Exiles (1st series) #72

Issue Date: 
January 2006
Story Title: 
World Tour: New Universe – part one

Tony Bedard (Writer), Paul Pelletier (Penciler), Rick Magyar (Inkers), Wil Quintana (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The Exiles watch Beak and Angel wake up at the Xavier Institute after the Scarlet Witch placed the world back in order. However, like millions of other mutants, Beak and Angel have been de-powered and turned into humans, as well as all of their children, except for Tito. Meanwhile, Proteus, in Mimic’s body, arrives in another Earth where a few thousand humans were given strange powers in July of 1986 in what is known as the White Event, named after the flash of mysterious white light. Proteus finds a small group of paranormals escaping a place called the Clinic in Wisconsin, and from them gets directions to Pittsburgh. Heather finds Proteus and the other Exiles head to the new reality without a plan. They arrive too late at the Clinic, as Proteus is gone, but they help the fleeing paranormals finish their escape and then find out that Proteus has gone to Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Heather looks up files in the Panoptichron and figures out that Proteus is after Ken Connell, also known as Star Brand, named after the tattoo on his hand given to him by the former bearer of it, who tricked Connell into taking it from him. In fact, the White Event that gave other people powers was triggered by a botched attempt to get rid of the Star Brand. Proteus intends to possess Connell and use his unlimited power, so he doesn’t have to switch bodies all the time. However, while waiting in Ken’s home, Proteus finds that Mimic is still fighting back a little, but has no time to worry when he is attacked by the vigilante known as Justice. The Exiles reach Connell in the mean time, but he does not believe their story and thinks they are one of the many people trying to use him. Thinking the Exiles are aliens, he attacks them.

Full Summary: 

On Earth #616, the young woman and student at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters known as Angel wakes and looks up at the face of the father of her many babies, Beak. Beak, a Caucasian male with blonde hair and a big nose, is shocked that Angel remembers him. Angel tells Beak that of course she remembers him. She remembers everything. Suddenly, the former mutants, unknowingly de-powered in events that occurred elsewhere, run back to their small house on the Xavier estate grounds, wanting to see their children.

Beak and Angel burst into their house, calling for Tito, Axel, Kara, and the others. Tito calls for help, and the parents are surprised to see many human children playing in the house. However, there is one child, Tito, who is still a mutant. Tito points to his siblings and asks what happened to them. He then points at his parents and asks what happened to them. Beak is not sure what happened, but he is glad to see his children. He hugs his them, telling the concerned Tito that he is just fine now.

In the Panoptichron, Heather Hudson sheds tears, as she and the other Exiles watch Beak as he reunites with his family. This was not how it was supposed to happen, however. Mimic is lost to them and a horror is unleashed upon infinite earths. However, if fortune can smile on Barnell Bohusk, then perhaps it will have hope for Mimic. Maybe the Exiles can still save him from a killer.

Meanwhile, on Earth #15731, residents walk down the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In an alley, two dregs argue about what music they will listen to on their way to Manhattan. One of them, who is pimped out in bling and grossly oversized clothing, tells his companion that the music is called hip-hop. If he keeps on calling it rap, he will sound twice as white. He might as well as get used to it. Kool Mo Dee, Run-DMC, Eric B, and Rakim are the future. The other man tells his friend that rap will dead as disco by next year. They will listen to Whitesnake, Twisted Sister, and Quiet Riot. “Hair bands,” says the hip-hop lover. Now that is a fad.

The hip-hop lover then reminds his friend on how, three years ago, he told him everyone would go for compact discs, but the rock lover called him crazy. Now see how much they can get for these stolen c.d. players. Suddenly, both men see someone staring at them in the alley. The hip-hop addict asks the other if he is part of his crew. No, replies the other man, but maybe he can settle their music argument.

The man, who wears a visor, does not respond. The hip-hop lover jokes that the stranger is a new wave lover and tells him to leave. The man finally speaks up and tells the men that he is not here to discuss music, birds, or fashion. He is there for justice. The hip-hop lover pulls out a gun, thinking that the stranger is a cop, but the other man is confused, as the store won’t report the stuff missing until morning. The stranger takes off his visor and tells the men that the police can be compromised. He cannot. He sees evil in their souls. It cries for punishment! He then incinerates the men with a powerful crimson blast from his hands.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, at a facility known as the Clinic, a group of abnormal looking individuals sneak across the property in the night. One of them tells his companions that the alarm still hasn’t gone off. They will make it. A man in a blue jumpsuit, Randy, scoffs at the name “Clinic.” He comments that it is a disgrace to the medical profession. A large hairy man, Dave, tells Randy to talk less and walk more. Their captor, Hackbarth, and his tranquilizer gun squad won’t stay unconscious for long.

Suddenly, a ripple in reality appears before the black woman, Charley, dressed in her pink nightgown. She thinks it is the doing of her companion Jeff, but he denies that it is him. An elderly woman with a mask covering her face and her whole body covered in clothing, Lenore, asks if the Clinic is sending another paranormal after them. Suddenly, a shadow version of Randy erupts from his chest involuntarily. The shadow reaches the ripple right in time as a man is cast out of it. The shadow catches him and brings the extremely ugly man to the ground.

Randy wonders how his antibody knew how to help before he did. The antibody asks the new arrival if he is ok. The man, with a Scottish accent, tells him that he is never better. Proteus, in the body of Mimic, thanks the man for asking. However, can any of them tell him how far they are from Pittsburgh?

In the Panoptichron, Heather tells the Exiles that, while they battled Proteus on Beak’s world, the monster used his powers to access the database. He downloaded information on about a thousand alternate realities from the index. She is trying to figure out which one he escaped to. Is there anything he can’t do, wonders Morph. Sabretooth agrees. Proteus steals bodies, read minds, twists realities. Few people have whipped him in battle, let alone scare him.

Morph walks over to the sad Blink and morphs his head into that of Fin Fang Foom. He tells her to chin up. Angel survived being possessed, thanks to the regenerative formula. They can go back to monster world and get another dose. Angry, Blink snaps at Morph and tells him that she knows he means well but he needs to shut up. They don’t need more of Dr. Connors’ medicine. They need to find Calvin before he is a dried up husk. If they can force Proteus out of Mimic, then he has two healing factors to restore him. However, they are racing the clock.

Heather tells Blink that she knows, but suddenly she discovers Proteus’ location on Earth #15731. The others run to the teleportation pad and Blink tells Heather to beam them there. Worried, Heather reminds Blink that she couldn’t beat Proteus last time. Blink tells Heather that, if Calvin is still there, then he is resisting. They will find a way to win. Heather tells the sovereign caste workers to scan all data on Earth #15731. She needs to know why Proteus went there, preferably before all her friends are killed.

In Wisconsin, another of the Clinic escapees, the teenager calling himself “Scuzz” looks at Mimic and repeats Pittsburgh. Mimic confirms this and tells the paranormals that he is looking for a man there. Charley wonders if that man is a paranormal as well. Mimic tells Charley that she could say that. The man in Pittsburgh has a lot of power. He thought he homed in on that power but it seems he sensed this place instead. Randy informs Mimic that there are dozens more paranormals inside, all lured here by an ad in the paper.

Suddenly, lights illuminate the area and on a speaker a man tells the paranormals that, if they move, they will be shot. Randy tells Jeff that, if he can he should get away, but Jeff refuses to. Mimic laughs and tells the blurry man that he is noble, but he on the other hand have bigger fish to fry. Mimic then flies away at super speed.

Hackbarth runs out and tells Landers that he will pay for hitting him. Behind him, Ms. Speck tells Hackbarth that if any of the paranormals are killed then Mr. Voight will have his head on a stick. Hearing this, the hulking Dave tells Stephanie to hide behind him, while Randy tells Jeff that, if he runs and at least takes another person, then two of them will at least be free to spread their story to the public. Jeff is about to concede to Randy when Hackbarth orders the paranormals to be taken down by the guards. Suddenly, there is a flash of light and the Exiles arrive on the scene.

Sabretooth asks his companions if they see Mimic, but Morph sees four rifles aimed at them. Annoyed, Blink tells them that she does not have time for this. She then blinks away the rifles. Sabretooth asks Randy if he has seen a man in blue and yellow with bad skin. Randy, scared, confirms that he has and then asks the group who they are. Sabretooth tells Blink that these people saw Mimic. Blink does not answer back, she simply teleports the Exiles and paranormals away.

Somewhere else in a forest, the group reappears. Randy wonders where they are. Blink tells him that she teleported them ten miles away, as those other men wouldn’t let them talk. She cannot explain it all but she needs to know where Calvin is. Scuzz asks who Calvin is, to which Blink explains it was the man with the bad skin. Angry, Scuzz realizes that Blink is referring to the chicken who took off to Pittsburgh.

Blink tells Sabretooth to inform Heather about Pittsburgh. Sabretooth does, and tells Blink and Morph that Heather says that this Earth does not have any super people like the Avengers, X-Men, or Fantastic Four. There are no mutants or aliens. Nothing superhuman appeared until July of 1986, when the “White Event” happened and gave a few thousand people across the world powers.

Jeff asks if they mean that flash of light last summer made them like this. Morph realizes that it is only 1987 in this reality then. Confused, Randy asks Morph what year it should be, and why do they talk like they are from outer space or something. Blink tells the paranormals that they have said too much and the Exiles just want to find their friend. Where are they right now? Lenore tells Blink that they are in Wisconsin. Thanks, replies Blink, as she teleports the Exiles away.

When Stephanie wonders aloud what has just happened, Lenore replies that they have just stepped through the looking glass. Scoffing at this, Scuzz tells the old woman to give it a rest. Randy tells the teen that they have to go before the Clinic sends a search party.

Back in Pittsburgh, the vigilante known as Justice walks down the street and tells a man at a newspaper stand to flee the city. The confused man asks him to repeat what he said, and Justice tells him that an evil star looms over the city, surrounded by an aura of malice the likes of which he has never seen. The old newspaper salesman tells Justice that if he is not buying anything he should just warn the folks across the street.

As Justice leaves, the old man tells his customer that this stuff didn’t happen until Reagan cut the mental health budget. Now crazy people are on the loose. The customer, however, tells the salesman that Justice doesn’t look homeless. Maybe he was referring to the flying man in the news lately. Annoyed again, the old man tells his customer that there is no such thing as a flying man.

Meanwhile, Proteus reaches Pittsburgh, still getting used to the idea of a new universe. There is no House of M. There is no S.H.I.E.L.D. or Interpol hunting him down. He eventually would have been cornered back home. However, the Exiles came as a godsend. Without them he would never have seen other Earths. He then learned that, if he could bend space, he could access those worlds. However, he still has one problem, which is why he came to this universe. When he possess a body, he gets all their memories and powers, but their body dries up to a husk. On this Earth, there is a man with a power source that never goes out. Proteus intends to take his body so he won’t look like a walking corpse ever again. The man in question is Kenneth Connell, who lives in the piece of crap apartment before him. Kenneth must be too stupid to use his power for wealth. He won’t know what hit him until it is too late.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, the man in question, Ken Connell, knocks on the door of his friend, Myron, asking him to hurry and open up. He then realizes that the door is unlocked. Confused, he walks in and finds the place a mess. Ken sees Myron sitting on a box in the room and apologizes for just barging in. However, he didn’t plan on coming over tonight, but some major stuff has been going on and Myron is the only one he can talk to. Does Myron remember that woman he was talking about? The one who knows that he is the flying man?

It turns out she works for the Libyan agents, right here in their town, like in Back to the Future. He called the cops and once they busted the group he personally flew to Libya to teach Qaddafi a lesson. Suddenly, Ken stops talking and realizes that Myron is acting strange. Myron points to the dark area of the house behind him and tells Ken that there are others here too who know he was coming… even if Kenneth didn’t know himself. Confused, Ken raises his left hand, which has a symbol of a star on it, which illuminates the room.

Ken shines his light on Blink, Sabretooth, and Morph. He then tells Myron that, if this is a joke, he isn’t laughing. Blink tells Ken to calm down, as they do not want trouble. They just came to warn him that someone dangerous is after him. They have arrived from far away and there more paranormals like… well… them. Their files say that he possesses a weapon, as signified by that star tattoo. The man who is after him wants that power and he will probably succeed. Will Ken please let the Exiles help him?

Ken tells Myron to leave, who complies but asks his friend not to mess up his house. When Myron is gone, Ken turns to the Exiles angry, as he is fed up with people like them. They obviously are not human, so they are either with the Old Man who gave him the Star Brand or that alien that tried to steal it. Ever since he received the Star Brand, it feels as if someone is trying to take it away or control him. He is sick of it.

Meanwhile, at the Westgate Village Apartment of Ken Connell, Proteus waits for the man to get home. In the meantime, he rummages through Connell’s things to get to know his future host better. Proteus notices a dumbbell that has been broken and then sees a photo of a woman and two kids. Proteus makes a note to himself to slaughter the family later on if they really are Kenneth’s children. Proteus then finds a photo of another woman in a skimpy outfit, which pleases the serial killer, as he likes the idea of being a playboy. Most girls don’t like him but soon he will have his pick and he won’t even have to force them… unless he wants to.

Proteus then looks off in the distance and recalls that things were never like that with Blink. Her love was freely given and it was the best thing he ever knew. Suddenly, Proteus throws the photo and tells himself that he did not just think that. Mimic did. Proteus is worried, as he has never felt this kind of resistance before. No wonder he has been fighting the urge to turn into metal! Some tiny shred of Mimic is still loose in his body, trying to kick Proteus out. Suddenly, Proteus senses someone coming and bears his claws happily, as it is time to shed his body. He greets the man at the door.

I am Justice, cries the warrior and he shoots a blast of energy, his “sword” at Proteus, leaving Mimic’s body mostly as a walking skeleton. Proteus fights back with an optic blast, but Justice blocks the attack with his “shield” powers. He then tells Proteus that this will not end like he expects it.

Back in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, someone tells the shining Connell that they are not aliens! Ken does not care, though. He’s been lied to so much since the Old Man cursed him that he doesn’t believe anything anymore.

At the Panoptichron, Heather tells Sabretooth that he is scaring Connell. They need to talk him down. She has his file and there is stuff in there that even Kenneth does not know about yet. Sabretooth needs to repeat after her and act like he knows what he is talking about.

At the house, Sabretooth steps forward and tells Ken that he knows why the man is mixed up. He has this star-shaped tattoo and he suddenly is super-strong and can fly and blow stuff up like a mini-nuke. This usually doesn’t happen to a man who washes cars for a living. However, what happened to Kenneth is affecting more than just him. That old man who gave him the Star Brand tried to ditch it before tricking Ken into taking it. First, he flew into orbit and tried imprinting it on an asteroid. The energy releases circled the world and created all those other paranormals.

Hearing this, Connell powers down and asks Sabretooth that if he means that the White Event last July was actually the Star Brand. Yes, says Sabretooth. It made a lot of people different. Does he think the three of them always looked like this? They were normal until they turned into paranormals. There is a bunch of them in a clinic in Wisconsin if Ken does not believe him. No, says Ken with a smug smile. He believes them…

…if they tell him who won the Super Bowl last year.

Caught in his lies, Sabretooth asks Heather for help. That’s what I thought, says Star Brand. He then punches Sabretooth through the house, and attacks the “aliens!”

Characters Involved: 

Blink, Heather Hudson, Morph, Sabretooth (Exiles)




Ken Connel / Star Brand
Charlotte Beck, Dennis “Scuzz” Cuzinski, Lenore Fenzl, Stephanie Harrington, Dave Landers, Randy O’Brien, Jeff Walters, various unnamed others (Paranormals)

Harlan Hackbarth (Regulator)

Dexter Charne (Reinforcer)

Tracy Speck (Receptor)

Various Clinic guards


Various people in Pennsylvania

Various sovereign caste workers

Angel IV, Beak

Axel, Kara, Tito and various other children

(in Proteus’ mind)

Ken Connell / Star Brand

The Maestro

Spider-Man 2099

Blue Eagle, Doctor Spectrum, Hyperion, Lady Lark, Power Princess, Whizzer (all Squadron Supreme)

Captain America & Bucky (from Heroes Reborn Earth)

Shadowed figures

(on Panoptichron screen)

Ken Connell / Star Brand

Blink, Sabretooth (both Exiles)

Story Notes: 

Beak last saw his children when he left in Exiles #48.

The Exiles retrieved a cellular restorative liquid from Dr. Connors in Exiles #66-68.

In the fall of 1986, Marvel Comics’ editor-in-chief, Jim Shooter, launched a pet project, the “New Universe.” Intended as a celebration for Marvel’s 25-year anniversary, the New Universe was to be a completely separate universe and viewed as “the world outside our window.” This was to mean that there was no time travel, no alternate universes and no aliens. Another revolutionary feature was that events happened in real-time, having a month pass between issues, just like it did for the reader. As a result, exact dates were given for many events which occurred in the New Universe.

The original eight titles were DP7, Justice, Kickers Inc., Merc, Nightmask, Psi-Force, Spitfire and the Troubleshooters & Star Brand. Kickers Inc., Merc and Nightmask only lasted 12 issues. Spitfire lasted for 13, however it went through several name changes, becoming just Spitfire with #8 and Codename: Spitfire with #10. DP7, Justice & Psi-Force lasted for 32 issues. Star Brand went bi-monthly after #6, finally cancelled with #19. There were also two specials, the Pitt & the Draft, and a mini-series called the War.

The idea of no aliens and no alternate realities was immediately broken, with both Star Brand and Justice. However, by the 2nd year of publication, the New Universe retconned these to being explainable events, with less fantastic origins. It was revealed with Justice #15 that Justice is actually a police officer, given the false memories of being from an alternate universe by another, insane paranormal. Likewise, the Old Man who gave Ken Connell the Star Brand was not an alien, but Ken Connell’s future self, temporally displaced.

The seminal moment that altered its world from the real one was the “White Event,” a mysterious astrological event, which bathed the world in white light for less than two seconds. From this event, normal humans were transformed (some with delayed reactions) into “paranormals,” people with fantastic powers.

The seven paranormals escaping the Clinic are from the series DP7 (short for Displaced Paranormals 7), which they are never officially referred to in the series. Throughout the series, they are occasionally referred to by “codenames,” although they themselves find the names silly, since they point out to each other that they are not “comic book characters.”

- Randy O’Brien (who controls a shadow-like “antibody”) occasionally goes by the name Antibody

- Dave Landers (immense mass and strength) is called Mastodon

- Lenore Fenzl (who has vampiric, energy-sapping bioluminescence) is called Twilight

- Charlotte Beck (controls friction) is called Friction

- Stephanie Harrington (bestows energy “glitter” on herself and others which has healing and energy augmentation properties) was called “Viva” on one occasion and later Glitter

- Dennis “Scuzz” Cuzinki (acid from his body) is mainly called “Scuzz” although also Scorcher

- Jeffrey Walters (hyper-metabolism) is called Blur.

In DP7 #1, Dave Landers and Randy O’Brien answer an ad for the Wisconsin Clinic for Paranormal Research. Seemingly a facility to assist the adjusting of the recently emerging paranormals, Randy and Dave discover that its founder, Philip Nolan Voight, plans to use brain conditioning to transform the Clinic patients into agents it could use. Dave and Randy, along with 5 others in their therapy group, decide to escape and are pursued by the Clinic’s staff. Harlan Hackbarth, head of Clinic security, has the ability to mentally regulate other people’s bodily functions, giving them anything from a cold to a heart attack.

It seems that Proteus and the Exiles’ entrance into the New Universe has created an alternate timeline. The scene where Proteus encounters the DP7 takes place immediately after #1 and the interaction completely alters the events, which occur in #2. The same is true for Ken Connell’s interaction with Proteus & the Exiles.

In the original timeline, the DP7 manage to evade the Clinic and their agents, but are eventually all recaptured. Fortunately, the group manages to break free again and force Dr. Voight (who turns out to be a paranormal himself) to flee the Clinic. With Voight gone, the patients take over, which leads to deteriorating living conditions. Later, when the Black Event occurs, destroying Pittsburgh, the DP7 leave for the Pitt, where they are separated. The females are recruited by the CIA, whereupon the males are drafted into the army, as a result of the national chaos after the destruction of Pittsburgh. After a series of personal trials, the two groups are cast off by their respective government agencies and are reunited in a nearly evacuated New York City. It is there that the series ended with #32.

In Ken’s apartment, the photo with the woman and two children are of Ken’s girlfriend, Barbie, and her children, Bobby and Laurie. The fact that the couple are named “Ken and Barbie” is a source for occasional humor. The Polaroid of the girl in the skimpy outfit is Ken’s “friend,” Debbie “the Duck” Fix, who is hopelessly infatuated with Ken and is his “side girl.” The photo of Debbie was taken in Star Brand #4. Ken’s attack against Libya took place in Star Brand #5, which was a result of the meeting with the Libyan woman in #3.

The mangled barbell in Ken’s home is the result of one of Ken’s first experiments with his new powers in Star Brand #1. In #12, the Old Man reappears and Connell learns the truth of the White Event, that the Old Man had discovered that the Star Brand was turning him into something other than human and had tried to get rid of it by placing it into an asteroid. Filled with the Star Brand energies, it exploded and created the White Event, bathing the Earth in Star Brand energies, creating paranormals. Surviving, the Old Man placed the Star Brand into Connell. Realizing that this meant that the Star Brand was beginning to mutate him as well, Connell flew ten miles above Pittsburgh and tried to place it into the barbell, creating the Black Event, which unintentionally obliterated Pittsburgh. [Star Brand #12, The Pitt]

At this point, Justice believes himself to be a Justice Warrior from another dimension. He has the ability to fire a disintegrating blast with one hand, which he calls his “sword.” He is also able to create a forcefield of sorts with his other, which he calls his “shield.” Tensen, Justice’s “real name,” is capable of reading people’s auras to determine their soul, whether they are good or evil. To those who are evil, he bestows the “justice” of his sword, though quickly learns that good and evil are more difficult to determine on “this world.” In Justice #15, Tensen learns that his real name is John Tensen and that he is really a narcotics cop who was transformed into his current mental state by Daedalus Darquill, a mentally deranged paranormal with reality altering powers. With the death of Darquill, Tensen is returned to reality and eventually recruited by the NSA.

It is difficult to place the where Justice’s appearance falls. He acquired the visor during Justice #1, which led directly into #2. After this, he never used it again. As a result, this appearance either takes place during #1, or shortly after #2.

The Chicago Bears won Superbowl XX in 1986 against the New England Patriots, 46-10.

Notes in this summary regarding the New Universe were written by UXN contributor Douglas Mangum.

Issue Information: 

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