This week I have an X-Men guide update that’s not for an X-Men guide, although it’s actually an extremely X-Men guide. Confused yet? Hopefully this update will help alleviate your confusion, because today I rebuilt my Guide to Exiles!
Here’s my simple pitch for Exiles: Imagine if Marvel’s What If? had a single team visiting all of the many realities it explored, and most of them were mutants.
(Or, if you’re as old as I am, picture Sliders, but with mutants!)
That aptly describes Exiles as it was originally launched by Judd Winick and Mike McKone. It was anchored by the beloved Blink from Age of Apocalypse and featured a version of Morph who resembled his X-Men: The Animated Series incarnation, but all of the other characters were alternate versions of Marvel-616 mutants. Or, in one case, a potential next generation of mutants with the introduction of Nocturne – Nightcrawler’s daughter!
Part of the enduring charm of the original 100-issue run of Exiles is that it’s a straight sprint that isn’t involved in any Marvel-616 mutant shenanigans. It included mutants, but it was NOT an X-book tangled up with the rest of the line. Other than a single story in X-Men Unlimited and a three-issue dalliance with House of M, Exiles was 100% self-contained from issues #1-99 & Annual 1.
Then, Chris Claremont happened.
Fresh off his run on Uncanny X-Men, he had some alternate plans for this team – jettisoning Blink and bringing in Psylocke for a reboot of the series as New Exiles. Whether fans missed Blink or it had just worn out its welcome, the series only lasted a year of accelerated release. Jeff Parker relaunched it as Exiles (2009) a few months later with Blink intact, but it only lasted a single arc.
There’s still some love out there for this concept and these characters. Greg Pak’s X-Treme X-Men (2012) lifted the concept wholesale, but wisely didn’t co-opt the name since the book centered on Marvel-616 Dazzler. Much later, Saladin Ahmed launched Exiles (2018) with Blink back in the starring role but with more non-mutant members from throughout the Marvel Universe.
This Guide to Exiles is now rebuilt from the ground up, which included re-checking EVERY ISSUE to make sure I’ve captured every collection! The guide now includes more specific placements for annuals, one-shots, and Die By The Sword; continuity notes for Blink and Nocturne; comments on when each writer began their run; and the modern CK standard of ISBNs, digital buy links, and Marvel Unlimited reading links for every title in the guide.
I’m starting to run low on X-Guides to update, but never fear – there are still a few big ones to complete in this weekly update series before I move on to tackle another major franchise. However, I’m taking a one-week hiatus from this update series next week, as I’ll be in the midst of a special week-long series of updates. Tune in again on May 5 for the next X-Guide update!
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