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By Marc Strom
Come April 1, the Exiles return with an all-new, all-different lineup, but the same old mission statement—maybe.
The reality-hopping, ragtag group of adventurers goes back to basics with EXILES #1 by writer Jeff Parker and artist Salvador Espin. And with the new creative team and lineup, everyone's favorite teleporting mutant, Blink, also makes a comeback to the team she led for nearly 100 issues.
Assembled by the mysterious Timebroker, the first Exiles journeyed from one broken reality to the next, fixing them as they went by correcting the path of their individual histories. While Parker remained mum on the details of the first story arc and just what brings the new team together, he did confess that it would have some parallels with the original team's formation.
"What I can tell you is little," Parker warns. "This all-new group of Exiles is going to find themselves in the Field of Nowhere again, just like the very first Exiles did. And longtime readers will raise an eyebrow, knowing something is up. It's going to take a while to answer why things are happening this way again, but we will. Meanwhile, the mission to save alternate Earths is still the same! Maybe."
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As to what brings Blink back into the picture, Parker remained equally coy, though he admits that Blink's participation in the team seemed important to him.
"First, Blink works best with the new storyline, but in many ways she's the heart of Exiles, the character readers most identify with the team," the writer divulges. "Plus, she can keep a secret!"
When it came time to pick the other Exiles—the team's initial lineup will include alternate-reality versions of the Beast, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Forge and Polaris—Parker had a difficult time choosing from the almost infinite number of options laid before him.
"It's tough, there are so many good ones to pick from," Parker relates. "Among other cagey reasons which I won't divulge here, I liked this group because they have many natural connections in the universe we usually read about."
Looking back to the original EXILES series, Parker will bring at least one structural element over into the new ongoing.
"I really liked the way the book would suddenly jump back for an issue and tell
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earlier character stuff relevant to the current storyline—I think we'll be doing that too," the writer muses.
And while he's just begun writing the series, Parker lists one character among all others that he can't wait to re-imagine in an alternate-reality setting within the book.
"M.O.D.O.K.," Parker states. "I mean you do see a
M.O.D.O.K. in the first issue, but he's like the one you're used to. Editor Mark Paniccia and I have a plan for a different kind of M.O.D.O.K. later in the book!"
Before teleporting back to his regular writing duties, Parker left off with one last tease for the upcoming series:
"Blink isn't the only one keeping secrets! And that's all I can share."
Check out EXILES #1 on April and the Exiles Sketchbook right now on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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