“Congratulations,” Morph imagines the doctor saying, “It’s a blob.”
Morph was born an obvious mutant. He was eight pounds of white goop that cried like a baby and flowed like mercury. When he was a toddler, he realized that his parents were happier if he kept a normal human shape, and of course he was eager to please. By the time he started school, he had perfected the all-American boy next-door look. However, home with his parents, he would just relax and be him. He wasn’t a phony or ashamed. He just felt it would be less awkward if he looked more human.
He had the luck of being everything everyone wanted. He was good at school, sports, and making friends. Then his mom died when he was thirteen of lung cancer and there was nothing easy about that. His dad was heart-broken and withdrew. Morph tried cheering him up, but his jokes wound him up at a boarding school. Years later, he graduated from that school with masters in computer engineering. Sometimes people forget Xavier’s is a real school.
He earned the codename Morph and a uniform. He was the leader of the New Mutants. Those were kids who knew how to laugh. He then graduated to the X-Men and even became a beloved Avenger, receiving more mail than Captain America. All of this was easy until he was drafted into the reality-hopping team known as the Exiles.
Morph watches in horror as the Maestro, a more intelligent, stronger, ruthless version of the Hulk, plows into Power Princess, who stabbed him with a knife thinking he was Proteus. Power Princess is easily knocked aside. Spider-Man leaps at Maestro, but he is caught midair by the jade giant and tossed aside like a rag doll, though thankfully saved by Morph, who stretches his body out to stop the thrown Spider-Man.
The Exiles warned the Maestro about Proteus, who wanted his body. Naturally, in the end, Maestro would try to kill them all. Spider-Man was picked up a couple of universes ago. Morph hardly knows him, but wouldn’t want him to go Jackson Pollock all over the walls. To Morph, it feels like they are always fighting the wrong people.
A good example is their recent problem. In their attempts to reunite a family, they ended up meeting the body snatching Proteus. He is a serial killer who degrades the bodies he possesses, and his only weakness is metal. Proteus ripped out the heart of the Exiles when he possessed and withered away Mimic. After that, Heather Hudson came up with the idea of putting surgical steel in their heads. Of course, Morph doesn’t have a skull, so he is gripping his piece in his head using his goop body. They have chased Proteus across five realities. His latest host is the Hulk from the year 2099. This is his longest lasting body so far. However, now he wants to trade it in for the Maestro’s body and the Exiles can’t let that happen. Power Princess was the genius who wanted to team up with the Maestro.
Sabretooth leaps at Maestro and tries slashing him with his claws, but Maestro picks up Sabretooth and asks him if he really thought that it would work. Blink whips out a teleportation arrow and throws it at Maestro, but he uses Sabretooth as a shield. When Sabretooth disappears, Maestro is confused and taunts Blink, asking her if she just vaporized her friend.
Morph, however, knows that Blink teleported Sabretooth, but the thing is that it was meant for the Maestro, which means where Sabretooth went cannot be good.
Blink helplessly looks at Power Princess. Knowing she has given up her role as leader to Zarda, Blink tells her that she will be right back. She then teleports to outer space, in order to retrieve Creed before he dies.
The Maestro squares off against Power Princess and Longshot, as Proteus begins to rise from the rubble. Morph checks up on Spider-Man, who is having trouble breathing. Morph realizes that Miguel has internal injuries and orders him to stay put. Morph then recalls to himself how Miguel actually volunteered for the team. Perhaps they should have informed him that the only luck they have is bad luck. However, at that moment, Morph notices Proteus rise from the rubble, but it seems the battle has worn out his body, which now shows signs of massive deterioration.
Morph then looks back at Maestro, who attacks Power Princess and Longshot. Longshot’s luck powers allow him to dodge the blow, but his powers only work on others who are really close to him, so Power Princess is slammed into a pillar.
At that moment, Blink returns with Sabretooth, both of whom are freezing thanks to the subzero temperature of space. The worn Blink stammers to Creed and asks if he can hear her. However, the dying Sabretooth can only make sounds, not words, as the freezing temperatures get to him. Maestro tells Blink that the scene is sweet, and then literally flicks her away.
Suddenly, Proteus attacks the Maestro in a rage, telling him to get his hands off his girl. It takes a minute for Morph to recall why Proteus would say that. He still has the stolen memories of Mimic. Mimic is dead, but his love for Blink lives on. Proteus tackles the Maestro, but the Maestro recalls Proteus’ weakness, which he learned from the Exiles. He then slams Proteus with his metal gauntlets and then claims that he will be the first man the Maestro ever killed with his elbows. Longshot is about to enter the battle, but Morph stops him, as they should let Maestro kill Proteus, or at least have the two wear one another out. Just as the Maestro is about to hit Proteus, the man leaps out of the way.
Proteus gets around the Maestro, who struggles and demands to know what Proteus is doing. The lunatic responds that he isn’t going to do anything the Maestro won’t be able to eventually recover from. He then snaps the Maestro’s neck!
The stunned Exiles watch as the Maestro falls. The tyrant lies on the ground with his neck in a very awkward position, gasping that he cannot move. Proteus tells Maestro that his spine will heal, but unfortunately he will be in his skin by the time that happens. However, these metal gauntlets he wears must go. Suddenly, Proteus is shot several times in the back by energy weapons.
Proteus turns to see the castle guard, whom he had completely forgotten about. The guard leader tells his men to keep firing, as they must get Proteus away from Maestro. Morph almost feels sorry for the guards as the laws of physics turn against them. The ground erupts beneath the men and they are each encased in circular globs of earth, crushing them.
Proteus then turns back to the Maestro, who cannot believe that this is happening to him, and uses his reality warping powers to turn the metal gauntlets into liquid that flows right off. As Longshot runs after Proteus, Morph thinks about how he is the only plan they have against the monster, and it is a doozy.
Longshot leaps over Proteus’ back, lading atop the Maestro’s massive chest. Crouching before Proteus, Longshot announces that he cannot let the madman do this. Proteus then lifts his massive arms into the air and asks Longshot what is preventing him from smashing the genetically engineered soldier.
“That’d be me,” screams Morph, as he uses his shape shifting powers to exponentially grow in muscular size. In a massive, “Hulk”-like state, Morph pummels the withering Proteus away from Longshot and the Maestro. Morph hopes that Proteus has used up most of his energy, or else this will be a very short fight. Proteus looks at Morph and tells him that he looks tough enough, but it is all probably for show. He then uses his reality warping powers to turn Morph inside out and twist and contort his body. If Morph had veins, he thinks, they’d feel as if maggots were crawling in them.
Longshot, despite weighing only eighty pounds, attacks Proteus anyway fearlessly. He pulls Proteus down and gets close enough to Morph so his luck field cancels out the reality warp and the Exile returns back to normal. Proteus, however, decides that, if he cannot defeat Longshot’s luck powers, then he will just steal them. He then begins to leave the Hulk’s body, but finds himself in pain when he tries entering Longshot. Do all these Exiles have those metal implants, screams Proteus. Longshot simply smiles and touches his forehead.
Morph doesn’t waste any time and shifts his hands into two large cement blocks, ready to pummel Proteus while he is weakened. However, Proteus returns back to the Hulk, just in time to counter Morph’s Hulk attack. Proteus slams his fist into Morph’s malleable face… with such a force that Morph loses grip of the metal piece Heather gave him for protection.
The tiny metal plate flies out and bounces off of the stone wall, falling to the ground.
Morph looks at Proteus, scared, and realizes that he must think fast. Proteus smiles sadistically and begins to leave his body. Morph knows that he must put distance between himself and the killer…
Blink weakly approaches the battle area, just in time to see the withered and dead Hulk from the year 2099 fall to the ground. As the dust settles, the Exiles see Morph standing tall, though shrouded in shadows. At first, Morph simply stands there, but then he looks down at his hands. Blink, weary from battle, asks Morph if that is he. Suddenly, Morph, who seems to be considering his own body, begins to wear a sadistic smile, and then laughs maniacally.
Proteus, now in Morph’s body, tells Blink that this is better than what he came for. Most bodies begin to wither when he possesses them, but this one is different. He then shifts into his true form of Kevin MacTaggert. He hasn’t seen his face in years, he states. Morph is the glass slipper he has been searching for so long. He can be anyone, says Proteus as he shifts into Ms. Marvel. As he turns into Jack the Ripper, he claims he can prey on anyone. After turning into an innocent little girl, he boasts that he can never get caught.
Enraged, Longshot tells Proteus to get out of Morph as he throws a barrage of knives. Proteus, however, uses his shape shifting powers to allow the knives to pass through him harmlessly. He tells Longshot that he thinks not. This body is a keeper. He then tells the Maestro that this is his lucky day, as Proteus won’t need his body. Proteus then jumps to the next reality!
Power Princess stands in confusion. This plan should have worked. They had a strong ally and the element of surprise. Sabretooth doesn’t pay Zarda any mind and simply tells her that they are Exiles and nothing goes to plan. Still unable to move, Maestro tells the Exiles to get out of his house and pray that they never meet again.
Bitterly, Blink tells Maestro to shut up before she blinks his family jewels to the moon. Maestro does not speak, but doesn’t look pleased either.
Sabretooth looks at Blink, concerned, and tells her that she sounded like she meant that. Why wouldn’t she, Victor asks Blink, calling her mentor by his first name for the first time.
“Proteus has taken two of us now!” exclaims the war-hardened woman, “I swear to you, next time it’s him or me.”