Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Matteo Lolli
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Cory Petit
Cover Artists: Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson
Editor: Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
“Every normal person must be tempted, at times, to spit on their hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
Slitting throats? Not likely according to the first law of Krakoa. Punching throats instead? Yeah, there’ll be plenty of that for Kitty Pryde and her pack of mutant pirates in Marauders #1.
Spinning (or should I say sailing?) out of the game-changing events of House and Powers of X, Marauders #1 follows X-Men #1 as the second book released in the Dawn of X relaunch of the X-line. Jonathan Hickman and co. promised bold new directions, exciting new teams, and unforgettable adventures for Marvel’s Merry Mutants, and Marauders looks to fulfill each of these promises … and then some.
Written by Gerry Duggan with art by Matteo Lolli, Marauders #1 carves out a place for itself by cleverly dealing with the real-world fallout of establishing a new mutant nation-state — primarily, the setting up of immigration gateways on foreign soil. After all that transpired in the House and Powers of X stories, mutants have a homeland and a way to get there from anywhere on the planet instantaneously. But ruling powers and mutant-hatred groups aren’t all so keen to let mutants just waltz into paradise from portals set up on their soil.
It sounds heavy, and it is, but Marauders manages to tackle the complicated situation in a lighthearted way. Emma Frost presents Kitty Pryde (who now wants to be called the more mature Kate instead of Kitty) with the scenario above and explains that something needs to be done. Kate’s uniquely suited to tackle the problem due to a conundrum she faces related to the Krakoan gates. So she sails to the island, recruits some familiar sailors, and braves the open water aboard a ship she swiped in San Diego. The Marauders are liberators, freedom fighters, covert pirates, and black market drug runners. It sounds crazy (it is crazy), and it’s also going to be a blast.
Marauders #1 is high adventure and high fun with a bit of “what just happened” mixed in. It has an open-ended feel that only a bunch of swash-buckling superheroes aboard a stolen boat could provide. Duggan absolutely understands the evolution of Kate Pryde, and he shows it off here. She’s a leader, a warrior, and a badass. He’s having a great time writing her, and it’s apparent. In the same vein, Lolli and colorist Federico Blee are a visual tidal wave. The art is airy and enjoyable. The bright colors give off an adventurous and exciting tone. Each character has a distinct visual identity, and the overall issue feels like old school ’90s X-Men.
There are some aspects that didn’t quite land, though. Duggan pushes the story along at a lightning-fast pace, and the reader is left to fill in the gaps. The Marauders have already completed their first mission before you even realize that the premise has been set up. He wastes no time to savor the moment or dwell on a decision. The hastily assembled team has limitless potential, and it’s an exciting start to a grand journey, but this issue would have benefited greatly from a few beats that explain various character motivations and the drive behind their actions.
Members of a mutant nation are essentially “invading” foreign countries in order to impose their agenda on those countries’ way of treating their citizens. It’s a very audacious move by Kate Pryde and her Marauders and one in which we’re never given the full scope of. Why are they doing that? What are the potential political ramifications of their actions? Do they believe in the cause? None of these questions are answered in the Marauders’ first issue but are all sure to be touched on in the future.
Despite the small imperfections, Marauders #1 is a rock-solid beginning to a much larger story that’s sure to fill out the broader strokes of the Dawn of X initiative. It’s full of adventure, it’s full of suave, and it’s full of possibilities.
So hop on board, it’s time to set sail, maties.
…wait, check that…
It’s time to set sail, muties!