Exiles #80

Background

The Exiles have met Kevin MacTaggert, aka the reality-bending mutant known as Proteus, which resulted in his possession of Mimic's body. Using his abilities, Proteus traveled to the alternate dimension known as the New Universe where he discarded Mimic's withered husk for that of John Tensen, aka Justice. After his defeat by the Exiles with the help of Longshot, Proteus' next stop was the 2099 universe where he found the perfect body: Hulk 2099! With the help of Spider-Man 2099, the Exiles were able to get Proteus to leave that dimension and proceed on to the next. After a quick stop in the Squadron Supreme universe and reluctantly picking up Power Princess as a member, the Exiles traveled to the alternate future where the Hulk, as the Maestro, ruled, to stop Proteus from getting Maestro's infinitely powered body. Forming an alliance with the Maestro as per Power Princess' suggestion, they set up a trap for Proteus but the resulting fight caused Morph to accidentally attack Maestro, signing the Exile's death warrant.

CURRENT EXILES:

SABRETOOTH (Victor Creed): Enhanced senses and healing.

BLINK (Clarice Ferguson): Teleportation.

MORPH: Shape-shifting.

SASQUATCH (Dr. Heather Hudson): Super strength and senses.

LONGSHOT: Agility and luck powers.

SPIDER-MAN 2099 (Miguel O'Hara): Spider-like powers and talons.

POWER PRINCESS (Zarda): Super strength and flight.

Story Details

  Exiles #80
Summary: Spider-Man 2099 Appears
Arc: Part 2 of 'World Tour: Future Imperfect' (1-2)
Editor: Mike Marts
Writer: Tony Bedard
Pencils: Jim Calafiore
Inker: Mark McKenna

Morph recounts his life to this point. He was born a blob of white goo and maintained a human shape as he grew up to please his parents and just make things easier in life. When his mother died of lung cancer, his father got so withdrawn he put his clowning son into a special school; Xavier's. There, he earned a degree in computer engineering, became leader of the New Mutants, full- fledged X-Man, and the most popular Avenger dwarfing even Captain America. Yes, everything came easy for Morph.

Until he joined the Exiles...and had a giant hulking green maniac throwing down with him and his teammates. Maestro plows through the Exiles like nothing, mixing savage brute strength with manipulative cunning. All the while, they all forget the real reason for this fracas is somewhere under the rubble from the start of the fight...Proteus. It's when Maestro lands a blow on Blink that Proteus re-enters the fray, feeding off on the stolen memories and emotions that linger from when he possessed Blink's love, Mimic. Morph holds Longshot back from the fight to allow them to wear each other down, but realizes it might've been a mistake when Proteus snaps Maestro's neck, temporarily immobilizing him to allow him to possess his body.

Longshot uses his luck powers to throw Proteus off long enough for Morph to get in a mighty blow and force him back. Unfortunately, Morph is still a victim of Proteus' reality-warping powers. Longshot keeps up the fight, his power canceling out Proteus'. Proteus, fed up, tries to possess Longshot's body, but can't due to the metal implants in all their heads. Morph tries to take advantage of the moment of weakness, but ends up getting his implant knocked out of his malleable head. That allows Proteus to take over his body, finding that his anatomy is a hundred times better than what he was after.

Proteus takes off, leaving the Exiles more determined than ever to take him down as he's now taken two of their own.

General Comments

The one consistent thing about Exiles is the alternate realities allow stories to not end as you think they will, or should. Although, the most well-read reader could determine with the extra emphasis on Morph and the couple references to the metal implants what the possible outcome might be as those are classic clues in storytelling. But, it was an unexpected end especially to such a fan-favored character (next to Blink, that is). Still a good story whose length hasn't managed to diminish it any, accompanied by excellent artwork. However, Proteus Hulk's face was starting to look a little less like 2099 and more like the classic Hulk in a few panels. Another bonus point was the old-school method of recapping the previous issues within the story like they used to do in comics, before the invention of recap pages.

Overall Rating

4.5 Webs. A predictable end if you saw the signs, but no less thrilling. Each issue is better than the last, and with only a minor artistic glitch against it, the issue holds strong.

Footnote

In every issue, Morph takes on some familiar and unusual forms. Here, we'll try to chronicle as many as we can in a section we'll call: MORPH'S MORPHS!

Morph's morphs: sheet, muscles, mace-hands, stone hands...

WE INTERRUPT THIS REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM TAE BRING YE...

PROTEUS' MORPHS: Ms. Marvel, Jack the Ripper, little girl