Writer: Tony Bedard
Artists: Paul Pelletier, Rick Magyar
Publisher: Marvel Comics
After a mildly disappointing stint in the Squadron Supreme universe, Exiles is back in the game with the penultimate chapter of the "World Tour" saga. This time, Tony Bedard takes us to the "Future Imperfect" timeline, where Proteus has set his sights on the most powerful and most intelligent Hulk in the Multiverse: the Maestro. At the Exiles' home base, a despondent Blink cedes leadership of the team to new arrival Power Princess, whose bitchiness is matched only by her determination to outsmart their enemy.
Bedard really did his homework for this one. Aside from recreating the setting of the original Peter David story, he goes a step further and fills in some blanks PAD never addressed: how did Rick Jones survive the nuclear attack? How could the Maestro be so sure that snapping the Hulk's neck wouldn't kill him? How did he get Forge's gun? It's not like we're talking huge, gaping plot holes, but answering these questions does exactly what the "World Tour" was supposed to do - revisiting familiar realities both for nostalgia, and for a chance to look at them a little differently, at another angle.
Having gathered all the main players together at the end of the previous issue, this chapter is dominated by a three-way battle between Exiles, Proteus and the Maestro. As action scenes go, it's pretty well-coordinated; only one character doesn't get to do much of anything, and he was outclassed to begin with. Other than that, it flows nicely without being overstretched.
Despite the heavy emphasis on fighting, Bedard also manages to pull off a rather nice twist: this issue is narrated by an Exile who dies at the tail end of the fight. When it happens, the internal monologue just stops mid-sentence. Swift, cold and final, and all the more chilling for how downplayed it is. There's nothing wrong with making a big production out of death, but sometimes it's so much more effective to take the more subtle route.
While the "World Tour" as a whole will ultimately succeed or fail depending on its outcome, it's certainly provided some strong stories in the interrim.
This is one such story.
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