As tensions rise and the duel of many mutants’ lifetimes is at hand, the X of Swords event takes a moment to allow the combatants to size each other up. Marauders #14 is a perfect example of how X-Men comics live and die by its characters and the melodrama they bring with them. Serving as Chapter 13 in the event, this is the last issue of the week after reading X-Men #14, and it’s perfect edge-of-your-seat stuff.
Boy, does this book deliver on the gossipy drama we’ve come to love from the best of the X-Men line. Gerry Duggan writes a book that is jam-packed with character moments, side comments, and fun bits of dialogue to chew on and read to yourself over and over. As we can see in the preview, the characters are anxiously awaiting the fight to begin the following day. This issue is effective in giving readers a sense of how each character is feeling going into the duel, but also what they think of the opposing side.
Two key characters in this narrative are Storm and Wolverine, who both are clearly uninterested in the duel and all the pomp that comes with it. Wolverine in particular is disgusted with Saturnyne, and it’s interesting to see how some of these characters have accepted their life is on the line while others hate having no control over the event or their lives. The Arakko characters are all rendered in a villainous sort of light — either an unnerving calmness, or a desire to kill that they can’t hide — but attention and care are spent to make each one unique. It’s also nice to see a few quieter moments pay off, which further draws your interest in everything these characters are saying.
Speaking of, the dialogue is quite good. Fans will love Pogg Ur-Pogg’s over-the-top but matter-of-fact way of talking and what he says. It’s nice to see characters reflect on how ridiculous he is, which cements the fact he truly is outlandish and comical by nature. There are many little barbs, responses, and clever bits of dialogue that’ll make you think, too. Duggan has stuffed this book with interesting bits of dialogue to think on.
Stefano Caselli brings a fullness to character design and expression that suits the lack of action, making sure the interactions and dialogue are all you need for entertainment. Caselli is quite good at making the fantastical nature of these characters seem natural and cool. The setting is pretty fantastical, and there are nice flourishes of fantasy creatures and medieval elements that are pulled off well.
Colors by Edgar Delgado do a lot to capture volume and skin tone in the characters. Wolverine’s muscles are positively bulbous, and that’s thanks to the inks and color work. There is great care when it comes to shiny costumes which helps convey a sense of bright warm light in this safe space.
This is one of the strongest chapters in the event for fans of the characters. Marauders #14 perfects the art of social chatter and gatherings — only with superheroes and a giant alligator man.
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