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Dec 18

Marauders #4 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers. Page numbers go by the digital edition.

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm, doing what Storm does.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits. This is “The Red Bishop” by Gerry Duggan and Lucas Werneck. The “public humiliation” strapline on the recap page refers to what’s coming up in the issue, rather than the recap it introduces.

PAGE 4. Data page. Another memo from the increasingly exasperated writer on the X-Desk, who complains with growing prominence that he isn’t being properly resourced, that other countries are throwing much more effort at it, and that he’s not sure anyone is even listening to him. This might just be a running joke, but it does seem like a plot point that the US government (particularly the current US government) is being so weirdly co-operative.

Krakoan drug delivery. The author says that there must be at least three Krakoan ships in order to account for all the drugs being delivered. That seems woefully inadequate to account for the whole supply – Krakoa’s leverage is based on actually being able to supply its drugs to companies that deal with it – so presumably he’s talking simply about the black market. Countries that will deal with Krakoa probably just get a gate.

Jumbo Carnation. Jumbo Carnation was indeed a mutant fashion designer, from Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run. His one and only appearance was in New X-Men #134 (2003), which went pretty much as the memo describes: he was mugged, but it later turned out that he had died of a drug overdose. The significance here is that the Krakoans evidently haven’t told the world that they can bring mutants back from the dead. And while superhero types return from the dead anyway, often enough for it not to raise too many eyebrows, the return of prominent mutant civilians is attracting a bit more notice.

Jumbo and Emma are buying red and white fabrics because he’s making clothes for the Red and White Hellfire Club members, as Kate confirms later in the issue. (But not Black, which Sebastian Shaw can sort out for himself – and his tastes lean to the historical anyway.)

PAGES 5-10. The Marauders rescue a group of mutants from Brazil.

Brazil has been mentioned before as a state which refuses to do business with Krakoa; it’s also the setting for the current arc in Fallen Angels, though that’s probably just coincidence. Issue #1 showed us (briefly) that “mutant-hunting quadrupeds” were hanging around the gates in Brazil and preventing mutants from getting through. We don’t find out any more about them in this issue, but it sounds like we’re probably not finished with Brazil.

Pyro’s song. It’s “Any Way You Want It” by Journey. Never a hit in the UK, or indeed anywhere outside the US (where it got to number 23 in 1980).

Pyro really seems to be enjoying the opportunities for destruction presented by his role in the Marauders; he hasn’t been quite this gleeful about it all in the past.

Paragon. From the look of it, some sort of Brazilian super soldier. The Brazilian mutant kids clearly know who he is, and he assumes the X-Men will too, but even Storm has no idea who he is. (And of all the Marauders, she’s the one most likely to bother with the homework.) This seems to be a new character – there have been several Paragons before, but none of them seem obviously relevant. There are partially obscured tattoos on his arms, but they don’t seem to have any obvious relevance.

Krakoan. Iceman’s Krakoan line says “Krakoan”, of course. This scene clarifies that mutants are learning Krakoan as they pass through the gates for the first time.

PAGES 11-20. Kitty and Bishop break into the home of missing billionaire Lim Zhao and find that he’s actually become an embarrassing pro-mutant cultist.

This picks up on the Bishop subplot from issue #1, where Lim Zhao’s wife Chen was claiming that he’d vanished on trying to pass through a Krakoan gate, and was trying to stir up anti-mutant sentiment on that basis.

The floor plan. Presumably in-story Krakoan is actually a proper language and not just a substitution cipher for English… but the words on the plan say pretty much what you’d expect. HALL, BED, BATH, KITCHEN, DINING, LIVING. If it’s just that floor, then it’s a two bedroom penthouse.

Kitty and Krakoan. Kitty can’t read the floor plan, but apparently never thought to ask anyone to teach her Krakoan telepathically (the language-teaching trick has been done many times before in the X-Men). It’s such an obvious thing for her to do that you have to figure she’s got some resistance to throwing herself fully into Krakoan society until it becomes practically unavoidable. Remember, she’s on the Quiet Council – even though we’ve never seen her attend a meeting – so you’d think she’d need to know the language. And despite being on the ruling body, she says “We’re building a nation and I just slipped through the cracks.” (Has anyone actually told her she’s on the Quiet Council?)

The Red Bishop. Kitty was trying to recruit Bishop for this role in the last issue, and he wasn’t remotely interested. Not unreasonably, he questions why a corporation even needs these “king and queen” figures, and gets no answer – hopefully that’s more than just lampshading a plot point.

Ivory. The sale of ivory is widely banned. Currently Taipei permits a domestic trade in ivory products registered prior to 1995, but ivory trade is due to be outlawed entirely from the new year.

Order of X. The first we’ve heard of this particular mutant-worshipping cult, but Sebastian Shaw mentioned the existence of such groups in the previous issue. Bishop, rather disturbingly, attributes their sudden emergence to Xavier’s “voice of god” address to the human race in House of X. Kitty hasn’t heard of these people before, so they must still be quite rare.

Lady Deathstrike. Cyborg Yuriko Oyama is a long-running Wolverine villain (having started out in Daredevil). Her thing used to be that her father had created a way of bonding adamantium to the skeleton, the process that was used on Bullseye; she wanted revenge on Wolverine for stealing it. But that fell by the wayside a while back. The two guards seen here do indeed have arms with the extended claw fingers long associated with Deathstrike, so Kate’s suggestion of a connection is perfectly reasonable. They fit into the prevailing theme that the real threat is the post-humans. Interestingly, Bishop tells us on the next page that the guards are a threat only because of their post-human upgrades; they talk the talk but don’t really know how to fight. How did they wind up being selected for this role?

PAGES 21-22. Kitty and Bishop take Lim Zhao to the anti-mutant rally to prove he’s fine.

This is… a bit simplistic, since while they prove Chen is lying, Lim is also clearly out of his mind. It really shouldn’t be too hard for her to sell an anti-mutant crowd on the idea that the mutants have done something terrible to him. But she’s not that quick on her feet.

PAGE 23. Data page. An exchange of messages between Beast and Bishop; Beast encourages Bishop to join the Hellfire Club so that they can get more insiders.

PAGES 24-25. Chen Zhao flees to Madripoor where she signs up with Homines Verendi – the one-time kid Hellfire Club.

Homines Verendi. Very roughly, “the feared ones”. More significantly, these are the four core characters from the (somewhat divisive) version of the Hellfire Club from Jason Aaron’s Wolverine & The X-Men run, who were all pre-teen prodigies of various degrees of lunacy. While they accept that they’re no longer the Hellfire Club, they’re evidently still using the chess-man motif – though with only black and white, not red. Obviously, they’re going to be the opposite numbers of “our” Club.

From left to right, they are:

  • The Black Bishop, Baron Maximilian Frankenstein. He’s a scientific genius, said to be the last living descendent of that Dr Frankenstein. His birth name is Baron Maximilian von Katzenelnbogen, but he changed it in Wolverine and the X-Men #23.
  • The Black King, Kade Kilgore. Genius son of a Sentinel manufacturer.
  • The White King, Manuel Enduque. A largely undeveloped character, supposedly from a family of slavers. He seems to be the most stable of the four, but that might just be because he doesn’t get much to do.
  • The White Queen, Wilhelmina Kensington. Hyper-girly psychopath. Basically a one-note joke character.

Max gives essentially the same explanation for the sudden appearance of mutant cultists at Bishop did: something to do with mutant cultists. His stated desire to liberate these people is superficially reasonable. This is not a group previously given to feigning reasonableness, but maybe they’re just growing up.

PAGES 26-27. Reading order and trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: BATTLESHIP.

Bring on the comments

  1. Luis Dantas says:

    Paragon may be a subtle satire of our current President, if that is the word.

    He has a slightly resemblance to Bozo, being just a touch balder, and is obviously a military person.

    And oh, it just happens that he is both ineffective and full of himself.

  2. Allan M. says:

    I noticed that Bishop was taking aback by Kate’s brutal use of her powers – phasing objects into people and then solidifying them. She’s been doing this since the first issue, but this is the first on-panel acknowledgement that this is Not Normal. Bishop also mentions on the text page that Beast is worried about Kate, though Bishop thinks she’s fine. Along with the “fell through the cracks” comment, this issue is the clearest indication that there’s a darker undercurrent to Kate’s behaviour that Duggan is establishing.

    I don’t think we’re headed for Evil Kitty Pryde or anything, but it’s nice to see a character arc so central in the midst of the heavy post-HOXPOX exposition and worldbuilding.

  3. Si says:

    I’ve been reading Guardians of the Galaxy lately. When Pryde was in that she was shooting people all over the place, and at one point phased some alien guy’s internal organ out of his chest and quipped about it to his face as he dropped dead.

    So not without precedent.

  4. YLu says:

    Is there a special reason so many X-books (every single title except X-MEN) all came out on the same day? Even ones that just released their previous issue last week? It has to be intentional, right?

  5. Isaac P says:

    That Journey song got a lot of use in a series of Burger King ads over here in the states a few years back. Otherwise it’s pretty far down the list of Journey songs someone’s going to pick out on the jukebox.

  6. SanityOrMadness says:


    Mostly because this is a three-shipping-week month (the few titles notionally out next week were actually delivered this week with an order to hold them back.), so two-and-a-bit weeks of books all appeared this week so as to get them out this fiscal quarter and before Xmas.

    [DC have *also* dropped a crapton of books this week for similar reasons.]

  7. Michael says:

    I am really bothered by Kate’s darker turn and this more offensive use of her powers… yeah, she’s always had a bit of an edge ever since she was brainwashed by Ogun waaaaaaay back in the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine mini, but it’s still offputting to see her maim and permanently harm people with her powers. You’d think that phasing stuff into them would just kill the victim, but I guess in a comic universe, they can survive just fine.

  8. Luis Dantas says:

    If permanently fusing living people with physical objects like this is not evil behavior, I must have missed some important classes in basic education.

  9. Moo says:

    I knew it. I knew my dentist was evil.

  10. Luis Dantas says:

    … on second thought, I may want to work on that delivery.

    Fair point, @Moo. 🙂

  11. ASV says:

    It does seem out of character in a way that should be apparent in-story, but at the same time Storm completely fried someone that to her knowledge was just a very fit baseline human.

  12. Taibak says:

    I’m just kinda surprised they referenced the Katzenelnbogens for the Baron.

  13. Joseph S. says:

    Agreed behavior is weird, but I’m willing to run with it. There are enough signposts that it’s heading somewhere. One of the many issues out yesterday had a line which suggested that Xavier gave the mutants their freedom at the expense of their will (though I may be misremembering). I think it was in New Mutants?

    In any case, I also suspect that the frequency of shipping is headed somewhere. New Mutants, for instance, has not really had any b-plots, but instead split the creative teams and plots into different issues. The various books have mostly been moving pieces around. The islands fused. Xavier killed and resurrected. Kitty not allowed through the gate, and acting strange. (Moira involved in barring her, or Krakoa knows something?) We get a window into human response, pro-mutant cults, shadowy enemies, the black market, post-humanity and a man-machine Apoth-eosis. Seems to me the first arcs are rushing to conclusion, setting up the next wave of books and, hopefully, really getting the ball rolling.

  14. Chris V says:

    I think the books are probably trying to get to a certain point for that X vs. 4 mini-series (or whatever it is called).
    It seems like that’s going to be the next big event in this “Dawn of X”.

  15. SanityOrMadness says:

    @Chris V

    Nah, pretty sure that’s just a minor tie-in mini. Major event’s going to come nearer the #12s than the #6s.

    Michael> You’d think that phasing stuff into them would just kill the victim, but I guess in a comic universe, they can survive just fine.

    I’d expect it to effectively destroy the affected body part completely, but also stop any blood flow to/from it. A lot of pain, and the loss of (e.g.) a limb; but only kill if it hit major organs.

  16. Evilgus says:

    ” Bishop was taking aback by Kate’s brutal use of her powers – phasing objects into people and then solidifying them. She’s been doing this since the first issue, but this is the first on-panel acknowledgement that this is Not Normal.”
    @Allan (and Michael, and others): I was glad for the on-page acknowledgement. Kate using her phasing powers this way IS horrible!! But: done properly, her power is one of the most interesting visually. So I can appreciate seeing Kate cut loose in this way, even if it feels like a dark turn.

    I did enjoy Shadowcat and Bishop’s parachute jump too. They’re a fun and unusual pairing. And I like it when Kate gets referred to by codename, rather than these X-women who just go by their first name…

    The art was great in this. Bishop looked cool and authoritive, Kate isn’t cheesecake.

    And the “Deathstrike’s maids” quip made me burst out laughing 🙂

  17. Col_Fury says:

    I thought this was a good issue, and the series seems to be hitting its stride. Bishop’s mission is tackled in one issue instead of being dragged out over several; that makes me happy.

    As others have mentioned, it’s good to see other characters (or at least Bishop so far) noticing Kitty’s brutal behavior and commenting on it. And that, despite rescuing mutants so they can live on Krakoa, having pretty much nothing to do with Krakoa and her being a little miffed about it. Hopefully this all leads to something.

    I was surprised to be pleased at seeing the Hellfire kids. I didn’t exactly miss them, but it makes sense they’d turn up in a book dealing with the Hellfire Club/Trading Company/whatever.

  18. Si says:

    I expect forcing two solid material items to occupy the same space would cause some kind of explosion. Probably a nuclear explosion, as atoms tear each other apart.

    At the very least, there would be a massive ionic shockwave, which would cause poisoning and cancer and all sorts of things.

    I mean, it’s impossible to say because it can’t happen in real life, but you’d imagine it would have to be more than just needing surgery to take the gun out.

  19. Loz says:

    Oh no, not the kid Hellfire Club! They weren’t even funny the first dozen times they turned up in ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ but at least there was an excuse there, that the kids weren’t ready to take on real villains. Please let them pose and monologue and then Storm just calls up another super-lightning strike, pretty please?

  20. JCG says:

    In the real world there’s mostly empty “space” in all matter, that’s how collapsed stars can become so dense.

    Shouldn’t be a problem when Kitty phases things together. But getting them unstuck would be a pain in the ass, yes.

  21. Si says:

    It seems like empty space, but it’s actually a complex lattice of nuclear forces. It would be like how our solar system is mostly empty space, but stick Mars anywhere near Earth and they’ll probably tear each other apart.

    Sorry, I’m getting way too into this for what it is, and I’m not even very good at physics.

  22. MasterMahan says:

    Interesting that mutant-worshipping cults have suddenly popped up, given how cultish Krakoa comes across as. I wonder if whatever’s affecting the Krakoans is leaking out the gate.

  23. Dave says:

    “It would be like how our solar system is mostly empty space, but stick Mars anywhere near Earth and they’ll probably tear each other apart.”

    Not really, since atoms in solids are all packed close together already. I can buy that with comic book science the atoms of the two phasing objects just push each other around and squeeze into gaps in the liquid parts and so on.
    Also, when a liquid cools and the atoms get closer together as it solidifies, there are no nuclear consequences.

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