Credits: Terry Kavanagh (plot and dialogue), Ben Raab (additional dialogue), Ken Lashley & M. C. Wyman (pencilers), J.U.G.G.E.R.N.A.U.T.D. (inkers), Vickie Williams (letterer), Shannon Blanchard & Malibu (colors)
The Exiles (Juggernaut, Sienna Blaze, Reaper, Shuriken, Amber Hunt, and ‘Strike) teleport into New York City. They’re attacked by the military, who blame them for destroying a large portion of the city. They fight their way through the soldiers and retreat to ‘Strike’s penthouse. Juggernaut is concerned about the sickly Amber. Sienna Blaze tells Shuriken that she’s waiting for Amber to get healthier so that she can kill her. ‘Strike reveals to the team that almost a quarter of New York was destroyed when they arrived, and the authorities are blaming them. He believes their arrival is tied into the destruction, but doesn’t have an explanation. Later, Shuriken tries to get in touch with an agency named Aladdin by meeting with her “brother”, Qune. Qune turns into a monster and declares that he’s going to capture all of the Exiles and collect the bounty. ‘Strike calls the team together to help Shuriken. After facing the united team, Qune teleports away. As the team regroups, Sienna notices that the Fantastic Four’s building is gone. Amber has never heard of them.
The second half of this issue is a reprint of the Warren Ellis/Steven Butler Ultraforce #1. There’s a note from Malibu’s president explaining that it’s being reprinted for free due to a production error that occurred during its first print.
Juggernaut, Sienna Blaze, and Reaper are all established Marvel characters. Juggernaut of course goes back to the Stan Lee days, while Sienna Blaze and Reaper are ‘90s villains from the Upstarts and Mutant Liberation Front, respectively. Sienna Blaze claims that her powers have been cut in half, meaning that she doesn’t have to worry about destroying the Earth every time she uses them anymore.
I have no idea how I ended up with this comic. I know I never bought it, so I’m assuming it was one of those free comics I got through a mail-order service. I looked over my copy's cover and don’t even see a cover price or UPC box, so I’m assuming this was some sort of freebie given to retailers. It really is a terrible, mostly incomprehensible mess. I have no idea who half of these characters are, how the Marvel characters ended up in a team with them, where they’re teleporting in from, how they’re teleporting, and what exactly is supposed to be going on. That’s sad in any case, but this is the first issue of the series. And not even an ordinary first issue, but the start of a relaunch specifically designed to bring in existing Marvel fans. Aside from not even understanding the concept, I don’t know why Sienna Blaze wants to kill one of her teammates (and why she’s waiting until her target gets healthier to do it), why exactly this Amber is sick and what her powers are, what ‘Strike’s name is supposed to be short for, or what this “Aladdin” is and what it has to do with two of the characters. All of the characters have generic ‘90s looks, no one has a personality, and the story mainly consists of the characters making vague comments to one another and then getting into a pointless, anticlimactic fight. Did anyone really think that this would bring the still sizable X-fanbase into the Malibu Universe? I realize that all of the complaints I just brought up are stereotypical traits of the X-books, but I have a hard time thinking of any X-books that are truly this bad.
There’s an ad in the back for an upcoming Marvel/Malibu crossover involving the Phoenix, which doesn’t even fill me with morbid curiosity. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the Phoenix in this storyline turned out to be some sort of hoax, or an alternate version that had nothing to do with the established character in the Marvel Universe. I think the Malibu Phoenix event actually turned out to be the launching pad for a new series. I remember seeing ads for “Marvel’s first bad girl” comic, published through Malibu, which featured a teenage girl in a tight, nipply t-shirt. I might be getting it mixed up with something else, but I think she was supposed to be another “Phoenix” (what part of this doesn’t reek of desperation?). I’ve actually ended with two more issues of this series that were released a few months after this one, and all of the Marvel characters are gone. So I guess Marvel decided that not even Reaper and Sienna Blaze should’ve suffered through this.