Tag Archives: Deadeye

Tom Mason talks Exiles and Ultraverse!

  1. Based on house ads, Exiles wasn’t intended to be a part of the Ultraverse upon its creation. When and why did that change? Was Steve Gerber involved from the start?

TOM: Exiles was created long before the Ultraverse and had nothing to do with Steve. What happened was that Dave Olbrich, Chris Ulm and I started kicking around ideas for a super-hero team book that would be owned by Malibu Comics. Almost all of the titles that Malibu had published up to that time had been creator-owned and Scott wanted a couple of properties that the company had claim to. We’d thought we’d create one, so every Monday night for many weeks, the three of us would go out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant near the office and just brainstorm, make notes and start writing a script.

We’d kicked stuff around, Chris had point for the first part and would write things up during the week, then we’d get together again, pass around pages and write, tweak and rewrite and brainstorm some more. And eat nachos.

We finished the first issue’s script, and hired Paul Pelletier to pencil the entire issue. While that was going on, we did a few company-based promotional things – a poster, a promotional postcard, a two-pocket folder, stuff that could be used as presentation pieces for licensing and merchandising. If you’ll notice, a lot of properties shown in the material were not owned by Malibu – Ninja High School is there, Evil Ernie, Dinosaurs For Hire were all creator-owned. The idea was just to make the company look more appealing to other corporate entities. Since Exiles was in the works, and we assumed it would be part of something in the future, we stuck them in there. If someone saw Exiles there, and somehow, magically wanted to develop it as a movie or TV show, then that would’ve spurred actual publication faster.

Exiles #2 - Page 1

Steve Gerber didn’t get involved with Exiles until at least a year after the first issue had already been pencilled and lettered. What happened was we were all sitting around the conference room at the original Ultraverse Founders Conference in Scottsdale in October 1992. On the first day, everyone was pitching around stuff that they’d always wanted to see in comics. Steve threw out that what he’d like to see was to have a character really die and stay dead, and prove it by cancelling his book. And do it all without telling anyone in advance.

By the end of the conference that weekend, Chris, Dave and I decided that we should take Steve’s random thought and match it up with the Exiles that had been sitting on the shelf. Chris sent all the material to Steve once we got back to the office, and the two of them batted around some ideas for how to make it work, and to have Steve rework a few of the existing pages from issue #1 while keeping as much intact as possible, and then develop the story over issues #2-4 so they all could die in the last issue.

The idea only worked because Exiles had never been published as a comic book. If the series had debuted back when we originally wrote it, we would never have suggested bringing it into the Ultraverse. Things would’ve turned out quite differently.

After everyone agreed to graft Steve’s thought to the Exiles, and then killing them off, the trick was just keeping it secret. Back then, as now, books are solicited months in advance and if we stopped soliciting Exiles after #4, everyone would know the book was ending. We didn’t want that. People would start focusing on reasons for the cancellation, and it wouldn’t look right to be cancelling a book so early after the launch of the UV and revealing the truth behind it could spoil the surprise. Also, we didn’t want anyone to know that the characters were going to die. We wanted the shock. We wanted the surprise. We wanted people to see that things about the Ultraverse were different from what they were used to – we’re willing to kill off characters from our launch, cancel their book, and keep them dead.

Of course, the only way to keep it a secret is to lie. Pretend like the book is ongoing, make no mention of the death anywhere for any reason, tell only the people in the office who need to know, and write fake solicitation copy for issues #5 and #6 to keep up the pretense.

It was great fun.

  1. What was Steve Gerber like to work with? Was he a big influence on you and the other Exiles creators before you guys worked in comic books?

TOM: Steve had been recruited as an Ultraverse Founder by Chris Ulm and Dave Olbrich. Both of them (as I had been) were huge fans of Gerber’s work on The Defenders. We wanted a guy who could take the tropes of super-hero comics and spit them out in a new way. Steve had a clever, inventive mind. He’d been around enough to know what DC and Marvel had done in the past, and he was always pushing to acknowledge that and twist it around to make something different. It was remarkable to sit in the same room with him and kick stuff around.

At the Founders Conference, I really pissed him off. Back in his early Marvel years, he had created a character called Doctor Bong in Howard The Duck. And even though he had a bell-shaped head to go with his name, Doctor Bong debuted in the late 1970s. Steve swore to me that the name was not a not-so-subtle drug reference, that it really was a bell reference. And I wouldn’t let it go. I was convinced he was rewriting history so he didn’t get called out by crazy politicians or whatever. I eventually dropped it, and it was all good.

The thing about Steve though is that he just couldn’t keep a schedule. It was always like pulling teeth to get him to turn in a script. He always needed money and we always needed pages and those two forces rarely met on the appropriate day. One time, he was so far behind in writing the dialogue for a pencilled issue of Sludge, but needed money so desperately that we had him come to the office and work with the understanding that at the end of each day he could walk out of the office with a check for each page he completed. We were always advancing him money for work he was promising to deliver. I think by the time Sludge was cancelled, he still owed us a script and we never called in the marker.

  1. Deadeye does not appear in the house ads for Exiles that indicated they would not be part of the Ultraverse. When was he created?

TOM: It’s funny what people take away from what they see. Deadeye was part of the original script that Chris, Dave and I wrote. He was in there from the very beginning and was created by us at the same time as the rest of the characters. He just didn’t make it into the house ad. He was probably left out for space reasons.

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

  1. Amber Hunt goes on to be an integral part of the Ultraverse, as she is the catalyst for the Break-Thru crossover. Was that planned from the start? How did you feel about her character? The creators did a great job making me both love and hate her.
  2. Exiles #4 - Page 28

TOM: My memory bumped me on your question, so I went to Dave Olbrich to see what he remembered. Dave says: “Amber Hunt was a character that was designed to be the center of Exiles. It was through her eyes and her initial storyline experiences that the audience was going to be introduced to the world of the Exiles (as it was designed before the Ultraverse). When we decided to bring Exiles into the UV, Gerber really took a liking to the character and her situation and wanted to expand on her original set-up. Since the characters were going to die and their book was going to be cancelled, that really felt like a marketing surprise. The real trick was how can we take that and make it work as a story, make it impact the UV beyond the shock? So out of that notion – let’s make this death mean something to the arc of the UV overall – she became the catalyst for Break-Thru. It was a story point that developed organically with the editorial team as Break-Thru was being worked out. Having Amber involved in Break-Thru helped tie the title back into the whole of the Ultraverse world.”

  1. How did you feel about creating a team to die? Did it bother you at all?

TOM: Well, they weren’t originally created to die. The timeline is this: Exiles #1 was created and written by Dave Olbrich, Chris Ulm and myself. It was going to be a stand-alone superteam book, not connected to any universe and we assembled the story bible and wrote the first issue’s script sometime in early 1991. And hired Paul Pelletier to pencil it. He completed the pencils for the whole first issue.

Then we got busy with Image, then the Protectors came along, and then the Ultraverse. And all this time that first issue of Exiles just sat on the shelf, waiting for the right time to release it. But it kept looking unlikely that based on the way the market was at the time, a stand-alone super-hero book was the right idea. We shelved it until we could figure out what exactly to do with it.

Exiles #4 - Page 22

  1. What about the portrayal of how hapless these heroes were? Was it hard to go against the grain of heroes generally be really good at everything?

TOM: That goes back to our original concept for the book. At the time we were developing it, Chris, Dave and I knew that the market probably didn’t want, and wouldn’t respond to, an independent super-hero team that was really good at what they did. There were tons of those already. We needed an angle, something different. Far better to go the other way – make them hapless, give them a learning curve and still have it go badly. Steve took that and ran with it, of course.

  1. Exiles #5 was solicited, but you guys knew it would never be made. I am assuming that retailers got their money back, but did any of them give you any flak, anyhow?

TOM: I think both Exiles #5 and #6 were solicited in order to keep the secret from getting out, but there were no refunds because no money changed hands. Retailers don’t pay when they order – they only pay when a book ships. So since neither issue shipped, retailers weren’t out any money, so refunds weren’t necessary.

We caught some flak from the distributors because cancelling books that weren’t going to ship creates extra paperwork that someone has to handle. Most people were cool with it because once you realize what happened, everyone knew it was the only way to pull off a trick like that.

  1. Would Exiles have been part of Malibu’s Genesis Universe if it had not been part of the Ultraverse? Would the Exiles have suffered the same fate?

TOM: The Protectors universe was developed before the Ultraverse, and the Exiles was in development before The Protectors so we had the chance then to add it to the Protectors, but chose not to. The Protectors was really designed to be a reboot of the old public domain heroes from Centaur that originally appeared in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Exiles didn’t fit that narrative.

Had we forced the issue and put Exiles into the Protectors Universe, it’s doubtful they would’ve died because the idea of killing a character and cancelling his book came from Steve Gerber at the initial Ultraverse Founders conference in 1992. Dave, Chris and I were the ones that offered up Exiles at that time.

Exiles #3 - Page 1

  1. The death of the Exiles is one of the more spoken of events in the Ultraverse. Does that surprise you?

TOM: Not really. We knew it would be a big deal, at least we hoped it would. We weren’t just killing off characters, we were making a statement about the UV itself. We were going on record by saying we weren’t bringing them back, and we cancelled their book the second they died, and that if we’re willing to do this with an early launch title, then is anyone in the UV really safe?

It’s a good feeling.

  1. If you bring back Dinosaurs for Hire, you’ll let your buddy Dean know first so we can break it at the only 90’s comic book website out there, right?

TOM: Oh yes. They are coming back. It’s just a question of when.

-Thanks again, Tom for taking some time out of your day to talk 90’s comics, the Ultraverse, and Exiles with us!  Looking forward to the return of Dinosaurs For Hire!

Death is What Happens While You’re Making Other Plans-Exiles Pt. 3

Hello, Legions of the Unspoken!  Indie February is over, but just like the 90’s, we at The Unspoken Decade don’t give a damn about the rules because we are EXTREME!  Indie February bleeds over into March, with this final installment of our look at The Ultraverse’s Exiles, my interview with Tom Mason, and Emily’s forthcoming article on Neil Gaiman’s Mr. Hero, the Pneumatic Man!  The 90’s keep coming right at you here, folks, and it’s up to you keep up, get on, or get out of the way!

That sounds sort of hateful.  I suppose I should apologize, but hey, I keep cranking out the good stuff, and you keep reading, so I think I am entitled to a little arrogance.  Not as much arrogance as “The Model” Rick Martel used to have, but certainly enough to not worry about anyone stealing my girl!

Everything was going wrong for The Exiles when last we saw them in Issue #3.  Tinsel had just been brutally murdered, Ghoul had been captured, and the rest of the team was unable to either convince Mastodon to come with them or to subjugate him.  Also, Amber Hunt is going to die unless the team gets back in time to administer the cure for her Theta Virus.  She refuses to die filthy, however.

Actually, my mom would have called this filthy, so I guess that's subjective.
Actually, my mom would have called this filthy, so I guess that’s subjective.

That pun is ridiculously wonderful;  I have a soft spot for puns, as does my girlfriend and co-contributor to this blog, Emily Scott, and so that was terrific in my eyes!  I also understand where Amber is coming from.  As I have noted numerous times throughout this look at Exiles, Dr. Rachel has the best of intentions but all the execution of a car without an engine.  The way she is going about this just is not going to work, and she has no clue.  She has treated everyone shabbily thus far, and in many cases, she has treated everyone except Deadeye like they are mindless idiots.  That too, though, will change in this issue.

This title, and of course this was sort of the point, makes one wonder what would have become of The X-Men or Doom Patrol had Professor X or The Chief not been so good at shepherding the young and the powerful.  I get the feeling that this team could have been something special in The Ultraverse had Rachel Deming just been a better leader.  Unfortunately, we will not get to see that.  We will get to see Amber Hunt badmouth the only clothing she finds in the way only a snobby teen ever could.

Exiles #4 - Page 3
Scuzz is a word only the battle-hardened can use.

Amber Hunt goes from worrying about dying to worrying about fashion more quickly than a opossum can scoot under a house!

We also get to see another side-effect of putting together a bunch of strangers with powers who happen to also be young.  That side-effect would be attraction and unwanted attraction.  Again, not to just keep on making comparison with the X-Men, but that’s an issue that almost always seems to work itself out with them, unless you are Jean Grey, in which case you get involved in a love square so thorny that one could walk through 872010 rose bushes and come out with fewer scratches than her heart got from Wolverine, Cyclops, and White Queen.

This ain’t the X-Men, and so things here go less smoothly, which makes tons of sense.  I used to go to APPLE Project, which was an Upward Bound program.  It’s a terrific program that helps impoverished youth find ways to get to college, and one of those ways is by hosting a summer session in which kids get to go stay on a college campus, take college courses, and live in the dorms.  This was lots of fun, but when you put that many teenagers in one spot, the emotions and hormones become a juggernaut even more daunting than Cain Marko himself, and that situation can lead to awkward misinterpretations, such as the small moment we see here:

Exiles #4 - Page 4
Not just a crock, but a FLAMING CROCK.

That’s explosive, and no one even tossed any dynamite or old-timey bombs with long fuses like they use on Spy vs. Spy! The chemistry element gets more play here in one page than it gets in years and years with some team books.

Sadly, though, Ghoul isn’t there to laugh at this interaction, as he has stumbled upon Tinsel’s body.  Ghoul’s power to talk to the recently departed is neat, but the sorrow it must bring comes to the forefront as he talks about Tinsel’s last moments…with Tinsel.

Exiles #4 - Page 5
I wonder what it is she could do to help Ghoul that he refuses. Moisturize his skin?

 Things aren’t going much better for the rest of The Exiles, as in addition to not being able to nab Mastodon, they are now under siege from basically every cop between San Diego and Los Angeles.  The field mission is not going especially well for The Exiles, and I have to believe that part of it is that Dr. Rachel Deming just isn’t qualified to be a field commander.  She commands Mustang to take out some cop choppers without hurting the cops, and when that isn’t working as well as it could have, Deadeye takes aim.

Exiles #4 - Page 7
The crosshairs generated by Deadeye’s eye in panel two mean he cannot miss; see why I want one so badly?

The only person up until now immune to the condescension of Dr. Rachel Deming, Deadeye, is now subjected to the same treatment all of his teammates have been getting. The only difference is this time, Deming instantly knows she has gone too far, as Deadeye isn’t like the other Exiles.  This is not only his first rodeo, but based on his demeanor and confidence, it is entirely possible that he invented rodeos.

Exiles #4 - Page 8
The look on Deming’s face in the last panel is the “I have been called out on my bullshit” look.

I feel like this points out why The Exiles never could have worked as a team.  It wasn’t because Tinsel, Ghoul, Mustang, Catapult, and Deadeye were awful, but it was because Dr. Deming never thought of them as people.  At least, she never thought of them as people outside of the Theta Virus and the abilities said virus would and did grant them.  Leadership is more than just hiring (or in Deming’s case, quasi-kidnapping) folks, telling them what you want, and then manipulating them into doing her bidding as she looks down on them the entire time.

I am pretty sure that most of you reading have a job, so you understand the concept that I am talking about.  We have all had a boss like this, who just does not get the fact that you’re a person.  They don’t get the fact that you can’t just morph into some sort of atomic-powered robot that can get three things done at once in the EVER SO PERFECT way that they can get it done.  Dr. Deming is totally that boss.  The way she said that Deadeye was in charge of the mission and then undermined him the very first time he did something that detracted from her greater calling of gathering up the Theta Virus carriers speaks volumes about her personality and her “leadership” paradigm.  You’re wrong, she’s right, and here’s 78 snide comments to remind you of such.

Of course, her arrogance costs the team everything.  I think that her shabby treatment of Amber Hunt really caused Amber to act so impulsively.  I also have to laugh at the fact that the girl who eschewed her science class just a day or two earlier is now entirely dependent upon a super-futuristic science lab to save her life.  Of course, she was complaining about high school biology, so perhaps had they taught “super virus removal science” at her school, she would have been more interested.  I think all kids would be more interested in science in high school if they taught that course, and if they did teach it, then maybe she would have been able to use this machine properly.

Exiles #4 - Page 9
Most Janet Jackson videos do not have a rinse cycle.

I sort of do not blame her for going ahead and trying to do this herself; I mean, she is going to die one way or another, so she may as well give it a try, especially if Deming is so callous to her needs as to go on a mission that Deming really isn’t needed on while Amber Hunt wonders if she’d die before Deming’s return.

I also have to commend Hunt on using “the big chiclet” as her preferred way to describe death, as I am very sure that most of the ancient religions of the world have described death as being “odd-flavored gum that colors one’s tongue green.”  I hope that is what death is like, but it is probably a lot more like the movie The Frighteners.

Amber’s mistakes will cost The Exiles, well, um, themselves,  but for some Exiles, like Tinsel, all is lost already.  Her life was snuffed by Bloodbath in the previous issue, which does not bode well for Bloodbath now that Ghoul is on his trail.  His trail is easy to find, though, seeing as how he was blinded in Tinsel’s last great act of defiance.  Ghoul is slightly more indestructible than Tinsel, however, and despite being what seems to be The Ultraverse’s greatest blind marksman, Bloodbath stands as much chance against Ghoul as your favorite ice cream treat stands against August.

Exiles #4 - Page 12

Exiles #4 - Page 13

Those two pages are very cold-blooded, but also hilarious.  That’s a hell of a combination, but Gerber handles it not just with aplomb, but like it was as natural as something one does all the time, like pouring cereal or slacking off at work.  The same way you wake up and rue the paltry amount of dough you have in the bank, Gerber marries two seemingly impossibly disparate feelings.

None of this will matter as much as Ghoul would like it to, as Amber Hunt’s attempt to avoid biting the metaphorical chiclet that is death is wreaking havoc on the island, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.  Deming isn’t there, and the entire lover’s spat that occurred earlier prevented those crazy kids from keeping Hunt from doing something stupid, like use technology she cannot understand on herself.

Exiles #4 - Page 16

All of their effort turns out for naught, however, and Deadeye, who is just adept at telling you like it is, sums up exactly why these Exiles cannot save themselves.

Exiles #4 - Page 17
After the last panel, all I can hear is Metallica singing ‘SAD BUT TRUE!!!”

And that fact there, uttered by Deadeye in the midst of a mad dash home, sums up Exiles perfectly.  In some ways, it sums up humanity, sadly enough.  Sometimes it seems that no matter what our gifts and abilities are, we remain capable of so much less than our potential due to impudence and shortsightedness.  The Exiles sort of exemplify these aspects of humanity.

Then, of course, we are introduced to futility, as regardless of the efforts we make, on occasion, they just do not matter.  I know that we have all interviewed for a job where we had a KNOCKOUT interview, but we did not get the job b/c it was already decided who would.  Of course, that was just our livelihood.  When those with super powers encounter futility, the ramifications are much more devastating.  The Exiles are destroyed.

There's time for one last quip before I am atomized.
There’s time for one last quip before I am atomized.

Exiles #4 - Page 24

Exiles #4 - Page 26

The Exiles are finished.  Their hubris and inexperience combined to destroy them, despite their powers and valiant natures.  Ghoul got his revenge on Malcolm Kort, and he got to dress like Panama Jack’s cousin, Rambo Jack, as he did it, which is an image to leave you with since this series is a downer.

I don’t mean that pejoratively.  I am a huge fan of sad music, to the point where almost every song I enjoy can be described as “really sad, but really good.”  Many movies we enjoy that resonate with us on a deep level are sad, such as The Ice Storm, which is seemingly designed to nothing but drive the happy to the suicidal and the suicidal off bridges.  I love that movie.  So to say that this makes one feel awful to see play out makes sense, but that was sort of the point.  The real world isn’t always sunshine and roses, unless it is blooming time on a rose farm.  Then, I am pretty sure it is all sunshine and roses.  Otherwise, life is tough, and we often have to pay very hard for the actions we take that do not work out, and it seems like the more spectacular of an action we take, the higher the price we have to pay if it fails.  Actions do not come much more spectacular than those of Deming and The Exiles.  Steve Gerber sort of explains in an afterword for The Exiles.

Exiles #4 - Page 31

Steve did a great job in that essay telling us what happened and why, and Tom Mason did an interview with me that will be posted in the next day or two  that reveals even more behind-scenes info on The Exiles!

Amber Hunt will go on to be in The “All-New Exiles,” and she is basically the jumpstart for the Ultraverse crossover “Break-Thru.”  Ghoul will go on to be in Ultraforce, but The Exiles were never forgotten, and now, they are no longer Unspoken!  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned the rest of March for “Madness Month”!  Emily will bring us Skrull Kill Krew, I will be doing Ghost Rider vs. Madcap, and Paul O’Connor of Longbox Graveyard and I will be chatting about the merits or lack thereof of 90’s comics in a podcast!  Stay Tuned, folks!

Now as promised, Ghoul as Rambo Jack, with just a touch of Road Warrior Hawk tossed in!

Exiles #4 - Page 19

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.