Issue Date: June 2009
Story Title: Déjà Vu
Staff: Jeff Parker (writer), Salva Espin (penciler & inker), Anthony Washington (colorist), Simon Bowland (letterer), Irene Lee (production), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Alan Fine (Executive Producer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Dave Bullock, Mark Irwin & Anthony Washington (cover)
Two unknown characters put in motion a new team of Exiles. They survey reality after reality, plucking a hero from each one, nanoseconds from death. The heroes are then brought together collectively where Morph, acting as the Timebroker, explains what it means to be an Exile, going over the do’s and don’ts of the job. After he finishes, the new team is sent on their first mission. Once the Exiles recover from the jaunt they learn their new mission is to help Wolverine overthrow Magneto. After spying a city in the distance they move in for a closer look and find Magneto and his people holding a parade through the city, the dead and broken body of Wolverine bolted to the ship he’s riding on.
A large, ruby-colored, sphere hovers amidst the backdrop of a nighttime sky. Six faces can be seen through the lens of the sphere, faces that belong to a new team of Exiles about to make their debut.
However, before any action is taken, two unseen characters discuss what they’re about to set in motion. The first questions whether or not it’s going to work. It doesn’t matter, the second one replies, as there’s no time for any other course of action. The first speaker cues in on the word “time”, finding it ironic that they have none of it, stating that once it’s done there’s no turning back. “Then… make it happen” the second voice finishes.
Along the city block a trio of Sentinels are experiencing system failure, electrical sparks pouring out from their fracturing helmets. Yet another is decapitated with its chest torn wide open. The assailant of these mutant-hating robots is Polaris who reminds her latest victim she has a rule about no Sentinels in her hemisphere.
Lorna looks around at the robot parts scattered all around her. Another job well done, Polaris lets her guard down. It’s just what one of the Sentinels was waiting for. It catches Polaris by surprise as one of the giant robots thought destroyed suddenly comes at her from behind. It wraps its hand around Lorna’s neck and explains it’s the S-8000 class C Sentinel, developed just for her. The Sentinel breaks down its components, explaining its entire being is composed of fiber and plastic.
Lorna’s eyes light up in blue electric fury. She tries to yell, but the grip on her throat is too tight and she can only manage a feeble cry. The Sentinel’s red pupils begin to glow even brighter until it emits a high intensity blast sure to kill Polaris. Thus ends the terror of Polaris the Sentinel decrees.
M.O.D.O.K. fires a blast from his helmet band that knocks Wonder Man down for the count. A concerned Beast rushes over to check on his friend. Simon lifts his head up, blood dripping from his nose, mouth and ears. He calls out weakly to Hank before collapsing dead.
Beast turns his attention toward M.O.D.O.K., screaming that he’s a freak. M.O.D.O.K. says he was only doing what he was designed to do, kill. Beast leaps at the massive-headed villain and digs his claws into the side of M.O.D.O.K.’s face. He snarls, trying to find a throat somewhere.
M.O.D.O.K. attempts to flee, but Beast holds on. He tears off one of M.O.D.O.K.’s arms and then sinks his teeth into M.O.D.O.K.’s cheek. M.O.D.O.K. threatens to detonate his fuel cell if Beast doesn’t stop. A rapid beeping starts emanating from the criminal mastermind in response. In a last cry of desperation he tells Beast he’s insane, and then explodes with enough intensity to surely kill the hero.
The Panther sits crouched upon a tree branch, eyes surveying a map of sorts. Off in the far distance of the horizon sits an ancient lost city, at least up until Black Panther found it. He drops down to the ground below. His companion, L-10, an android lion, is waiting for him. Panther asks if there are any signs of life. L-10 responds in the negative, unless he’s referring to flora. Panther jokingly asks why women can’t be more direct and literal like robot lions. L-10 senses the hypothetical tone of Panther’s question and doesn’t respond.
They finally make their way to the city and enter one of the ruins. L-10 uses its eyes as flashlights and the two begin to explore. Panther starts chatting to pass the time, bringing up an archaeologist who didn’t believe the map was real and wanted him to wait until she got there before he started searching. He asks L-10 if it thinks he’s being old-fashioned scoping the place out first, and then going back and pretending he didn’t.
L-10 ignores his remarks because it’s picking up unusual sonic displacement in the vicinity. That’s when Klaw steps out from the shadows. Panther orders L-10 into evasive maneuvers, but Klaw fires immediately, tearing L-10 in half with enough force to do the same to Panther.
Storm is out hovering above a large bridge with dozens of Skrull warriors standing below her. She starts flinging them to and fro with her weather powers. She asks her love, Forge, if he’s almost there because she’s not sure how much longer she can keep it up. Forge radios back he’s busted through their barricade and is almost there.
Storm looks off in the distance and rubs it in the Skrulls’ faces that their time is at an end. Forge radios back he had to reprogram and rebuild all of Sentinel city, which took about a month with the help of Nightcrawler’s teleportation. Storm just tells him to hurry up and fly the pod out so they can end it.
Forge has some bad news for her. As he continues to pilot the city-sized, spider-like, Sentinel-head ornamented, death machine he tells Storm there’s no way it would work without someone manually controlling it to fight off their attacks and defend against data-jacking remotely. Storm yells out in protest, but Forge’s decision is made. He tells Storm it’s the hardest thing he’s ever had to do, but will take satisfaction in the fact he’s rid the world of its hunters and conquerors. He tells Storm he’ll always be with her. She screams out once more, but Forge places his thumb over a red button and presses it.
The city-like monstrosity Forge was piloting erupts in a gigantic fireball of twisted metal and ashes. Storm grabs her head with her hands and screams out one last time.
Stephen Strange finds his man Wong, axe in hand, trying to bust down a door. He questions Wong as to how long she’s been in there. About an hour, Wong replies, and adds that she fused the door.
Strange yells out Wanda’s name and teleports himself into the room. As he reincorporates himself he orders Wanda, who’s holding some sort of oblong sphere, to stop, that she can’t control the forces. Wanda, in extreme concentration, asks him to be quiet, reminding him he had his chance to help, but refused.
Strange pleads with her again, saying she can’t hope to command the Mists of Ectus. This mist itself begins to coalesce about Wanda. Strange begins yelling at the mist to release her. Wanda starts choking and the mist begins dragging her away. Strange invokes the Vishanti to try and set her free, but it’s no use. The mist takes Wanda to her grave… or does it.
Polaris, Beast, the Panther, Forge and the Witch, with the addition of Blink suddenly all find themselves hip deep in a grassy field. Naturally, they’re all confused as to what just happened. Panther remarks on how the fields remind him of the grassy plains of Wakanda, yet it feels different, like he’s not really anywhere.
Forge asks if any of those around him brought him there. Beast points out that nobody seems to know what’s going on, suggesting probably not. Wanda recalls how she was just about to die, guessing maybe they’re all dead.
“Dead?” a loud, booming voice rings out. Atop a small hill, a long-bearded fellow with a white robe stands, pointing at the group beneath him. He informs them they are no longer in the life they knew and are ready to receive judgment. They all look up at him, scared. That’s when he smiles, winks, and tells them he’s just joking.
The white-robed fellow reverts to his true form, that of long-time Exile Morph. He introduces himself and remarks that some of them may know a different version of Morph in their reality. Beast charges him, accusing him of kidnapping, but his hand passes right through Morph’s face. Morph reminds Beast he was just about to die when they pulled him out and sarcastically promises it won’t happen again.
Forge tries using his mutant gift to ascertain any kind of transmission or projection. Morph, looking like an infomercial guy, explains he’s being brought to them by the universal collective subconscious. Morph then peels his normal guy face away and asks if any of them come from a reality where they let people finish their sentences.
The Witch finally catches on that they’re all from different realities. Morph says she’s right and Forge loses his temper, demanding to be returned to his wife. Morph asks once again for them to let him explain.
Morph takes a few steps back to an image of six headstones and tells them they can’t go back because each of them were one-thousandth of a second from dying, which is why they were pulled out. Morph further explains that if they were put back it would derail their reality, and the universe hates that.
Morph segues to the next point, discussing the aspects of the multiverse, realities intertwined into one large construct. When one reality goes out of whack, he continues, it messes up the chain and if a few go, or even a prime world it could destroy everything.
Blink asks what that has to do with them. Good question, Morph responds. He explains that since the six of them exist outside of time they can go in and fix worlds gone awry and put them back on track. Otherwise, Morph adds, they have the option of going back to their old homes. He leans against a tombstone that now reads “R.I.P. YOU.” Panther jokes that’s some choice they’ve got.
Morph transforms into the form of the original Timebroker and explains he didn’t set things up, he’s just doing what he can, in fact, he’s not even making the calls, just filling in a role. He tells them he’s a Timebroker and calls them Exiles and assures them this is no test, they really need to accomplish their mission goals.
Getting right to business Morph says they need to prep because they’re running out of time. Polaris asks how they could be running out of time if they are currently outside of it. Morph informs her they interact with time as a constant and they have to strike at the place with the most potential for success at the given time, and if they mess up the whole setup changes and they have to try again.
Now in Captain America guise Morph tells them the biggest kicker of all, that they’ll be meeting and interacting with different versions of people they knew on their homeworld. Some of them will be similar, while others will be exact opposites, he explains.
Producing a baby Hitler in his hand and a gun in the other, Morph lets them know they’ll also face some tough decisions like should they kill Hitler as a baby to prevent him from doing anything wrong. Forge asks who Hitler is. Morph figured someone wouldn’t get the reference and changes the baby to Ghandi. Forge yells out, “The fiend!” and takes a swing at him.
Blink asks if he’s going to tell them what the goals are. She lets out a surprised yell as the Tallus appears on her arm. Morph tells them about the Tallus and how they’ll be getting telepathic messages from it. It’s more than a computer, Morph continues, that will guide them along the way, sometimes remaining silent, but it’s never wrong and they must do what it says. Finally, Morph lets them know he will make contact occasionally, but stresses their need to rely on the Tallus.
Not happy with what he’s hearing Beast demands to be returned home, claiming he can survive that attack. Morph disagrees, pulling apart his own chest to reveal three separate screens breaking down three different angles of Beast’s untimely demise. Morph refers to Beast as George Bailey and says to do him a favor and fix reality.
The Panther asks what happens if they fail. Morph sarcastically mocks their “team spirit” and says they could end up dead, imprisoned or worse, but they can’t be pulled out until the line of history has been altered.
And just like that the wind picks up and the Exiles are battered about. Morph offers one last tidbit before they are all swept away. As a reward he can occasionally show them how their world continued after they “died”, he discloses.
The Exiles swirl around Morph as a bright light begins emanating from the center. Morph starts to warn them that the first few times they do this they’re likely to get sick, but they disappear before he can finish.
However, they get the gist of what he was about to say as all of them except for Blink are hurting pretty badly. Panther and Beast puke while the rest try and get their bearings. They find themselves in the middle of a clearing surrounded by trees. Blink starts checking on her new teammates. The Witch, holding her hand to her face, tells Blink she must have a strong stomach. Blink chalks her non-queasiness to her mutant abilities.
The Panther checks out the local foliage and surmises they’re somewhere in southern Africa. Beast rushes over to the tree line and pukes some more. When he looks up he spies a city off in the distance.
Blink alerts the group that the Tallus informed her they’re supposed to help Wolverine overthrow Magneto. That’s not so different from where he’s from, Beast comments. They all gather round and stare at the futuristic city in the distance. They all come to the same conclusion, Genosha. Forge is surprised Magneto only rules that much. The Panther hopes they never get sent to his world. Forge tells him to try being from there.
This begs the question what do they do now, which is voiced by the Witch. Blink suggests they start by going over their mutant powers. Starting with herself she tells the group she’s a teleporter, and can displace targets with little javelins she can create. Polaris is next, revealing her control over magnetic fields. She’s not entirely sure, but thinks she may be Magneto’s daughter.
The Witch pipes up at this point and tells them she is Magneto’s daughter back on her world and that her powers behave just like magic. Tired of all the chatter, Panther gives the details on Forge and Beast and then introduces himself, the only non-mutant in the bunch.
The group walks a trail along the mountainside, getting closer to the city. It appears as if a crowd is forming around the center of it so they stop and Forge uses a pair of binoculars to get a closer look. It appears to be a celebration and he sees Magneto. The Witch asks for a look, but Forge tells her she’s not going to like what she sees.
Upon closer view Magneto can be seen riding some sort of ship above the crowds of cheering mutants. In a small cabin up top with a big ‘X’ adorning it, stands Magneto, along with a version of Wanda and Lorna as well as Moira MacTaggert. On the main deck stands Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Juggernaut, Blob, Sabretooth, Pyro and Toad. Flying alongside the ship is Phoenix, but that’s not the worst of it. Not only will they probably end up having to fight those people, but the person they’re supposed to help, Wolverine, has his head impaled upon a pike and his adamantium skeleton, torn costume and all, bolted to the front of the ship.
Beast, Blink, Forge, the Panther, Polaris, the Witch (all Exiles)
Beast, Wonder Man (all Avengers)
Stephen Strange, Wong
Queen MacTaggert, Princess Lorna, Princess Wanda
Beast, Blob, Colossus, Cyclops, Juggernaut, Nightcrawler, Phoenix, Pyro, Sabretooth, Toad
This is the third series detailing the adventures of the reality-hopping Exiles. The first one, Exiles (1st series), ran for #100 issues. It was followed immediately after by New Exiles, which lasted for #18 issues.
The start of this issue probably takes place in the Crystal Palace. It is speculated that the two mystery voices belong to Morph and Blink. Jeff Parker has stated in interviews that the Blink on this team is the original Exiles’ Blink from the Age of Apocalypse.
During Morph’s orientation he shows the Exiles six headstones, representing the demise of each member in their respective homeworld. The Witch’s headstone is labeled “Scarlet Witch”, which as we all know is 616 Wanda’s codename.
Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany during World War II whereas Ghandi is famous for his beliefs in nonviolence and peace. In Forge’s world Ghandi must have been the exact opposite.
George Bailey is the main character in the well-known Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” In the movie a down on his luck George thought everyone he knew would be better off if he was never born. An angel gave him the opportunity to see how that would turn out.
There’s an Exiles sketchbook at the end of the issue showing the five new characters (sans Blink):
Beast- bigger and more feral than most McCoy mutations.
Polaris- second best only to Magneto (who may or may not be her father) when it comes to manipulating magnetic waves.
the Witch- her mutation mimics magic very well, but not well enough to save her brother.
Forge- cyborg with the mutant gift of understanding machines.
the Panther- Wakandan royalty, stealthy and resourceful.
Issue Summary written by: Milleniumcyke