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'Sabretooth & the Exiles' #3 is as entertaining as it is weird
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Sabretooth & the Exiles’ #3 is as entertaining as it is weird

‘Sabretooth & the Exiles’ #3 gets trippy in the Astral Plane.

Thought-provoking, deeply meaningful on a historical scale, and riddled with villains, Sabretooth & the Exiles is back this week, and it gets trippy as hell. Writer Victor LaValle and artist Leonard Kirk have sent this dastardly team to the Astral Plane to avoid an instant death thanks to one of the mutants among them possibly losing control. Orphan-Maker’s mask has broken its seal, and it’s a race to fix that mask together in another realm.

Sabretooth & the Exiles #3 opens in a very trippy place as the characters move around the Astral Plane in blue spirit bodies. Third Eye has taken them there to put Orphan-Maker in a coma and hopefully stave off annihilation. It’s a race against the clock, though, as Dr. Barrington regains consciousness and likely kills them all, or even worse. An exploratory issue, LaValle features some new mutants trapped in the Orchis labs, shows how mutant abilities might be augmented in this new space, and delivers a twist you won’t see coming.

The best part of this issue is how good it is at transitioning between scenes and juggling those multiple scenes. Just as one starts heating up, we’re onto another, and while there is no direct threat through much of the issue, you feel the teetering and tottering of each scene that raises your anxiety and excitement. It’s not quite as good as a villain that’s pulling strings or throwing punches, but the pace and plotting is impressively done.

Sabretooth & the Exiles

Poor thing.
Credit: Marvel

Some standout moments in this issue are expertly visualized by Kirk, like Sabretooth and Toad going at it with amped-up powers–seriously, Toad needs this power permanently–or in another involving Orphan-Maker and Melter. Most of these characters are killers or borderline villains, but we get a rather touching scene between the two. It plays up Orphan-Maker’s childish personality and reveals a hidden fanboyism for a certain flaming hero. Kirk sells this scene well, especially with Orphan-Maker and Nanny masked, as you understand it’s a bit surprising and touching.

The awfulness of Dr. Barrington continues to be a highlight as well. This book hasn’t lost its sense of humor, as we get to see Orchis count her as a diversity hire, and yet she persists and won’t give up. Her ability to see mutants as subhuman continues to be a highlight of her personality, reminding us horrors she’s capable of being rooted in this ability. There’s a hint that she’s going to move on to something even eviler with her studies next issue, which at this point doesn’t come as a surprise.

In another key data page, we learn about the Indian Health Services, or IHS, which further connects this series to real-life atrocities. LaValle continues to impress as he reminds us these might be superheroes fighting supervillains, but the ideas are rooted in real-life horrors too.

The team works together to save themselves in Sabretooth & the Exiles #3 in an issue that’s as entertaining as it is weird.

'Sabretooth & the Exiles' #3 is as entertaining as it is weird
‘Sabretooth & the Exiles’ #3 is as entertaining as it is weird
Sabretooth & the Exiles #3
The team works together to save themselves in Sabretooth & the Exiles #3 in an issue that's as entertaining as it is weird.  
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.7
Continues to make important connections to the real world
Well plotted, keeping each scene change clear and interesting
Lacks conflict as the villain gets her feet back under her
8.5
Great
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