Exiles (1st series) #58

Issue Date: 
March 2005
Story Title: 
Taking on Tanaraq

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

Brief Description: 

In the next reality, the Exiles must stop a fuel-cell factory from igniting the atmosphere, but Tanaraq rushes ahead and kills all the workers before the Exiles can talk things through. The team confronts the beast, but he defeats them all. He then makes a pact with them. They will gather the super-villains of this world who will use their intelligence to trace the signal the Timebroker sends to the Tallus. They will follow the signal to the Timebroker and deal with him. Then Tanaraq can go home and the Exiles can do what they want. The team temporarily agrees and assembles villains such as Dr. Doom, Mandarin, Fixer and the Master. Beak, however, is sent to contact Shaman of Alpha Flight, who with the aid of an uneasy ally already knows about the situation with Tanaraq. At the fuel-cell plant, the villains analyze the Tallus, while Morph, Mimic and Namora discuss the situation. Namora does away with the idea of the Timebroker being a construction of their collective unconscious and worries more about the Timebreakers. Morph agrees and eventually so does Mimic after considering why the Timebroker has yet to intervene with the problem of Tanaraq. Suddenly, Kang the conqueror arrives with Beak, but is quickly revealed to be Shaman. Shaman uses magic to awaken Heather, who is helped by Morph, who shifts into Wolverine to give Heather something to fight for. Blink, Mimic, Namora and Shaman push Tanaraq into a portal, as they pull Heather free from the beast. As Tanaraq finds himself in the dimension of this reality’s Great Beasts, Heather discovers that her powers are gone, but for the first time in years, she is whole.

Full Summary: 

In a fuel-cell factory on Vancouver Island in yet another reality, Beak, Blink, Mimic, Namora and Morph stand in shock and terror at the sight before them. They are members of the Exiles, a group of heroes who jump from dimension to dimension saving alternate Earth’s from disaster. In this reality, they arrived to stop and experimental fuel-cell factory from accidentally igniting Earth’s atmosphere. A conversation would have solved this problem. However, one of their own rushed ahead and murdered every last worker and scientist in the building before the other Exiles could react.

Standing upon a pile of dead innocent men and women, the being formerly known as Sasquatch, once the gentlest of souls, asks the other Exiles why they are gawking at him. Didn’t he just save the world from these fools? Today, however, Sasquatch is no more. In their last reality, a world ruled by magic, the Great Beast knows as Tanaraq took over the body of Heather Hudson after years of laying dormant in her. Whatever was left of Heather appears to be gone forever.

Enraged, Namora flies straight at Tanaraq to attack, while accusing him of being a murderer. Unfortunately, Tanaraq easily grabs Namora by the head. He orders the woman not to waste time. She may be powerful, but his strength is of sorcery ancient as winter and black as night. Her companions don’t seem to be as reckless as the Queen of Atlantis.

Before Tanaraq can continue, Mimic, armored up, tells the beat to eat him before shooting him with an optic blast in the face. Tanaraq tells Mimic to be careful about what he wishes for. Does he really want to be a pile of steel droppings? He then chucks Namora right into Mimic. Morph grows spikes all over his body and prepares to attack. He swears that Tanaraq will pay for what he did to Heather. Blink, however, tells Morph to wait. They won’t get anywhere just throwing themselves at Tanaraq.

Tanaraq is pleased by how wise Blink is. He has no wish to kill any of them. In fact, he just wants to return home. He has his own reality to rule and his own prophecies to fulfill. Blink confronts Tanaraq and tells him that she would have been more inclined to believe him had he not massacred all these people. Tanaraq explains that his actions were necessary. The less time they waste on the Timebroker’s mission, the more time they have to figure out how to get home. How long do they have until their next jump?

As Namora and Mimic recuperate, Blink tries to reach Heather in hopes that she is still in there. She has to fight Tanaraq. Tanaraq sighs and throws his hands in the air, giving up talking to the Exiles. He already told them that Hudson is gone. She has been purged from his body. All that remains are her memories, which should be useful. Tanaraq moves over to a computer and begins to use Heather’s computer skills to use it. Apparently, Heather’s intelligence was not just in medicine. As Alpha Flight’s resident genius, sabotaging this facility would have been child’s play for her.

An alarm goes off, stating that the production systems are online. As the other Exiles check the computers, Blink asks Tanaraq about what he just did. Tanaraq explains that he has assured their cooperation. If they tamper with the controls, then the sky will burn, as it was fated to. Mimic confirms that the computers are booby-trapped. Tanaraq tells the team that if they help him he will deactivate the computers before the threat occurs. Then they will be rid of him forever. Blink agrees and asks Tanaraq what he wants.

Tanaraq again asks Blink how much time they have left. Blink checks the Tallus and finds that they have twenty-one more hours in this reality. Tanaraq is pleased and tells the team to follow his instructions or the dead around them will seem like the lucky ones. The being who hurls them through realities transmits instructions through the Tallus. He needs an expert in transdimensional communication, who can trace the signal back to its source. He will then confront the Timebroker and force him to return him home. He does not care what the Exiles do after that, though he supposes they will secure their own rides home as well.

Morph shifts into Reed Richards and tells Tanaraq to start at the top. Tanaraq refuses to deal with Reed Richards, though, as he would spend more time trying to contain him. Instead, he needs the group to find criminal scientists and exploit their one weakness: greed. The Exiles will tell them about everything that has occurred. They will be tantalized. The Exiles will allow the criminals to scan them to confirm that they are displaced in time. They will then invite them to meet Tanaraq to satisfy their curiosity. If one of them can trace the whereabouts of this Timebroker, he will profit from the knowledge. If they fail, the Exiles will just try again in another reality.

Mimic, Morph, Blink and Namora do just that, contacting such villains as the Leader, Dr. Doom, the Master, the Mad Thinker, and the Mandarin.

Elsewhere in Canada, at the base of Alpha Flight, a security guard yells at Beak and tells him that he cannot just show up here unannounced. As a visitor, he must have an appointment and Canadian federal security clearance. At the guard’s desk, Beak argues that there is an emergency. His friend Blink dropped him there to get help from someone named Michael Twoyoungmen. Does the guard know him? His Alpha Flight codename is Shaman.

The frustrated guard tells Beak to tell his local Mounties about his problems. If the emergency is truly Alpha related, they will call it in. Beak again argues and explains that there isn’t any time for that, when suddenly he is cut off.

Shaman walks in and tells the guard to be at ease. Beak was expected. He is, questions the guard. I am, questions Beak as well. Beak thanks Shaman and begins to explain the situation, but Shaman puts up a hand to silence the young man. He then tells Beak that he knows one of the Great Beasts is loose. In fact, he was warned by an unlikely source. If Beak would follow him, Shaman will show the boy what he means.

Beak follows Shaman into another room, which is pitch black except for an eerie green glow coming from a wood alter. A familiar voice tells Beak that he has brought a very dangerous visitor to this world. However, he will help Beak remove this evil.

Back at the fuel-cell factory, Tanaraq, holding Blink by the arm, welcomes the group of super villains before him. They can come closer, for he will not hurt them. In fact he offers them the secrets of time and space. He offers new universes to plunder, but only if they use their brains to accomplish his goal in less than ten hours.

High above on a walkway, Namora, Morph and Mimic look down, as Tanaraq gives his speech to the Mad Thinker, Wizard, Mandarin, the Master, Doctor Octopus, Dr. Doom and Fixer. Mimic whispers to the others and asks what they should do if Beak cannot find help. How far do they let Tanaraq’s plan go? Namora suggests that they just let Tanaraq go all the way. There is logic in his plan. She herself has prophecies in her world to fulfill, as do they all.

Mimic argues that Tanaraq might kill the Timebroker. Namora, however, is not concerned and reminds Mimic that the Timebroker turned them into slaves and vagabonds. He deserves whatever Tanaraq dishes out.

Mimic notices Morph looking around and asks him what he is looking for. Morph explains that he is looking for the Timebreaker. Why hasn’t he popped in yet to intervene? He has done that in the past when they strayed too far from their mission. Namora suggests that the Timebroker doesn’t care what they do with their time when the mission is done. Maybe he stopped watching them when Tanaraq killed those civilians and now he is sleeping.

Mimic asks if they have dropped the whole idea that he Timebroker is a creation of their collective unconscious. Namora asks Mimic if that is what the Timebroker told him. She believes the Celestials, who warned them about the Timebreaker. Morph jumps in and agrees with Namora. Things haven’t been right for a while. The missions are more like riddles and the Tallus isn’t helpful. It is as if the rules changed. If there is indeed a “mission control” for this Exiles job, then Houston has a problem.

Below, Tanaraq trusts that the villains brought whatever equipment they needed with them. He then shoves Blink to them and tells them to proceed. Blink stretches out her arm to show the villains her Tallus, but asks that they don’t bombard her with x-rays or anything else. After a moment, the Fixer comments to Wizard that the readings make no sense. In a matter-of-fact tone, the Wizard explains that the device exists in more dimensions simultaneously than they can perceive. The Mad Thinker tells the two to be quiet.

Behind them, Doctor Octopus tells the Master that he doesn’t know why he is there. Alien technology isn’t his field. The Master comments that it is his field. Doctor Octopus asks the man who he is. “I call myself…the MASTER!” replies the Master. “O-kayyy…” replies Doc Ock.

Nearby, Mandarin tells Doom that working in grounds is beneath him. Doom agrees and then asks the man if one of his rings does not fire a disintegrator beam. Mandarin smirks and confirms the fact, which is quite helpful now as they need elbow room. Doom then fires his ring and kills the Fixer, Wizard and the Mad Thinker. Everyone stands in shock, though Mandarin is quite pleased with the situation.

However, unknown to the Mandarin, this was all a ploy by Doom. The Mad Thinker’s servant-creature attacks the Mandarin, who cannot retaliate as his ring takes a moment to recharge. He calls out to Doom for help, but finds that the megalomaniac is confronting Blink about how she interfaces with the Tallus. Does she hear a voice in her head or is the message text based? Still taking in the last few seconds worth of events, Blink slowly begins to explain the Tallus to Doom.

Suddenly, there is a flash of green energy in the room as a pod manifests itself. Kang the conqueror emerges from the pod, announcing that he knows that these fools wish to unlock the secrets of space and time. These secrets already belong to him. Doctor Octopus has enough and tells the group that he is out of here. The Master follows suit, stating that there are too many masters and not enough minions. Suspicious, Doom asks Kang how he knew how to come there. Kang explains that he was invited. Everyone looks back at the pod as the Beak exits from it.

Doom is even more confused and asks how Beak contacted him when Kang lives in the future! Did Kang read about this is a history book or did Beak call the fortieth century collect? Insulted, Kang tells Doom that he does not care for his tone. Nearby, Tanaraq begins to sniff the air, realizing that something is wrong.

Doom tells Kang that he doesn’t like second-rate warlords crossing his path. Before Kang can respond, Tanaraq approaches the two and asks Kang if all future despots smell like Sarcee tribal magic. Tanaraq shoves Doom aside to get to Kang, but Doom is not pleased. He warns the best never to touch him and then blasts him with a repulsor beam. The blast burns Tanaraq on the back on the neck, causing him to scream in pain. Beak runs past the fight and tells Blink to get ready.

Tanaraq cups his hands into one giant fist, which he uses to smash Doom into the ground. Tanaraq then turns his attention to Kang, asking if it is him. Did he bring Narya with him? Does the child of Nelvana exist in this reality as well? Kang smiles and admits that it is him. His spell might not have fooled Tanaraq, but it got him close enough. Shaman then drops his magical guise as Kang, and also drops the guise of the transport pod, which is actually an altar, composed of six totem poles.

Before Tanaraq can respond, Shaman casts of spell on the beast, in the form of a green goop that clings to Tanaraq’s chest. He then orders Heather Hudson to awake and to cast off Tanaraq from her soul. With a swipe of his fist, Tanaraq knocks Shaman off of his feet. Suddenly, from the green goop, the image of Heather Hudson appears. Surprised, Tanaraq claims that Heather is supposed to be dead. Concerned, Morph jumps down from the walkway above to help.

The image of Heather begins to fade, much to the amusement of Tanaraq. He then tells Shaman that he won’t be leaving there alive. Shaman ignores Tanaraq and urges Heather to try harder. Suddenly, Wolverine of all people approaches Heather and tells her to remember him and what they used to share. Tanaraq slowly states that he remembers Wolverine. Taking advantage of this, Wolverine reminds Heather that he is her husband. She must come back to him.

Heather begins to reemerge from Tanaraq, calling out Logan’s name. Tanaraq begins to resists, when he notices something wrong. He grabs Wolverine and realizes that the man has no scent. He is not Wolverine! Tanaraq rips Wolverine in half, much to Heather’s horror.

Tanaraq reminds Heather that they struck a bargain. She is his. On the floor, the remains of Wolverine, or rather Morph, complains about his big ideas.

Emotional, Heather begins to resist even more and is able to get her entire head out of the green goop. She tells Tanaraq that she was dying when the pact was made. The deal is off. Nearby, the Beak shows Blink the altar and tells her that they need to send Tanaraq through it, when they are ready. Blink throws her teleportation arrow at Tanaraq, while ordering Namora and Mimic to push Tanaraq through the portal.

Tanaraq is teleported in front of the portal, though Heather is halfway out of his body. Mimic races to Heather, while Tanaraq looks at the portal confused. As Mimic grabs Heather by the hand, Namora slams her foot into Tanaraq’s head. A familiar voice from within the portal tells Tanaraq, the imposter, to come to him. As Tanaraq is pulled into the portal, Mimic is able to free Heather from within the beast. Shaman recants a chant, which closes the portal.

The Exiles gather around Heather, who is covered in the green goop. Blink is elated and asks Heather if it is really her. Still a bit weak, Heather tells the group that it is she. She thought she was dead, but Morph knew the rights buttons to push to get her attention. Morph, who is still reforming after being ripped in half, reminds Heather that she told him some secrets that time that they were stranded together. Mimic asks her if she was really married to Wolverine. Heather tells Mimic that she was, though it did not end well. She still loves him a lot. Morph adds that Tanaraq said earlier that he had all of her memories, so he tried to dredge up the hard stuff.

Nearby, Beak helps Shaman back to his feet. Shaman tells Beak that he will be fine and congratulates the boy on a job well done. Beak asks if Tanaraq is really beaten. Shaman replies that creatures like Tanaraq cannot be truly beaten, so he did the next best thing.

Elsewhere, Tanaraq remerges from the portal, surrounded by several beasts. He asks them who they are. One of them takes charge and introduces himself as Tanaraq. He welcomes the other Tanaraq to his doom. Did he really think that the Great Beasts would sit idly by while he tried to take their place?

Back at the fuel-cell plant, Mimic helps Heather back to her feet. Heather feels weird, to which Shaman explains that Tanaraq is no longer a part of her. She is completely human for the first time in years, so it might take time to get used to it. Heather understands and realizes that she can’t feel the Sasquatch power anymore. Shaman explains that the strength from Tanaraq is gone as well, confined to the dimension of the Great Beasts.

Shaman goes on and explains that, when the Exiles arrived in his reality, he was contacted by this reality’s Tanaraq. Blink jokes if they are friendly or something. Shaman explains that they are mortal enemies, but the Great Beasts were angered about another invading their world, so they asked him for help. By the time Beak arrived, he was already prepared.

Blink checks the Tallus and sees that they have about nine hours before they blink off to the next reality. They should go and find a genius to turn off this fuel-cell plant safely. Heather clears her throat and raises her hand. Hello? Who do you think taught Tanaraq to type, asks Heather?

Characters Involved: 

Beak, Blink, Mimic, Morph, Namora, Heather Hudson/Tanaraq (Exiles)

Shaman (Alpha Flight)

Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Fixer, Mad Thinker, Mandarin, Master, Wizard

Servant-creature of Mad Thinker

Alpha Flight security guard

Various dead fuel-cell plant workers

Story Notes: 

The Celestials warned Blink about the Timebreakers in Exiles #53.

Morph and Sasquatch were left alone in a reality in Exiles #33.

Tanaraq claimed Heather’s body in Exiles #57.

Narya is Snowbird of the hero team Alpha Flight, whose destiny has been to contain the Great Beasts.

Issue Information: 

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