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I feel I should warn you, I have written a little about the series first in order to introduce each book so you can read them independently it feels like cheating but I promise its well intended!
The Exiles are an offshoot of the original Age of Apocalypse story in the X-men comics. In essence it is similar to a science fiction TV show from years ago called Sliders, it has a little Quantum Leap and a touch of Marvels classic What If series (without the Watcher) Each of the original characters in the series are former X-Men, but from different universes. With a multi-verse of characters to select the headcount kill throughout the series is brutal, and the majority of the characters do not survive without some major trauma.
With lots of independent stories that rarely depend on the other X titles, Exiles is a great standalone series, personally I like seeing the alternate universes and the alternate character development, some of the stories are better than others but as a whole series its a compelling and enjoyable read, there are a few storylines that develop over a longer period, and some of the short stories included are reliant on some background knowledge, but generally each book is a fairly self sufficient story, and they mostly conclude in each graphic novel (so do not panic buy them all - you can take you time!)
<Spoiler Warning - Some Plot/Story details>
Unnatural Instincts begins with the Exiles ordered to kill the Iron Fist led Avengers, they have a new member of their team as well, the team naturally refuse to kill the avengers, and try to help the people of Japan after a rather nasty earth quake. They end up battling the cause of the earth quake, who still looks like he has stepped out of a 70's disco with an awesome fro! Meanwhile someone else completes their objective.
The second story is actually based in the real marvel universe which is often referred to as earth 616. Linking in with the dominant species arch of the Uncanny X men, This is also where Archangel picks up the soul sword that he has been using since. Of course as this is the real Marvel universe Havok is not actually killed, but for the first time, the Exiles begin to question the origins of the mysterious force guiding them on their adventures.
The final story is a Halloween special, covering an alternative spider man origin, the art by Scottie Young is awesome, with real undertones of Sam Keith. The story isn't that great but it looks amazing.
Exiles is still good, but the middle story here lacks excitement, the obligatory foray into the marvel universe is just not needed for this series, and the near hero worship of the X men by the Exiles is a little out of place, this is not the best book of the series.
My initial reaction to the Exiles as a series was aggressive and dismissive, the sheer complexity of the age of apocalypse was far to confusing for me and frankly I was glad to be back in the normal universe, if it hadn't been for Grant Morrison's magic run on the X-men, I might even have given up. The Exiles are a good example of classic x-men relationships, problems and best of all teamwork battles, I have found them to be very enjoyable and would wholeheartedly recommend them.
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