|"New Exiles" #1 (Greg Land cover) on sale January, 2008|
Saving the multiple Earths of the Marvel Universe means The Exiles have their hands more than full, but in the coming months the team of reality-hopping heroes will undergo a number of huge transformations. The evolution of the team began in the "X-Men: Die by the Sword" miniseries, continues in December's "Exiles" #100 and explodes into January's new ongoing series, "New Exiles." CBR News spoke with the writer of all three books, Chris Claremont, about his plans for the Cross-Time Crusaders.
Claremont's grand plans for The Exiles are just coming to fruition now, but the seeds for the team's evolution were actually planted long ago. "On one level, all this was originally meant to be set in motion almost two years ago now, when I was initially assigned the writing responsibilities on 'Exiles' over the winter of 2005-2006," Chris Claremont told CBR News.
The "X-Men: Die by the Sword" miniseries, which teams the Exiles with British super team Excalibur, is where Claremont's plans kick into high gear. "Die by the Sword" embroils the teams in a war between Omniversal Guardian and Director of the Captain Britain Corps, Roma and her enemies the psychotic reality warper Jim Jaspers and his partner, Roma's father, Merlyn, who may not seem like an evil being at first glance.
Assaults upon reality by psychopaths and sociopaths are nothing new for some of the veteran Exiles, but some of their newest team members are still getting used to the feeling of saving all of creation's bacon on a regular basis. "The presence of Mystiq and Rogue and Cat in this story-arc is simply a function of their already being present within the body of 'Exiles' as of #99 and the reality that 'Die by the Sword' occurs hot on its heels," Claremont explained. "Too much to do, not enough space to do it in, since #100 brings the first series to an end and a whole lot of loose ends (from more than a few series) have to be tied up as best we can."
|Pages from "New Exiles" #1 on sale January, 2008|
The climax of "Die by the Sword" has a fundamental impact on December's "Exiles" #100, which concludes the series and sets things in motion for January's "New Exiles" #1. "You shouldn't read #100 without picking up #1, which should follow hot on the heels of the New Year," Claremont advised.
Issue #1 of "New Exiles" finds a new version of the team assembling to protect the myriad realities of the Omniverse. "I would have to say their presence together is altogether willing, with perhaps one exception, which is more a matter of absolute necessity, and perhaps another who has nowhere else to go. They're dealt a hand, and deal with it, which I suppose makes them both very much like yet very much apart from the original grouping way back in 'Exiles' #1. Only these heroes don't have a Time Broker to give them marching orders. They have to make their own decisions, and take responsibility for their actions and all the consequences thereof.
|"X-Men: Die By The Sword" #3 on sale November 14|
The New Exiles don't have a Time Broker directing their actions but they do have a team leader; a person Claremont could only describe cryptically. "The team leader is Very Tall and Very Well Built," Claremont remarked. "The team leader is known to have a temper and is chock full of surprise. This is not a person any sane being would want to cross."
Following this ominous new leader's orders are the usual collection of old favorites characters and fresh takes on some familiar faces. "In terms of the new Exiles line-up, what you've seen is pretty much what we get, although we reserve the right to engage in some surprises along the way -- and believe me, we have a few doozies planned for the first year," Claremont said. "The primary editorial dictum for the series is that the primary cast be restricted (with one exception, Morph) to variations on those characters I've created. Which isn't really that great a restriction since it turns out I'm responsible for quite a few over the past few years. Beyond that, pretty much anything goes, as we'll make plain in the first arc.
|Page from "X-Men: Die By The Sword" #3|
The missions of the original Exiles primarily took them to realities where divergences in Marvel history created some drastically different Earths, but the alternate worlds featured in "New Exiles" will play with reality in a variety of new ways. "From a purely structural perspective, the intent is to present as varied and interesting a view as possible of the structural possibilities of the alternate dimensions we visit," Claremont explained. "Consider this an environment where anything goes."
Protecting a chaotic environment like the Omniverse means the New Exiles will come into conflict with a horde of sinister and powerful foes. "Well, dancing from dimension to dimension is Sue Storm AKA Madame Hydra, along with her version of Wolverine and (above all) Slaymaster," Claremont stated. "They're among our list of ongoing villains. Beyond that, we've some surprises in store."
|Page from "X-Men: Die By The Sword" #3|
The first "New Exiles" story arc kicks off the series with a bang. "It runs 4 issues and it's very exciting," Claremont said. "And based on the pencils already delivered by Tom Grummett it looks bloody brilliant. Great storytelling, eloquent visual characterization, pretty much all any writer could wish for, with a vengeance! Just to give an idea of what's in store, in the first half-dozen pages, we pretty much destroy the habitable world as we know it. Then we play some football. How's that?"
|"Exiles" concludes with #100 in December, leading into January '08's "New Exiles" #1|
"That's the most dangerous thing about creating Exiles; you cast out folks without a thought to where they'll go or what they'll do, just so long as they're out of your hair. And sometimes, the boat'll sink, end of story. Then again, it may crash ashore on a Brave New World that'll end up turning reality as you once knew it head over heels. It's possible. And it's sure to be fun. So come along for the ride. Try something new. The Exiles will be waiting to show you the way."
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