Writer: Saladin Ahmed / Artist: Javier Rodriguez / Marvel Comics
Alternate Reality Villains
In this issue of Exiles, our heroes are still submerged in an alternate dimension where Wolverine looks like a vending machine plushy. Each reality is packed with particular kinds of monsters with their own quirks and attitudes. With worlds ranging from “Prehistoric Jungle” to “Dr. Seuss Dream Land” it is hard not to fall in love with the present characters. A personal favorite, the “Sassy Dinosaur”, with the Rolf level insults.
Readers are able to notice how each character’s voice is distinct and purposeful. The dialogue is continuously playful and I love how it plays within the setting. Instead of just giving us the dark jokes in a serious environment, we get a little of both. The lines sometimes get blurry between comedy and genuine dark moments. I admired the ambiguity, even in the moments I felt guilty for laughing.
What left me a bit empty was the speed. Exiles #2 kept me wondering about the calibration of the series. At times it felt too slow. Other times it felt fast and then I got lost within the dialogue. What consistently bothers me in this issue is the feeling of anticipation. It felt like I was for them to do something. Yes, we understand, you’re stuck in an alternate reality, that could get confusing. How long will it take for you to stop asking the question: “We need to figure out where we are”? I could appreciate this as an artistic method to try and reproduce a sense of displacement between the reader and characters; but at what point does it feel like a method? As soon as I asked myself that question, everything sped up and I was left confused again.
First our heroes are stuck in a different reality then three minutes later they are fighting the perpetrator? Did this ending feel earned? I enjoyed being caught in a daze while reading the comic, but at the same time I was consistently trying to figure out “How did we get here?” The comic felt like a train that went express, right before your stop on the local line. I would love to see how this transitions into their next battle and what kind of speed and imagery the creators will use to engage their audiences.