Review by Frank Plowright
Marauders under Gerry Duggan slots right in with the relaunched X-Men titles of 2019, and his spotlighted X-Men are Kitty Pryde, Storm, Bishop and Iceman, with Pyro subsequently added. Kitty, the mutant able to diminish her density and phase through solid surfaces is apparently the one mutant on Earth for whom the surface of the transportation gate to Krakoa presents as solid. It’s a smart introduction to the USP, which is Kitty sailing around the world rescuing mutants from countries who have refused to permit transportation gates in their land, or territories where there are gates, but mutants are unable to access them.
Having introduced that viable idea, though, it’s dropped into the background as Duggan’s primary interest is the political manoeuvring among the elite of what was the Hellfire Club, now the Hellfire Trading Company, responsible for distributing Krakoa’s life-changing medicine around the world. Sebastian Shaw sits on Krakoa’s mutant council alongside Emma Frost, but their interests are divergent, Shaw unable to put aside the desire for personal profit. They’re enemies of old, each jostling for power, with Emma seemingly having the upper hand, but the strength of Shaw’s hate not to be underestimated. It makes for a powerfully seething emotional brew contrasting the supernaturally nice Kitty.
Matteo Lolli draws over half the book in an efficient European style that in a few places bears an uncanny resemblance to Steve Yeowell’s art. Clarity is all, and Michele Bandini and Lucas Werneck uphold that ethos on their chapters.
Duggan introduces the children who once usurped the Hellfire Club, and levels up anti-mutant bigots by equipping them with mutant power dampeners that short-circuit mutant abilities for a brief period. There are nice touches, forced jokes, and a lot of seeds are efficiently sown for the future, but this opening volume of Marauders is too patchy, as if Duggan can’t make up his mind where the focus should be. Bishop especially is a passenger, but there’s one hell of a cliffhanger to take us into Vol. 2.