Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"The End" Week: Exiles #4!

The rumor always was that Marvel bought up Malibu's Ultraverse for their coloring department; I wonder if maybe it wasn't to get an X-name they somehow missed: from 1993, Exiles #4, "Fatal Flaws" Written by Steve Gerber, pencils by R.R. Phipps, inks by Dave Simons.

This is the only issue of this series I've read, but it was a fairly standard teenagers get powers, evil corporation wants to exploit them, benevolent scientist and Cable-like tough guy serve as their mentors. Except for two things: Gerber, in an editorial, mentions the characters "carried the seeds of their own destruction." The scientist didn't realize what she was getting into; the kids were unready, unstable, unsuited for super-powered war; even the evil corporation seems to have bitten off more than it could chew. In particular, there was Amber Hunt--a selfish, bitchy popular girl told she was going to die unless she got the super-powers treatment.

The second thing? Exiles was born to die. The goal was for the series' ending to be a complete shock. There were even solicits for future issues, but most of the characters are killed off here when Amber tries to use complex machinery to cure herself, and sets off a massive explosion. She would survive to set up the Ultraverse crossover Break-Thru (and received the Phoenix Force in a later crossover!) and the zombie-like Ghoul would resurface for Ultraforce, but the rest? Axed.

It's an interesting experiment, one that would be tough to repeat. But still just a footnote. Marvel would try to rebrand, using some characters from their own universe like the Juggernaut, but would have far more success with the Exiles name later...

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