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Jan 3

Marauders #5 annotations

Posted on Friday, January 3, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Iceman and Christian Frost on Christian’s submarine.

PAGES 1-5. Bobby visits White Bishop Christian Frost on his submarine.

The Anthropocene is a proposed term (though the proposal is a very serious one) for a new geological epoch marking the period in which human activity is the dominant influence on geology and ecosystems. Bobby treats it as synonymous with climate change, which isn’t really correct.

Christian Frost, Emma’s brother, was a throwaway character from New X-Men #139 who was later expanded upon in the Emma Frost solo title (which established that he was gay) and the recent Iceman solo title (which established him as a mutant with vaguely-defined psychic powers). So Iceman already has an established acquaintance with Christian. Since Bobby is hanging around on Christian’s submarine and wearing Christian’s monogrammed dressing gown, the obvious implication is that their relationship now goes further than that.

Generally, Christian has appeared in Emma Frost stories as the token nice one in her otherwise awful family. Many of his stories show him as either traumatised or recovering from trauma. For the first time in a long time, he’s shown here as relaxed and self-confident, in a depiction which seems to call back to his bohemian early depiction.

“True name”. Bobby is presumably prompting Christian to pick a codename. The idea that this is your “true” name is a very mutant-nationalist idea, but we’ve seen the Stepford Cuckoos float a similar idea in House of X.

“The Mercury”. Christian mentions later that his submarine apparently has some sort of internal shape-changing arrangements – the piano is a disguised control console, for example – so the name presumably alludes to that. The other Hellfire ships are named after established X-Men concepts; there is an X-Men trainee called Mercury, but there’s no obvious link here.

Bobby and Kate. Christian suggests that Iceman and Storm are both in the Marauders out of concern for Kate, the one X-Man unable to fully participate in the Krakoan utopia. He suggests that the concern is that if the gates don’t work for her, is she also the only mutant who can’t be resurrected? There doesn’t seem to be any obvious logical link between the two but you can see why the inexplicable problem with the gates might cause some worries. Certainly the suggestion seems to hit a little close to home.

PAGES 7-8. Credits. This is “A Time to Sow” by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli & Lucas Werneck. The title refers to “a time to reap and a time to sow”, which is a paraphrase of a passage in Ecclesiastes.

PAGES 9-10. The Hellfire Trading Company meet and Shaw fails to palm off a Madripoor trip on the Marauders.

Sebastian Shaw’s attempts to assert his authority aren’t going any better than before, though he’s not exactly doing his cause any favours by talking to Emma and Kate like this. And there’s no obvious reason why they’d want to waste the Marauder on making trips to Madripoor anyway (nor does Sebastian give any very clear reason why he wants it, even as a pretext). Note that while Shinobi Shaw doesn’t actively undermine his father, he does nothing to lend any support either. At the very least, he’s less antagonistic and overbearing towards his Hellfire colleagues.

PAGES 11-13. Kate and Emma talk.

Kate too is worried about being left out of the resurrection protocols; Emma’s concerned about all her plastic surgery being undone. (Has someone pointed out to her that Wolverine still has adamantium?) Kate’s reference to picking between Emma and Professor X goes back to her debut appearance where Emma tried unsuccessfully to recruit her for the Hellfire Club.

The Red Keep is decked out in very over the top pirate gear. This is one of the less Krakoa-ish rooms we’ve seen on the island, complete with things that have clearly been brought onto the island from outside, and a carpet and four poster bed. There are a few vines around, though.

Krakoan. Emma can indeed teach Kate Krakoan instantly; she seems not to have realised until now that it was necessary. Emma’s toast is “SLAINTE” (“health”). Kate’s reply, on being taught the language, is “GRACIAS”. (Note, though, that if Kate has got away with it for this long, the Krakoans can’t actually be using the language all that much. It’s a constructed language deliberately created to construct a national identity… but do they actually speak it, except as a lingua franca?)

“Dreadful human clothes”. Is Emma being sarcastic? While a lot of the Krakoans are wandering around in their superhero (or villain) costumes, sometimes from years gone by, it’s not as if she and Kate are wearing anything especially mutant-y.

PAGES 14-15. The Marauders race to help on learning that Shinobi is in trouble.

The Upstart. Shinobi has named his boat after his early-90s villain group, the Upstarts. Emma regards this as rather tasteless because the Upstarts were engaged in a gratuitous competition to kill other mutants for points. That’s a bit hypocritical considering that this book is called Marauders. But then again, Shinobi was actually in the Upstarts.

The Krakoan word above Sebastian Shaw’s gate is “MADRIPOOR”.

PAGE 16. Another X-Desk memo. The author seems to have given up on hoping that anyone will read his memo and now seems to be close to keeping a diary. The effect of Krakoan drugs on his mother’s dementia also seems to have made him much more sympathetic to the mutants (though in fairness, he openly flags the point and invites his superiors to reassign him – which you suspect he’d be delighted by anyway).

The author also has some actual news to report: Homines Verendi has bought a vast amount of black market Krakoan drugs, and seems to be planning to adulterate them with cyanide and put them back on the black market. The plan, presumably, is to damage Krakoa’s economy by undermining trust in the drugs. The memo author strongly recommends that someone warn the Krakoans about this – and it’s interesting to note that hot on the heels of X-Men talking about Krakoa’s dominant economic power, this issue gives us someone worrying about the effect of “a mass casualty event” on Krakoa’s “only meaningful export”. He clearly sees Krakoa’s influence as much more provisional and vulnerable than Magneto does.

“Our man at Princeton, Michael D Gordin.” A real person.

“Yelena Baraz from their linguistics department.” Her too.

FINCEN. The US Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

“Five Eyes Nation”. Five Eyes is an intelligence sharing arrangement between the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

PAGES 17-21. Homines Verendi is offering money for people who kill mutants in Madripoor.

Shinobi Shaw. Sebastian Shaw seemed to know that there were reasons to try and avoid Madripoor. We can take it that hewas trying to send Kate into harm’s way rather than Shinobi – though evidently that didn’t stop him from sending Shinobi anyway. That’s assuming Shinobi isn’t in on the plan, of course. But as far as we can see here, Shinobi seems to have been genuinely trying to shelter the local mutants that he was meant to be picking up. Not in a hugely heroic way – he’s hiding with them below deck – but in fairness it’s not obvious what else he could do.

The Russian armour. These soldiers are wearing the same suits of armour that Professor Phobos was wearing in issue #1.

PAGE 22. Data page on Homines Verendi. Doesn’t really add much new. Chen Zhao is now the White Bishop; there are vacancies for Black Queen and White and Black Knight.

PAGES 23-25. The Marauder is attacked by Homines Verendi agents.

The X-Cutioner. The guy in the foreground with the hood and the chainmail sleeves is the X-Cutioner, or at least a version of one. There have been two versions of this character. The original X-Cutioner, Carl Denti, was more of a misguided vigilante who went after people he thought were supervillains escaping the law, so he’d be a less obvious fit for Homines Verendi. The second version, from X-Men Gold, was basically an anti-mutant serial killer. Or this could be someone new in the costume.

The Hate-Monger. I don’t think this guy has ever appeared in an X-Men story before, but he’s a self-explanatory neo-Nazi villain who dates back to Silver Age Fantastic Four. There have been several Hate-Mongers; the original was meant to be a clone of Adolf Hitler, and he’s supposed to be dead. In any incarnation, the Hate-Monger is not a subtle character. It’s impossible to tell whether this is a version we’ve seen before or a new one.

PAGES 26-27. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: BACKSTABBER.

Bring on the comments

  1. JD says:

    A more direct reason for Emma to dislike the Upstarts reference is that they were the ones responsible for slaughtering her Hellions, of course.

  2. CJ says:

    I thought Emma was particularly contemptuous of the name “Upstart” since the Upstart Fitzroy killed her Hellions in UXM #281.

    Poor X-Desk guy. I hope he gets a break. (I’ve had a similar job…)

  3. CJ says:

    JD beat me to it.

  4. Taibak says:

    To be fair, about the only reason why the Hate Monger wouldn’t work as an X-Men villain is that there are several dozen other characters who do the same thing only better….

  5. Si says:

    If Bobby doesn’t marry Christian Frost and take on his surname, why do we even have nominative determinism?

    con: there’s already a guy called Robert Frost.

  6. SanityOrMadness says:

    Paul> Emma’s concerned about all her plastic surgery being undone. (Has someone pointed out to her that Wolverine still has adamantium?)

    As we found out from the last issue of X-Force, Wolverine has adamantium because they’re keeping a supply to bond to the new copy from scratch.

    If the same held true for Frost, then the “new” Emma would absolutely come without the plastic surgery, and need it done to match this Emma.

  7. Sol says:

    I was SO confused that Bobby (in human form) was talking to a character named Frost I’d never heard of before, while wearing Frost’s bathrobe. Had no idea which one was Bobby, or who the other person could be. The cover doesn’t help, because there while Iceman is clearly identified, Frost is the one wearing the bathrobe.

    Seems like a place were they are badly missing editor footnotes, I shouldn’t have to go to annotations to make sense of pages of the comic. (Also, why the hell don’t I have this blog in my feed reader?!!)

  8. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I’m still enjoying this book a lot. It could be subtler – especially when it comes to Shaw’s ‘manipulations’… Then again, maybe he’s being purposefully boorish and plain as some sort of double bluff.

    I really like the development of Kate and Emma’s relationship. This book is clunky at times, but the good far outweighs the clunk.

    Also, the coloring has improved considerably.

  9. Arrowhead says:

    Anyone else think ‘Mutineers’ would be a much better title?

  10. Col_Fury says:

    So one team uses a gate to get to Madripoor, then Kitty’s boat shows up… 20 minutes later? How close is Krakoa to Madripoor? Boats are faster than jets?

    I know, I’m picking nits, comic book physics & dramatic blah blah blah, but still, it knocks me out of the story a bit.

    That aside, fun issue. 🙂

  11. JCG says:

    It’s a fast boat, and Krakoa is pretty close to Madripoor as these things go. Same ocean at least!

  12. neutrino says:

    @Arrowhead: Why? What would they be mutineeing against?

  13. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Col_Fury
    Boats aren’t faster than jets – in fact, we’ve been given a specific speed the Marauder can achieve* (300 knots, about 550 kilometers per hour). Which is 7 times less than the real-life SR-71 Lockheed Blackbird’s top speed.

    Then again it wasn’t specifically stated that this is the Marauder’s top speed. Maybe it can go faster.

    Anyway, in this instance – since Krakoa is at least in the same general region as Madripoor – it kinda sorta works. If you squint a bit.

    *-in Marauders #3

  14. Arrowhead says:

    @nuetrino
    I think one reason Kitty chose the name was they wanted to be disassociated from Krakoa? And rebelling against human society and all that. Mostly “Mutineers” avoids referencing the original Marauders, and still sounds piratey, plus the “mutie” pun.

    …Oh well, I thought it was clever 🙂

  15. Luis Dantas says:

    This issue reminded me of why I am not a fan of Storm.

    Having her all roar-like is just unappealling, and sits ill with me. I kinda liked the dignified, ponderate person that she used to be once upon a time.

  16. JCG says:

    Most of writers seems to have no great interest in Storm so she’s either delegated to the background or cargo culted.

  17. neutrino says:

    @Arrowhead: Maybe “Privateers”? Of course, using “Marauders” might indicate she’s possessed by Malice.

    @JCG: Ta-Nahesi Coates seems to want to use her in Black Panther, even making her a goddess.

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