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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>
The Exiles continue to chase after Proteus and his rampage through the other worlds, having covered the retro 1980s its off to the future for the 2099 series (this one made me feel 16 again!) Proteus ends up possessing a major 2099 character, and poor spiderman 2099 is unmasked and joins the exiles team (he is still cool all these years after!)
Proteus has escaped to the world of the Squadron supreme and we revisit the good Hyperion, the Squadron supreme of course fight the exiles and bring them to trial, The exiles are exonerated eventually with a classic splurge page of all their adventures and then Power Princess (a wonder woman rip off) joins the team to follow Proteus to the next world.
This is beginning to look like a recruitment drive!
The next world is a rehash of the classic hulk maestro story, with proteus's intention to capture this more power hulks body. The Exiles set a cunning trap but when something goes very wrong another of the exiles is possessed and this time it looks like forever.
The final world of the series is a return to the alternate universe dreamed up by Franklin Richards during the onslaught saga a reworking of some of the major characters that is beyond awful in our own marvel universe. The ultimate conclusion of the world tour series has its "metallic flaws" but its quite ingenious, in its own way its also terribly sad as you realise the loss of yet another Exile.
The whole saga wraps up with the Exiles returning the bodies of the fallen Exiles and other Weapon X characters throughout the book to their origin universes, and Iron Man is a jerk again.
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.
Your reviews have been very interesting......I cannot help but wonder how you became interested in these books. Who introduced you to them and how old were you when you first started reading them ? Purely out of interest as I find other peoples hobbies quite fascinating. Thanks. J.