Exiles (1st series) #17

Issue Date: 
November 2002
Story Title: 
Wild Life Reserve

Judd Winick (scribe), J. Calafiore (pencils), Eric Cannon (inks), Transparency Digital (colors), Paul Tutrone (letters), Mike McKone (cover), Nova Ren Suma (assistant), Mike Raicht (editor), Mike Marts (timebroker), Joe Quesada (chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

The Exiles are on an Earth where Dr. Curtis Connors not only transformed himself into the Lizard, but also his wife and his neighbors. The human/lizard hybrids could breed, with the females laying up to thirty eggs per month. Soon, the reptiles engulfed the entire west coast of the United States. Many cities were destroyed and thousands of people died until the government erected a great wall to separate the lizards from the humans. Afterwards, the lizards developed their own little ecosystem, but somebody is out to cause an explosion that will kill them and also many humans as well. The Exiles have to stop this from happening and, knowing that the nuclear bomb is located in San Diego Bay, have to fight their way through the jungle. Flying is too dangerous, as they could be spotted by Pterodactyls, so the team has to walk. Along the way, Morph is his usual self, trying to convince the ladies of spending some intimate time with him. All lighten up except for the Mimic, who is bothered by something eating him up from the inside. Blink asks what’s wrong with him, but he dismisses the subject. Once they reach their destination, an attack by some lizards forces the group to split up. While the others deal with the reptiles, Blink and Mimic teleport aboard the craft with the bomb, where they find a once again human Curtis Connors. He plans to end the abomination he accidentally started, though Calvin manages to convince him not to, by reminding him that he is a doctor who used to save lives. Still, Connors cannot live with his shame and commits suicide. Blink tries to cheer up her lover saying that he did all he could, but that is in fact his problem. The Tallus announces that the mission was a success and the Exiles are teleported to their next mission.

Full Summary: 

(ten years ago)

Dr. Curt Connors was a brilliant surgeon before he lost his left arm due to a war wound. With one career at an end, he turned his intellect towards research. Connors’ area of interest is reptiles, with a special focus on understanding their regenerative properties. He has hoped on tapping into that process and making him whole again. Finally, he succeeded and injected himself with a serum derived from reptile DNA. His arm grew back and Connors knew that millions would benefit from his discovery. Connors’ celebration was short-lived, as the mutagenic qualities of the serum did not end with merely regenerating his missing limb, it transformed him into a human-like lizard. Connors had become a hybrid and, oddly, the new creature was not without intellect or desire. Maybe it was just instinct or loneliness, but the Lizard used the serum on his wife and their neighbors, transforming all of them into lizards like them. It is unknown wether he knew that these hybrids would have the ability to breed or that the females could lay up to thirty eggs a month, but truth to tell, it no longer matters.


The entire we cast of the United States has become the sole property of the lizards. Their number has rapidly grown and with each generation they became less human. Compromise was never an option. Major cities have been toppled, approximately 750,000 people have died and two presidencies crumbled under the problem. Finally, a great wall was built across the country, separating the lizards’ territory from human settlements.

Somewhere in California, the Exiles are fighting their way through the jungle and dozens of lizards. Morph complains that the Tallus dropped them off in the middle of this jungle without preparing them or explaining what they have to achieve in this reality. Entangled by some snake/gator mix, Blink tells Morph to shut up, and then asks her lover, Mimic, for a little assistance. He responds with an optic blast, knocking her attacker out. Blink then runs over to Sasquatch and, grabbing some of the crystallized daggers in her quiver, orders an “Airborne Delivery”. Sasquatch hurls the Exiles’ leader up in the air and Blink throws her daggers, each of them hitting one of her teammates. She too teleports out, leaving the reptiles behind.

On a nearby mountaintop, Blink fills in her team about the mission. There is a bomb that will wipe out a huge chunk of California and most of the Lizard population. Nocturne asks why this is a bad thing. She is trying not to be militaristic but, looking at the place, she’d rather see the humans back at the top of the food chain. Sasquatch has a different opinion. From what little they have seen so far, the lizards have developed into a rather peaceful ecosystem and are mostly herbivores. There is not enough animal life in the region to sustain so many carnivores and their dung doesn’t have a scent of meat. Hearing this, Morph can’t resist to make a few jokes about Heather being able to smell the components of others’ excrements and plans to make a Las Vegas show of it, once they make it out of this reality. As usual, his teammates ignore him and Mimic asks where the bomb is supposed to go off. Blink answers that according to the Tallus, it is in the bay of San Diego.

As the team marches through the jungle, Morph bothers Heather whether she and her husband had any understanding of dating outside their marriage or maybe they discussed how she would satisfy her basic human needs if they were ever separated for a prolonged time. Sasquatch says that they never talked about such things, though she wouldn’t want her husband to seek the company of another female, and she certainly won’t shack up with “an obnoxious, shape-shifting sack of overactive hormones” like Morph. He continues to joke about it until Heather grabs him by the throat, asking him if he’d like to die. Morph states that he doesn’t, or he would be coming on to the Mimic. He goes on trying to convince Heather that it would be a good idea. He has been traveling around dimensions with this team for over a year now, the team is full of chicks and he was hoping for some decent “snuggle time”. Hearing that expression, Sasquatch’s face lights up with a big smile, though Morph doesn’t think it’s funny. Blink is with Mimic and Sunfire is gay, that only leaves Heather.

Sitting on a tree above them, Nocturne asks why he left her out of his list. Wouldn’t she make a good date? Morph, taking on the shape of a donkey, apologizes. He thought she was covering the rear and wouldn’t hear this. Now he feels like an insensitive ass. Nocturne says that it’s okay. He is respecting her “mourning” and, besides, she would have to turn him down. After all, she doesn’t date white guys, and he is very white. Sasquatch bursts into laughter. Sunfire flies by, and Morph tends to her. It doesn’t matter that she is gay, he is a shapeshifter and he can fix it. Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Lucy Liu, the Vulcan woman from Enterprise! She just needs to name it and he’ll do it. Mariko is not interested and flies off.

Having watched Morph humiliating himself, Blink tells Mimic that this settles it. They need to come up with a codeword that Calvin has to say anytime before they kiss, so she can be sure it’s him and not Morph. Mimic responds rather coldly, saying that as a leader, Blink should order Morph to keep his mouth shut and get his head in the game. Clarice, however, thinks differently, since flying attracts the Pterodactyls. They have a long walk left and Morph lightens up the mood. She points out that once Mimic himself said that, “Morale is as important to a successful team as any attack strategy”. Calvin again responds very shortworded, and Blink wants to know what eating him up. He has been acting like that for weeks and she wants to know why. Mimic claims it’s nothing, though she knows differently. Blink says that she can tell at least this much - it’s Mimic whose head isn’t in the game, and he has to get over it as the team needs him.

Somewhat later, the team has reached the remains of San Diego. The wreck of a freighter lies in the bay and Mimic thinks the bomb is aboard it. Morph, shapeshifting his eyes into binoculars, sees a half sunk submarine in the bay with a small rowboat tied to it. Most likely, the reptiles did not paddle out there in that tiny boat, so somebody else must be on the submarine. Blink prepares to teleport the team aboard, but right then they are attacked by five lizards. She still thinks she has enough time to teleport them out, though Mimic points out that they can’t give away their location, and the lizards would get away to alert more. The team should battle these few, while the two of them continue the mission. Nocturne agrees with him, and Blink does as told.

Mimic and Blink materialize within the submarine. There is definitely someone aboard as the hatches have been pried open and electrical systems are running. The couple begins to search for the bomb, but, suddenly, they are shot at. Calvin transforms into steel and raises his hand. He addresses their attacker, none other than Dr, Curtis Connors again in human form. He tells him that, in this state, he can’t be hurt, so the gun is useless and he should put it down. Connors wants to know who they are and Calvin claims that they are from the Avengers. Connors is unsure. After ten years, the Avengers could have got some new member. He puts down the gun as he suspects that it really would not hurt the Mimic, but then lifts his finger over a red button. He says that the explosion of the submarine and everything within a ten mile radius would possibly harm him too. Not that he wants to do that, but he needs to put an end to all this.

Mimic keeps him talking, and Connors says that about a year ago, he transformed back into human. The Lizards, however, let him live, as they still sense the reptile within him. Now, he has decided to bring an end to the abomination he created. The submarine has nuclear strike capabilities and he will do what the government is too frightened to attempt. Calvin calmly speaks to him. He should not do this. The radiation won’t be contained, and it would spread to the human population, killing millions. This isn’t who Connors is, he is a doctor. With his finger still on the button, Connors hesitates. He looks at Mimic and asks what has happened to him and why his life has become this nightmare. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Why did all this happen when all he ever wanted to do was help?

With a sad look on his face, Mimic replies that he does not know. However, he does know that this won’t make it any better. Finally, Connors lets go of the red button. Relieved, Mimic thanks him and tells him that the team will escort him across to the barrier wall, where the folks on the other side will get him the needed medical attention. Connors, however, says that there is only one thing he needs. He grabs the gun, points it to his head and fires a shot. The two Exiles stand before the deceased doctor. Blink breaks the silence and informs her lover that the Tallus says the timeline is repaired and they are going to leave. She then assures Calvin that he did all he could. Mimic says he knows, but that’s the problem. In a flash of light, they are teleported out.

Characters Involved: 

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

Alternate reality the Exiles visit in #17 :

Dr. Curtis Connors / the Lizard

his wife

human/lizard hybrids

Story Notes: 

Mimic has been acting weird since he was forced to kill an opponent in Exiles #15.

The character of T’Pol, also referred to by some as the Vulcan babe from Enterprise, is played by Jolene Blalock.

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