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Review: Marauders Annual #1

Marauders Annual #1

Steve Orlando, Creees Lee, and Rain Beredo put their own imprint on the Marauders in Marauders Annual #1 with a more active approach to the team’s activities, queer subtext/text, deep cut characters from the merry mutant library, and general mayhem. This issue wisely combines the assembling the team and first mission to make for a satisfying reading experience. It has explosive action and also grapples with Krakoa’s ideology with this issue’s antagonist, Brimstone Love (Last seen in X-Men 2009!)

Before sending the Marauders on a rescue mission, Orlando and Lee take some time letting readers get to know the new members of the team, namely, Akihiro, Psylocke, Aurora, Tempo, and Somnus. The cold open of Marauders Annual #1 is centered around Akihiro and shows a side of him not usually explored my most of his writers as he investigates a Morlocks graveyard in Greenwich, Connecticut and tries to figure out who’s been preying on mutants. He ends up motivating the Marauders’ first mission. With close-ups of Psylocke’s face, Creees Lee captures the sadness and regret she’s felt after Hellions, and the way her daughter was used to blackmail and manipulate her ends up being her motivation for joining the team.

Tempo’s intro sequence is the most clever, and she uses her powers to fast forward through a breakup conversation with Orlando and letterer Cory Petit turning in one hell of a run on piece of dialogue. He and Lee indulge in some soapiness meets disaster bisexuality by having two of Akihiro’s exes on the team, namely, Somnus (Who gives Iceman the prom night he deserved) and Aurora. All of the Marauders have a heart to help their fellow mutants, but have been through shit in their personal lives so being on this team is an opportunity to turn this negative energy into something positive and productive. The Marauders are a little messier and edgier than the X-Men, but have more of a moral compass than the X-Force and bring more of an inclusive approach to Krakoa in contrast with the cloak and dagger work of the Hellfire Trading Company and Quiet Council even though Kate Pryde and Bishop are still involved in that side of the business.

What makes Brimstone Love such a compelling antagonist in addition to his Tenacious D music video design is that what he’s seeing makes sense in many cases. Krakoa definitely has a cult-ish vibe, and by making a country ostensibly only for mutants, it does go against Professor X’s initial ideas of mutant/human coexistence. (The climax of the comic happening at the long-neglected Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters drives the point home.) The Morlock Carver especially makes some great points about Krakoa only being for “good” and good looking mutants, which makes sense because many of the former Morlocks are kept out of public life and live in a kind of retirement community in Arizona as seen in the previous volume of Marauders. Carver betraying Akihiro undermines his ideas, but it shows that Steve Orlando (and hopefully other “Destiny of X” writers) is critically dissecting the Krakoan experiment and even connecting the current Marauders team to the original mutant-killing one from the “Mutant Massacre” crossover.

On the flipside, what Brimstone Love and his followers use to explain their actions reminds me of what a lot of cis het allies say to queer folks (*cough* Bachelorette parties at gay bars, or having “ally” be a part of the LGBTQ+ umbrella) when they’re mad that we want spaces for our community. For example, a human talks about how the founding of Krakoa undermined his work to fight for “mutant rights” in a way that sounds like a lot of liberals who think that fighting for LGBTQ+ rights ends with the freedom to marry. Because maybe some of us don’t want to be apart of this institution and form relationships in a new way. That’s just an example off the top of my head, and it’s cool to see Orlando and Creees Lee engage with queerness via the mutant metaphor while also featuring a superhero team where the queer members outnumber the straight ones.

Marauders Annual #1 rejuvenates the concept of the Marauders of a team with new members that are sure to bring intrigue, drama, and cool powers. (See the Lee’s visualizations of Somnus and Tempo’s abilities.) Steve Orlando and Creees Lee also use the new-look Marauders to explore things like respectability politics and safe spaces while also including violent brawls against bad guys from the 1990s that look like a fundamentalist preacher’s worst nightmare. I’m all aboard with this new book and am interested to see how Marauders recontextualizes characters from the X-Book’s past while engaging with the metaphorical connection between queerness and being a mutant while having kick-ass, attitude filled fight scenes.

Story: Steve Orlando Art: Creees Lee
Colors: Rain Beredo Letters: Cory Petit
Story: 8.2 Art: 7.7 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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One comment

  • It’s funny that Orlando has the Marauders actively attempting to gaslight Love’s cult into believing that Krakoa has nothing to do with supremacism after Magneto outright declared that mutants are humanity’s gods in Jerusalem.

    The whole issue has “villain has a point, undermines it by being an absurd evil caricature, the validity of this point is never addressed after he is defeated” vibes.