By X35 21 Comments
In their 140 or so issue existence, the reality-hopping Exiles came up against some pretty formidable foes. In a bid to try and get a friend to read the original Exiles series, I decided to attempt to whet their appetite by teasing some of the awesome enemies the team fight with a "Top 5 Exiles Villains" list. Before I even start, it's worth noting I pretty quickly felt overwhelmed after I ticked off the first few obvious choices when I began to realise the Exiles actually had a fairly cool rogues gallery. I'll mention some of the ones I didn't include first: Tanaraq, Proteus, the All-New Exiles, Maestro, the Wolverines, Holocaust and Chris Claremont. Now, what follows is who I consider to be the most interesting, entertaining and deadliest bunch of bastards the Exiles ever came up against!
After having just riled on Chris Claremont for his devastating killing blow to the Exiles title, it seems hypocritical to start off the list with one of his contributions. But the matter of fact is, after all the annoying Psylocke fanwankery, one of Claremont's first stories did debut a pretty cool villain. The Exiles, or as they were practically then known "Psylocke and the Exiles", wound up going to a universe were HYDRA was super-prominent and run by Susan Storm; the Invisible Woman! Sue made an awesomely seductive and menacingly evil Madame Hydra with Wolverine as her lover/lapdog. She even succeeded in converting half of the Exiles to HYDRA's ranks. A real cool and sexy villainess and an interesting take on a classic character, Claremont even kept bringing her back again and again later on in his run but that was by the time that nobody cared about the Exiles anymore.
4. Avengers Forever
A short stand-alone two-parter somewhere around the middle of the Exiles book saw the Exiles go to a world where the Avengers were all vampires. This was before everyone was sick of vampires and it was still pretty darn cool to see an alternate world where the Avengers were villains. Also, Polaris was an Avenger which sure was an interesting tweak to the otherwise classic Avenger line-up presented. As well as being blood-thirsty monsters, they also wore hideous costumes poking fun at the 90s. What more could you want from an Avengers team? They were sufficiently scary and a decent "villain-of-the-week" threat to the Exiles.
Calling Magik a villain is pushing it a lot in my opinion, however she was my favorite Exiles character so I felt her inclusion was necessary if just for that. Magik joined the Exiles not long after the above vampire story and her attitude was radically different from her fellow team-mates. She was pretty quick to kill if it would accomplish the team's mission and locked horns with Mimic and the other Exiles regularly. Despite this, she was shown to have motivation and feelings driving these actions and the times she wasn't back-stabbing the team to accomplish a mission we got to see another softer side to her, particularly the moments she shared with Morph.
2. Weapon X
Part of me feels that they belong at the #1 spot, Weapon X were the "evil Exiles" in as few words as possible. They were a consistent enemy to the Exiles from the start of the series and had some really awesome moments - including about 10 issues that they actually headlined! The roster changed a few times but a few of the cooler characters stuck around for the long run. There was the Spider (a sadistic Carnage-bonded Spider-Man), eventual Exile Sabretooth, a creepy version of the Vision, every girl's fantasy in a Gambit, a half-robot Deadpool and an awesome slutty Ms. Marvel (who I almost wanted to give a whole separate spot to!). Not all the characters in Weapon X were "evil", the team were simply a more looser-on-the-morals version of the Exiles. Of course, the team only became more of a threat when they were joined by...
1. King Hyperion
A purely loathsome and evil character, King Hyperion started off a member of Weapon X and soon transcended the team and after various cases of him commiting mass murder he wound up an Exiles enemy in his own right. A ridiculously powerful foe, every time the Exiles fought him it seemed as if they simply couldn't beat him. Not only that, but the body count the character racked up across his time in the title is second to none. He killed the population of whole planets, not to mention several Exiles and even Weapon X members. Hyperion was a genuinely terrifying threat to the Exiles and the entire multi-verse. Marvel seem to have noticed that he was a pretty good villain and painstakingly tried to introduce him to the main universe recently and have, in my opinion, completely failed. Reading the Exiles, to think this guy would ever end up as a brief member of the Thunderbolts is insane.