the_outsider's Exiles #97 - Where Dreams to Nightmares Grow review

New direction?

When Judd Winick first started Exiles he created a team with one character that we had previously seen, and the rest of the roster was filled with different versions of characters we already knew. Some people thought that even though Blink had somewhat of a following, the character wouldn't be popular enough to support a team book. What happened next surprised some. These altered characters ended up being good... and even if the character was popular it didn't guarantee they were safe. As we learned early on, even if it was a popular character in the series they could die... and wouldn't be coming back. You really felt the stress on the characters that they never knew who would be next. When Chris Claremont came on the title, he actually filled the team with all characters that were previously established. While this version of Morph hasn't existed outside of Exiles he's been in the series since issue #2. Because of this the series has lost that feeling of uncertainty for the characters and the character development that the title was known for is practically all gone.

While Claremont's run on the title has really been a low point for the series, this has been his best story arc to date. The difference a new artist can make also needs to be mentioned. While Steve Scott isn't a super star artist yet, his pencils in this series have given it a breath of fresh air that it desperately needed. The quality of his work isn't consistent throughout the issue, but he does deliver a few very nice looking panels. The main story itself isn't as interesting as the sub plot that was introduced in the last issue. It seems that Claremont keeps going to Reed Richards for his alternate realities and there doesn't seem to be any reason for it exactly. It might be part of a bigger story that we just don't know about, but the Exiles used to be filled with some really well thought out alternate realities to explore and it just doesn't feel like Claremont is putting much thought into them now. Some long time readers however should be very pleased with the last page of this issue. I've been with this series since issue #1 and I must say when I got to the end I was very happy.

The future of this book is very uncertain. It doesn't look like it's going to be canceled any time soon, but it's not nearly as good as it once was. This used to be that quirky book where anything could happen, and actually had some great character development because of the impossible situations they were in. Now it's been turned into a very mediocre title with not much sense of direction. The last two issues have shown hope that this will change, but I can't help but think it's only leading up to issue #100 and then we'll be getting much more of the same. Keep your fingers crossed.

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