Tag Archives: Dave Olbrich

Death Is What Happens While You’re Making Other Plans-Exiles Part 2

Despite the fact that we have had two great articles from Emily Scott and Darry Weight, I know that you guys have been chomping at the bit for the next part of our look at the saga of Malibu’s Exiles!  Well, leave what is left of the bit and get on over here, Legions of the Unspoken, as we are ready for another gander at the amazing world of The Ultraverse!

Later this week I’ll be posting a terrific interview with Tom Mason that deals with the Exiles; I promise you, you can’t wait to look at  this one, kids!  Before I get further into the last half of The Ultraverse’s most ill-fated team, I want to dedicate the rest of this look at Exiles to the late Steve Gerber, who was one of the most brilliant writers in comic book history.  There are very few people who could bend comic books to their will in the way Gerber could, and it is truly an honor to be looking at his work here.

Exiles really changed the game, folks, and I think that it is one of the last major surprises in superhero comics.  I find it to be quite an accomplishment in and of itself that they were able to keep the planned demise of The Exiles a secret.  If this book had launched even a year later, it would have been nearly impossible. Thunderbolts almost accomplished a big reveal, but I think it was just barely ruined.  Wizard, Stan Lee, and Marvel almost pulled a fast one on us in regards to The Sentry, but I think The Sentry had been on stands for .08 seconds before we all knew of their ruse.  I asked Tom Mason about how retailers reacted, but you’ll have to wait for the interview for that information!  Ain’t I a stinker?

I am not as big a stinker as that brat Timmy, who has gone and become a monster called Mastodon.

Exiles #3 - Page 1
No big deal, just doing reps with this car.

Of course, Timmy is not the only Mastodon of the 90’s, or did you forget about Big Van Vader?

Now You Remember.
Now you remember.

Of course, Timmy would probably a bigger threat than Big Van Vader due to, you know, being a giant super strong monster and all.  He confronts the Exiles in a manner that threatens them all, and it forces Ghoul to break with the plan to save Tinsel!

Also, the lady behind the Exiles get shot, which is as good a metaphor as any for how her world and plan is crumbling all around her.

Exiles #3 - Page 4
The customization on Ghoul’s sky-cycle must have cost a fortune, and it must have been done by some guy that the folks on Pawn Stars brings in as an expert on custom sky-cycles.

 Dr. Rachel Deming, though, thinks that for some reason having a giant pre-teen monster running all across town is a bad idea for whatever reason, so she breaks off the Exiles’ assault on Malcolm Kort’s office to chase down Timmy, who is a little jerk.  You know who else was when he was Timmy’s age?  No clue?  Here’s a hint?  DEAN COMPTON.

First though, she got shot, and since Mastodon’s powers so far are being really strong and having cool tusks that resemble an even cooler mustache, we can safely rule him out as the shooter.  That most likely means that the shooter is one of Kort’s goons, and which goon has the most guns?

Why that would be Bloodbath, kind sir.

Exiles #3 - Page 5
Do you think Deadeye is envious of Ghoul’s customization on his sky-cycle? Deadeye’s looks sort of plain in comparison.

Tinsel and Ghoul have their own issues, though, because ever since Ghoul broke ranks to help out Tinsel, they have both pretty much been in peril from the moment Tinsel showed up with the Exiles.  I love how Gerber keeps having the characters make the wrong decisions and showing us the consequences without being too obvious about their inexperience.

The temptation to give away their inexperience in thought balloons must have been heavy, but by avoiding that, Steve Gerber shows us the most dangerous form of ignorance; the Exiles are bad at being superheroes, and not only do they not know that, but they don’t even know that they don’t know that!  That’s the kind of thing that gets people killed both in real life and in The Ultraverse.

Before either of them can be killed, though, Ghoul and Tinsel fall into the clutches of Malcolm Kort, who just wants everyone to know that he isn’t the problem here. Rather, it is all the fault of Dr. Deming, who has all the issues while he is pretty much super perfect in the same way your siblings seemed to be when you were a teenager and you had just missed curfew.  They could do no wrong; you could do no right.  Malcolm Kort thinks he does not have to worry about the former.

Exiles #3 - Page 9
Just to talk more about wrestling, based on his shoulder pads alone, Bloodbath could be a member of the Road Warriors; I mean, admit it, Road Warrior Bloodbath has a nice ring to it!
Exiles #3 - Page 10
The biological waste just sounds like a fancy way for Malcolm Kort to say toilet.

Not gonna lie, this page made me feel uncomfortable in conjunction with Tinsel’s ultimate fate.  All of the Exiles die (although some get better), but only one gets threatened with sexual assault, sexually assaulted, and then brutally shot to death by around a dozen bullets.  If you guessed that that member was Ghoul, I’d call you a sick freak, but I’d so so with a smile as to let you know that I appreciate your humor.  If you guessed Tinsel, I’d say you are more than well aware of the tropes in comic books where these  sorts of horrendous things happen to women.

To be fair, this doesn’t fall right into the trope due to the fact that this doesn’t happen to her so a man can feel something (although Ghoul has what appears to be at least a minor league crush on her, and after he survives the group, he is haunted by the demise of The Exiles, but it is ALL of them, not just Tinsel), but it still is disconcerting to me.  I think that writers (primarily male ones) do not understand that rape and sexual assault are not just “another evil thing” that evil men (or women) can do, but it is instead very off-putting.  I think we are coming around on that, and this isn’t just something that male writers do.  I was able to interview Devin Grayson last year, and  we discussed when she had written a scene where Dick Grayson got raped in Nightwing.  She then described it as “non-consensual, but not rape,” which is sort of like saying that “we landed troops in their country and occupied it, but we did not invade their country.”  Devin expressed regret over not only saying that, but she also was sorry she had included the scene at all because she did not understand just how traumatic victims of rape, sexual assault, or abuse can find scenes like this.

I do think this is a product of the times, and I don’t think Steve Gerber meant anything by it; it does not detract from the enjoyment of the story, but I also think the story would still be just as good without the sexual assault due to the fact that Tinsel gets brutally killed.  Her death is the most brutal and in some ways the most tragic.  Of course, I also have to give Steve Gerber the benefit of the doubt in that he could have just been going straight for the jugular, which is that the most evil of evil men and women would encounter neophytes such as Tinsel, and he is just showing us the logical and most extreme ramifications of superhero activity.

While all this is going on, Mastodon (TIMMY) is squaring off with the rest of The Exiles at the mall,. where some of the coolest balloons this side of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade are residing.  I mean, you could look at The Exiles fighting Mastodon, but damn, there’s Freddy Krueger!

Exiles #3 - Page 11
Godzilla and King Kong are also hanging out. I wonder if they despise being put next to Freddy, as they are just destructive by their nature, while Freddy is evil and does stuff like kill Johnny Depp.

Deadeye does the sensible thing here and fills Mastodon full of tranquilizer darts; I also assume that he hit his target exactly where he wanted due to his awesome cybernetic eye.  Yes, I am still hung up on that, and yes, I always will be.  Of course, some might say that since the Exiles want to train him, attempting to talk him down is the sensible thing.  I’d disagree, but I’m not Dr. Deming, so I am not running this team.

Exiles #3 - Page 16
Deadeye spends a lot of time worrying about the cops, which is understandable since they are tearing up malls and stuff, but in my mind, he is also worried due to a shady past as a rogue agent; how do you think he became a cyborg?

While all of this is happening, Amber Hunt is starting to get really antsy back at the Exiles’ base.  I feel like antsy is sort of a trite way to put Amber’s feelings, since she is waiting on the doctor to come back so the doctor can keep her from dying of the Theta Virus.  Facing death deserves more than just some dude saying, “Why are you so antsy?  I mean, it’s just your life.”  So her antsiness, which is not a word, by the by, is certainly well deserved.

I have anxiety.  Really bad anxiety.  Like anxiety so bad that I think whoever is reading this is angry that they did not get to read it sooner or because it isn’t as good as someone reading this thinks it should be.  I’d like to apologize to those readers now, but that will just make me apologize a whole bunch.  The point of this diatribe on anxiety is that I can only imagine how I would feel in regards to this situation, and I have NO REASON to fear as much as I do.  Amber Hunt, on the other hand, is going to die.  She needs this treatment, and she needs it soon.  So her reaction to the situation is the only normal one; she calls a different lady a skank.

What could possibly go wrong?  I mean, it's just a super science machine and you just were bored in high school biology.
Is rhinoplasty easy? Is it the first thing a doctor learns? Like if you’re in medical school, do they measure how good you will be based on how much you struggle with rhinoplasty? Why do I hope that is true so badly?

While Amber Hunt deals with being on the precipice of death, Ghoul is also dealing with being on the precipice of death.  Or at least, he is dealing with being on more of a precipice of death than he usually is.  Kort has tossed him into the garbage disposal, and he is rightfully none too happy about it.

Exiles #3 - Page 19
It looks like a 90’s Nickelodeon show exploded. Who’s got the Gak?

Ghoul manages to stay alive because he is already sort of dead.  I could look for hours at the random debris in that slime wave.  The skull bothers me less than the bunny somehow, which I think makes me a bad person.  I am sure that someone already found me to be a bad person, though, since I love 90’s comics so much.

Ghoul makes it through this, and even though I compared it to Nickelodeon Gak earlier, now I think it is more like ooze from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The secret of this ooze, though, is that has empty beer bottles floating in it.

Back where the rest of the Exiles are trying to capture Mastodon, Dr. Deming is learning the folly of attempting to talk out one’s problems in a superhero comic book.

What?  Rationally talking to the preteen who just got transmogrified into a horrific monster didn't work?  How could that be?
What? Rationally talking to the preteen who just got transmogrified into a horrific monster didn’t work? How could that be?

The biggest reason why I wish the Exiles had lasted longer is due to the fact that they could have had an awesome crossover with Freddy Krueger who would have been seeking revenge over being senton splashed by Dr. Deming, whether it was her fault or not.  I mean, she can’t talk the kid into calming down, so I see no way she could ever convince the King of Nightmares that this offense was not of her doing.

Also, I find it awesome to see her glasses falling off.  I am a sucker for stuff like that.  Mastodon gets away, but Deadeye’s tranqs start to kick in just in time for one of Kort’s robots to see him trying to get away.

Exiles #3 - Page 23
With the amount of tranquilizer that Deadeye shot into you, you’re not about to be sick, kid; you’re probably about to die.

The book starts to get very real from here on out, as Tinsel is now subjected to Bloodbath’s predilections, which are all nefarious, sick, twisted, and depraved.  Tinsel seems like a wonderful woman, and I think my biggest regret is that we learn nothing about her before she is eradicated by one Bloodbath.  Despite knowing little about her, she is fascinating, and so her death hits hard.  Especially because of this build-up, where Tinsel spends the last few moments of her life being sexually assaulted and hunted down.

Exiles #3 - Page 24
I wish that this scene didn’t start with what appears to be Tinsel laying provocatively on the bed, seeing as how all of this is against her will.

Exiles #3 - Page 25

The next image basically represents the series.   Despite Tinsel’s last great act of defiance, it was too late her for her, just as it is too late for all of The Exiles.  The image is brutal, even for the 90’s, and I don’t have an issue with that.  This is almost certainly the outcome when folks bite off more than they can chew in dangerous situations.  When you constantly tempt death and don’t really have the training or skill to do so, you eventually die.  It’s that simple.

I also think there is subtext here, in that we are shown this brutal scene in order to fully grasp the powers that The Exiles were grappling with and how ill-prepared they were for it.  As we see Tinsel gunned down, we somehow know deep inside that while Bloodbath pulled the trigger, the real murderer is Dr. Deming, who stubbornly refused to see that her team was not ready for confrontations like this.  You realize that life, even life in a superhero universe, just isn’t fair.  Neither is death.

Exiles #3 - Page 26

Brutal.  That’s really all I can say.  There’s no doubt that Tinsel is gone, just as her life and superhero career started.  This time, the bad guys won.  The bullets seem to take up the entire page, as they enter and exit her chest, head, and basically every body part except her knees and feet, and with how Bloodbath is, I am not sure he would not just go and shoot them up after the fact.  A moment of silence for Tinsel, folks; she truly deserved better.

We’ll finish Exiles up in part 3 later this week!   Guess what?  EVERYBODY DIES.

Death Is What Happens While You’re Making Other Plans-Exiles Pt.1

Hello there, Legions of the Unspoken!  We hope you enjoyed the Super Blog Team Up and all that goes with it!  I am still sifting through the great offerings myself!  it’s truly an honor to be a part of something so great!  I already cannot wait for four months to pass so we can play with those cats again!

We have decided to dedicate this month, though, to the independent publishers of the 90’s, in what we are calling Indie February!  What a cosmic storm of creativity it took to come up with that title!  For real, though, we didn’t want to fancy up a title and draw any attention away from the great indie work that we are covering!

I think it might be impossible to explain just how hot comic books were at one time in the 90’s, but to say that the center of the sun was the only thing hotter is not only an appropriate thing to imagine, but I am sure it was literally true.

This is what comic book stores looked and felt like in the 90’s.

The state of the industry meant that those of us who were there got to see lots of comic book companies spring up, some for better and some for worse. No matter how bad someone perceived a Dagger Comics to be, though, their existence and the constant explosion of new comic book companies and universes made for an era of excitement.  This part of the 90’s felt like anything could happen.  We felt like any comic book company could just be the next Image or Valiant, as unlikely as that would be.  That feeling, though, is what led my friends and I to constantly scribble ideas or doodle images in our notebooks.

Some companies got involved in creating the atmosphere that predated the era altogether.  One of those companies was Malibu Comics, a stalwart publisher that was born as a black and white publisher in the late 1980’s, which was not a great time to attempt to break into comics as a black and white company.  They came onto the scene following a glut of black and white material flooding the market in the wake of the huge success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Malibu, however, due to some luck and the hard work of guys like Tom Mason, Chris Ulm, Scott Rosenberg, Dave Olbrich, and many others, kept their operation afloat, and eventually became fairly successful.  I knew what Malibu Comics was before I got into comics, although my knowledge of them was fuzzy.  Not as fuzzy as the soup my brother made three weeks ago that lurks in the back of my refrigerator trying to kill me, but fuzzy enough that I would only claim cognizance of their existence and no more had I been asked.

Malibu also holds the honorable distinction of being the original publishers of Image Comics.  I think Image would have been a success regardless of whether they immediately published themselves or had been with Malibu for the year that they were, but I do feel as though the year that Image spent with Malibu helped ease their transition into the world of comic book publishing.  Eventually Image would leave the Malibu umbrella, but Malibu had been preparing, and they gave us the Ultraverse!  They let us know the Ultraverse was coming, not just via house ads in trades, Wizard, and other comic book magazines, but they let the whole world know by buying TV commercials!

One of the many things that I find gets glossed over when it comes to the explosion of new universes and imprints in the 90’s gets touched upon in this commercial – how exciting it felt for the fans to get in on the ground floor of a universe.  It wasn’t that the DC and Marvel Universes weren’t cool, but for my young friends and I who were into comic books, we wanted something that could “be ours.”  We had fun learning the character histories and rivalries within the DC and Marvel Universes, but to be there when it all started was a fun all its own.  We didn’t know what would be the next big universe, whether it was Triumphant, Lightning, or a revamped Now! Comics.  Malibu seized this feeling with their Ultraverse by telling us directly that not only was this going to be a big deal, but we could get in now.  They come across, and I mean this in a complimentary fashion, as a 90’s Marvel Bullpen Bulletins in their self-promotion.  To be reading Ultraverse comics would place one in an echelon unreachable for comics fans who were only attempting to belong to a not-so-exclusive club called “EVERYONE.”

Malibu and all the parties involved built a world full of fantastic characters, concepts, and settings that made for a very interesting shared universe.  The creators and the company worked hard to keep everything straight, fun, exciting, and most importantly, built to last.

Except one team.  One team…was built to die.

Exiles #1 - Page 1
He’s doing the twist, but he’s doing it in the 90’s, so it’s EXTREME!

The first time I heard or saw anything of The Exiles, the Ultraverse wasn’t around, and Image Comics was still under the Malibu Comics umbrella.  I was a huge Protectors fan, and I saw two different house ads in those books for a book called Exiles.  This book was seemingly just going to be a part of Malibu.  There’s nary a mention of the Ultraverse.  There’s nothing about Hardcase, Prime, or even NM-E!  There was a house ad with just Exiles, and then there was a promo poster that I feel greatly solidifies the Exiles as having been conceived as properties of Malibu proper.

You just know Evil Ernie killed everyone on this poster mere moments later.
You just know Evil Ernie killed everyone on this poster mere moments later.

There in the lower right we see Exiles.  There’s Ghoul, Tinsel, and basically everyone in the group but Deadeye.  Of course, you don’t know who any of these folks are yet!  (Maybe you do; I mean, I dunno if who is reading this right now has read this book or not.  I shouldn’t claim such knowledge!) You don’t even know who Amber Hunt is.  But here’s a hint as to who she is – she’s sort of a bitch.

Notice how Amber’s word balloon when she says “maybe” has those icicles that everyone knows signify that this lady is unpleasant, in the same way drinking swamp water is unpleasant.  She reminds me of that popular girl from high school.  You know the one.  The one who was attractive, self-centered, and expected you to dote on her because she was attractive and self-centered.  If the girl I knew in high school is reading this, I just want to ask her, why?  I mean, you hate comic books.  You told me so EVERY DAY.

Whew!  Guess I need to let it go.  Or I need to congratulate Tom Mason, the late Steve Gerber, Chris Ulm, Dave Olbrich, Paul Pelletier, and Ken Branch for doing such a fantastic job on creating Amber Hunt, because that’s pretty much the reaction they are looking for.  I guess it is possible I am just an easy audience as well, but I’d rather just call them geniuses.  I bet they feel the same way.

I also want to salute them for the arrows showing folks the progression of the panels.  Many times, I hear my pals who don’t read comic books bemoan not knowing “how to read” comic books, or complaining that “I don’t understand the order in which the panels are supposed to be read.”  Actually, most of my pals end that last sentence in a preposition, but the point is this is an impediment for those who have those issues.  And I don’t begrudge the folks who say those things; it can be a legitimate complaint.  If I read panels in the wrong order, though, I just re-read them in the proper order.

Now for some action!  To make up for biology being boring, Amber Hunt gets a full-on superhero (should I say “Ultra” here?) brawl right outside her high school!

This is what my high school parking lot looked like every day, but there was MORE spandex.
This is what my high school parking lot looked like every day, but there was MORE spandex.

Look, I will be the first to admit that there at least a dozen dudes who look like Deadeye.  They had the big gun.  They had the cyborg eye.  They had the big build.  AND I LOVED THEM ALL.  First off, just ask Emily, the amazing editor of this site (also my girlfriend and a great contributing author here!) about my obsession with cyborg eyes.  You will never believe the amount of time I have spent going on and on to her, my brother, my friends, light poles, non-shady housecats, and anyone/anything who will listen (or just can’t move) about how amazing cybernetic eyes are.  They are just amazing, and I want one the very second that technology catches up to give me that.  I figure I can just pay for it with the eye I am giving up to have the cybernetic eye implanted.  That’s why I have to be first, you see, because regular eyes will be dropping in value the way your NES did when the SNES came out.  Point being, cybernetic eyes are great, so Deadeye is great to me.

Also, I only have two regrets about the Sinister Supreme Soviet, and one is that he isn’t covered in hammers, sickles, and CCCP in block letters.  The other you will see later.  For now though, you have to understand that our heroes and the Sinister Supreme Soviet are both after the same thing – Amber Hunt.

That’s right, the snotty homecoming queen is the object that these forces are fighting over, and she does not really care for it one bit.

Exiles #1 - Page 4

Exiles #1 - Page 6
That arrow on his chest is not pointing to his head because Trax is a genius.
Exiles #1 - Page 9
I like how Amber Hunt believes the proper recourse to deal with kidnappers is civil court. Aw, honey, kidnappers go to jail.

 I am not normally one to be on the side of a young lady like Amber Hunt, but I will say that she probably deserved better than just being taken away in the middle of an ULTRA fight right outside her biology class.  Deadeye has her over his shoulder like he is a Visigoth that just conquered Rome and she is his booty.  That doesn’t engender Amber Hunt to trust these folks, and she already wasn’t nice.  They should have planned this out better.  Then again, perhaps the Sinister Supreme Soviet gave them little choice.

Now that she has been apprehended, it’s time for someone to explain to Amber Hunt exactly what is going on, which is nice, seeing how a cyborg manhandled her.  Also, something tells me she probably isn’t as enamored with Deadeye’s cybernetic eye as I am.  The Exiles also decided to blindfold Hunt, and then they make sure the first thing she sees is comforting.

Or they make sure the first thing she sees is their teammate Ghoul, who is basically a dead guy who looks like The Creature from the Black Lagoon ate a graveyard salad.

Exiles #1 - Page 10
Look, you put the blindfold on her; you do not get to then tell her how much better it is now that you have taken it off of her.
Exiles #1 - Page 11
As much as I dislike Amber Hunt, Dr. Deming is being very evasive. I’d be upset as well.
Exiles #1 - Page 12
Now De. Deming GUILT-TRIPS THE TEENAGER SHE JUST KIDNAPPED! Never mind all the bad stuff I said about you, Amber Hunt; I am totally on your side now.

 Dr. Deming is sort of going about this all wrong, and that surprises me.  Not because she is somehow bereft of potential to be mean, but because she has done this before!  How could she be so bad at getting folks acclimated to their new surroundings after being kidnapped?  Of course, she did convince Deadeye, Tinsel, and Trax to join up, so perhaps she knows more about this than I do…

Malcolm Kort is the mastermind bad guy in this series, and I love him.  He has the big office requisite of the corporate villains of the late 80’s and early 90’s.  I also approve his hair as being delightfully appropriate for a corporate villain.  However, I do disapprove of one thing he does.  Remember when I told you that there was only one thing I regretted about the Sinister Supreme Soviet?  That regret is that he is gone so quickly.

Exiles #1 - Page 17

Exiles #1 - Page 16
Kort misunderstands communism, but I will admit that for someone who talks up the USSR all the time, SSS is very concerned with capital. When he isn’t talking about hating it, he is talking about wanting some. Triple S sounds cooler than SSS; I’d say I would call him Triple S from now on, but he’s gonna be dead in a page or three, so what’s the point?
Exiles #1 - Page 18
At least if Kort had kidnapped Amber Hunt, she would have gotten an explanation of what is going on. I mean, he’s a murderer, but at least he is a better host than Deming.
Exiles #1 - Page 20
I can’t judge him for keeping the creepy hand; I’d have done the same thing. How can one be a dastardly villain without macabre trophies?

The Exiles have a purpose though, and said purpose isn’t just stopping sleazeball supreme Malcolm Kort; they are sort of like the X-Men, in that they want to find youngsters with this Theta Virus and train them to use and control their power.  That’s what the Beta Team Tinsel was talking about is doing.  Sadly enough, though, Malcolm Kort is doing the same thing.  Of course, when he has his goons kidnap kids with the Theta Virus, they are kind enough to introduce themselves.

Exiles #1 - Page 22
How long does Bloodbath spend on that hair everyday? It sticks up and it has the long braids? I guess he does have to maintain the pristine aesthetic appeal that goes with being a villain named Bloodbath.

The kid is named Timothy Halloran, and as you can see, he is in big trouble.  Bloodbath is truly not be messed with.  I recall when I got this issue back in the day, I was so upset because they had taken my name.  I had a villain named Bloodbath, and he was so much cooler, better, and (insert the hyperbolic and egotistical self-inflation of a 14-year old here) than what this guy was.  Incidentally, he was also the first Ultraverse card I ever got, so I know that Tom Mason, Dave Olbrich, and the rest of the gang basically just did this to spite me.  There’s no denying it, fellas!

Timothy was just taking out the trash and minding his own business when all this started.  Things don’t get better when the Theta Team turns up because, as you will see as we keep going in this series, the Exiles don’t really know what they are doing, and it costs everyone.  It costs the people they try to help, the people they try to stop, and ultimately it will cost the Exiles.

In the meantime, this Theta Team rides in on cool skycycles and attempts to save Timothy.

I see Timothy's hand and all I can think of is the Violent Femmes.  "Big hands, I Know You're the One"!
I see Timothy’s hand and all I can think of is the Violent Femmes. “Big hands, I Know You’re the One”!

As has already been stated, the Exiles just do not know what they are doing.  Take Mustang.  He has a cool electrocution style power, but he just has no clue how or when to use it.  He and Catapult (who is good at throwing things)  comprise the Beta Team taking on Bloodbath and Bruut, and they fail in the same way that the Arch Deluxe failed.  Spectacularly.

I love the subtext of the comic book, in that we rarely see the character talking about their failures, but instead, we see them as headstrong.  They don’t know how bad they are sometimes, and they don’t know that they don’t know.  That’s the dangerous part.  In our world, which (sadly) has a dearth of cyborgs and supreme Soviet mercenaries to kill us, a lack of knowledge can still be insanely dangerous and/or fatal.  In the Ultraverse, it can be even worse, because lack of knowledge in conjunction with power means innocents get hurt.

Exiles #1 - Page 28

See that?  They just proved how hapless they are, and their only thought is to go and re-tackle the guy who just manipulated them into killing an innocent.  Not just any innocent, but the MOTHER of the kid they were sent here to, well, kidnap.

Bless their hearts.

Their ineptitude does not stop them from sporting a fun pose on a badass cover to #2.  I am a sucker for dynamic poses.  It’s the 90’s kid in me!  Hell, it’s just the cool kid in me!  I never get why folks hate dynamic poses so much.  I especially like it when people tell me “no one stands like that”.  Of course they don’t.  That’s sort of why I am reading a superhero comic book, bro, y’know, so I can see THE IMPOSSIBLE.

Exiles #2 - Page 1
The “Featuring Bloodbath” blurb reads like that is something that has been added to laundry detergent or something. Like this is “Tide w/Bloodbath.”

The Exiles continue down their path of ineptness, and it is comically predictable.  These guys are a secret paramilitary group who were just involved in major property damage and a murder, and yet they seem surprised when San Diego’s finest arrive on the scene to investigate what is going on.

Also, notice Catapult’s sort of blase attitude about the fact that Timothy’s mother was just killed due to their carelessness.  Again, we are seeing little signs that while these guys have power, they do not have what it takes to be heroes.  That saddens me, but it also makes perfect sense.  I have always enjoyed the Guy Gardner character, and one of the primary reasons for that is because he is one of the few super nice/super mean people to ever get super powers.  Even more rare, though, is the person who never really learns to use their power properly, and truth be told, that person would be ubiquitous in a place like the Ultraverse.  Even with the small number of folks with super powers there, they would almost all certainly have to go through a period where they didn’t know how to use their super powers.  Sort of like how when you were a teenager and you didn’t know how to use your best features.  Later you learned, but man, you were annoying until then!  Now imagine being annoying and deadly!  Now imagine being annoying, deadly, and blase about the impact you have.  You’d have Catapult, or me in high school.  He and I are sort of similar, although my antics usually drew fewer cops AND caused fewer deaths.

Exiles #2 - Page 3
I am fairly sure this is the last time anyone said hurl.

Bloodbath has absconded, but Bruut now gets to show what he can do, which is mostly getting shot.

Exiles #2 - Page 5
They are firing every caliber of bullet possible at Bruut, as evidenced by the different sound effects being made by the myriad bullets being fired.

Bruut is too much for the SDPD, but with the help of Catapult and Mustang (and possibly 22178921789789 bullets), the SDPD manages to stave off Bruut, who then decides to take a nap on top of a tractor trailer, which is something I have always wanted to do.  While it seems dangerous, it also sounds like fun to me.  I am a man of simple tastes.

Not only did Bruut  land this helicopter on the big rig, but he then kicked the chopper into traffic.  If you say you have never wished you could kickj something large into traffic, you are a liar.
Not only did Bruut land this helicopter on the big rig, but he then kicked the chopper into traffic. If you say you have never wished you could kick something large into traffic, you are a liar.

Dr. Deming finally gets around to explaining exactly what is going on to Amber Hunt.  Dr. Deming fascinates me.  I like her look, and I also enjoy her self-awareness.  I am pretty sure that may be her actual super power. Her other super power may be that she can’t explain  anything well, despite being a scientist.  We all know that kind of person, and Gerber does a great job of conveying that personality type.

We learn a little bit more about Theta Virus as well.  I wonder how some folks would handle that.  There’s a lady in my family who constantly whines about being ill all of the time.  If she has the flu, she would complain to the point where you’d think that she had Ebola.  If she actually got Ebola, she’d tell you she had cosmic ringworm syndrome or something worse than Ebola, which since I could not imagine anything worse, I had to make up a disease.  If someone did have cosmic ringworm syndrome, I bet I could do a better job of telling them than Dr. Deming.

Exiles #2 - Page 14
“Come see me when you decide whether or not to live or die from something I could cure you of.”

I also want to give R.Phipps a great deal of praise for making each character have great physical personality.  Their expressions are wonderful, and they also look their part.  Dr. Deming looks like an intelligent lady who is in over her head.  Amber Hunt looks like a spoiled brat.  Deadeye looks like a guy who would get right to the heart of the matter of why life is rather tough for the Exiles in one sentence!

To be honest though, the Theta Virus being contagious would upset people for a little bit, until they realized NOW THEY HAVE SUPER POWERS.
To be honest, though, the Theta Virus being contagious would upset people for a little bit, until they realized NOW THEY HAVE SUPER POWERS.

Malcolm Kort and his cohort have Timothy captured, and there’s a sort of odd analogue going on here, in that Dr. Deming is much more opaque about giving Amber information, but other than the initial kidnapping, has more or less been nice to Amber.  I guess there was also that whole showing her Ghoul right as Amber was blindfolded.  There’s also this:

"Sorry, but I am too busy with my stuff to save your life.  I am sure you understand,"
“Sorry, but I am too busy with my stuff to save your life. I am sure you understand.”

So other than those three things, she’s been nice to Amber Hunt.  Well, nice may be too strong of a word, but at least she did not expose her to insane indoctrination techniques as Malcolm Kort does, as though he were attempting to become the Jim Jones of the Ultraverse.

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I can’t do anything but imagine him comically hitting people with that GIANT hand.

It really seems as though the folks interested in the Theta Virus and the people who have contracted it have made plans to go about everything the exact wrong way.  I will take Deming’s methods over Kort’s, because she does seem to have a better heart, but also because she has Deadeye on her team.  Kort’s stature diminishes in my eyes as well due to the late, great Sinister Supreme Soviet.  If there were a way to play Sarah MacLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” here, then I would do so.  Wait, there’s totally a way to do that!

The Exiles head off on a mission to rescue Timothy, which I will cover in Part Two of this entry.  I also have an interview lined up with Tom Mason in regards to Exiles that  you will be seeing in the next 10 days or so!  Indie February keeps heating up as well, when Emily Scott brings you Satan’s Six later this week!  Enjoy, and we will see you Legions around here again for Part Two!