Marauders Vol. 01 by Gerry Duggan

Katherine “Kitty/Kate” Pryde and Emma Frost are two of my absolute favourite X-Men*. The mere suspicion that they might take center stage is invitation enough to pick this hardcover up. That their relationship is one of the driving forces behind this book is, well, chef’s kiss.

Kitty (“Oh, andโ€ฆcall me Kate”) Pryde has a problem: whereas every other mutant can pass through the gates leading to the mutant homeland of Krakoa, she cannot. It all has to do with Kate’s phasing abilities, which apparently come into conflict with Krakoa (itself a living entity with a bizarre biology). That means that Kate is the only mutant confined to your old-fashioned means of transportation, and none too happy about it.

Enter Emma Frost, offering Kate a unique opportunity. What follows is drunkenness, frustration, and welcome heroics. Before I knew it, I was staring down at this gorgeous piece of Kate embracing a new position and persona:

Look at that outfit. It’sโ€ฆugh, I might just die. That’s not to say that Kate isn’t having a ๐•ฝ๐–Š๐–†๐–‘๐–‘๐–ž ๐•ณ๐–†๐–—๐–‰ ๐•ฟ๐–Ž๐–’๐–Š – she is. She used to be the Mistress of the Xavier (or was it Jean Grey) School for Mutants; she went to space to be Star-Lord for a hot minute (what was that about?), and her wedding with fellow X-Man Collossus ended up collapsing in what I would liken to a wildfire at an oil factory. She’s a little unmoored, quite angry, and in the finest form I’ve seen her for nearly a decade. That’s to say–props on Duggan for writing her masterfully.

Marauders is an X-Men book to the short and curlies, brimming with heroics and conniving plots; the secondary villains, Homines Verendi, hold no candle to a devious Black King, but he more than makes up for it. The volume concludes with Sebastian Shaw overjoyed in the face of his accomplishment–considering the nature of that accomplishment, the expression drawn by series main artist Matteo Lolli gains a grotesque dimension. It’s an amazing sixth issue, a triumph for a villain. Moreover, it’s done in such a way that sets my hatred for this fictional character ablaze.

Duggan is a master of the cliffhanger overall; half the issues in this first volume of the Marauders left me grasping for more and all too happy to have grabbed the hardcover, which has within the first twelve issues of this series. Following [[Jonathan Hickman]]’s departure from the X-line of comic books in 2021, Duggan is the author that picks up the flagship X-Men title–based on this first volume, I believe he’ll leave quite the mark.

Oh, but I haven’t even touched on Emmaโ€ฆ Or, for that matter, on the rest of the team. I suppose you’ll have to return for my review of the second volume now, won’t you?

  • * As I continue down the rabbit hole of reviewing the Hickman and co. era of X-Men bomic books, you will often notice I begin a review by saying ‘X is an absolute favourite character of mine’. There’s good reason for that: My childhood is indelibly marked by the X-Men and I am emotionally attached to so many of them. Magneto will likely remain my absolute favourite comic book villain for many decades to comeโ€ฆhe’s got heavy competition, though.

And here are my thoughts on each of the individual issues in this volume:

Marauders #1:

A broken nose frustrates Kitty Pryde a.k.a. Kate, a.k.a. Shadowcat, a.k.a. Sprite, into drunkenly mocking Bobby Drake, a.k.a. Robbbbbbert a.k.a. Snow Guy (or is it Iceman? I can’t tell). Emma Frost shenanigans afoot. The best damn start to the day an X-fan could wish for.

Marauders #2:

A new Red Queen’s taking office, and she is done taking anyone’s shit! A Black King scorned makes for quite the temper tantrum-but where will it lead? The White Queen moves her pieces with an aptness chess grandmasters can only hope to imitate.

Marauders #3:

Sebastian Shaw, the Black King of the HELLFIRE CLUB, has himself an old-fashioned daddy’n’son reunion. The focus on Shaw over this issue hurts it somewhat; we love to hate on Shaw but do we care enough to have his machinations centre stage? Likely not quite enough. The twist at the end saves this from mediocrity and three stars.

Michele Bandini’s art isn’t quite up to par to Mateo Lolli’s though the colouring is on point.

Marauders #4:

Old-fashioned X-heroics, an investigation, and a Bishop who might stop wearing blue for Red–if Kate has her way. And we reckon Kate Pryde, Red Queen, deserves it; non?

That broken nose will stick for a while yet, won’t it? Stop punching Kitty in the nose, bad guys!

Marauders #5:

A tense meeting of the rulers of the Hellfire Club House Corporation resolved into glorious battle against pissant former Clubbies. I do hate rich kids so.

Storm reminds us that her powers are only a small part of what makes her one of the absolute worst X-Men you could face.

Kate and Emma are getting really very close and I am enjoying it altogether too much. Do I catch a whiff of romance in the air? (The last one is mostly a joke, I think if anything’s going to happen between Kate and another X-Person, it’ll be with Magik???)

Marauders #6

Shaw shows his mettle; true deviousness afoot. Yellowjacket swims in places he has no business swimming in; and we’re going to be feeling the end of this volume for some time yet. Worry, worry, such great worry for characters recently deceased.

More Marauders reviews coming…

Thanks for reading!

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