Marauders might be the boldest new X-Men launch in the Destiny of X era. Steve Orlando and Eleonora Carlini basically took the first issue and threw a bunch of mutants into space. Armed with Cassandra Nova–Xavier’s twin–and mutants like Somnus, Tempo, and Daken, the team is deeply involved with the Shi’ar Empire as they attempt to save the first mutants. It’s the kind of big story that feels event worthy, and yet here we are getting it all in a solo series!
Another benefit Marauders has over other X-Men titles is it’s using a select group of mutants far from Earth. This allows Orlando to do whatever he likes with the story and its characters and it’s way easier for casual fans to read this without the need to read every X-titles.
This issue opens with Xandra under attack and Cassandra easily taking out an enemy riding a dragon. The juxtaposition between these two characters and their abilities is obvious. If there was a statement being made here and throughout the issue, it’s that Cassandra is quite the powerhouse and Xandra should be counting her blessings.
Something this series totally understands is many of us grew up with the Grant Morrison era of X-Men. You can see the nods to that era throughout, especially with the use of Cassandra. It’s also nice to see nods to the Sh’ar era and how Orlando is building on what we know of them. It’s a rather robust element of X-Men history but is rarely tackled.
Orlando also does a good job establishing the Kin Crimson. They’re a major threat but made more so by the actions taken in this issue. I will say though, that the team aspect is a bit lacking in this issue. A lot of the team are bystanders in the story which reduces the team aspect in a team book.
Letters by Ariana Maher are strong, with good flow across the page or panel even when there are up to six word balloons in some cases. Props to the sound effect folks for putting in an awesome “kachoom” when Gladiator makes his presence known.
Carlini dazzles with many cool dragon action shots, but the real scene-stealer is Gladiator. There’s a full-page splash of energy flowing from him that’s impressive and poster-worthy. It also plays with cloth well to convey the wind being kicked up by him. Cassandra’s menacing nature is also depicted well through her creepy facial expressions or sheer confidence in being a badass.
Marauders #3 amps up the threat level while focusing on Cassandra’s creepy yet badass nature. If you’re at all interested in the spacefaring tales of the good old days of X-Men, you’ll love this.
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