Exiles #23

Background

The book Exiles can best be described as that television series Sliders meets What If? in the Marvel Universe. The characters are typically alternate forms of the ones we know, giving tons of creative freedom to do with them as they wish. A team is picked by some being known as the Timekeeper and sent to some alternate world with a mission to 'set things right', meaning fixing that given reality.

The team can rotate around, sending members back to their world and replacing them with others from different realities. I should also say that so far there seems to be two distinct teams performing their missions in this title, usually alternating over to the other teams adventures with each story arc. One team is the Exiles, still adhering to their morals and principles as they try to complete their mission. The other team is Weapon X, and they will do whatever it takes to get home.

Our interest lies in the form of an alternate Spider-Man, a member of Weapon X, he is Peter Parker the Spider, joined with an alien symbiote. The differences are this Spider looks more like Carnage, not to mention he has all the murdering tendencies to boot. Yes, this Spider is a stone-cold killer. The team leader is Gambit, others include Angel, Storm, Hulk (Female), and Vision. This time they go up against a megalomaniacal Iron Man.

Story 'With An Iron Fist (Part 1)'

  Exiles #23
Summary: Spider Cameo (Alt. Spider-Man)
Arc: Part 1 of 'With An Iron Fist' (1-2-3)
Editor: Mike Raicht
Writer: Judd Winick
Pencils: Kev Walker
Inker: Kev Walker

Right off the bat we are told Iron Man is not only President of the U.S. for life, he is also the Monarch of Earth. He has done what so many villains have tried to do over the years, rule the world. How did he accomplish this feat? The power was pretty much given to him, as the history unfolds before us.

Iron Man is of course Tony Stark the brilliant inventor and billionare, and while that may be enough for our Iron Man, no so with this version. In his early days he was strictly business, acquiring one company after another, careful to hide his trail. Before long Stark Industries would rule the globe by economic standards, with none the wiser as long as Tony kept his patience.

A Mutant War breaks out headed by Magneto against all of humanity. Every super powered being is involved in this massive war, with many losses. We learn that secretly it was Tony himself, assisting with the creation of the Mutant army through funding, Magneto promising Iron Man some leadership after the war. But Iron Mans true intentions were using Magneto and the others to cut down a potential super powered opposition when the day comes that he assumes total control. He then personally kills Magneto, becoming a hero to the public, unaware of the truth.

Worldwide famine hits the likes of which has never been seen, through viruses afflicting livestock and plantlife. Stark Industries would naturally develop countermeasures, and before long the world would hunger no more. Stark being the unknown cause but the known cure would rocket him to the Presidency. Using secret weather control technology, Stark would use 'natural' disasters on other countries, looking to him and the United States for aid, and subseqently, under his control.

Starks last hurdle came in the form of one just like him, Doctor Doom. An alliance between the two had Doom attacking Washington, laying waste to the current political structure and officials, leaving only Stark in charge. Doom then attempted to attack Iron Man, something Tony surely would have done to Doom eventually, but for all of Dooms might, he fell. From that day on, Tony Stark - Iron Man, would rule all.

Present day now, and Tony Stark is one ruthless man. He casually orders a female editor in chief to be killed, citing that he owns the media. On a visit to his personal physician, we learn that Tony had paid a steep price in his fight with Doom. His face. The doctor is hired specifically to repair the damage done by Dooms radiation blast. During this visit Tonys aide brings him news of 'them'. 'Them' being, the Inhumans.

It seems technological and mechanical problems have caused the hidden Inhumans their secrecy, for they know that on this Earth, to be discovered is to be hunted. Black Bolt and a widowed Susan Richards are the King and Queen of this last race of super beings. They know that Stark is not just satisfied with his power over the Earth, but seeks to conquer the stars, other races, other worlds. For that he needs a super army, and the Inhumans are a perfect source of power to be experimented with.

The Inhumans must surface to repair Attilan, their submerged city, and they do so fully expecting a coming battle. One defensive measure is something Reed had developed before he died, the G barrier. It was Reed who had pieced together Tonys ultimate plan during the Mutant War, knowledge that would cost him and many others their lives.

A battalion of Iron Men are sent to Attilan in an attempt to capture many of the inhabitants, however the Inhumans will not tolerate such a fate and launch their own offense, trying to take out the Iron soldiers with extreme prejudice, delaying them long enough to get the G barrier working. Once ready, all flyers are signaled back home to Attilan, the Iron soldiers mistakingly thinking they are in retreat.

The G barrier is Galactus technology. Reed had saved the life of Galactus in return that the devourer never again return to Earth. To keep his promise, Galactus gave Reed the ability to create a force field so powerful that not even the mighty giant could breach it. This is what Reed left for the Inhumans as protection. When the G barrier is activated it expands to encompass the entire city in one explosive instant, incinerating anything just outside the city, meaning all 40,000 Iron soldiers snuffed out in the blink of an eye.

As Tony Starks ponders this new problem, our Weapon X team makes its debut in Tonys office...

General Comments

This is one hell of a story. Period. Judd Winick knows just what kind of freedom is given to a writer on this book and he uses it to its full potential. The art provided by Kev Walker is gritty and hard-hitting, which may put off some, but I happen to think it works out very well for this story.

Each one seems to have been carefully done so you just couldnt wait to get the next part. Even though I gave away all the details of these issues, dont let that try to dissuade you from picking these up. I dont know what else to say, I loved it. Go buy it. Now.

Overall Rating

Spidey relevance aside, a story worth getting. Way to go guys!