Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Mike McKone (p), Jon Holdredge with Norm Rapmund and Tim Townsend (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The book open with Mimic battling his way through an army of attack droids, but after reducing these robotic attackers to scrape metal, we see he's confronted by the leader of the Atlantean army, Namor. As Mimic finds himself fighting a desperate fight for his life against Namor, who is stronger, near invulnerable, and most importantly quite eager to kill all surface dwellers, the book looks in on the rest of the Exiles, as they find the Atlantean army they've been sent to face is far larger than Dr. Doom had suggested it was. As Blink tries to make Victor Von Doom realize that withholding information, and barely acknowledging their efforts on his behalf is behavior unbecoming of a man in desperate need of their help, the book returns to Mimic's struggle with Namor. After seeing Mimic's only advantage is his greater speed, we see him take the battle into the subbasements of Castle Doom, where he ignites the massive petrol tanks, and turns the place into a fiery inferno. We then see Mimic uses Colossus' armored skin to protect himself from the searing heat, while he batters the water-starved Namor into unconsciousness.
While I've read this line many times before, this issue marks the first time that I actually believed that Namor is in "the same power league as Thor and the Hulk". I mean, I've seen him put on impressive displays of power before, but much like the Martian Manhunter's fire weakness, Namor is saddled with an Achilles' heel that will forever keep him from being seen as one of the big guns. Now Judd Winick secures Mimic's victory over Namor using this weakness, but before making use of it he allows Namor to come across as a near unstoppable force, while Mimic gets to play the human punching bag. What's more this world's version of Namor is in full vengeance upon surface dwellers mode, as when Mimic tries to reason with him, we see Namor is more than ready to kill every non- Atlantean without so much as a moments hesitation. Namor's raw power is put to good use during this contest, as Mimic gets himself batted around the Latverian country side, before he finds a battle-site that gives him a decided advantage over the incensed Namor, and then we get an equally impressive look at Mimic's power levels.
While the Namor Vs. Mimic tussle eats up most of the issue the rest of the team does get itself a few pages where Judd Winick gets himself bumped right to the bottom of my list of writers who I'd like to see writing a Dr. Doom monthly series. I realize that this is an alternate reality version of the character, but there's something intrinsically wrong about using Dr. Doom as a means to inflate your characters. I mean, Judd Winick offers up a Dr. Doom who at the start comes across as the much beloved tyrannical despot, with his haughty attitude, and super-inflated ego. However, the book goes a bit off the rails on the next page, as he appears to back down from a threat issued by Sasquatch. Still, I did have to smile at Blink's little rant, as it would take a party from a world that's never had a Dr. Doom to freak out when the good doctor fails to concede that he needs help from anyone, much less acknowledge the efforts being made on his behalf. Still, the scene featuring a chastised Doom didn't sit all that well with me, as I kept waiting for the scene where Sasquatch discovered the price for daring to threaten Victor Von Doom.
Mike McKone turns in one of his strongest efforts yet, in that if there was one area that I feel his art is lacking a bit, it would be his action shots lack a sense of power. However, this issue offers up a wonderful display of Namor on the warpath. Plus, Mimic's opening battle with the attack robots is also pretty nice, with a particularly memorable double-page shot of him using his claws to behead one of these mechanical attackers. However, it's when Namor arrives on the scene that Mike McKone proves to be quite good at staging a powerful looking battle, where the punches look like they're painful, and the final battleground proves to be a perfect blending of coloring effects, and the art itself. There's also the staples of Mike McKone's work as the characters are highly expressive, from Blink's anger at the unappreciative Dr. Doom, to her concerned expression after she's treated to Mimic's rather curt response after she asks him if he's okay. I also have to make mention of this issue's cover as while this scene doesn't play out inside the book, it's a great visual, that perfectly captures the mood of the story inside.
The battle between Mimic & Namor takes up quite a bit of this issue, but Mike McKone's art does such a strong job capturing the intensity of this contest, that it's hard to label it as excessive, or dismiss it as simply a pointless slugfest. There's a nice sense of urgency to this encounter, and Judd Winick does a very creditable job conveying the idea that Namor is one powerful opponent. I also like the idea that Mimic is starting to grow disenchanted with the role he's being forced to play as a member of the Exiles, and one does get the sense that his behavior is likely to get himself, or one of his teammates killed. Now the Dr. Doom fan in me didn't care much for the rather tame excuse that Judd Winick tries to offer up, but this scene is so brief that it's relatively easy to ignore. The opening sequence that details Mimic's struggle with the robots did strike me as a bit dull though, as roughly a third of the issue is eaten up by a fight that only serves to make it clear that these robots posed no threat to Mimic.
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