Exiles #1 kicks off a new universe-hopping adventure for Blink and the new team of Exiles formed by “The Tallus,” an artifact acting on its own to form a team to save all reality from being erased. Does the debut issue do a good job of introducing the characters and kicking the adventure off to an exciting start?
For the most part, yes! Saladin Ahmed has a lot of exposition to cover in this issue from introducing each new character, to setting up the premise, and establishing the central conflict of the first arc. There is a lot of dialogue in this issue that consists mostly of Blink explaining things, usually by coming to conveniently quick conclusions about her circumstances. I’m under the assumption that Ahmed is getting all the exposition and introductions out of the way as quickly as possible, so I don’t mind all the explaining done throughout the issue, but knowing the rest of the team on the cover doesn’t show up till next month does mean there are more introductions on the way, which may be a drag for some readers.
That being said, I am very excited by the team so far and can’t wait to see what they get up to once everyone is assembled! Seeing a far future Kamala Khan leading a band of Inhumans struggling for survival is awesome and I appreciate that Ahmed is filling the team with women of various ethnic backgrounds and ages. Blink and Khan (as she’s known here) also have really distinct voices that make them sound fleshed out and unique. This hardly surprises me given how good he is at establishing voice in his other works like Abbott and Black Bolt and it’s nice to see the trend continue.
Fleshing out the characters further is Javier Rodríguez’s excellent line art. Each character is drawn appropriately to their age and background from Blink’s thick, West Indian hair to the lines on Khan’s face. No one looks like they’re from the same cookie-cutter body shape and the backgrounds are loaded with details, characters, and oddities to look out for as well. Álvaro López’s inking work matches Rodríguez’s lines excellently and particularly excels when it comes to inking characters’ hair and clothing or the metallic texture on Iron Lad’s suit.
Jordie Bellaire never disappoints when it comes to colors and her work here is no exception. This is a bright, fun book and Bellaire colors it appropriately. At a glance, the colors appear simple and bright to fit the fun mood of the book, but a closer inspection reveals subtle details shades of grey in the roots of Khan’s hair or around the edges of López’s inks. Due to the multi-dimensional nature of the book, there are moments where the artwork is allowed to stretch into different styles like a faded image of a young Kamela Khan and Bellaire’s color work adapts to each situation expertly. Joe Caramanga’s lettering also does a great job establishing the mood, from his electric “BLINK”s to cartoony “ZAK”s. I’d be remiss without also mentioning the incredible paneling work in the book. The way the team uses the panels to help visualize the characters jumping from one universe to the next is very clever and also does a great job of establishing the issue’s pace.
Overall this is a strong start to the new series. The character I personally am most excited for doesn’t show up until the next issue, but after all the fun I had reading this one I’m even more excited for what’s to come.