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New Exiles #8

Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

Chris Claremont
Tom Grummett
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: New Exiles #8 arrives in stores Thursday, July 10.

Erstwhile: The team of dimension jumping superheroes land on a world where the French and British are still fighting using big ships instead of rude comments and newspaper editorials. Meanwhile, Psylocke faces an alternate version of the man who nearly killed her by ripping out her eyes: The Slaymaster.

And Now: Psylocke wakes up and finds herself in someone else's body: an alternate version of herself! With the help of an unlikely ally, can she properly prepare to face Slaymaster again? Also, Napoleon ups the stakes of the war with the British as Gambit makes friends with underwater resistance. But will any of these conflicts matter if Cat can't stop the universe from ending?

On Story and Dialogue: It is seriously night and day when you compare Claremont's writing in GeNext #3, also out this week, to New Exiles #8. The former at least had easy to follow dialogue, which makes a very complex story comprehendible. The latter, on the other hand, was so effusive and bulky it made an already overly complex story incomprehensible.

Here's a sample of dialogue from Gambit, an aquatic variant of the character, as he battles the French navy:
That's the spirit, mes braves—amputating the rudder sends the first ship skidding out of control… right into the path of the one behind it. That collision should keep their crews occupied for the foreseeable."
Funny you should say that Gambit, as I can see it that from the art!

But he is not alone in overstating the obvious. Observe Emma Frost, a wheel chair bound variant, as she answers the British prince question, "Any word from my mother?" "None, your highness," Frost replies. "Nothing by phone, radio or telepathy. The French have control of Manhattan Island. At present, there's no sign of the Atlanteans. Evidently, we are quite on our own." Wow, this Emma blurts out exposition unprompted. Is that her nifty power in this reality?

So much of the dialogue seems unnatural or lacking in fluidity that it inhibits the progress of the story. Moreover, it ruins the impact of drama by repeating events from the previous page in exposition.

The only worthwhile bit of story and writing is Psylocke waking up in another body speaking Mandarin. There is real struggle and pathos between her and Ogun to destroy Slaymaster, which builds nicely to them working together.

On Art: Grummett is an appealing artist, but given Claremont's whimsical story it doesn't really capture the grandeur of the writer's scope. Something equally capricious and wild would suit the series better, like Joao Lemos' style.

Final Word: This has all the elements of being exciting, but falters due to awkward writing and inappropriate visual aesthetics.







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