Writer: Saladin Ahmed // Artists: Joe Quinones & Joe Rivera // MARVEL
Exiles has been an emotional roller coaster that never fails to provide a platter filled with cuteness, teamwork, and gasps. After experiencing traumatic losses in our last issue, our heroes are met with yet another challenge without any room to breathe. From the jump, we get into the problem: Our beloved Valkyrie has been captured. Hasn’t she gone through enough?! Gratefully, this is not a story about a damsel in distress waiting for a royal saving. We’ve seen Valkyrie take various forms from the friend who understands to the hero always ready for battle, and we see something different form here in issue 7…mourning. The consistent battle between acceptance and grief has been a constant metaphor throughout the series.
“‘When is it time to move on? vs. When is it time to mourn?'”
One thing we did not get to do in the last arc is take a sneak peak into Valkyrie’s past. We hear her talk about loss and her passions, but when everything you’ve ever known to be guaranteed is no longer present, what do you hold on to? I always loved the vulnerability in the Exile series, but what I am starting to appreciate more are the nuances that are often sugarcoated. Saladin Ahmed gave me “the feels” this week. His writing made me go into a reflective vibe, and if anything Exiles #8 is a great representation of “trauma shield.” It’s hard when you’re already going through the most, but what happens when you have nothing to do but shut off; however, you’re consistently battling with that fact? Can somebody pass me the Kleenex? These onions getting really strong my guy.
The artistry this time was so subtle, and I appreciate it. In past issues, you can see the colors being highlighted, and the playfulness pushing out even in moments of seriousness. This time I appreciated that I can enjoy the colors but also feel the somberness and tension as if I was in a movie. In digital mediums, we often see characters and colors fading, but here we see the colors hug each other. It’s hard to look at the art and not feel like you’re encompassed in the same room. Hard to not notice the same shifts in emotion and time period. I hope to see this subtlety rise and fall in future issues and take this comic to new heights.
8.9 Hold Your Horses out of 10
Reading Exiles? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.
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