Adventure on the high seas has to start somewhere, so join Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli as they introduce you to Marvel’s new pirate captain and her crew in Marauders, hitting the shelves this week.
Jonathan Hickman’s HoX/PoX laid the groundwork for the Dawn of X and now the baton has been passed to a large team of creators to expand on the new mutant world and catch up on everyone’s favourite X-Men, wherever they are.
With the establishment of a new Mutant Nation on Krakoa, it is finally time for all mutants to settle down in safety. Unfortunately, not all Mutants are able to reach Professor X’s Utopian society. Across the world there are nations who have declined to recognise the mutant sovereignty, cutting off mutants who want to join their own kind. And closer to home, Kate do-they-still-call-you-Kitty? Pryde is having troubles of her own accessing Krakoa.
Gerry Duggan establishes early on in Marauders that his X-book is going to be dealing with outsiders, those who haven’t experienced, or in some cases can’t experience, the magnificent society that has appeared. The opening sequence not only introduces the central character, Kitty Pryde, but also immediately throws a wall up between this story and the larger Dawn of X world. Poor old Ms Pryde can’t access Krakoa, and her discovery of this is quite painful.
Luckily, her rejection from the Mutant State opens up new opportunities, one handed to her by Emma Frost, who is now heading up The Hellfire Trading Company. Duggan’s tale spans the world and re-introduces a number of X-Men to the readers.This is a perfectly balanced first issue narrative, mixing plot with character introductions. Duggan lays down the groundwork for the series, showcasing his main cast and setting up future threats. The powers of each of the X-Men are demonstrated in a number of ways that are relevant to the story, acting as reminders to readers who don’t know or may have forgotten what these characters can do.
Each scene acts like a building block, forming the foundation of the comic. Duggan places each block into place so that by the end there is a firm ground to launch the ongoing narrative.
One of the noticeable aspects of Marauders is the quirky sense of humour throughout. The central cast joke with each other, and even in the face of danger they find time to quip to their exit. Duggan’s script is littered with jokes and sarcastic comments. This atmosphere is picked up by artist Matteo Lolli who gives the characters a jovial appearance. Over exaggerated gestures and comical expressions lighten the mood, easing the reader into the comic.
Marauders At Large
There is a fairly extensive cast list, each with their own unique appearance. Lolli’s figurative work is expressive and dynamic, capturing the life that these characters lead. The panels are full of energy and a brightness that marks it out from the heavy, more serious X-Men comics that Hickman has put out in the last few months. This lightness is achieved by keeping the pages bright and simple. There isn’t too much background detail, instead focusing on creating the impression of locale, and the colors, provided by Federico Blee, are vibrant and warm. Each page transition is inviting because the impression from each page is fun and relaxed.
Marauders is going to be fun.That is what the script and the art tell the reader. Sit back and go with the flow. Cory Petit picks up this mood with the lettering by creating a bouncing pace through his speech balloons and their placements. Even during large speeches, Petit breaks up the text into smaller, easily digestible balloons so that none of the exposition feels heavy handed. The reader is led through the comic at a pleasant speed, relaxed and entertaining. There are dangers in this world but these are minimised by a cheeky grin or a lost flip-flop.
Despite the obvious tonal change from the X-Men parent title, one of the links between this and what has come before is the design work by Tom Muller. Muller’s design for the inserts, title pages and logo’s is one of the more outstanding parts of Marvels X-Men reboot and it is a joy to see that these designs are going to be used across all of the comics. This not only links the comics visually but reminds the reader that it is all apart of something greater, a much larger plan.
Sailing out of Hickman’s introduction to Dawn of X is a difficult task for any comic. That is made slightly more difficult for Marauders because it is the first none Hickman title. However, with Marauders, Duggan and Co. stamp their mark on the X-World early on, making this comic very much their own. Not only is this going to be a wild ride for these characters but it is also going to be a fun one.
With possibly the best line up of X-Men out of the upcoming releases*, Marauders is not a title to be missed. Kate Pryde, Emma Frost, Storm, Pyro, Iceman, and Nightcrawler welcome you aboard and hope you stick around for the ride.