Comic Review – Marauders #1

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Marauders #1 CoveThe mutated sentient island of Krakoa has developed itself into a new mutant homeland. With its flora now being turned into life-saving medicines and organic teleporters that can bring mutants to its shores from any point in the world, Krakoa has become a safe haven for mutants and heaven on Earth for the long repressed people.

Unfortunately, Kitty Pryde can’t go there.

It’s ironic, really. The woman who has the power to walk through walls and theoretically go wherever she wants can’t walk through the portal to paradise. There’s no logical explanation for it. Just simple fact. For some reason, Krakoa seems to have taken a dislike to Kitty and won’t let her inside it. Even after stealing a boat and physically sailing to the island, Kitty still can’t get into the mutant promised land.

Some say that genius lies in turning misfortune into opportunity and Emma Frost (now head of the Hellfire Trading Company that manages most of Krakoa’s finances) has seen a way to turn Kitty’s loss into mutantkind’s gain. Despite the rather rocky relationship the two have had over the years, Emma offers Kitty a position on the ruling council of the HTC and a lucrative post as captain of a special vessel.

Because Kitty is not alone in being unable to reach Krakoa and there are many mutants around the world held captive by anti-mutant fanatics and enslaved by hostile governments. Mutants in need of liberation and a hero. With a crew made up of her closest friends, a few new allies and her pet dragon, Kitty Pryde could be that hero. Now if only she could get everyone to start calling her Kate instead of Kitty…

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The first X-Men title not written by Jonathan Hickman since his much ballyhooed reveamp of Marvel’s Merry Mutants began, Marauders #1 has much to recommend it. Granted, I may be biased as a reader whose always liked Kitty Pryde and is generally in favor of any story involving pirates or privateers. Yet there is still a lot of good in this issue ignoring those bonuses.

Writer Gerry Duggan doesn’t bog the reader down with a lot of details, keeping the focus of the issue firmly on the characters and Kate Pryde’s search for a place for herself in a world that no longer needs specialized teachers or headmistresses for an all-mutant school. Questions like how Pyro (the original Pyro, Australian accent and all) was resurrected and is ready and willing to come aboard Kate’s ship and rescue some mutants are speedily dealt with.

This helps keep the story moving, but it is Duggan’s use of humor that makes the issue so engaging. This ranges from the slapstick of a suddenly powerless Iceman facing down the Russian military in flip-flops and a speedo to the revelation of what Wolverine keeps on his shopping list. (“Pomade – the dapper dude one, and keep that under your hat…. Canadian Club whiskey – just a couple of cases should do for now.”) There’s also some brilliant dark humor and thrilling action, as Kitty shows just how truly scary she can be in a fight when she doesn’t hold back.

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The artwork by Matteo Lolli is generally as fantastic as the writing. Lolli draws a mean action scene and the fights in this issue look fantastic. There are, however, some minor glitches in the color art by Federico Blee. The shading on some of the character’s eyes leave them looking like heroin addicts going through withdrawal and Storm is depicted with a much lighter skin tone than usual in some scenes. These are minor flaws, however, and the comic as a whole is uniformly excellent. Marauders #1 is a must read for all X-Fans and anyone who enjoys a good anti-hero action comic.

8/10

Marauders #1 releases on October 23rd, 2019!

Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

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