X-ual Healing: A Pirate's Life for the Exiles in Exiles #4

Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but with a corporate merger on the way, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in comics.

Each week, armed with the joy, heartbreak, and frustration of 30+ years of reading X-Men comics, we read every new X-book that comes out, recap the events, provide the historical context so you can read it on Marvel Unlimited, and wonder when Marvel will let Chris Claremont write something again.

It's the way X-Men comics were meant to be read! It's the column that can only be known as…

X-ual Healing: A Pirate's Life for the Exiles in Exiles #4

For more about the column, check out the reboot issue here.

X-ual Healing: A Pirate's Life for the Exiles in Exiles #4

Character Variant Cover by MIKE McKONE
When the broken Tallus sends them hurtling through time, the Exiles find themselves on the open seas! But this is no pirate's paradise. If the Exiles don't recover the Tallus and return to their mission, Earth – and the rest of reality – is lost! But they'll need help. The legendary Blackbeard – A.K.A. Ben Grimm, formerly the Thing – just might be willing to lend a ship. But for a price…
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

The Exiles are lost in the multiverse after some dumb Watchers messed up their Tallus. They're being chased by the Time-Eater, a severed Galactus head that eats entire universes. Exiles #4 opens up with a recap from The Unseen, formerly known as Nick Fury, who is still butthurt about that and pulling some Cobra Commander type @#$%.

X-ual Healing: A Pirate's Life for the Exiles in Exiles #4

Blah blah blah, the Tallus has chosen Blink to save the Multiverse. We get it, Nick.

Meanwhile, having failed to stop a nuclear explosion in the previous reality they visited, the Exiles — Blink, Iron Lad, Movie Valkyrie, Grumpy Old Kamala Khan, and Li'l Wolvie — arrive in a new universe. Hopefully they'll have better luck this time.

Blink and Kamala talk about how their home universes kinda suck, but Li'l Wolvie (the best Wolverine) misses his own universe and starts crying.

X-ual Healing: A Pirate's Life for the Exiles in Exiles #4

After consoling Wolvie, Blink realizes the Tallus is missing. Iron Lad says it's somewhere nearby. Before they can search for it, however, a man comes running out of the woods, chased by colonial slavers. He takes time to deliver some X-position, telling the Exiles that the year is 1760 and the slavecatchers have captured most of his countrymen, so it appears they are in Africa. Valkyrie is not a fan of slavers, so she starts killing them until they run away.

After they leave, the man reveals that he has been spying on the British Admiral Gyrich for the past year, and is set to meet his ally on the very beach they're standing on. That ally arrives, and it's the pirate Blackbeard, who is also The Thing.

X-ual Healing: A Pirate's Life for the Exiles in Exiles #4

Introductions are made. Blink tells The Thing about their missing interdimensional time travel device, the Tallus. The Thing tells them how the Fantastic Four traveled back in time and he decided to stay when they went home because the pirate life allowed him to start fresh. Then he joined the fight against slavery. The Thing agrees to help the Exiles find the Talus. He tells them about "the rainbow whirlpool," which he encountered a day ago and which is probably the Talus at the bottom of the ocean. Before he can take the Exiles there, however, they've got to stop Gyrich's ship, destroy a mysterious weapon he has, and free the slaves.

Then "Captain Wilson, the Scarlet Falcon" shows up, an 18th century Sam Wilson, and apparently the captain of another slavery-fighting pirate ship. We also learn that The Thing's first mate is a Rebecca Barnes. Like the female Bucky in the previous issue, this Bucky hits it off with Valkyrie. Iron Lad thinks this is a sign that the realities are all collapsing on each other. The Exiles agree to help the pirates fight Gyrich, and the third captain shows up: Captain Mercedes Knight (pirate Misty Knight). Bucky reveals that Misty and Falcon are an item. Valkyrie gives Iron Lad some pointers on picking up women.

They find Gyrich's ship, and Blink teleports Falcon and The Thing over there as Gyrich reveals his weapon, an indestructible ship called The Juggernautical.

X-ual Healing: A Pirate's Life for the Exiles in Exiles #4

A battle ensues, neatly wrapped up in a single splash page. The slaves are freed, the Juggernautical defeated, Gyrich and his slavers stopped. The Thing takes the Exiles to the rainbow whirlpool, Blink grabs the Tallus, and they take a portal to a new universe.

This time, they're on the moon in the Time-Eater's lair, which is filled with picture frames that serve as portals into all the world's the Time-Eater has destroyed. Also, the bodies of the dead watchers who attacked The Unseen a few issues back are here. Iron Lad pieces things together. The Time-Eater isn't just a severed Galactus head. It's Kang, having stolen the power of Galactus from thousands of worlds. This first storyline concludes next issue.

The Bottom Line

It's not that everything else about this comic isn't pretty good, because it is, but we would read a solo ongoing starring Li'l Wolvie. A wolverine who isn't good at fighting and is in touch with his emotions? Clearly the best Wolverine.

Further Reading

Though this is an alternate universe Ben Grimm, it does call back all the way to Fantastic Four #5, where the 616 Ben Grimm really did assume the role of Blackbeard. Read it on Marvel Unlimited.

Read more X-ual Healing here:

X-ual Healing: A Pirate's Life for the Exiles in Exiles #4

About Jude Terror

A prophecy once said that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero would come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events. Sadly, that prophecy was wrong. Oh, Jude Terror was right. For ten years. About everything. But nobody listened. And so, Jude Terror has moved on to a more important mission: turning Bleeding Cool into a pro wrestling dirt sheet!