Exiles (1st series) #16

Issue Date: 
October 2002
Story Title: 
Nocturne and Evensong

Judd Winick (writer), Jim Calafiore (penciler), Eric Cannon (inker), Transparency Digital (colors), Paul Tutrone (letters), Mike Raicht (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

The Exiles have some time to rest and are staying in a hotel. Morph tries to convince Nocturne to join the others, partying and watching videos, but she prefers to stay in her room. Alone, she remembers her relationship with Thunderbird, who fell into a coma and was left behind after one of their missions. She remembers them getting to know each other better, them talking about his younger brother James, who meant a lot to both of them, their growing attraction, their first kiss, the first argument and finally how she told him that he was pregnant with his child. Thunderbird wanted to fight for them being able to stay together and raise the baby, but it didn’t last. Lying on her bed crying, Nocturne apologizes that she could not fight without him.

Full Summary: 

(flashback, Exiles #10)

With her head on the comatose Thunderbird’s chest, Nocturne is crying in disbelief. The Exiles managed to save this formerly Skrull-ruled Earth from being devoured by Galactus, though it cost them one of their own. T.J.’s teammates look at her with pity, but there is nothing they can do. While she continues to shout John’s name, a hole opens and the Exiles are teleported away to their next mission ... without Thunderbird.


Many missions later, Nocturne still remembers that moment as if it were yesterday. She stands at the window of her hotel room, lost in her thoughts. Next to her is a vase with three roses. T.J. gently touches one with a sad expression on her face. Suddenly, the door slams open – it’s Morph. He wants to invite her to join the others for a party. They are a team and although they are currently having some downtime, they should hang out together. After all, they have room service and pay TV, what else could they ask for ? Morph claims that he wanted to watch “one of those talking animal movies” but the ladies demanded porn. While he continues to babble, T.J. again looks out of the window and answers “No”. Morph is surprised, he tries to convince her that it would be fun, but she repeats her answer. Morph tries once more, but Nocturne interrupts him, “What did I say, Morph ?” He immediately stops his usual, funny shape-shifting and turns to leave. In the doorway, he stops once more and tells T.J. that he misses him too. If she should change her mind, Nocturne knows where they are.

Again alone, T.J. once more looks at the roses and remembers how Thunderbird loved flowers ...

(flashback, in between Exiles #3)

Twelve hours before the Exiles have to participate in the battle of Phoenix, Thunderbird enjoys the gardens aboard the Shi’Ar ship. Suddenly, he becomes aware that he is not alone and he welcomes Nocturne. She says she recognized him liking the flowers, though that he does not seem like the type. Thunderbird compares himself to Ferdinand the Bull. Like him, he would prefer to lie in the fields and smell the flowers instead of fighting. It was one of his favorite stories in childhood and his mother read it to him. Between him, his brother and his father, there wasn’t a lot of feminine energy at the Proudstar home. Nocturne says that it sounds like fun, and John comments that it was like The Great Santini, except with alcohol and hunting. Thunderbird sees that T.J. is smiling and wonders why. She says he is being funny and hence she smiled. It happens from time to time. Thunderbird says he’ll watch out for that and then shows her a flower that smells like bread ...

(flashback, in between Exiles #5)

For the next mission, the team found itself in Canada, teaming up with Alpha Flight to hunt down the Hulk. T.J. and Thunderbird use a quiet moment to talk to each other, while sitting on a balcony of Alpha Flight’s headquarters. Nocturne tells how her father had her attend a public high school, though uncle Logan was not sure of it. That man who would throw himself into a pit of acid, filled with vampire piranha, but when it came to her attending Kennedy High, he reacted as if she volunteered to carry Brood Eggs in her butt. John smiles at the comparison, and states that she has been hanging out with Morph too much. Nocturne replies that Morph thinks Thunderbird hates him. John answers that he does, but he is just joking. Actually, he envies him. Nocturne is surprised. She listens with awe as Thunderbird continues that Morph is free and he can’t imagine what that is like ...

(flashback, in between Exiles #6)

After Thunderbird brought down the Hulk, he and T.J. look at the stasis tube that he is held in. Nocturne is amazed by her friend’s strength, though he plays it down a bit by stating that this Hulk was at a dimished strength because he and Bruce Banner were separated. Still, T.J. is impressed and tells him not to ruin his own victory. Then, she realizes that something else is troubling him and she asks how weird it was to meet an alternate version of himself. Thunderbird describes his meeting with Alpha Flight’s John Proudstar, aka Shaman, as odd and strange. Somehow, they are one and the same person, though he saw a version of himself that he could not become. It was kind of like having his younger brother James around.

He then wants to know how well T.J. knew James in her own reality, and she admits that he was her boyfriend. John wants to know what he is like, and she answers that as an X-Man, James was brave and smart, a natural leader, though in private he was stubborn and could never admit he was wrong. John asks if she misses him and her reply is, “I suppose”. She in turn asks if he misses him, as in Thunderbird’s native reality, James died long ago. John agrees that James is stubborn, but he was a good boy and he misses him. Suddenly, T.J. kisses him. Thunderbird is shocked. Nocturne says that this kiss was for her, though the next one could be for him ...

(flashback, mission in the Savage Land)

Weeks later, during the Exiles mission in a Savage Land that spans an entire continent, T.J. leans over John for a kiss but he tells her to stop. Nocturne asks what the matter is and he answers that they should not do it again. With their lives being so unpredictable and unsure, they should not. T.J. angrily says that this doesn’t bother Blink and Mimic. They are a couple and she even leads the team. Thunderbird points out that Blink and Mimic are stupid and immature, because at any moment one of them could finish their mission and return home, or they could be injured and killed. He refuses to let himself seek distractions from their task. T.J. can’t believe her ears. She slowly repeats John’s words “refuse ... a distraction ?”. John realizes how much he has hurt her and tries to apologize, but she angrily runs away and tells him to not call her Talia anymore ...

(flashback, mission involving President Tony Stark)

In a reality where the Exiles serve as bodyguards to US President Tony Stark, John approaches Nocturne between shifts and wants to talk about their argument. He was unfair to Calvin and Clarice. He doesn’t know what they really have, however he would not want to be with T.J. if it was just transient. It’s already hard enough to be an Exile, as every aspect of their lives is uncertain. He stops in midsentence and then says that this is not the real reason. T.J. look at him expectantly and he asks why she wants to be with him at all; he is a monster, barely human. Why would anyone as beautiful and free as her chose to be with a half ton of twisted cyborg executioner? If she were back in her home reality, she’d be with James or anybody normal. She deserves better than him. Nocturne is startled by this revelation, and doesn’t know what to say. She walks over to Thunderbird and kisses him deeply. “I am lucky, so lucky that I found you. And I don’t want anyone else” ...

(flashback, in between Exiles #8)

On the Skrull world, both Nocturne and Thunderbird are imprisoned. Between their fight in the arena, T.J. tells him that she is pregnant. He asks her if she is sure and then comments that it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Still he smiles. Nocturne asks him why, and he explains that he can’t help it. No matter the circumstances, she is still carrying their baby. They sit down and Nocturne asks him what they are going to do. John replies that they are going to fight. Fight to stay alive, fight to stay together, fight to find the day where he can read the baby the story of Ferdinand the Bull. Nocturne is in tears and they hug. Thunderbird says he hopes that it’s a boy ...


Holding the roses in her hand, Nocturne is sitting on her bed crying. Touching her stomach, she apologizes to John that she was not strong enough to fight without him.

Characters Involved: 

Morph, Nocturne (both Exiles)

In flashbacks:

Blink, Mimic, Morph, Nocturne, Sasquatch, Sunfire, Thunderbird (all Exiles)

Alternate reality the Exiles visit in #5-6 :


Scientists, attending the Hulk

Story Notes: 

The children’s story Ferdinand the Bull was written by Munroe Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. The story took place in Spain and starred a bull named Ferdinand. Unlike other, more aggressive bulls, Ferdinand preferred to smell flowers. After a sting from a bee, Ferdinand showed great ferociousness and was chosen for a bullfight. In the stadium, however, Ferdinand managed to become friends with the matador and won over the crowd’s admiration.

The Great Santini is a book written by Pat Conroy and first published in 1976. The novel is a coming of age story about a domineering, authoritarian father who pushes his son to succeed. Written from the author’s experience with his own father, the story echoes the timeless tension that emerges between vigorous fathers and their maturing sons.

The mission in the Savage Land and the one involving President Tony Stark were briefly shown in flashback panels of Exiles #8. Both missions (and several others) happened between Exiles #7 and #8.
In Exiles #12, Nocturne claims that she lost the baby, though it seems that she had an abortion.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: