Exiles (1st series) #74

Issue Date: 
February 2006
Story Title: 
World Tour: New Universe – Conclusion

Tony Bedard (Writer), Paul Pelletier (Penciler), Rick Magyar with Drew Hennessy (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: 

With intelligence from Heather, the Exiles track down the paranormals they helped to escape earlier from the Clinic. From among their number, they recruit the elderly Lenore, who can put people asleep with a bio-energy that is emitted from her skin. They take her and Keith Remsen to the home of Barbara, who is being held hostage by Proteus. They drop the surprise on him, and Proteus succumbs to Lenore’s power. The Exiles then take Proteus to a bedroom, where Keith enters the villain’s dream as Nightmask. There, Nightmask confronts Kevin and shows him that Moira did not lock him in a cell out of spite, but rather to protect him from himself and everyone else. It seems as if the plan is working, but Proteus snaps out of the delusion and kills Keith in the dream. Proteus then wakes up and attacks the Exiles, defeating them all, along with Star Brand and Lenore. Meanwhile, Heather finishes her deal with Mojo. She gives him access to the view of the multiverse for Longshot, who she hopes can use his luck power to avoid Proteus’ reality warps. The only problem is that Mojo seems to have mind wiped Longshot before sending him to Heather. Nevertheless, Heather sends Longshot to save the Exiles and her theory was correct: Longshot is immune to Proteus’ power. He stabs Proteus with his knives, causing the villain to teleport to another reality. With everything settled, Heather calls the Exiles back to the Panoptichron, for she may have a way to keep Proteus out of the heads of the Exiles.

Full Summary: 

On Earth #15731, it seems that desperate times are calling for desperate measures. A Greyhound charter bus speeds dangerously down a road with a host of unusual passengers. Behind the wheel is the large Dave Landers. Jeff tells his companions that this is something radical they have done. They actually hijacked a bus! Randy tells his friends that they didn’t do too bad, as only the door is damaged. At least no one was hurt. Dave comments on how he hasn’t driven anything this big in months. Where are they going? Randy tells Dave to just floor it. They took too long to find a vehicle and the Clinic is probably hot on their trail. He only wishes that those strangers teleported them farther away when they escaped.

Suddenly, Charlotte notices that a few of the passengers are waking up and quickly gets the attention of the elderly Lenore. Lenore, whose entire body is covered in clothing, including her face, begins to remove her mask to subject the bystanders to another exposure of her powers. Charlotte tells Lenore to hold on so she can get out of the way or else Lenore will knock her out as well. Once Charlotte is out of the way, Lenore removes her mask and a blinding white light bathes the passengers, causing them all to fall back asleep.

As Lenore puts her mask back on, Charlotte asks if she is sure that the passengers aren’t hurt. Lenore explains that she cannot explain the exact science of her parability, but she knows her light only renders people unconscious. They will be in dreamland until they ditch the bus. Stephanie turns and asks to make sure if they will leave the passengers safe. Jeff agrees, as they have to put the passengers somewhere safe where the Clinic won’t find and torture them. Suddenly, the bus lurches and goes out of control. Scuzz falls out of his seat and screams that they are flying, but Dave tells them that he isn’t doing this.

Outside, below the bus, is Kenneth Connell, also known as the Star Brand, named after the alien symbol on his palm. Thanks to the Star Brand, he effortlessly lifts the bus with his arms and flies away at high speeds. These powers are also the reason Proteus has come to this reality. Proteus has beaten the Exiles at every turn and has even killed Mimic. They have two plans now, but both are long shots.

4 minutes and 500 miles later, the paranormals reunite with the Exiles and are given the brief explanation of the situation. The Exiles want them to go where, asks the astounded Dave. Pittsburgh, replies Blink. There is a threat there and is harmful to everyone. However, they don’t need all of them. They only need Lenore Fenzl. Protectively, Dave stands in front of Lenore and tells Blink that the woman is with them.

Suspicious, Randy tells Blink that she didn’t mention anything about Lenore the first time they met. Blink explains that they did not know the paranormals then, but their mission control person informed them of Lenore’s powers. Confused, Dave asks the Exiles why they need Lenore, when Ken just flew a whole bus faster than a speeding bullet. If he cannot handle the threat what can a seventy-year old lady do?

Suddenly, a small man alongside Kenneth and the Exiles speaks up. Keith Remsen tells the Paranormals that he will be confronting Proteus. Ms. Fenzl’s powers will make him susceptible to Keith’s powers. The Paranormals look at Keith in shock. Scuzz speaks up and tells the scrawny Keith not to be offended but… “Where’s the beef?”

Meanwhile, back at the Panoptichron, Heather finishes her deal with the devil, or Mojo rather. She tells him that the video feeds are all on-line. He will continue to receive the content she promised, as long as he complies with their agreement. Mojo asks Heather why he would break such a sweet deal. He would still like it in writing, though. Heather tells Mojo that a contract with him is less than worthless. He would just trip her up in the fine print. The deal is clear. She is giving him the multiverse for his viewing pleasure. If he tries to mess or take control of the feeds, then the consequences will be immediate and painful.

Mojo tells Heather that he rules the Mojoverse. Her threats are meaningless. Sinisterly, Heather tells Mojo that she knows that Emma Frost did to him last time that he met her. She knows it left him scarred. She will make what Emma did to him feel like a love tap. Annoyed, Mojo tells Heather that she is well informed, but she will come to regret that. She should take receipt of the payment now, for she has darkened his day enough. As Mojo sends his payment to the Panoptichron, Heather thinks to herself that she just gave Mojo access to the view a thousand worlds for one man. He had better be worth it.

Back on Earth #15731, Ken’s girlfriend, Barbie, finds herself and her two children hostage of Justice, possessed by Proteus. One of Barbie’s children tells her that they need to pee. Annoyed, Proteus, who is relaxing on a recliner, tells the child to do it where they are. No body moves until Uncle Kenneth shows up. He then tells Barbara, calling her by her full name, to muzzle her children or else he will make sure they are no longer a distraction. Horrified, Barbie tells Proteus that she will quiet her children.

Suddenly, Justice feels someone approaching the house; two people actually. Do they actually think they got the drop on him?

Outside, Blink and Lenore stand outside the front door to the house. Blink asks Lenore if she is ready. I hope so, replies Lenore as she knocks on the door.

Who’s there, sings Proteus as he blasts open the door. When he hears nothing he tells his attackers that he is disappointed that he at least didn’t hear “candy-gram.” However, Proteus is surprised to find no bodies on the other side of the door!

At that moment, Blink and Lenore teleport behind Proteus. Lenore pulls off her mask and allows her light to shine on Proteus, who asks Lenore what she is doing to him. Lenore tells Proteus that she is helping him rest. He should not fight it. Confused, the tiring Proteus asks if her face puts men to sleep. Not just my face, says Lenore as she removes her robe, revealing her body that also unleashes the bio-energy. Proteus tries charging up an attack, but eventually passes out. Lenore is relieved, as no one has ever resisted her for that long.

Barbie grabs Blink and asks her who she is. Where did that man come from? How does she know him? Kenneth enters the house and tells Barbie that Blink and Lenore are with him. Confused, she tells Ken that Proteus threatened to kill her family. What does he want with Ken? Ken hugs Barbie and asks if she remembers how he has been acting strange recently. Barbie recalls the tattoo and the sneaking around, so Ken tells her that though it is too big to explain right now, he will tell her everything when this is over.

The rest of the Exiles come in with Keith, with Morph shape-shifting into a cute little kid and waving at Barbara’s children. Ken tells Barbie that right now they need a bed for this guy.

The Exiles drag Proteus up to the bedroom of the children and put him on one bed, while Keith lies down on another. Morph asks him if he wants the light off, but Keith declines, stating that he’ll just meditate to sleep. As he begins to meditate, Morph looks at Justice and asks if they can just bash in his head now. Sabretooth explains to Morph that Heather said that killing the host will just free Proteus. Plus, the host is innocent.

Meanwhile, Keith meditates and falls asleep, entering the mind of Proteus. He is a paranormal who can enter other people’s dreams. He knows of Proteus’s life story and his youth as Kevin MacTaggert and his killing spree. It is up to Remsen, or Nightmask, to use that knowledge to his advantage. Sabretooth calls Heather via the Tallus and tells her that Keith is in Proteus’ mind. Does she have the back-up ready in case?

At the Panoptichron, Heather tells Sabretooth that she has the back-up ready, but he isn’t the same as the last time they met him. Standing before Heather is Longshot, rebellion leader of the Mojoverse and former X-Man. Confused, the innocent Longshot asks Heather if they met before. Yes, replies Heather. He is Longshot. Longshot repeats his name, confusedly. Heather continues to explain that he is a genetically engineered soldier who rebelled against his leader, Mojo. Mojo, questions Longshot. Heather thinks about how last time Mojo said that he caught Longshot and wiped him. Wiped, asks the more confused Longshot. Heather explains that his mind is wiped clean except for his combat programming, and the one special power that is the reason she made the deal with Mojo to get him.

“Longshot,” says the soldier as his left eye glows brightly.

Meanwhile, in Proteus’s mind, Moira MacTaggert, his mother, is strapped own to a dirty table in a small room. She screams at Kevin to stop, as he will be damned forever if he does this. Kevin, who stands above Moira with a chainsaw, tells her that he was beyond saving when he was born and received her genetics. She should be a good girl and open her mouth wide now. Suddenly, Kevin stops and realizes that something is wrong.

A warp in dreamscape opens, and Nightmask, clad in armor, comes through. He tells Kevin that what is wrong is that none of this happened. He is re-imagining his mother’s lab as a chamber of horror, but it was much different wasn’t it?

The room then shifts and Moira is gone. She is now outside, a giant, and looking into the room through a glass window. Nightmask asks Kevin if this is closer to the truth. This is the cell his mother locked him into, because it was lethal to be with him. Kevin freaks out, as he doesn’t’ want to be in his cell again. He tries to warp reality to get out, but finds that nothing happens. Unbeknownst to him, Nightmask also has the power to control the dream world, which is one way to level the playing field against Proteus. However, Keith isn’t all powerful. He needs to shut down Proteus’ consciousness before he figures out what is going on.

As Moira leaves, saddened, Kevin asks why he cannot warp out. Nightmask explains to Kevin that he belongs there. Moira didn’t lock him here out of spite. She did it because it was necessary. Kevin feels tired and asks what is wrong with him. Nightmask takes him to bed and tells him that he is being honest with himself. He cannot roam free. It isn’t right. He must stay in his cell. He is safe here. He should sleep deeply.

The tired Kevin mumbles that he should sleep…but then suddenly he leaps up in the bed and asks Nightmask if it is true. Before Nightmask can respond, Kevin asks that if you die in your dreams that you die for real. He then shoves his first through Nightmask’s chest!

In the real world, Keith grabs his chest and moans. Morph, dressed as a doctor, asks if this is normal. Blink turns to Sabretooth and tells him to ask Heather if Remsen is okay. At that moment, Proteus wakes up and with a sadistic smile he tells them that he doesn’t know where they found Nightmask, but he almost had him… almost.

Outside, Kenneth explains to Barbie that there are others like him and Lenore who have special abilities. It all ties into the Star Brand somehow. Barbie admits that this is a lot of information to soak in, but at that moment a giant cyclone appears over her house as it contorts and warps into odd shapes. Horrified, Ken tells Barbie to run, and she doesn’t take long to gather her children and rush away.

Justice stands above the wreckage of the house with the mangled and distorted Exiles in tow. Justice, or Proteus rather, proposes a trade. He will unsnarl the Exiles and let Barbara and her kids live if he kindly surrenders his body. He promises that it won’t hurt.

Kenneth breaks the sound barrier as he crosses the street. However, Proteus is faster and blows Kenneth up into a pile of goop. Lenore takes off her mask and desperately tries to put Proteus to sleep, but the villain has none of that. He opens the ground beneath her and she is swallowed in. Victorious, Proteus tells Kenneth that he will be taking his body as soon as he puts it back together. However, what Proteus doesn’t know is that Heather Hudson is watching, and her back-up is already deployed.

There is a flash of energy as an opening in reality appears. Longshot emerges. He is a genetically engineered fighting machine, but that is not why Heather traded the multiverse for him. Longshot also can alter probabilities in his favor. He literally has his own force field of good luck. Heather hopes that this will protect him against Proteus.

Heather’s assumption proves correct, as Longshot bounds towards Proteus untouched. In fact, anything in his field is temporarily reverted to normal, though as soon as it is out of his field it succumbs back to Proteus’ warp. Longshot doesn’t know why the Exiles are fighting Proteus, or that the villain killed Mimic. He doesn’t have to. All Longshot needs to know is Proteus’ vulnerability is metal.

Longshot jumps around the reality altered house and pulls out Morph, Blink, and Sabretooth. He then throws his knives at Proteus, stabbing him several times in the back. With metal in his body, Proteus loses control and everything reverts back to normal, including Lenore and Kenneth. Longshot moves in for the kill, but Proteus tells him that he will pay for that… just not today. With that said, Justice warps out of this reality.

Lenore puts her mask back on as Morph asks her if she is okay. Blink is ecstatic to see Longshot, who begins to introduce himself. She says his name joyfully and Longshot asks if they have met each other before as well. Sabretooth calls Heather on the Tallus, and Heather replies that she did send Longshot.

In the Panoptichron, Heather tells the Exiles to stand by for extraction. Sabretooth asks if they are chasing Proteus to another reality. Yes, replies Heather, but first she needs them to report back to the Panoptichron. She might have come up with a way to keep Proteus out of their heads for goods. She only wishes she thought of it sooner.

Behind Heather, in the crystal wall of the fallen, is the withered body of the deceased Mimic.

Characters Involved: 

Blink, Heather Hudson, Longshot, Morph, Sabretooth (Exiles)

Ken Connell / Star Brand


Charlotte Beck, Dennis “Scuzz” Cuzinski, Lenore Fenzl, Stephanie Harrington, Dave Landers, Randy O’Brien, Jeff Walters (Paranormals)


Bobbie and Laurie, Barbara’s children

Story Notes: 

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.

Heather’s comments about Mojo and Emma Frost refer to the end of Uncanny X-Men #461. As an aside, if Heather knows of that incident, then surely she must know the present situation of her former teammate, Nocturne, who was present and involved in that situation involving Mojo and Emma.

The Exiles last saw Longshot at the end of Exiles #18-19.

Whether Keith Remsen survived his encounter with Proteus is unknown.

This story arc would later inspire Marvel to revisit the New Universe in a series of one-shots.

The scene of the DP7 having hijacked a bus is right out of DP7 #2. Even the dialogue is the same.

While Proteus refers to her by her full given name of Barbara, Ken’s girlfriend goes by Barbie or Barb. The fact that the couple are “Ken and Barbie” was a source for occasional humor in the comic.

“Where’s the Beef” was a catchphrase originating from a series of incredibly popular commercials for the Wendy’s hamburger restaurant chain from 1984.

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

Issue Information: 

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