Marauders is embarking on a brand new direction in 2022 as Steve Orlando takes over as writer of the series. To give readers a taste, Orlando’s first issue is out this week in a one-shot Annual that has something to say about our culture while setting up the future for the series. It’s an exciting time to be an X-Men fan, and this issue is proof of that.
This review won’t spoil anything not shown in the preview. Marauders Annual #1 opens with Daken on a mission and he’s in big trouble. Much of this issue is about Daken’s predicament, but its identity lies in looking forward to what comes next. You can see it in the scene with Bishop and Kate Pryde as they look at their old broken ship. This issue serves as a good jumping-on point for readers thanks to the identity of this book being very clear.
Orlando does a good job checking in with every mutant, including new hero Somnus, giving us a taste of how he might fit in. By the end of the issue, the general roles are defined well which will make it a lot easier for Marauders #1 to hit the ground running. The book has a bit of a heist feel as it zips around checking in on each team member and showing us what they’re up to. That gives the general pace a nice kick.
One gripe is how Psylocke is depicted: she’s uncharacteristically emotional and comes off as weak for someone who was a leader of the Hellions. However, she’s also reeling from the events in Hellions, and Orlando is making it clear how she will join the Marauders with open arms.
Art by Creees Lee with colors by Rain Beredo is good with an attention to detail that’s evident in backgrounds and costumes. That level of detail gives it more of a realistic look that grounds the story well. The violence goes pretty hard at times, too, and Lee is good at making that look raw and unnerving. The layout design can feel a touch stiff for the flow of the story, but in general, it’s hardly noticeable.
It’d be too spoilery to get into what Brimstone Love is up to, but he is the main antagonist in this issue and serves up some well-written dialogue. What makes his place in the story work is his mission and how that connects to our own reality. He may look like Satan himself, but he’s also written in a way that is familiar if you’ve ever watched a news pundit lie through their teeth. You get the sense he doesn’t even believe what he’s saying, or maybe he does and he’s too far gone. More importantly, Orlando conveys an opinion some might have in the world we haven’t yet seen, which some might say is a logical argument. That adds an interesting wrinkle to the Krakoa era.
Mauraders Annual #1 is a great start to Steve Orlando’s story that feels grounded thanks to Lee’s art. It has something to add to the Krakoa era and sets up the team well too. All that, and it’s written with strong dialogue that gets to the point, makes these characters come through clearly, and features a killer cliffhanger too.
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