It’s hard to believe we’re already nine issues into Marauders when it feels like just yesterday House of X and Powers of X were still ongoing. As the stories continue to move forward, each Dawn of X title gets weightier and more interesting, and that’s certainly true of Marauders. The complexities of the different Monarchs of the Hellfire Trading Company and their Bishops and Knights below them has brought in a political and almost Game of Thrones vibe to the title. Frankly, you could probably hang the entire X-Men line on the political battles going on in this title! In the 9th issue, there’s an attack on the shores of Krakoa and he’s hiding inside Pyro. Literally!
This issue is filled with misleading starts and violently entertaining twists that’ll give you whiplash, in a good way. It opens with Pyro getting a drink on Krakoa and finding Jean Grey on the hood of a fast looking car beckoning him. Wait, Jean is with Cyclops, right? That’s only the first of a few interesting twists, which makes it hard to talk about this comic. Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli give us a ride equivalent of the one Pyro and Jean go on in the first few pages, which is as much to say that you’ll want to buckle in and hold on for dear life. By the end of the issue, I was reflecting on how the narrative fooled me, making it fun to reread the book or at the very least think about the various ways it took the plot.
At its base, this issue is a nice reminder Krakoa is still rather new and fortification of their defenses is still in order. That goes especially for threats who may find a way in. As we know, Yellowjacket shrunk down and hid inside Pyro so as to collect intel, so how do you guard against that? An interesting data-page helps fill us in, which is a nice reminder these data-pages can do a lot to explain things that aren’t so easy to visually convey.
This issue does well to capture the heroism of Emma Frost, however icy she may be, as she literally freezes to contain a threat in the issue. She’s as devious as we’ve seen her in the past and is quite diplomatic and smart in this issue in ways that remind us she’s as dangerous with her powers as she is with her cunning. Bishop, Magneto, and a few other mutants all play interesting roles in the issue as well. If you thought Giant-Size: Jean Grey and Emma Frost were great at showing telepathy in action, you’ll really enjoy how this plays with the power as well.
The art by Lolli, and color by Edgar Delgado are quite good at exploring the space of the page. There’s a full-page splash that’s incredibly shocking thanks to how the act of violence is framed. There are interesting visual ideas at work here too, which convey tricky telepathic abilities. Placement of characters in the frame does wonders to create character dynamics and complexities that draw your interest, even when the art tends to be less hyperrealistic than many books out today.
Marauders #9 is a real trip in storytelling technique and the creativity required to show superpowers. It’s an interesting look at Emma Frost and at the same time, the larger plot and world of Krakoa continue to be fleshed out well.