If you feel overwhelmed by X-Men comics and also love Star Wars, you may just love Marauders #24. Written by Gerry Duggan with art by Phil Noto, the latest issue takes the Marauders to space, more specifically the new land of Arakko on Mars, as they face off against a mysterious smuggler type who is grounded and looking for Emma Frost.
This issue seriously reads like a pitch for a Star Wars TV show. It opens with a man named Eden Rixlo after the S.W.O.R.D. station takes out his ship. He’s angry, looking for a ship that was stolen from him, and mutants are his target. He’s got big Han Solo energy, holds a grudge, and has no desire to hang around too long.
The protagonists of this issue are Emma Frost and Kate Pryde, who spend a bit of time in the market on Planet Arakko. It’s neat to see some world-building going on for the days-old Arakko homeworld and to see the Arakko mutants milling about. These scenes, along with the Arakko mutants Wolverine has encountered recently, are few and far between since last year’s X of Swords, and it’s nice to see attention given their way.
This issue is rather short on plot, with Emma and Kate confronting Eden Rixlo and that conflict wrapping up by the book’s end. The lower stakes in play for mutants dying are on full display here — it matters little if they’re even in danger since they can be reborn so easily — but the conclusion to the issue serves as a means to set up Eden Rixlo as a major player. To that end, it serves its purpose.
As I alluded to, there are plenty of Star Wars references here. The seedy bar with aliens looking on at an altercation, or how a gun is pulled under a table all add up to some fun homages. The overall feel of the book is that of a galaxy far, far away, which may suggest we’ll have more of that coming in future X-Men comics.
Phil Noto continues to impress and gets to show off some fantastic space scenes at the start of the book. The simpler style and clean lines suit the futuristic locations. Emma and Kate’s expressions are incredible, with a simple side glance or smirk conveying so much personality and thoughts that are unsaid. Blocking out a tense scene between Emma and Eden creates tension that wouldn’t otherwise be there, especially since we know mutants can’t really die anymore.
Alas, the conclusion seems rather abrupt and it serves to show Emma and others as naive. It’s not so much character assassination as just a quick end to move things along. Comics hare shorter in length than other stories and tend to rush to conclusions, but it does so at the expense of our heroes. Heck, even her plan is rather too easy to get rid of Rixlo.
Marauders #24 is a good one-shot that introduces a formidable foe. His abilities seem to be super powerful up at the expense of our heroes, but if you’re excited for a strong Star Wars vibe in an X-Men comic you’ve come to the right place.
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