comics alternate history


Collects Exiles issues 5-11 from 2001-2002.

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Writer: Judd Winick

Artist: Mike McKone, Jim Calafiore

Publisher: Marvel

Right after their traumatic second mission, our heroes are whisked away to their next task. In the Canadian woods, they meet the Alpha Flight, which is led by Wolverine and the Shaman is John Proudstar, an alternate version of Exiles’ Thunderbird. Their mission is to keep the Alpha Flight alive against a furious Hulk.

The third issue is one of the weird Marvel experiments: an issue without dialog. It works surprisingly well. Our heroes take a well-deserved rest in a hotel and we see their dreams. This was a neat idea, having a bit of a breather between intense storylines, letting us know the heroes better, and even getting in a bit of character development.

Issue eight starts with telling us that the team has been through adventures we don’t see and that they’ve become a solid team. Also, that Blink and Mimic are now a couple. I felt it was something of a cop-out, skipping a couple of years of adventures. But I can understand why Winnick (or Marvel editors) did that.

The last three issues are action-packed. The Exiles have arrived on an Earth which is under Skrull rule and has been for about a century. Humans have been enslaved and all superhumans are forced to fight each other in arenas for the amusement of Skrulls. When the story starts, the Exiles have been on this Earth for about a month. Thunderbird, Mimic, Nocturne, and Sunfire were captured very soon and are forced to fight. Blink and Morph have managed to stay free, but haven’t succeeded in freeing the others and they’re starting to get desperate. However, the Skrulls aren’t the biggest threat…

The final issue is also a stand-alone.

This was a great collection, offering a lot of action and strange alternate realities (which I love), but also character development and emotional moments. Winnick also starts to cast some doubt about just who the Timebroker is and why the Exiles are doing their jobs. Looking forward to the next one.

Collects Exiles issues 1-4 from 2001.

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Writer: Judd Winick

Artist: Mike McKone

Publisher: Marvel

I love alternate realities and this series has lots of them. All the characters are from different alternate realities and they travel to other alternative realities trying to fix them. I read it when it originally came out and really enjoyed it. Still a very enjoyable read! The whole series is aimed at X-Men fans who already know the characters and the seminal storylines.

Six heroes: Blink from Age of Apocalypse, Nocturne who is the daughter of the Nightcrawler and the Scarlet Witch, Mimic who is a heroic X-Man and an Avenger, Warpath whom Apocalypse captured and made his Horseman, Morph who is a respected X-Man, and Magnus, son of Rogue and Magneto. At the end of the first adventure, the heroes are joined by Mariko Yashida who is Sunfire.

A strange little man Timebroker tells that they’ve been yanked from their home realities to right wrongs in other universes. If they don’t, ripples in time will change their own lives for the worse. But they can be wounded or die for real. The Timebroker gives them a device called Tallus which will tell them what to do. Blink wears it.

In the first story, our heroes are sent to a world where humans have overcome mutants with technology. The Tallus tells Blink to ”find their greatest teacher” and they set out to bust Professor Xavier from a maximum security prison.

The second story is a retelling of the Dark Phoenix saga! Our heroes appear on the Moonbase, just when the Shi’Ar transport the X-Men there. The Tallus tells the Exiles that Jean Grey must die. Almost all Exiles know and love Jean, so their mission will be hard.

The art is pretty 90s style. What I really disliked is that both Nocturne and Sunfire wear very little. Nocturne first appears wearing just panties and a very short shirt. She then wears a leather bikini as a ”uniform”. Mariko similarly wears a bikini. Meanwhile, the men are fully clothed. Sigh. Otherwise, the art is pretty good.

Collects Age of X-Man: X-Tremists issues 1-5.

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Writer: Leah Williams

Artist: Georges Jeanty

Nate Grey created a utopia for mutants, an alternate reality where everyone is a mutant. The biggest threats in this world are intimate relationships. Love, both romantic and familial, is forbidden. Of course, people still have these dangerous feelings so Nate needs Department X to remove them. Psylocke, Iceman, Northstar, Blob, Jubilee, and Moneta are Department X. Bobby is his old self, joking as much as he can. Jean-Paul is trying to ignore Bobby as much as possible and is more interested in books than working. Betsy carries the heavy load of altering mutants’ memories “for their own good”. Blob is the team leader, but he has feelings of his own toward one of the team members. Jubilee believes in the cause and works her best. Moneta is a new character. She hates anyone who has feelings of love and calls them retrograde.

The team gets a tip about two lovers and heads out to arrest them. Psylocke is supposed to remove their memories of each other. But they find out that the woman, Nezumi, is pregnant. Children are cooked up artificially and no hospital can help in a delivery. What will Department X do? Also, we readers find out more about secrets behind how this society is held together.

Williams explores what the world would be like without intimacy on both societal and a more personal level. How the people must constantly guard against their own feelings and hide them from others. And ultimately how that’s going to fail. However, creating a new character to be the prejudiced idiot felt a bit of a cop out, but of course making an established character into one would alienate the fans of that character. Blob had surprising depth. I rather enjoyed the relationship between Blob and his crush, but I don’t see them getting together in the real world. Too bad we’re not going to see any repercussions of this series in the real world. None of these characters are my favorites but they were an interesting mix, especially as I don’t see any of them joining a secret police force for real.

Collects Age of X-Man Alpha, Age Of X-Man: The Marvelous X-Men 1-5, Age of X-Man Omega.

Writers: Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler

Artists: Ramon Rosanas, Marco Failla, Simone Buonfantino

The Alpha comic starts the new reality of the Age of X-Man storyline. When the X-Men seemingly died at the end of X-Men Disassembled, Nate Gray created another reality where he moved most of our merry mutants. Nate tried to create a paradise: a world where everyone was a mutant. But of course, something needs to be off. This time, Nate created a world where mutants have evolved beyond the base desires of love, family, and sex. People aren’t allowed to have relationships, no matter if they’re romantic or familial. Children are created in birthing chambers and raised in creches. They don’t know their parents or possible siblings. Trying to suppress such a basic human need isn’t easy. In the Alpha comic, we already find out that in order to create his utopia, Nate altered the memories of everyone. He also has Department X which arrests the ”criminals” and changes their memories even more, or if they ”infringe” several times, they’re taken away to prison. In the Alpha comic Jean and Bishop start a relationship and Bishop is arrested and dragged away. The rest of the team doesn’t even remember him anymore.

The Marvelous X-Men are Jean Grey, Storm, Magneto, Colossus, X-23, Nature Girl, and Nightcrawler. In this now peaceful world, they only fight against natural disasters. But when En Sabah Nur and his minion Kitty Pryde start to preach for love, the X-Men must take a stand. But is it against them or with them?

This was an interesting alternate world but of course, we all know that it can’t last. I had problems with a few of the ideas, such as Apocalypse as the messenger of love, but most of them were explained in the Omega comic. I didn’t really buy some of the romantic pairings the comics had, such as Bishop and Jean but of course the writers had to play with characters they were given.

I really enjoy seeing alternate versions of familiar characters and it was fun seeing Magneto, Storm, and Jean trying to get to the bottom of this new reality. The Alpha comic leads into all of the six new limited series and the Omega ties up all the storylines from the six series.