After the high fashion excitement of the Hellfire Gala, as well as last issue’s flashback retcon concerning Sebastian Shaw’s abusive relationship with Lourdes Chantel, Marauders steps back into some superpowered dustups with issue #23.
Not only is the team getting into a brawl with a variety of drug-trade heavies, but the team is hanging out with some fun, not-quite team members. First up, we’ve got Banshee, whose storied history with Emma Frost signals great, built-in chemistry. . . that we barely see referenced here. It’s the inferred sort of callback we’ve seen in a lot of Krakoa interactions — histories implied but not explored — and it’s nice to see the two of them interact.
Also on hand is Tempo, the ex-Mutant Liberation Front member who can control the speed with which time moves. She’s a character that was incredibly underutilized in her initial appearances back in the early 1990s and, as this issue correctly admits, in her earlier Krakoan duties of aging Shaw’s whiskey.
This mixing up and experimenting with cast members doesn’t signal any concrete addition to the team — a brief conversation between Tempo and Kitty leaves membership up in the air — but, rather, the book fleshing out a roster whose members have been spread thin among all of Emma and Kitty’s various new holdings, be they hospitals or bars.
This also puts Emma and fashion designer Jumbo Carnation in first-responder status, which seems rather unlikely for both of them, but shows how delightfully suited they are with roughing up some street toughs.
Our B-story for the issue continues the Marauders thread of being no-nonsense when dealing with the morally bankrupt — pirates as judge/jury/executioner — as the Stepford Cuckoos pop over to London to help young Homines Verendi member Wilhelmina Kensington gain revenge on her sex-predator father. It’s a grim situation, made all the more powerful given the Marauders’ ongoing principle of being hard-nosed to the real villains of the world, whether they be slave traders or oppressive government stooges.
Kensington, perhaps having cleansed some demons via homicide, excuses herself from Verandi, which may or may not be an indication of upcoming conflict for the series.
Marauders #23 feels like a departure for the series, which has recently been more about Emma and Kitty’s slow political acquisitions than super-heroics, and it’s a nice breather. It’s good to see different boots on the ground, the spotlight on some different characters. While the conflict never gets too close to any one member of the team to really highlight any of them, the issue does a good job to show off how smoothly they can work together — and how far-flung of a net they cast.
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