, and we want everyone else to love them too.
The X-Men are returning to their rightful place of prominence after a decade of insults and neglect by a Marvel editorial that feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, which means it’s finally time for X-fans to enjoy some…
If you need to know more on the premise of this column, check out the longer explanation here.
Now, let’s dive right into…
SALADIN AHMED (W) • JAVIER RODRIGUEZ (A)
Cover by DAVID MARQUEZ
Variant cover by Javier Rodriguez
Character variant cover by Mike McKone
SHE COMES FROM THE LAND OF THE ICE AND SNOW!
…and enchanted hammers! The Exiles land in Asgard just in time to aid Valkyrie in a fight against the fire demon Surtur! But the Lord of Ragnarok is the least of their problems. The Time-Eater is hot on the team’s heels, and when he takes Asgard, no Valhalla awaits Valkyrie or her new friends. Good thing they’re about to pick up a Wolverine! And he’s got red on his claws. The mystery of the stolen pies starts here as Blink completes her new team of multiversal champions!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99
Exiles #2 begins on the moon, where The Unseen, a Watcher-like cosmic being that used to be Nick Fury before he was replaced in the Original Sin super-mega-crossover event to create movie synergy. The Unseen’s job is to deliver X-pository dialog, and he does a fine job, explaining the premise of the book: a threat called the Time-Eater, which we learned last issue looks like the severed head of Galactus, is gobbling universes and will eventually chow down all of them. A magical gem called the Tallus has recruited Blink to travel the multiverse recruiting heroes to stop it. So far, she’s added a dystopian future Ms. Marvel to her roster and a pre-Young-Avengers Iron Lad. But as the last issue ended, the Time-Eater showed up and wasted Kang (who happens to be a future version of Iron Lad).
We rejoin the action with the Tallus transporting the trio out of danger and into another alternate universe, where it’s time to recruit their next team member. Ms. Marvel is understandably upset that the Time-Eater ate her universe, but Iron Lad says he can pick up remnants of energy from his own destroyed universe on his Iron Lad sensors, so maybe there’s hope. As Iron Lad agrees to join the team, they’re interrupted by a battler between Norse demon Surtur and his forces against a Valkyrie designed to resemble Tessa Thompson’s version from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. X-pository dialog from Surtur reveals that Valkyrie is the “lone defender of Asgard” in this dimension.
After nearly stepping on them, Surtur notices the Exiles and orders his minions to attack. Using her experience as a post-apocalyptic revolutionary leader, Kamala takes command as the Exiles join the fray. Together, they drive off Surtur, and Valkyrie thanks the Exiles for helping out, introducing herself and her flying horse, Elendil. Blink explains the concept of the book to Valkyrie, and she’s totally on board with joining a question to stop the Time-Eater. However, she has to guard Asgard as its aforementioned lone defender. Thankfully, the Time-Eater shows up and starts munching on this reality, rendering Valkyrie’s point moot. The Tallus transports them all to another reality, directly to the front gate of Xavier’s Playtime Fun School for Gifted Youngers. You can see where this is going…
Wolvie catches a scent and beckons the Exiles to follow him into the woods as he sniffs out some pie (not a euphemism). Someone has stolen them, and Wolvie is going to get them back. He’s the best he is at what he does, and, presumably, what he does it track down pie. Wolvie quickly locates the perpetrator, with the Exiles right behind him. It’s Li’l Magneto, who vows to eat all fo the pies himself, making Wolverine cry. This is, without a doubt, the best version of Wolverine. Can he replace the just-returned one in the regular Marvel Universe please?
Magneto aims to put up a fight, but Blink scolds him harshly and he apologizes for stealing the pies. Its’ a happy ending, and everyone can eat pie together, or at least it would be if the Time-Eater didn’t show up and devour Magneto, the pies, and the universe. The Tallus kicks in, right on schedule, to transport the now fully-formed team of Exiles back to the Moon, where The Unseen reitterates that the Time-Eater is slowly devouring every universe, and though he cannot yet reach the mainstream Marvel U, eventually he will, and there will be no universes left.
Valkyrie and Wolvie are excited to face adventure (and notably nonchalant about their universes being destroyed). Ms. Marvel is grumpy, and she lectures the others on taking war seriously. She asks Iron Lad to elaborate on his ideas about the other universes existing inside the Time-Eater’s belly. Well, his metaphorical belly. He’s just a severed head, after all. Iron Lad experiences some good, old-fashioned X-Men angst, unsure if he should try to save his universe and mess with the timestream because he knows he could become the villain Kang. Ms. Marvel tells him to buck up, but she’s interrupted by The Watchers.
They aren’t here to help, however. They’re here to “pass judgment” on The Unseen for breaking the Watcher code and interfering in the affairs of Earth.
They sentence him to “annihilation” for his transgressions. Blink tells the Watchers that it wasn’t The Unseen that brought them together but the Tallus. She argues that the Watchers are part of the problem if they stand idly by while a severed Galactus head eats the multiverse. The Watchers, notorious assholes, are unrelenting and insist they’re going to annihilate Fury. The Exiles aren’t going to let that happen. The Watcher Acitua pulls out an annihilation gun and fires, but Wolvie jumps in the way to save The Unseen, and Blink jumps in the way to save Wolvie, and as it turns out, the beam strikes the Tallus, shattering it. Well now they’ve gone and done it. Apparently, the Exiles are now flung haphazardly into the spacetime continuum, and if they can’t free themselves and stop the Time-Eater, the entire multi-verse will die and they’ll have to cancel all the comics, which would suck. The issue ends here.
Exiles is goofy and fun, which may or may not be your cup of tea, but just as it did last issue, it does an excellent job of being new reader friendly, which, for the purpose of this column, is the first objective. Now that the team is all assembled and the main threat established, we can get down business next issue.
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