Emma Frost and Kate Pryde’s revenge tour continues as another mutant prepares to undertake the Crucible to regain that which was taken from them.
According to the old Klingon proverb “revenge is a dish best served cold,” but with the Hellfire Club, revenge is more like a scalding hot long-term burn that keeps ongoing. Marauders #17 continues the revenge quest of Emma Frost & Kate Pryde against Sebastian Shaw that began last issue, following his murder of Kate earlier in the series. At the same time, the duo makes their next move against the youthful antagonists that used to be a young Hellfire Club but are now the evil Madripoor ruling Homines Verendi. Each of the women takes on a separate part in the continuing narrative which is next to a third story that follows Callisto and Storm as the former tries to convince the latter to help her regain her powers through the controversial Crucible procedure.
Gerry Duggan does a masterful job plucking at continuity threads from both the series so far, as well as from the X-Men’s past which continues a trend that many of the X-Line books have used well. They reference past events to build up the present without letting those references weigh things down. Callisto and Storm’s long history is showcased in a few instances through the issue in callbacks that will not jar new readers, but will be familiar to veteran readers. Continuity does not have to be an anchor like some creators and fans seem to view it, instead, it can be a helpful foundation to build a story upon that just adds to the world at large.
A single complaint I would have about the book is that while all three parts of the story are well done, and arguably the Callisto/Storm bit could have been a full issue on its own, the long term storytelling that some of the books are doing (which was briefly interrupted in some cases by X of Swords) has pros and cons. One of those cons is that while I’m intrigued by what Marauders has brought to the table, it would be nice to see the book be able to move beyond the Homines Verendi/inner scheming of Hellfire and some other recurring story beats to really expand and explore the world being set up some more. That being said, bring on the rest of this story and the impending Hellfire Gala.
Matteo Lolli and Edgar Delgado present a gorgeous story where the colors start more muted and fitting for a somewhat dreary and dark start to the issue but increasingly brighten till they are so bright and hopeful that in wonderfully contrasts with some of the darker parts of the issue but also emboldens the more hopeful moments as well. This is fully on display during the spread of the Hellfire court as they stand before their new secret island (procured by Magneto in Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1 as a favor to Emma) and it’s imposing structure where the Gala shall take place. Cory Petit continues his stellar lettering work keeping the dialogue average and normal for many of the scenes but adding in smaller “whisper” lettering when needed and adding bolder, more bombastic, and larger lettering for louder moments of the issue, like the actual Crucible scene.
Overall Marauders #17 is a solid entry in the series and is now on sale at local comic shops and digitally through ComiXology.