New Exiles #18

Issue Date: 
April 2009
Story Title: 
Begin AGAIN!

Chris Claremont (writer), Tim Seeley (penciler & inker), Wilfredo Quintana (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The Exiles deal with the fallout of the battle with the Shi’Ar. From reconstruction, to deciding the fate the Shi’Ar, the Exiles have their hands full. Eventually they leave, but both Morph and Rogue decide to stay behind. When the remaining Exiles head home they find Sage, transformed. Psylocke and Sage have it out about her decision to take on the responsibilities of the Palace, but Psylocke does come to terms with it. Valeria also shows up at the Palace and joins the team. They go on a few missions together, Morph eventually returns, and the team gets news that Gambit’s father, Namor, died. The team heads to his homeworld to mourn and they end up defeating Black Panther and her forces once and for all. Sadly, Gambit stays behind to take over as the leader of his people. Back at the Palace, life continues as normal as the team reflects on their future and what it means for them to be Exiles.

Full Summary: 

Unknown Earth

London, Republic of Britannia

The fierce battle between the Shi’Ar and Earth’s heroes is ended, the invaders having surrendered, but not without casualties on both sides. As the newly arrived Imperial Guard helps with the recovery operations, Mystiq finds his way to the medical tent, taking a seat at the side of the deceased Cat Pryde. The solemn Mystiq is so deep in thought he’s caught by surprise as the wheelchair bound Psylocke enters to pay her respects. “What the devil” he exclaims questioning why she’s there, having barely survived the battle herself. Psylocke assures him she’s fine, just felt the need to be by Cat’s side.
Psylocke wheels herself over and places her hand on Cat’s pale forehead. She turns to Mystiq and buries her face in his chest. Mystiq comforts her explaining he couldn’t bear the though of Cat being alone either. Psylocke cries that it wasn’t fair, she was just a kid. Mystiq claims that fate isn’t always fair. Sabretooth walks in on this tender moment and decides to hang back in the shadows. The expression on his face is one of sadness as well.
Some day later, Gambit is out helping some of the locals rebuild. He uses his force field powers to lift some heavy beams to the construction workers.
And on another day, the two lovebirds, Rogue and Colyn, are found flying along a restricted area of the coast, prepping for some specialized training. As they soar toward each other Colyn fires off some repulsor rays aimed directly at Rogue. Rogue dodges them and then connects violently with Colyn, wrapping her arms around the midsection of his armor. After the hard jolt, she maneuvers herself around the armor and puts him into a headlock.
Colyn easily knocks her off and Rogue accuses him of faking. Colyn admits her hit was hard, but he’s tougher than that. Then he decks her and Rogue goes crashing into an abandoned building, destroying most of it. Colyn tries contacting her over the intercom, but she’s not answering. He panics and yells out her name again. When she doesn’t answer he swoops down to investigate.
Colyn finds Rogue struggling through the rubble. Upon touching down, she compliments him on a nice hit. Colyn takes off his helmet and ladmits she scared the devil out of him. Rogue gets to her feet and goes about setting things right between them, planting a firm kiss on his lips.
On yet another day, a meeting of representatives from across the world gathers to discuss the fate of Lilandra and her compatriots. The debate within the court on whether or not to execute her and her people rages on. The majority seem to be against the death penalty.
The discussion is continued in the presidential quarters, though with a smaller audience. With Nerimani standing atop the presidential seal the president bluntly asks if her people will accept her as empress. Nerimani lists two things on her side, one, the throne was hers by birthright and two, she beat her sister in a fair fight. Her people will at least give her a chance to prove herself, she states. Having the Imperial Guard at her side helps too, she adds.
The president and Nerimani shake hands, Nerimani restating their agreement that Lilandra will stay on Earth as an exile. One of the presidential advisors pipes up, questioning that decision. He points out they face the risk of her supporters one day coming for her, and also find themselves now involved with imperial politics.
They’re already involved after this fiasco, Morph argues, and there’s no going back. Nerimani agrees, saying they need to forge ahead, first by forming an alliance between the Shi’Ar and Earth. Another advisor, Dr. Stark, asks Nerimani about the probability of being overthrown like her sister. Morph once again interjects, this time with a big grin and two thumbs up claiming Nerimani will be just fine.
On still another day, at the shorefront headquarters of the Daughters of the Dragon, the Exiles and Colyn are all gathered together. Psylocke is back on her feet looking none the worse for wear. Morph announces to the group he’s staying behind, at least for a little bit. Sabretooth turns, a look of anger on his face. Morph quickly relates how he wants to go back to the Shi’Ar with Nerimani and make sure everything works out ok.
Gambit jokes around, asking Morph if he’s trying to build himself an empire. Morph doesn’t take kindly to his comment, calling Gambit “Short-Run.” He points out he’s been doing this for a long time and thinks it might be good to stick around a bit longer and make sure everything works out. Sabretooth admits he has some good points, but he’s concerned the Exiles are short-handed. Morph understands where he’s coming from, but claims with this being a core dimension if he makes sure everything’s good it will help other realities from destabilizing.
Psylocke smiles, after all Morph is making some sense. Morph says he just wants to make sure everything is better. Sabretooth doesn’t look happy to do it, but gives Morph permission to stay behind, telling him to look them up when he’s ready to return.
Sabretooth tells the rest of the crew it’s time to go, but Rogue has a bomb to drop too. She tells her teammates she’s staying behind permanently. Sabretooth demands to know what’s going on. Rogue says she’s found love, taking Colyn’s armored hand into her own.
Morph pops a question mark out of the top of his head and questions how their human/saurian relationship can possibly work out. Rogue points out Morph was the one who told her to broaden her horizons. Ever persistent, Morph still wants to know how she thinks it’s going to work. Mystiq answers this one, telling the resident jokester true love will always find a way.
Sabretooth looks around at his troops and asks if they have anymore surprises in store for him. Rogue cozies up to Sabes and as if to soften the blow adds that she can help make sure this dimension stays straight, much like Morph wants to do. She also tells them to look her up with they ever need her help. Then Rogue takes a look at Morph and suggests that maybe there was a purpose behind his rescue of her. Morph hugs her and says that’s what his instincts told him and his instincts are pretty good.
The last day, at least for some, Sabretooth, Mystiq, Gambit and Psylocke say their farely wells to Morph, Rogue, the president as well as some of the other members of the world. They then disappear, their destination the Crystal Palace.
Crystal Palace

The four Exiles return home and find Sage waiting for them. She apologizes for what happened to Cat. Sabretooth brushes it off, saying it’s all part of the life of an Exile. Then they all stop and stare, realizing Sage looks totally different. Psylocke asks what she’s done with herself.
Sage explains she merged the essence of her being with the Crystal Palace and that from now on whenever they communicate with the Palace they are actually communicating with her. Psylocke looks at her, hurt. She asks Sage how she could have done this. It was necessary, Sage says, and steps toward her. Psylocke tries pushing her away, but her hand passes right through. Psylocke takes off in anger.
Sage catches up with her on the outside, the two flying over the shoreline. Sage tries reasoning with her, but Psylocke tells her to go to hell. That doesn’t stop Sage from trying, explaining that the Palace lost its soul and the whole Omniverse was dying because of it. Psylocke sarcastically responds, “So you figured you’d save the day.” Sage admits the Palace first chose Cat, but she was too young and scared and couldn’t handle it. And dead, Psylocke adds.
Sage continues telling her side of the story until finally they decide to set down and discuss things more civilly. Psylocke still can’t believe Sage would do this. Sage says she was just following her instincts, much like Psylocke taught her.
The area around them suddenly brims with life. Grass and flowers begin to bloom, and birds and insects appear out of thin air. Psylocke is amazed and asks where they came from. Sage isn’t exactly sure how it’s happening. She believes the Palace is reflecting the preferences of its inhabitants.
Sage brings them back to their discussion, telling Psylocke she couldn’t just sit around and watch everything end, she had to do something. Psylocke asks what happens next. Sage admits she doesn’t know, but puts forward something better might come up.
The two go walking and come across an apple tree from which they both pick apples. Psylocke flat out tells Sage she is playing God. Sage disagrees, saying she’s a long way from that. Psylocke begs to differ, pointing at everything around them that once was desolate.
The discussion of Sage’s new existence continues as they make their way past a bear wading near a waterfall. Psylocke asks how the merge process occurred. Sage isn’t really sure, she just has a sense of things and is learning as she goes, though admits she has a long way to go.
Sage dives into the water, transforming her outfit to swimming gear just before making contact with the water. When Sage’s head reemerges Psylocke asks what will happen when she does learn it all. Sage thinks she might be like the gods Psylocke met from before. Surprised, Psylocke asks how she knew about her meeting with them. Sage explains she has a sense of things, a sense of their presence and Psylocke’s together. She adds that the Exiles need to stay together for this whole thing to work.
Wading out into the water, Psylocke asks what happens if there’s no going back. Admitting she has no family and only a few friends Sage says this is something she wants to do, she wants to make things better. She leans her head back in the water, so only her face is above the surface and admits she always wanted to play on a big stage and can’t think of anything bigger.
Elsewhere, Gambit dives into the ocean and reminisces about his last time there, where the ocean came to life and he and Gambit saw an Atlantean version of Cat swimming amongst the sea life. It disappeared after that and hasn’t been the same since.
Gambit spots something out of the corner of his eye and turns. It’s Valeria, with a breather mask over her mouth. She says hi to Gambit, saying she’s been working on her Atlantean. Gambit lifts them both to the surface via force field disks and asks, “What the devil are you doing here?!” Valeria reminds him she’s the child of two supreme geniuses. She tells Gambit she wants to help. Before their conversation can continue Sage BREEPS in with an urgent message.
Remembrance Room

Mystiq is sitting in a chair in the middle of the room looking at the holo-vids of fallen Exiles past. Mystiq never realized the cost of being an Exile could be so high, he just wishes Cat’s ending was a happy one. His time for lamenting is cut short, however, by a BREEP from Sage alerting him to some trouble.
Mission Control

The Exiles are finally together, including their latest recruit, Valeria. Sabretooth welcomes her saying they sure could use her help. Val says her dad wasn’t too happy about it, but will get over it. Sage warns Creed if anything happens to her he tells Reed. It’s his lucky day, Sabretooth replies, and then lays down the details of their next mission.
Earth #991

Vikings settled North America when Europe and North Africa were overrun by invading Mongols. Over the centuries that followed the Norse interbred with the indigenous tribes of Amerindians.
Presently, the Mongol goal is to inaugurate the 21st century by adding these two continents to their domain. The Exiles make sure this doesn’t happen.
Earth #1137

Here, the team finds a world where the sentient life forms are descended from evolved insects.
Their invading adversaries actually look more traditionally “human” but since they’re Shi’Ar on a mission of conquest, the Exiles find their choice of which side to take surprisingly easy.
Crystal Palace

The prodigal son has returned, Morph is back in the Palace checking up on his old friends. Sage is the only one available at the moment and admits they all thought they’d seen the last of him, that he found his happy ending. Morph says that’s what he thought too, but he was always worrying about them and Nerimani had an empire to run so it didn’t work out. Sage gives him a big hug and tells him that’s the way it happens sometimes.
On another fateful day, the Exiles head out on a mission that has nothing to do with a disaster in the Omniverse, but instead something of a more personal nature. Their destination, Gambit’s homeworld.
Unknown Earth

The Exiles arrive on the presidential ship where they find Namor’s body laid out on a steel table, his family and others surrounding him. Gambit runs over to his mom and apologizes. Sue says there was nothing he could’ve done even if he was there. The rest of his family isn’t as forgiving, Ari, Erin and Johnny guilt-tripping him about not being there to save their dad.
Later, Gambit is pronounced Lord Prince of Atlantis, Monarch of the Seven Seas, in full view of the Great Lords of the Deep. Gambit swears to make his family proud, then shakes hands with President Aquilla. Val thinks Gambit looks different and Mystiq gives her a smirk saying he’s grown up, real and good. “Prince Hal has become Prince Henry,” Gambit finishes, referencing Shakespeare.
Nicholas Fury fills Gambit in on the details behind his father’s death. It turns out Black Panther’s forces attacked after they developed a device to breach their force field. Nicholas says it will be a while before a replacement can be built.
Gambit turns to Sage and asks if she can do anything to speed up their response. As it turns out the resources of the Crystal Palace are more than a match for the Panther’s invisible barrier. A force of Exiles and others teleport in and catch the enemy by surprise. The fierce conflict ends with the Earth’s liberation and Namor’s death avenged.
Crystal Palace

Soon after, it’s just another day at the Palace with Val and Mystiq sitting at a table, Mystiq reading a novel titled Gidget and Val staring at a hologram of Gambit. She comments on how much she misses him. Unfortunately, his family needed him more, Mystiq replies, adding that that’s the nature of being an Exile.
They both get up and start to walk outside. Val asks Mystiq if he’s going to leave someday. He avoids the question and asks for her help making dinner.
Outside, Val tries pressuring Morph into being the waitress. Morph refuses, putting his hand up in protest. Smirking, Val says she heard he looked really cute before. Mystiq puts in his two-cents suggesting the two challenge each other for best-looking waitress. An exclamation point pops out of Morph’s head. He’s wise to Mystiq’s little ploy and isn’t falling for it.
Out on the ocean Sabretooth and Psylocke can be seen surfing amongst the waves. Val’s watching them go when suddenly they disappear. She tells Morph she can’t see them anymore and so he binocularizes his eyes. He gets an eyeful of something totally unexpected and quietly remarks the two of them should get a room.
Both Psylocke and Sabretooth have their surfboards dug into the sand. Sabretooth moves in for the kiss and the two lovers quickly find themselves making out on the beach.
Off on the other side of the coast Val’s still curious what they’re up to. Mystiq tells her to stop worrying. Then up in the sky Val spots a pair of mating eagles. Morph wonders what they’ll do for an encore.
Much later, Sabretooth and Psylocke, holding hands, make their way to the rest of the gang. Val welcomes them back, saying they look nice. Psylocke tells them Sage dropped some clothes off for them. Sabretooth adds that they’re not his style.
The sun begins to set and the Exiles are left to ponder their future. Morph asks Sabretooth where they go from there. Sabretooth says they start again, like they did before. Val looks up at the stars now forming in the sky and comments on how each star represents a different dimension. She can’t believe how many there are. And they’re the ones chosen to keep it safe, Psylocke adds. Sabretooth echoes Psylocke’s comments saying that as impossible as it seems they’ve gotta protect them all. “Cool!” Val responds.

Characters Involved: 

Cat Pryde (deceased body), Gambit, Morph, Mystiq, Psylocke, Rogue, Sabretooth, Sage (all Exiles)

Valeria Richards

Cat, Holocaust, Magik, Magnus, Mimic, Namora (all deceased Exiles)
Unknown Earth

Colyn (a Son of Iron)

Nicole Fury, Colleen Wing (all Daughters of the Dragon)
Astra, Earthquake, Fang, Gladiator, Neutron, Smasher, Titan, Warstar (all recognizable Imperial Guard)

Dr. Antonia Stark
faded images of the deceased scattered along the skyline

Cat (Exile)

Misty Knight, Sharen (all Daughters of the Dragon)

random Sons of Iron and Daughters of the Dragon
Earth #991

Dani Moonstar, Rahne, Thor
Earth #1137

Darkhawk, Deathbird, Gladiator, Rocket Racoon (all Shi’Ar)
Gambit’s homeworld

Ari, Erin, Johnny, Namor (deceased), Susan Storm
President Aquilla, Nicholas Fury, Ultron, Wolverine

Lords of the Great Deeps
Black Panther, Iron Maiden, Sandstorm (all Panther’s Bloodforce)

Story Notes: 

It’s surprising that Morph would question Rogue and Colyn’s relationship on the basis of species. Earlier in the series he fervently defended a prince and his love for a dragon. (New Exiles #5-6)
Letterer error:

On page 13, in the top left corner, the dialogue bubbles are reversed, pointing at the wrong persons.
Psylocke first met with the Palace gods in Exiles (1st series) #96.
When Mystiq says Prince Hal has become King Henry he’s referencing Shakespeare’s character of King Henry V, who was at first a brash youth known as Prince Hal in Henry IV, but eventually matures going by King Henry in Henry V.
Black Panther and her forces erected a force field, covering the entire planet. The Exiles and their allies barely escaped and made it out of the atmosphere to safety. This occurred in New Exiles #4.
Valeria met the team again in the annual, where she expressed her desire to join them.
This being the final issue of New Exiles it looks like the fate of Heather’s Icon will never be revealed. Most likely she was permanently purged from the computer system in New Exiles #8.
There’s no Letters page this issue.
Psylocke’s feud with Slaymaster is resolved in X-Men: Sword of the Braddocks. She returns to the X-Men, starting with Uncanny X-Men #508.
There is a new Exiles series, but so far of the old cast only Morph has reappeared in the role of the Timebroker.

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