Re-teaming the Travelers: Jeff Parker on 'Exiles'

Exiles #1

“As one door closes, another door opens.”

Nothing could be truer for Marvel’s time-spanning heroes, The Exiles. Earlier this year, the second incarnation of Exiles, written by industry legend Chris Claremont came to an end with issue #18. Now, in April, these fan-favorite reality hoppers will rise from the ashes of cancellation anew in Exiles #1. Two new faces to the Exiles lineage, writer, Jeff Parker, and artist, Salvador Espin, are rallying a new batch of troops to be lead by a singular favorite from the original series—Blink.

Newsarama got a hold of Jeff Parker to talk about this fresh start for this fairly tenured favorite.

Newsarama: First things first Jeff — this is an-new, all-different Exiles, right? Blink is back but who are her new teammates?

Jeff Parker: Yes, these are all newcomers except for Blink, who isn't talking much, strangely. It remains to be seen if she's going to lead the team, too—she'll be working with versions of The Beast, Scarlet Witch (just called Witch), Polaris, Forge, and Black Panther (just called Panther here).

NRAMA: What can you tell us about some of the new members of the Exiles—will any of the members be directly from standard Marvel continuity?

JP: None of this group are, but that's a distinct possibility. I like the idea of giving new life to underutilized good characters.

NRAMA: The Timebroker is also returning...wasn't he just a hologram run by a bunch of talking cockroaches?

Exiles #2

JP: You'll see a Timebroker, a little different than you remembered! He's definitely not just a hologram. You think it's all been explained, but as you'll see, we hit another layer of mystery with it all in this book.

NRAMA: In your mind, what makes a concept like this so prolific?

JP: It works for us because we humans can't stop considering roads not taken. I think we all wonder "what if I'd taken that job, or went to live in that city" and the multiverse gives us that on a grand scale. I'm working to make the alternate realities feel more like likely alternatives, not random places where for some reason everybody grew scales or whatever. You shouldn't feel like you've come to some playland where nothing matters, the reality counts as much as the one you're from.

NRAMA: Who is your favorite character to write so far?

JP: Polaris.

NRAMA: Are there any surprise villains in store this time around?

JP: Yes—but it wouldn't really be much of a surprise if I said here, would it?

NRAMA: True, true. In terms of the larger stories that you can tell, does having a wide-open field to kind of go in whatever direction you please be a disadvantage at times? Or does the ability to truly break boundaries with everything that is "in continuity" really set you free as a writer?

JP: Good point—often having no parameters is inhibiting because you're not sure where to start when you can start anywhere. And your second point about the freedom of not being restricted to continuity, that quality helps balance out the former. I've tried to apply logic to the places they're being sent; it follows the fact that they are a new team that needs to bond and figure out how to work together. That self-imposed restriction helps tame the wilds of endless possibility.

NRAMA: Were there any characters you wanted to include but the logistics didn't work out? If so, who were they? Are there any that you're already eye-balling and/ or working on for later?

Exiles #3

JP: No, I thought this would be a well-balanced team to go in with, and no one poo-pooed any of them. I don't want to speculate on future members, because I don't want readers obsessing about whether someone will die or not; there's too much of that because of the permanent nature of Exiles deaths. Yes, it's always a possibility, but this is a book not a horse race.

NRAMA: Will the cast have a rotation much like the original series?

JP: In a way. A lot of the way we do things now happens very differently.

NRAMA: To close, what makes this incarnation of Exiles different from its precursors?

JP: A lot of things that will be revealed as you get into the issues. In the first issue, you'll see right off the bat that the conditions of the team becoming unhinged from time are different then they were before. Also, it seemed kind of convenient that the Exiles rarely ran into their doppelgangers, so we have it happen quite a bit.

Exiles #1 is due in stores on April 8th

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