Exiles (1st series) #98

Issue Date: 
November 2007
Story Title: 
Home, Again! The Doom Of Two Good Men Part 4

Chris Claremont (writer), Ronan Cliquet (penciler), Amilton Santos (inker), Wil Quintana (colorist), Simon Bowland (letterer), Tomm Coker (cover artist), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Battles are fought on three fronts. First off is the battle between the Exiles and the Four Fantastics underneath the city in its cavernous catacombs. There is much fighting with the Exiles seemingly in control. The crux of the whole brawl lies between Spider-Man and Gwen and discovering where their loyalties lie. In the end, Gwen chooses her duty as a soldier of Doom over her love for Miguel. Meanwhile, Reed infiltrates Doom’s headquarters and they go toe to toe. Neither of them seems to gain the upper hand. Eventually Doom flees to his command console to start the process of merging his Earth with the Crystal Palace. It doesn’t work and he realizes Reed’s done something. They debate the ethics of what Doom has done to Earth’s citizens, taking away free choice and their purpose for living. During their discussion people all over the world begin falling over and dying. In the Crystal Palace, Thunderbird arrives in the infirmary and helps Psylocke and Cat defeat Doom’s attack squad. After introductions are made they leave for the command center to check the Exiles’ status. In the catacombs, Blink apparently tells everyone of Reed’s plan to destroy the Earth and the Four Fantastics give up and accept their fate. Spider-Man tries convincing them otherwise, but it’s no use. The Four Fantastics fall over dead and the Exiles teleport out. Back at Doom’s, Reed finally explains to Victor that he couldn’t think of a way to make things right so he decided to end it all. The Earth explodes as the trio at the Crystal Palace looks on. The bigger problem is they’ve lost track of the Exiles following the destruction and have no idea what happened to them.

Full Summary: 

New York City

The Four Fantastics lead their strike team into the underground catacombs in the search for Reed Richards. In addition to their regular members, Spider-Man and Sabretooth are with them. Johnny Storm lets it be known he wants to handle Blink personally, after the embarrassment she put him through the last time they met. He also advises Banner to do the same with Morph.
Spider-Man is irritated by the comments, and despite Gwen’s protests responds to Johnny’s bravado with sarcasm. Johnny’s blood pressure boils as he turns around mid-air and zeros in on Spider-Man. He angrily yells, “You bein’ smart with me, wallcrawler?” Spider-Man tosses Gwen over to Sabretooth and dodges his swooping attack with a swift leap. He continues to make fun of Johnny, while swinging out of harm’s way.
Susan yells at the both of them to stop, reminding them of the mission they’re on. Spider-Man agrees and webs up Johnny’s face, pointing out they’re there to save the world. Susan has had enough and places the both of them inside a giant sphere. She chastises them and orders them to quit with the games.
With a break in the hunt, Jennifer cautions Susan to be wary of Reed and to not overestimate her own powers. She brings up how Reed’s always been able to come up with a way to escape Doom and start over again. Sabretooth asks how they plan to beat him. Jennifer looks downward and says he’s old and alone and he loves her. When she looks up again tears are brimming in her eyes. Jennifer continues, explaining Reed will want to save her and bring her back. She smiles a cunning smile when she says that will be his undoing.
Spider-Man sees Gwen huddled up along the rocky wall and asks what’s wrong. She asks Miguel why he was fighting with Johnny and why he wouldn’t stop. He tells her he doesn’t know, it just happened. She reminds Miguel Johnny is one of the world’s heroes and it’s upsetting her how he’s making him angry and fighting with him. Spider-Man pulls her close and apologizes. He promises he’ll never do it again. He just wants to make her happy. “It’s just...” he stops, staring into her eyes. Gwen asks, “Just what?” Miguel says he can’t shake the feeling that something is... and Sabretooth finishes the thought, “very wrong.”
Morph, Blink and Longshot watch from a hidden spot above. Morph asks what they should do. Blink says they need to wait and watch and when the time is right, attack.
Elsewhere in the catacombs, Reed looks at old polaroids of his friends Jennifer and Benn Grimm. He wonders aloud if it would have been better to have died in the war instead of fighting for a hopeless cause. He questions whether or not Doom is evil, or him for that matter after all he’s done. Reed, looking over the bodies of the dead Grimms, reminds himself he couldn’t save his best friend or the woman he loves. With tears streaming down his face Reed announces he’s come to the end of his road and asks God’s forgiveness for what he is about to do.
Crystal Palace

Doom’s commando strike team surrounds the captive Psylocke and Cat Pryde. Though Betsy is tied down to a chair, Cat is mobile and about to receive a serum injection, which will make her DNA more compatible with those from Doom’s world. As the doctor explains all that he plunges the needle downward only for it to pass through Cat’s arm. The doctor cries out in surprise. One of the men orders Delano and Martinez to place their phase bolts on full power. He then turns around and butt strokes Psylocke to the head. He warns Cat he’ll kill Psylocke if she tries anything funny. He also orders the doctor to give Psylocke the first dose.
Psylocke tells Cat to run, but she doesn’t. Instead, the men around her start to panic at the sight of something behind her. It’s Thunderbird, and he starts laying out the commandoes while Cat works to free Psylocke from her restraints. Cat asks if she knows the new guy. Psylocke responds she doesn’t, as she’s relatively new to the team.
Thunderbird takes out a few more guys and turns to see a rifle pointed straight at him. He knows he’s going to get it, and is totally surprised when the energy beam is deflected in opposite directions just four feet in front of him. Psylocke tells him one good save deserves another, using her TK powers to perform the feat.
Cat sneaks up on another guy and makes his body intangible causing his rifle to slip through his fingers. She tells him she’s not too happy with them barging into her hospital, waving their guns and trying to inject her with creepy drugs. Thunderbird sees this and yells out he’s had enough. He’s through being saved by girls, no offense of course. He tosses one of the unconscious soldiers at a group of four standing nearby, knocking them over like bowling pins. He decks another guy coming in from behind and with a smile on his face asks who’s left.
Psylocke and Cat are the only other ones left standing. Thunderbird introduces himself and asks what’s wrong when both their faces go from smiling to despondent. Cat tells him John Proudstar was killed on his first mission with the X-Men, long before she joined the team. Betsy smiles because in her dimension John Proudstar died in a similar fashion.
This leads Psylocke to point out they’re no longer X-Men, but Exiles. They’re not around to save the world. Like it or not, want it or not, their responsibility is to save all creation.
Doom’s War Room

Doom watches as Thunderbird takes out the last camera stationed by his operatives. He’s impressed with the Exiles’ skills in battle. His mind starts turning at the thought of devising countermeasures to stop those three, but then the transmission goes dead. In it’s place Susan appears. The conversation is short-lived, however, as Johnny Storm flies into view to alert her they’re under attack. Doom calls out to her in surprised worry, but her image disappears.
Doom orders his adjutant to ready a squad of men and get his personal shuttle ready. A voice just entering the room tells him that won’t be possible. It’s Reed, and he explains he took care of his immediate staff. He continues, telling Doom he thought after all the years of confrontations the final battle should be between just them.
Doom doesn’t stir from his seat. Instead he looks down upon Reed as if he was a foolish child. He asks Reed how he plans on going against the whole world. With a serene smile he tells Reed nothing he does can change the outcome. The world, the future for that matter, will always be his. Reed agrees he’s made the world and all its people in his image.
Doom asks if he admires that. Reed responds it’s a remarkable achievement. Doom asks if he’s decided to switch sides and join him. Reed lets his true feelings show, losing his calm demeanor. He tells Doom he’s there to bring the abomination to an end. Doom, still cool and collected, asks, “All by yourself, old friend?” “We were never friends!” Reed replies, beginning the battle.
Reed takes a swing at Doom, but misses and receives an energy blast to the gut. Reed takes a few more swings and finally connects, knocking Doom out of his chair. Reed wraps Doom up with his stretched out waist then extends his upper torso to the ceiling. He brings his giant arm down and strikes the captive Doom square in the noggin.
The Catacombs

The battle rages on between the Four Fantastics and the Exiles. Susan and Blink are matched up, and Blink uses her powers of teleportation to dodge her attacks and strike from behind. Sabretooth watches from the sidelines, content with what’s happening. Morph takes on Johnny Storm who lights him up in a bath of flame. Spider-Man tells his Exile friends to stop, that they don’t need to do this. Longshot, after kicking Hulk in the face, tells Spidey he’s wrong.
Sue turns invisible so Blink asks Longshot for some help. Sure enough he’s spot on with his daggers, letting himself throw based on intuition or “luck.” Sue throws up a force field to block the attack, which Blink uses to rematerialize right on top of her. Sue throws up another shield and blocks the pink Exile’s kick.
Gwen leaves Miguel’s side and joins Hulk against Longshot. Miguel can’t believe what she’s doing and grabs her by the arm. He tells her Longshot’s his friend. “And what am I?” she replies. Miguel tells her he loves her and asks her not to make him choose. Gwen feels like he would be forcing her to do the same. She tells him to make his choice.
Susan yells to Gwen that Doom’s orders were to kill the Exiles. Miguel takes off his mask and tells her she doesn’t have to do this. Again, he tells her he loves her. He holds her hand and Gwen says she loves him too, but that she’s also a hero of Doom and she will do her duty. She tackles Spider-Man to the ground.
Meanwhile, Morph continues to dodge Johnny’s fire blasts. Johnny mockingly tells him eventually he’s going to nail him. “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” Morph replies and both decks and kicks the Human Torch. He tells Johnny he talks way too much and then throws him at his sister.
Doom’s Headquarters

Doom decks Reed and frees himself from his windy grasp. He runs up the steps back to the computer control area. He tells Reed he’s gong to transit the entire world across time to the Crystal Palace. It will be his base from which his operatives will expand outward to every dimension imaginable. He presses a button and smiles at his moment of glory.
His smile turns to a look of dismay as he realizes his transit has been disengaged and his strike force from the Crystal Palace has returned. He looks down at Reed and sees him smiling. He yells at him accusingly, asking what he’s done. Doom picks Reed up into the air by his neck. He asks his arch-nemesis why he must always oppose him. After all, he brought peace and prosperity to the world. Reed asks at what cost. He reminds Doom he took away people’s compassion, their ability to grow, dream and create. Reed asks when the last time anybody cried was.
(During their debate people across the world begin falling dead where they stand.)
They discuss love and Doom blindingly believes love is still out there. Reed explains the reality of it all that people have no choice and nothing is theirs. Everything is all about Doom. Doom says his people will sacrifice themselves because of their love for him, their faith in his dreams. Reed asks what happened to his people’s original dreams.
The Catacombs

The battle has stopped between the two superhero teams. Blink tells her Exiles there’s nothing left for them to do and they have to leave. Miguel cradles Gwen in his arms and yells out he won’t leave. He pleads with them saying there’s something they must be able to do. Morph tells him they can’t fix everything. Sabretooth explains there’s nothing to save, the world is already dead, the people not much better than ghosts.
(Doom: My dreams are their dreams, Reed)
Gwen breaks away from Spidey much to his surprise. He calls out her name questioningly and she apologizes.
(Reed: So, Victor—human existence has become all about you?)
Gwen heads back over to the Four Fantastics. Miguel looks at her imploringly. Susan takes her by the shoulder. Miguel takes off running towards her. The Tallus lights up and the teleportation circle appears. Sue fires a shield at Miguel knocking him back toward his team. He watches in mute horror as the Four Fantastics collapse upon themselves, dead. Longshot and Morph beckon him to get into the teleportation ring.
(Reed continues to admonish Doom in a voice-over, blaming him for making the human race into his image and taking away their free choice. Worst of all, Reed says, is that Doom doesn’t realize what he’s done wrong, or even that he’s done wrong.)
Doom’s Headquarters

Doom has grown to mammoth proportions and has Reed’s neck in between two of his fingers. He demands to know what Reed has done. Reed tells Victor to forgive him, but he couldn’t find a better way to stop him, to make things right, so he’s brought them to an end. “May God have mercy on us both,” he finishes.
A large section of the planet explodes in an electro-magnetic fury. The Exiles are caught up in the blast mid-teleportation.
Crystal Palace

The Palace is shaking itself apart, shards falling from the ceiling. Psylocke, Cat and Thunderbird stare at the monitors as the Earth the Exiles were on disappears from view. Psylocke checks the signal and establishes they’re still locked onto the right dimension. She concludes the planet must have blown up.
Thunderbird asks what happened to the team. Psylocke says she doesn’t know. She had a solid lock on them when they began their transit, but lost contact when the Earth exploded. She thinks they may have been scattered across the dimensions. Cat asks if she can find them, after all, how many dimensions are there. Thunderbird asks how many she can imagine.

Characters Involved: 

Blink, Longshot, Proteus/Morph, Psylocke, Sabretooth, Spider-Man (all Exiles)

Thunderbird (former Exile)

Cat Pryde
Earth #187319

Robert Bruce Banner, Victor Von Doom, Gwen Stacey, Johnny Storm, Susan Storm, Jennifer Walters (all Four Fantastics)

Ben Grimm analogues, Reed Richards (Mole Man)
Delano, Martinez (all Doom commandoes)

Story Notes: 

John Proudstar of 616 was killed on his first official mission as an X-Man back in X-Men (1st series) #95. Count Nefaria was escaping in his plane so he leaped onto the wing as it took off. Thunderbird proceeded to smash through the hull to get at Nefaria. The damage caused the plane to explode midair and then crash into the mountainside. Thunderbird perished amidst the flames and wreckage.

Issue Information: 
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