As ‘Destiny of X’ continues to roll out, Marauders adds some very intriguing dimensions to this new era by turning to lesser used characters and points to some pretty big mysteries that deepen the overall mutant history of the Marvel Universe. A colorful, fantastical, and dangerous journey comes to vivid life across these pages as the series shows such promise.
As hostile and deadly as living on the planet Earth has been at times for Mutants, their track record when it comes to going to and dealing with space stuff isn’t much better. A whole new crew of Marauders has risen to protect and save Mutant kind, and just like the last crew, their first trip to space isn’t going so well.
After over 50 years of existence, there are tons of realms and areas and characters from the X-Mythos, and just Marvel overall really, that haven’t been seen or explored in some time. Erik the Red is one of those blasts from the past as the order he belongs to, Kin Crimson, fights hard to stop the Marauders and Mutants period from finding out just what the Shi’ar knows about or did to the ancient group of mutants they’ve come to find.
As noted with the last issue, the artwork of Eleonora Carlini and Matt Milla is just so fantastical and fun and perfectly fitting for a story that sees the team jaunting and fighting through space. There is a whimsical quality to Carlini’s artwork that not only makes the action and glorious absurdity of space even more exciting, but it makes the harder or more disturbing moments hit even harder as well. Cassandra Nova especially looks almost innocent or bemused, yet utterly terrifying on every single level as she should be. As are the Hard Skin duplicates that Erik the Red creates, with their emoji-like creepy faces.
The shift in paneling styles and jumps from using tons of white or black space to full pages enhances the frantic nature of the story. Milla has a very slick and smooth style in place here, and the colors are bold and, in your face, bright with a whole ton of red showing up (fitting with the whole Crimson Kin situation). Yet there are other pages where it’s all brought back to a more toned down more natural feeling, especially in the areas where conversation/character is the focus over the action.
When it comes to lettering there are a handful of letterers whose name on books gets me excited right away and, in this case, we have two of them as Ariana Maher is back from the first issue but Clayton Cowles comes aboard to lend a hand. There are a lot of similarities in their styles and it’s a seamless tag-team effort, including my preferred use of the sentence case for dialogue which feels more natural for medium tones allowing the bigger cases to be useable for big loud moments. Even the SFX here gets in on the whimsical fun nature of the book as they have a whole ton of personality to share.
Picking a cast for a book is probably quite a tough thing to do when it comes to loading it up with favorites or those who meet the plots or will bring the best drama or whatever. This cast works fantastically as Steve Orlando has a clear vision for them and they are bouncing off one another and the antagonists so wonderfully. There is diversity on many counts across this cast and this book, and it makes things so much stronger and more interesting.
There are still avenues to explore in regard to this new crew, but with just three issues under their belt (counting the annual where they came together) everything feels pretty good so far. Even the controversial addition of Cassandra Nova is just adding some delicious drama to the story. Orlando is balancing the cast building, the main plot, and the supporting elements very easily and it will be interesting to see where this all ends up in a few months.
Marvel Comics’ Marauders#2 is now available.