Sliders: The Dimension of Continuity

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Reality Check: Exiles Resource Center

In June of 2001 a new series debuted at Marvel Comics which focused on the adventures of a band of interdimensional travelers trying to find their way home. Sound familiar? The series is Exiles and writer Judd Winick is not bashful about noting that part of the series inspiration came from Sliders.

Winick - "It has your 'Quantum Leap/Sliders' quality to it," the writer said. "Blink will be the leader of a 'team' of mutants from various realities (most from others, but some from our own) gathering pieces of a puzzle that she needs from across realities to solve her overall quest."

And after reading the first issue for myself, I have to say that Winick did not exaggerate by saying it was a mixture of Sliders and Quantum Leap. The premise of the series is that these characters have fallen victim to a reality adjustment. Just like a living organism, time can change as it grows "older"...and these characters are akin to the hair an aging man would lose as he becomes bald. With their own realities now changed as a result, these characters somehow slipped through the cracks and now have a chance to readjust the changes in the mutliverse so that their own realities will go back to "normal" and they'll return home.

Of course, the Exiles find all of this out from a mysterious resident of limbo calling himself a "Time Broker". For some reason he wants to help the Exiles put things right again, and he gives them a guiding device called a "Tallus" which will give them the alternate history of each world they visit along with its best guess on what they have to fix. Best guess? Yes...probability isn't an exact science, so they have to take what the Tallus gives them and try to figure out the rest (much like Al's help to Sam on Quantum Leap).

Issue number three would accentuate the Sliders references a bit more, though. It was finally cleared up that the Exiles would not be time traveling. Just as on Sliders, it's always the same year...just a different dimension. Even though the Exiles will be visiting past events in Marvel history (such as the Trial of the Phoenix in issue three), the explanation is virtually identical to the Van Meer concept introduced in the Sliders episode "The Guardian" (and later touched upon again in the Sliders season five episode "Dust"). These are dimensions that developed that different rates due a myriad of circumstances - either a slower rotational rate of the earth, a difference in time from when the Big Bang occurred, etc.

Here's a short run down of the current team roster and the various realities they fell from:

Blink: In "our" Marvel continuity, the purple skinned sprite was a founding member of Generation X who died on her first mission. Even with such a brief appearance, the fans fell in love with the character; so she returned during the alternate reality summer crossover Age of Apocalypse (a world created when the M'Kraan crystal shattered and caused a dark reality ruled by Apocalypse to over-write our own). The Age of Apocalypse ended in a nuclear holocaust, but Blink managed to slip through the cracks and end up in limbo to become part of this team. Her powers center around her stepping disks which allow her to teleport (and they now can be used to go from dimension to dimension thanks to the Tallus). In her case, the reality adjustment changed her reality to the point where she was now never born.

Magnus: Imagine if the Age of Apocalypse had not ended in nuclear holocaust. Magnus is a living example of what could be as he is the son of Magneto and Rogue from an alternate version of the Age of Apocalypse (hence the white streak in his hair). With a mastery of magnetism to the nth degree (to the point that he can create complex objects with a thought and make metal dissolve), Magnus is incredibly powerful. He inherited part of his mother's curse, though. If his bare skin touches the bare skin of another...the other person turns into solid steel. After the reality adjustment, Magnus is left with the horrifying notion that his history now includes the fact that he accidentally turned his mother into steel with a touch. Magnus would die on the Exiles first mission when he contained the force of a nuclear explosion in order to save a double of Magneto - a needed teacher to help save that mutant-fearing world.

Morph: In "our" reality, Morph was known as the criminal called Changeling. As part of the group Factor Three, Morph was defeated and ultimately reformed. To save Professor X, he sacrificed his life. The Exiles' Morph came from a reality similar to "our" own; the major difference being he did not die after his reformation. He worked his way up through the ranks of the X-men and even spent some time as an Avenger. A media sensation due to his shape shifting powers, Morph is flamboyant and unconcerned most of the time. His reality adjustment created a history where he was injured by an energy weapon in one of his first battles. As such, he has been left an inert liquid that sits on the lab desk of Hank McCoy.

Thunderbird: The big powerhouse in the back is John Proudstar. One of the "new" X-men introduced in the 70's, Proudstar met an untimely death in "our" reality as he sacrificed his life in a horrible plane explosion. However, this Thunderbird did not die at that time...and as a result, he would live to be abducted by Apocalypse for use in his Four Horseman project. Apocalypse created his personification of War in Proudstar...but much like Angel, Proudstar's heart was able to overcome what had been done to him on a spiritual level if not physical. The reality adjustment has left him with a home where he never broke free of Apocalypse.

The Mimic: One of the X-men's earliest and most powerful villians (able to mimic any power he sees), Mimic would disappear for a long while only to resurface much later a broken man in "our" reality. In this reality, Mimic was instead taken in by Xavier at a young age and has gone on to become the leader of the group and one of the world's greatest heroes. His quest is to fix the reality adjustment of his own dimension which has now left his history as a man sitting on death row for the death of 47 people he did not kill.

Nocturne: The blue skinned daughter of Nightcrawler and the Scarlet Witch, Talia Josephine (T.J.) Wagner lived on a world where Xavier retired from the X-men and left Wolverine to lead. Along with her father's acrobatic and wall sticking abilities (similar to Spider-Man), she also possesses a few of her own thanks to her mother (such as latent telepathy and the ability to "possess" other people). T.J.'s reality adjustment has left a world where her father was killed by Mystique before she was born.

Sunfire: The newest addition to the Exiles team popped in directly after Magnus died. Apparently the Time Broker is going to be "re-stocking" the team as needed. Her true name is Mariko, and in regular Marvel continuity she has been the love interest of Wolverine. On her earth she inherited the mantle of Sunfire (Japan's mutant hero with flame based powers). Her reality adjustment left a world where her powers manifested as uncontrollable atomic radiation - killing everyone she loved.

Sasquatch: Heather Hudson's life took a decidely different path in "our" reality. Heather Hudson was a normal Caucasian married to the leader of Alpha Flight. Upon her husband's seeming death however, Heather would take up the costume of the Guardian and lead Alpha Flight herself. The Exiles' African American Heather Hudson was also a member and leader of Alpha Flight, but instead gained the monstrous powers of the Sasquatch instead of Walter Langkowski. Heather's reality adjustment has left a world where the person she loves most will die before their time.

Sliders DoC : Lost and Found : Odds and Ends : Sliding Marvel Mutants