Destiny of X’s debut continues as the new crew of Marauders assembles to do what they do best, save mutants, even if that means they have to leave the Earth behind. A new era for this series begins as the new creative team showcases what they are capable of doing together in a very intriguing, colorful, and fun debut issue.
With all the black market and Hellfire internal power moves behind them, it’s time for the Marauders to get back to one of their core missions: saving mutants that need saving. No matter where that saving takes them. Even if that mission means they have to head to space where they might come to blows with an allied empire.
Thanks to Marauders Annual 2021 #1, this first issue of the new Marauders series is able to leap right into their overall mission without having to build their crew, outside of the very controversial final member which we’ll come back to shortly.
Steve Orlando is engaged in a very interesting balancing act just within this first issue. While the cast was already built, there are still elements to address about the new crew dynamics and the how and whys of their inclusion, now that the original mission to have Akihiro has been completed. At the same time, there are development moments between Kate Pryde and Bishop as the old Marauders and the team leaders, setting up all the stuff to do with the final crew member Cassandra Nova, rescue of a forgotten fiery Morlock known as Fever Pitch, revelations about the ancient mysteryium box left for Kate, action in the stars, Shi’ar revelations, and the return of Erik the Red who hasn’t been seen in quite a long time.
That’s a lot of stuff fit into this slightly expanded page count first issue, and all is given enough room to breathe and grow accordingly. Orlando makes it flow and the path from A to B feels natural and logical as we travel alongside them. If there was only one quibble to be found, that likely will be explained the deeper we go, it’s the whys of Cassandra Nova in the long run.
Now, seeing the way that Jean’s attempt to make Cassandra feel things like guilt and other emotions backfired somewhat as she actually enjoys it was interesting. It makes sure that a vile character remains that way, and isn’t being softened or backtracked. For some, it works but for others, it feels like an attempt to just brush their monstrous sins under the rug. Where the quibble lies is in the fact that they are said to need her in order to discover what the box was about and these ancient mutants and then Psylocke takes it all from her brain which doesn’t seem to mean she needs to be with them going forward.
On the other hand, there would be far more within that devious mind of hers so that likely is the reason for her continued presence right now.
There is an almost whimsical quality to Eleonora Carlini’s artwork, which makes the space moments seem so amazingly cool but also in a way makes the more disturbing moments with Cassandra far more disturbing in a perfect way. This style makes the depictions of mutant powers and space travel so unique and energetic, just dominating the page with these fantastical elements. Just in the first pages Fever Pitch’s powers balance between terrifying and awesome, depending on the given panel. There are a ton of emotions on display and they are captured very well, the style of the art giving folks like Kate Pryde some great closeups to showcase big expressive eyes.
Matt Milla nails it with the variety of colors, really hitting the right tones for bright morning or darker parts of a forest or space. All the aforementioned scenes with powers and space are even brighter, while the more conversational people-focused pages are toned down and feel more natural. There is a whole lot of red in the space pages, but those reds still feel distinct and stand apart from everything else.
Ariana Maher is one of the best letterers around, hands down. All the emotions can be felt and heard in the dialogue, which feels so natural with the choice of sentence case for most words saving the all caps style for titles and more impactful moments. Making whispers feel like whispers and yelling feel like yelling with font changes will always be something I love. One cannot forget the SFX which are just as distinct and fun and colorful as every other element on the pages, bringing all the right energy to the moment.
Marauders #1 is now available digitally or in print from Marvel Comics.