As a new era of Marauders is on the horizon, the old one must come to a close as it wraps up a lot of dangling or long-running plotlines and leaves others to be explored potentially in the future. The artists that have brought the past few issues to life team up to give bright life to this montage of an issue, helping wrap things up in style.
All the way back in 2019, the Dawn of X began in the aftermath of House of X/Powers of X, where a whole new era of X-Men-related books was launched. One of those was Marauders, a book centered around the Hellfire Trading Company and a team that was meant to go around rescuing mutants to bring to Krakoa.
Somewhere along the way that second part of the mission was lost and the book spent a whole ton of time on Madripoor with the team fighting evil teenagers, dealt with betrayal and revenge, poorly handled issues of race and various types of abuse, led to a massive Hellfire Gala that changed everything, and then sort of just wandered around as a book trying to speed run various plotlines. All leading to this, the twenty-seventh and final issue of Marauders.
At least this volume, because a new volume is set to launch in March but will see an annual (written by the new writer of the series) to bridge the gap that arrives in just a few weeks.
Much like said about the previous issue, this one feels very much like Gerry Duggan had a bucket list of items to get to in order to shuffle off a cast that isn’t going to the next book and set things up for other books to come. It’s not a bad thing per se, but it does very much feel like the comic book equivalent of a clip show in a sense. Things from many issues ago all pop up quickly, as bits of the story are skipped over (like Lourdes’s actual return) in order to move the pieces where they need to be moved.
Actually, within the story Emma Frost herself sums up the big overall issue with this series at times, it was trying to do too much and often not doing much of it as well as could be.
Honestly, I almost got the same vibes that you get when a sitcom is ending, where all the recurring characters and cameos pop back in for a moment, and then the various main cast talk about where they are going as the gang begins to break apart. Shaw and Emma are focusing on the Quiet Council as they turn the Hellfire Trading Company over to Lourdes and the Stepford Cuckoos, Pyro is going on a book tour, Christian Frost and Iceman are taking a vacation (as Iceman flexes his newfound power confidence after terraforming Mars), and various others get little shoutouts along the way.
Even the seemingly forgotten Kate can’t enter Krakoan gates plot made a reappearance, and looks to be something that will come up more in one book or another as she turns to Reed Richards for help and he wants something very specific in return: the memories Charles Xavier took from him about how to build his mutant gene inhibitor. Yes, we’re getting references and a return to plots from X-Men/Fantastic Four the book that seemingly (and probably rightfully in some cases) was overall forgotten by everyone for a time. Who knows when that will even come up again.
Tackling a bunch of plots/clips meant turning to two artists for this issue as Matteo Lolli remains on board colored by Rain Bredo again but Phil Noto also returns (from the recent two-part Star Wars homage) to draw and color many of the pages. There is a big difference in the overall style of Lolli and Noto, with the former having a smoother style to his art and the latter having a bit of a rougher edge, which makes it very much noticeable when the art quickly changes. In a few places, data pages or title pages were used to blunt the change, which did help some.
The division of work makes a bit of sense in a way as Noto handles the Hellfire Trading Company moments (as well as the concluding moments with Reed), and Lolli handles all the Marauders crew and associated characters moments. While the styles change across the pages, the colors are matched pretty well as Bredo and Noto both do well with presenting a front that mixes and matches bright colors and shadows very well. A lot of great pops of colors work as backgrounds or make the world around the characters stand out even more.
Cory Petit brings it all together with the lettering, maintaining a style that easily slides across the different art and pages. Yet, at the same time, the bubbles and font have just slightly tweaked looks depending on whose art is on the page, so they look the same but also have their own flair that matches the artwork around them.
While the caption boxes details didn’t feel 100% necessary to me (very much telling what is being shown) they did look really neat and fit into the world design-wise pretty solidly and the text was a breeze to read. And as usual, the immersive fun and bold SFX just make the actual action parts even bigger and bolder than they already were.
Here wraps up one era of Marauders, an adventure that was as uneven as a ship being tossed about rough seas. Plenty of moments that will be worth revisiting and remembering for later, and plenty of moments that must not be forgotten because they were poorly done or offensive and must not happen again.
Marauders #27 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel comics.