The last issue of Marauders gave readers a satisfying revenge story, as Sebastian Shaw finally faced the consequences of successfully (if temporarily) murdering Kate Pryde. While it was a fantastic installment in the Marauders series, the latest issue of the title proves that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. As Marauders #17 continues to put its central focus on Kate and fellow Quiet Council member Emma Frost, the series is beginning to feel less like a team book, and more like a two-character team-up.
Indeed, the most refreshing and enjoyable aspect of this issue is Storm’s sub-plot. Here, Ororo is tasked by old friend, Callisto, to be part of her Crucible ritual. With Apocalypse gone, it is now down to the residents of Krakoa to kill former mutants in their path to resurrection. The dialogue created around this challenging subject is carefully done, as we see how Ororo consolidates her sense of duty with natural feelings of reluctance.
The task of taking a life is immense — even if the person in question wishes for it, and is bound to return. Storm is indeed an ideal character to explore this dilemma with — she is an X-Man who has always simultaneously been able to balance leadership and service with emotionality and care. The task feels like a natural step in Storm’s character progression on Krakoa, particularly as it is hinted that she will be facing new challenges beyond the Marauders in the near future. Certainly, it is high time that Ororo gets a new solo title. Let’s hope that this challenge is part of the lead up for bigger things.
The subsequent battle between the pair is drawn beautifully by artist Matteo Lolli and colorist Edgar Delgado, who match thrilling action with thoughtful sentimentality. The aftermath of the event is the artistic high point of the issue, as Lolli and Delgado play with light and nature to create some truly beautiful pages.
Ultimately, the problem with the execution of Storm and Callisto’s story is that it is woefully short. Frankly, it should have been the main plot point of the issue. Instead, most of the issue follows Emma and Kitty and their furtive missions in statecraft. To be clear, this storyline is not written badly. Writer Gerry Duggan has always been good at crafting affairs in intrigue, and Marauders #17 is no exception. In fact, the politics graduate in me was delighted at how well political discourse was threaded through the issue, yet using only Kate and Emma as the vehicle for this narrative makes for such a colossal waste of the team’s other members. For the past eight issues or so, Bishop, Iceman and Pyro have turned up, said a few lines to push the plot forward, and been on their merry way. Marauders is such an interesting series, with some incredibly compelling plot points. It is such a shame that it does not fully utilize its team’s roster to push it to its fullest potential.
Marauders #17 showcases both the strengths and weaknesses of the title so far. The clever writing and fluid art are let down by glaring character imbalances, making the reader forget that this is a team series. If Duggan begins to explore the potential of his complete lineup, this series could go from good to great.
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