Exiles (1st series) #1

Issue Date: 
August 2001
Story Title: 
Down the Rabbit Hole

Judd Winick (writer), Mike McKone (penciler), Mark McKenna (inker), JC (colors), Sharpefont’s Paul Tutrone (letters), Mike Raicht (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

Six heroes from different timelines find themselves stranded nowhen and nowhere. They are Blink from “AoA“, Nocturne from “Professor W’s X-Men“, a future son of Rogue and Magneto named Magnus, and alternate versions of Morph, Mimic and Thunderbird. They are welcomed by a Time Broker who explains to them that each their home dimensions have been altered for the worse by a ripple in time, but that they are given the chance to change them back. Therefore they have to jump around various alternate scenarios, guided by a device called Tallus. Even though the realities they will find themselves in have apparently no connection to their own times, they are supposed to repair breaks in time, which otherwise are responsible for their own current condition through a domino effect. The mission is very dangerous as the Exiles can be injured or die along the way. If the are succesful their times go back to normal, and the members will return to the instant they left, if they fail, the altered timelines will become permanent.

The first timeline they visit is a world where for fifty years Zero Tolerance has hunted down every superbeing, who are then incarcerated or killed. The Exiles are supposed to find their teacher who will lead them; believing this to be Professor Xavier, they break him out of prison, only to discover that this is not the kind man most of them knew. Xavier renders the whole team unconscious with a psi-bolt and then walks away, determined to kill the whole human race, leaving mutantkind as earth’s dominant species.

Full Summary: 

In a desert-like place, that can only be described as nowhere and nowhen, a hole opens in the sky and Blink falls through. She wonders where she is and meets Nocturne, who arrived there in a similar way. Blibk notes how much she ressembles Nightcrawler, which Nocturne easily explains as being his daughter Talia Josephine. Both girls wonder why they haven’t heard about each other, Clarice did not know that Kurt had a daughterand Talia states that she knows the X-Men’s history very well, but never learned about a member named Blink. Morph arrives through another hole in the sky and Blink is happy to see her old friend. Immediatly she starts to hug him and asks about the fate of the other X-Men, but Morph has no idea what Blink is talking about. The three start to fill each other in, what they were doing a few moments ago; Morph and his team were fighting a villain named Stonehenge as he was plucked away, and Nocturne was in bed. Thunderbird, the next arrival, too was in bed, before falling through a glowing hole. Nocturne believes him to be James Proudstar, but Thunderbird denies as he is John. Both are confused as in Thunderbird opinion James died long ago, while Talia believes John to be the dead Proudstar brother, additionally the Changeling was no X-Man according to her history lessons too. Again a hole opens and Mimic emerges, he is as lost as everyone else. Magnus, the last arrival, points out that even though he has no idea what’s going on, he is sure that they are supposed to head for the kitchen, a short distance away. Instantly the whole group is teleported by another glowing hole to the room without walls, where a butler offers them some coffee. Of course the teram demands answers, and he starts to tell them that he is not an enemy and that all what’s been happening here is real. He continues to explain that the six heroes are in serious trouble, and after they all sat down he reveals that each of the six stems from another alternate reality, so this explains why they might remembers the others though in completly different ways. To properly introduce the team, he calls up their individual histories on a video screen :
- Nocturne, aka Talia Josephine “T.J.“ Wagner, is the daughter of Nightcrawler, one of her world’s greatest X-Men. She inherited much of his bravado and abilities and was rasied at Xavier’s school. She quickly moved up the ranks to become a full X-Man on her own, and is one of the veteran members of a new team of X-Men under Wolverine’s leadership, since Xavier‘s retirement.

- Thunderbird, John Proudstar, was recruited by Professor Xavier for hissecond generation of X-Men. He was later captured by Apocalypse and transformed into one of his servants. Not before long Proudstar broke free thanks to his indminable spirit and rage and returned to the X-Men.

- Magnus is the son of Magneto and Rogue, he inheraited his father’s ability to control magnetism and already at an early age it became vlear that he had greater control and higher powerlevels than Magneto himself. At adolescence he manifested a second ability similar to Rogue’s power, flesh to flesh contact tranforms his victims into pure steel. Since then Magnus has grown into a very distant, withdrawn person.

- The humorous Morph was very succesful in his timeline. He quickly moved up the ranks of the New Mutants, became an X-Men and even joined the Avengers. Recenbtly he returned to the X-Men with an altered line-up.

- Mimic started out with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but Xavier reached out to the young man like nobody before and Calvin Rankin joined his School for Gifted Youngsters. He learned much there and as a grown man, he leads the X-Men and is recognized as one of the worlds greatest champions. Mutantkind are very much accepted in that reality.

- Blink, Clarice Ferguson, was born in the alternate timeline called Age of Apocalypse. She was ripped from her home as a child and grew up in pens to await genetic experimentation and alteration. One day Sabretooth rescued her and took her in to live with the X-Men. For many years Blink and the X-Men opposed Apocalypse’s views, and finally the egytian mutant was defeated as the whole timeline came undone for a better world to take it’s place. In this instant Blink fell through the cracks of reality.
The butler, calling himself a Time Broker, gives the team a lecture about the structure of time itself. Time is like a living being, it has shape, it has motion and it has growth. It is like a massive chain of DNA, and all along that chain are strands that make up the unlimited number of various realities. In these different scenarios the life energies of every individual are used differently, they can be of the opposite sex, animals or mere energy signatures. The problem is that along the time DNA there are bad strands, defective genes. In most cases they don’t effect the overall body, or only result in minor changes, however some cause “hiccups“, that cause breaks in time that will change many alterante scenarios in a domino effect. This ripple in time has caused the Exiles to be plucked away from their universes and their histories have been dramatically altered :
- Magnus killed his mother Rogue shortly after his thirteenth birthday with his steel touch. His father Magneto never recovered from the loss and ressumed his fight against humanity.

- During his first mission with the Brotherhood, Mimic tried to kidnap Senator Kelly. However the plan went wrong and Kelly and 47 innocent bystanders were killed. Mimic now sits on death row.

- Morph, while still with the New Mutants was injured in a fight with the Morlocks. His physical composition was disrupted and ever since he is in liquid state in Hank McCoy’s labs.

- Nocturne’s father was killed in battle with the Hellfire Club. Nightcrawler‘s murderer is nobody else than his own mother Mystique.

- Thunderbird never reclaimed his free will and remained Apocalypse’s loyal servant.

- Blink was never born.

The Time Broker explains that the Exiles are given the opportunity to change their times back. For that they have to repair the breaks in the chain timelines that caused the ripple. Although these breaks have happened in alternate realities that at fits glance have nothing to do with the Exiles‘ homes, they were responsible for the teams current condition. They have to travel around from one reality to the next to realign the “fallen dominos“ to get their old lives back. If they are successful the Exiles will return to the exact moment when they left, but the members could also be injured, die or simply fail, meaning they would return to their altered homes; except Blink, if she fails, she simply ceases to be. To guide them on their mission the Time Broker hands Clarice a device called Tallus. It will help guide them to what they are supposed to do and in conjuction with her teleportation ability allow them to jump to the various alternate realities. Right after revealing that both the desert land and the Time Broker himself are not real, but constructed out of the Exiles’s consciousnesses, he fades out, while the team jumps to their first mission.

The Exiles land in a desert 33 miles from Phoenix. Blink, who is the only one to “hear“ the Tallus, says that the device said that they are supposed to find “the one who would lead us“. The team wonders what that is supposed to mean, but still they first need some clothes. Late at night the brak into a the Meltzer-Flam shopping mall near Phoenix, Nocturne and Thunderbird find themselves something decent to wear in a leather shop, while the others poke around in the internet to learn more about this reality, that seems to have no equivalent of the X-Men, the Avengers, nor any other super beings. The Tallus reports that in this world the organisation Zero Tolerance captured all superbeings, who have either been jailed, executed or aborted for the last fifty years. It then pepeats the task to finf the one who would lead, adding “Find your greatest teacher.“ The Exiles are sure that this would refer to Professor Xavier, although Blink never met a version of him, she decides to agree. Magnus creates a cerebro apparatus out of thin air, and both Mimic, possessing siome residue energies from Jean Grey, and Nocturne, born with limited telepathy, operate it to locate this reality’s Xavier. The device overpowers and explodes but they have pinpointed the professor to as holding facility in Nevada.
The team teleports into the prison and while Mimic, Thunderbird, Nocturne and Morph create a diversion by fighting the guards, Blink and Magnus free Xavier from his cell, were he was shackled and probed with wiring in his head. After Blink teleports all of them back into the desert, Magnus pulls out carefully the wires of Xavier’s head. Slowly the telepath wakes up and the Exiles try to introduce themselves, but the telepath already knows about them as he can mentally probe them. Without warning he renders the whole team unconscious with a psibolt and walks away. He can not accept such a stupid cause like the coexistence of mutant and humans, he can only accept mutantkinds superiority, and is determined to exterminate all humans.

Characters Involved: 

Blink / Clarice Ferguson [AoA], Magnus, Mimic / Calvin Rankin, Morph, Nocturne / Talia Josephine Wagner, Thunderbird / John Proudstar (all Exiles)

Time Broker
Alternate reality the Exiles visit in #1-2 :

Flashback to Blink’s reality [AoA] :

Apocalypse, Blink, Iceman, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Quicksilver, Rogue, Sabretooth, Sinister, Wildchild
Flashback to Magnus‘ reality :

Magneto, Magnus, Rogue
Flashback to Morph’s reality :

Beast, Captain America, Cannonball, Cyclops, Gambit, Hawkeye, Iceman, Jubilee, Mirage, Morph, Psylocke, Rogue, Sunspot, Thor, Warbird, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, Xavier
Flashback to Mimic‘s reality :

Angel, Beast, Bishop, Blob, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Mimic, Scarlet Witch, Toad, Wolverine, Xavier
Flashback to Nocturne’s reality :

Nightcrawler, Nocturne, Shadowcat, Thunderbird, Wolverine
Flashback to Thunderbird’s reality :

Apocalypse, Thunderbird

Story Notes: 

Blink’s escape from the AoA was seen in Blink #4, Nocturne was first seen in the Millenial Visions One Shot, in a scenario entitled “Professor W’s X-Men“.

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