Exiles (1st series) #54

Issue Date: 
January 2005
Story Title: 
Rube Goldberg

Tony Bedard (Writer), Mizuki Sakakibara (Penciler), Mark McKenna (Inker), JC (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer), Cory Sedimeier, Sean Ryan and Stephanie Moore (Assistant Editors), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

In the next reality, the Exiles are given the task of buying the last cheese Danish from The Bagel Hole in New York City. Though relatively simple, Beak is concerned whether or not the team should carry out the mission, considering the Celestials warned them to be wary about the Timekeeper. The rest of the team insists on just buying the Danish after Namora fills them in on an Atlantean myth known as the Seahorse effect, which basically says one small act leads to another which leads to another and eventually culminates into something big. Mimic buys the Danish and the team moves on. After they leave, an office worker named Ruben comes to The Bagel Hole to buy his usual cheese Danish, but is angered to find out that the owner already sold the last one for the day. The police arrive to investigate the Exiles, but Ruben freaks out and thinks that the shop owner discovered his plan to shoot up his co-workers. He pulls out his gun and shoots down one of the officers. Nearby, Daredevil is trying to stop a man from releasing a weather altering substance, but he leaves to stop the gunman as the other man is not a serious threat. Angered that he is being ignored, the scientist releases his nanospores, which creates a twister in the city. Thor arrives and tries to dispel it, but ends up worsening the situation as the entire Earth is covered in smog! Fortunately, though, this is a godsend, as in space Deathbird was leading the Shi’ar Empire to Earth to depopulate it and turn it into her pleasure planet. With the planet covered in smog she gives up her plans. Thus, the Exiles save the reality without knowing how much of a difference one Danish made. However, upon arriving at their next reality, the team is transformed into medieval counterparts and fall under a spell.

Full Summary: 

One thing leads to another. Deep in space, a ship has the planet Earth in its sights and heads ever closer with every passing second. In the much more mundane New York City, Morph tells his fellow Exiles that scientists proved long ago that Earth was indeed not the center of the universe. If that is true, why does it feel as if the fate of all reality always hashes out on this planet?

As the Exiles ponder this question, a disgruntled looking man in a brown business suit with a brief case mumbles to himself as he walks towards The Bagel Hole for his usual breakfast. As he reaches the shop, the man looks up from the ground and in time to see a shocking sight. Standing in front of The Bagel Hole is a floating, blue woman wearing barely anything, a pink girl in a green garb, a blonde man in a blue and gold uniform, what appears to be a giant bird with a helmet on its head, a black woman in a purple outfit, and a short pale man with a beer belly, yellow t-shirt, and a donut for a head, with a part of the donut eaten off.

Mimic wonders what the worst could happen if they did not complete today’s mission. The Exiles all stare at the front window display of The Bagel Hole. Pedestrians walk passed the Exiles in shock, which infuriates the owner of The Bagel Hole, who comes out and asks if the Exiles mind. It’s bad enough when some wino comes around and scares away customers, but they are going to scare away his entire breakfast crowd. The owner spots the man in the brown suit walking away and informs the Exiles that Ruben is one of his regulars. The owner calls out to Ruben to come back, but Ruben just mumbles something to himself and walks away. Now enraged, the owner orders the Exiles to get lost, except for the blue mermaid. If she doesn’t attract business then he can smoke her for a lox spread.

Namora, with the sun’s light shining right behind her to make her look even more magnanimous, tells the owner that she does not know what a lox spread is, but he means to “smoke” the Queen of Atlantis… Intimidated, the owner gulps and steps back from the domineering queen. Mimic guides the man back to his shop door and politely suggests that he tends to his shop. Without removing his terrified eyes from Namora, the owner concedes.

As the owner goes in, Mimic asks him if he is going to be making any more cheese Danishes today. Confused at first, the owner informs Mimic that he isn’t and that the last one is in the display they were staring at. Once inside, the owner picks up the phone and calls the police to inform him that a bunch of muties are hanging around his shop looking for trouble. Outside, the Exiles regroup outside the display case. Mimic tells Blink that the Danish they are looking at is the last one. As the Exiles look at the Danish sitting in a dish, Blink tells the team that they need to work fast, for the fate of the world depends on that Danish!

Slightly overemotional, Beak asks how getting breakfast be their mission. Isn’t the purpose of the Exiles to save reality? Blink acknowledges Beak’s concern, but reminds him that the Timebroker’s instructions were very explicit. They had to go to Twenty-Sixth and Lexington Avenue to get the last cheese Danish at The Bagel Hole. Beak begins to flap his arms around and asks why they are even listening to the Timebroker. The Celestials told them not to trust him. This could all be a setup. How can one pastry threaten the world? “Obviously,” says Namora ever so matter-of-factly, “It’s some variation of the seahorse effect.” The other Exiles look up at Namora blankly.

Namora sighs and explains what the seahorse effect is. There is a popular theory in Atlantis, though its more of a myth, about how if a seahorse flutters its fins in the Pacific it might set off a chain-reaction of currents that builds and compounds into a tidal wave halfway around the world. Understanding, Heather informs Namora that on the surface word they have a similar theory, but with hurricanes and butterflies. With a butterfly on his head, Morph asks Heather if she seriously believes in that stuff. Maybe not about butterflies and seahorses, replies Heather, but if med school taught her anything it’s that everything is interconnected.

Heather explains, ever so matter-of-factly as Namora, that the human body is a tangle of interdependent systems. For example, Mimic is two hundred pounds, but the pituitary gland in his skull is the size of a grape. However, if that tiny glad were to flap its little butterfly wings the wrong way, the rest of him would self-destruct. In his defense, Mimic explains that the healing factor he got from Wolverine prevents that. Heather explains that she was just making a point. Mother Nature sets up dominos and there is no way to tell what will happen when one is knocked over.

Smugly, Namora floats between the Exiles with her eyes closed and arms outstretched as she glows magnificently. She arrogantly tells the others that they have spent so much time in the surface world that they forgot how interconnected their world are. Down in the sea with the water pressing from all sides it is impossible to think of oneself separate from the greater continuum. Namora flies to the head of the group and points a finger at The Bagel Hole. Without a doubt that “lactating dough-ball” will set off a chain of events. They will remove the link, hop to the next broken reality, and let this world sort out its own problems. They shouldn’t think that she trusts the Broker, or Breaker for that matter, but she prefers action to debate.

Mimic agrees with Namora and is about to enter the shop, but Beak stops him. Is he kidding? After all that talk about tidal waves and killer glands, Mimic is still sure that the Danish isn’t a time bomb? Look around! This place is fine. The only thing wrong is them. They could be upsetting things now instead of fixing them. How can they do this without knowing the consequences? Blink admits that she cannot tell him how this all turns out. The Tallus used to provide more information, but lately, not so much. All she knows is that they have to buy the cheese Danish. They should be thankful that it is all they have to do this time. Beak gives in and realizes it is like the chick-and-egg riddle; there is no answer. Mimic consoles Beak and reminds him that if this does turn ugly, they have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, right?

Mimic enters The Bagel Hole by himself. He approaches the owner, as Blink stands outside the door, ready in case there is any trouble. Mimic, with a very serious look on his face, points towards the Danish. The angry owner goes over to the dish and takes out the Danish, though he gives a very dirty look at Heather, Beak, and Morph, whose faces are literally pressed up against the display window watching in anticipation. Mimic pays for the Danish and walks out the shop holding the bag with only two fingers, as if something dangerous was in the bag. Mimic presents the bag as the others back away in terror. The others watch Mimic as he pulls out the Danish from the bag. They all lean in as he takes a bite. Mimic munches for a moment. “Mmmm…. not bad,” says Mimic when he finishes his bite. As Ruben, the business man from earlier returns to The Bagel Hole, the Exiles blink away right in front of his eyes to another reality.

Ruben runs into the store and asks the owner if he saw those people just go. Hearing that he Exiles left, the owner is relieved. No, screams Ruben, they vanished! The owner calms Mr. Goldberg down and tells him that he isn’t looking well today. Is he all right? Ruben suddenly clutches his briefcase close to his chest and in a paranoid manner asks the owner why he asks. Who has been talking about him? The owner says that he was just making an observation, but supposes it isn’t any of his business. What can he do for him this morning? Ruben rubs sweat off his forehead and asks for his usual: coffee, light and sweet, and a cheese Danish. The owner smiles and informs Ruben that he just sold the last Danish to the weirdos. Ruben freaks out, but the owner defends himself and informs Ruben that he had to get rid of them. Plus, he didn’t expect Ruben to come back. Horribly enraged, Ruben screams and asks how the owner knew he wasn’t coming back? Did he know what he had planned for the office today?!

Suddenly, a police car pulls up in front of The Bagel Hole. Ruben puts his briefcase on the counter and accuses the owner of calling the cops on him. The owner smacks himself in the head, as he forgot he called the police to get rid of the mutants. Ruben pulls out a gun, stating that it was going to start at the office, but this place is as good as any. Two officers walk in just as Ruben begins to fire at them.

Twenty Seconds Ago:

Nearby The Bagel Hole, a man stands on a rooftop with a very dangerous container with him screaming in anger about how he told the police he would blot out the sun and the best they could send was… Daredevil?! Daredevil tells Doctor Collins to calm down, but the man screams that his name is Collier. Daredevil apologizes and informs the man that the Avengers take him seriously and that one of their big guns is on the way. He just happened to be the closest when the call went out. Daredevil cautiously approaches the man and recalls how Stark Labs claims that his weather controlling nanospores are very powerful. Dr. Collier feels patronized and is about to throw the nanospore container, but Daredevil insists that he isn’t patronizing him. However, judging from the man’s voice and pulse he doesn’t really want to unleash the spores.

The man stutters and admits that they were going to cut his funding. His life’s work would have been gone. He doesn’t like being pushed around and ignored. Daredevil understands, but reasons that Collier doesn’t have to unleash the spores to prove that they work. If he hands over the canister, Daredevil promises that everything will be all right. Suddenly, Daredevil hears two gun shots and a man screaming that an officer is down. Daredevil jumps off the room and tells Doctor Collins to hold on for Thor. My name is Collier, screams the man. Doesn’t anyone listen? Annoyed, Dr. Collier realizes that Daredevil did not care. Now no one will ignore him. Collier opens the canister and, in moments, a tornado forms in New York City.

Below, Daredevil restrains Ruben, as the officer attends to his partner. Daredevil supposes that there will be a full moon tonight, as the weirdos have already come out. The officer hopes his partner won’t die and Daredevil informs him that he won’t. His breathing is strong and his pulse doesn’t indicate pulmonary damage. He also hears an ambulance three blocks away. The officer will make it. The owner of The Bagel Hole begs to differ as he points at the tornado that just formed on a nearby building. “Okay, this is officially out of my league…” says Daredevil.

On the building, Collier sure hopes that they are rerouting air traffic. Suddenly, his canister is hit by a bolt of lightening. Thor descends from the sky and accuses the man of unleashing a tempest on Manhattan. Isn’t it ironic how he has reckoned with the lord of storms, the mighty Thor? Thor calls upon the north winds to dispel the tornado, but Collier screams that he will only makes things worse. Thor disagrees as he has commanded the elements since humanity cowered in caves. Collier informs Thor that his spores amplify atmospheric conditions. What exactly did Thor do? Thor explains that he brought down the river of wind to scour the tornado away. Collier realizes that Thor is referring to the jet stream. Collier screams that he spores were only going to cover the metro area, but with the jet stream it will be global! Thor grabs Collier and asks how to reverse it. They cannot, replies Collier terrified. In three days the clouds will disperse. Until then the Earth is one big stink bomb!

In space, the craft heads closer to Earth, when suddenly an officer aboard picks up strange readings from Earth. He informs his majestrix that there is an unnatural interaction between nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and rapidly elevating ozone levels coupled with an atmospheric inversion layer! In a word: smog. This smog is nothing they have ever seen. It is an environmental disaster.

Araki asks Deathbird what their next course of action will be. Deathbird admits that she has been outmaneuvered and orders that the fleets turn around. Earth must have learned of her plan to depopulate the planet and turn it into her own pleasure world. Since they didn’t have the firepower, they must have poisoned her prize instead. Araki should have the secret police find the leak and if one is not found then kill the entire logistics staff. She also orders her recon staff to find another planet with azure skies. Going to Earth would now be like going into a sewer.

In another reality, the Exiles arrive as Mimic finishes telling Beak that he should have more faith. He is sure everything turned out fine. Suddenly, the Exiles notice that everything around them is medieval! The team is confused as Morph realizes that they landed in the world before toilet paper.

Suddenly, energy swirls around them as the Exiles are transformed to fit in the world around them. The Exiles, now wearing clothes more attuned to the world around them, have also changed personality wise. Master Morph wonders what he was saying, but Jester Beak does not remember. They must find some employment so they can have a roof over their heads this night. Mimic tells Jester Beak to be in good spirits for there is always for a sharp blade and a strong arm to wield it!

Characters Involved: 

Beak, Blink, Mimic, Morph, Namora, Sasquatch (Exiles)

Daredevil, Thor (Avengers)



Dr. Collier

Ruben Goldberg

The Bagel Hole owner

Two NYPD officers

Story Notes: 

In Exiles #53, the Celestials warned Blink not to trust the Timebreaker.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in: