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Jan 14

Marauders #17 annotations

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

“The Winds of Change”
by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm and Callisto fighting. We’ll get to that in the story.

PAGES 2-4. Flashback: Emma and Callisto investigate Shinobi Shaw.

This flashback takes place during issue #11, after Emma returns home from Kate’s funeral to find Lockheed waiting, and reads his mind to find out how she died. (Hence the black outfit.) It doesn’t exactly match the original scene, where Emma said “show me” to Lockheed, saw what happened, and then turned to diamond and started punching the walls and vowing revenge.

Kate died in issue #6 following a plan by Sebastian Shaw in which he lured her to Madripoor, and then got her alone after the battle. Shinobi, the Black Bishop, was part of the events that lured Kate there. But the original story was ambiguous about whether he was in on the scheme, and he’s hardly a loyal ally of his father. This scene resolves that question: Shinobi didn’t know. If so, then apparently he was genuinely trying to help local mutants get to safety in issue #5. Considering his history, Marauders is remarkably kind in its depiction of Shinobi.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits.

PAGES 6-8. Storm and Callisto talk.

“The Otherworld nonsense.” The “X of Swords” crossover.

“Have you told Emma and Kate that you’re leaving yet?” Storm hasn’t even told us that she’s leaving, and she’s had remarkably little to do in any of the X-books so far in the Krakoan era. She did get to cause diplomatic problems with Wakanda during “X of Swords”, so perhaps she’s planning to smooth things over with them – though given its cultural importance, surely she’s already returned the Wakandan sword by now?

“Even without your heightened senses…” Callisto lost her superhuman powers on M-Day, and has never been repowered. That doesn’t directly affect her combat prowess, since she was a low-powered mutant to start with. But from her point of view, she’s living in a world of dulled senses.

“The Pretender.” The Scarlet Witch, but I think this may be the first time we’ve seen her called that by a character rather than by the data pages.

The Crucible. The Crucible was introduced in X-Men #7. It’s supposedly directed to the problem of depowered mutants trying to get themselves killed in order to be resurrected with their powers intact. Basically it involves intentionally dying in trial by combat. The intention is to keep down the numbers and deter a wave of suicides that would swamp the Five’s resurrection capabilities. But the whole thing is decidedly cult-like and unpleasant; Storm doesn’t want to be part of it, though she claims not to disapprove of it in principle.

It’s not spelled out here, but Storm and Callisto have a long history, which is presumably why Callisto has approached her. Callisto used to be leader of the Morlocks, a mutant community living in tunnels beneath New York. In Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #170 (1983), Storm defeated Callisto in a knife fight, stabbing her in the heart in the process, in order to depose her as the leader of the Morlocks. Callisto was saved by the Healer, and in practice Storm pretty much abandoned her post as Morlock leader and left Callisto to run the place day to day anyway. Callisto had something of a love-hate relationship with Storm.

“I like knives. I don’t like getting cut.” Presumably Callisto is inviting Storm to electrocute her to death (which is what happens later). Ironically, of course, stabbing is precisely how Storm beat Callisto in the first place.

“Do you remember how far you were willing to go to become whole?” Storm lost her powers in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #185 (1984) when she was accidentally shot with a Neutralizer. She didn’t get her powers back until Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #226 (1988), by which point she’d been on a visionquest and spent a year or so (in her time) stranded on another world with Forge.

PAGE 9. Data page. This is a memo from Emma to Hellfire Trading staff, implementing the deal that she, Kate and Shaw reached last issue. Quite who these staff are is unclear, or whether they’re actually aligned to the Black, White or Red houses themselves. (It would make more sense if she was simply telling the staff that they were reporting to different people in future.)

Mykines. This is the island that Emma (through Magneto) acquired in Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1. See the annotations to that issue for more detail. The citadel with the Sentinel head, which we see later on, was built by Magneto in the same story.

PAGES 10-12. The Hellfire Club on Mykines.

Presumably that’s Christian Frost’s shape-changing ship the Mercury floating in the air next to the lighthouse.

The unnamed caretaker also appeared in Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1.

“The previous owner of this island.” Namor the Sub-Mariner.

Port Genosha. Sebastian Shaw’s distillery on Genosha. Its whisky is of “impressive age” because he gets Tempo to distort time and age it more quickly.

Harry Leland. Harry Leland was the Black Bishop of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle when they first appeared (the same role that Shinobi holds now). Emma is stretching a point about the similarity of his powers to Shinobi’s. Harry Leland had the power to increase the weight of a target object; Shinobi becomes intangible. It works better if Harry also had the power to make things lighter, but if so, that’s new. Obviously, Emma is insinuating that Harry is Shinobi’s real father; she may well have other reasons to believe this, not least that she might have read Harry’s mind.

“He sacrificed himself against Killrod, or something something dreadful like that.” Harry Leland died fighting Nimrod in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #209 (1986). He didn’t exactly sacrifice himself – he had a heart attack – but he did go out heroically by using his powers to crush Nimrod in his final moments.

Saucier, the mutant chef, previously appeared in Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1. Since nobody else has ever suggested that mutants have a different sense of taste, his insistence that humans have an “unsophisticated” palate is another example of what we’ll politely call Krakoa’s unearned exceptionalism.

PAGES 13-15. Kate thanks the fishermen who saved Lockheed.

These are the people who fished Lockheed out of the water in issue #7 and nursed him back to health.

PAGES 16-21. Storm and Callisto in the Crucible.

The Silver Samurai has replaced Apocalypse as the officiant at the Crucible. Apocalypse used to do the fighting himself, but the Samurai is somewhat more neutral. We have seen the Samurai running the gladiatorial sparring contests in the Quarry (see e.g. Cable #1), so he’s a logical choice to take the role.

“Kaishakunin”. A kaishakunin is someone who assists in ritual suicide by seppuku, by beheading the person.

Fenris. Andrea and Andreas von Strucker are, I think, making their first significant appearance of the Krakoan era. Fenris are only dubiously mutants, since their back story involves them being genetically modified in utero by Arnim Zola – but maybe they were always going to be mutants anyway. As Callisto and Masque’s reactions indicate, they’re neo-Nazis. They have no particular history with Callisto, and seem to be just looking for a socially sanctioned opportunity to kill somebody.

“The hole.” Presumably Callisto means the pit where Sabretooth is held. What she’d be able to do to two other mutants to get sent there is anyone’s guess, but it’s probably just hyperbole.

PAGE 22. Data page – another memo from Delores Ramirez on the X-Desk. Evidently the Hellfire Trading Corporation have been buying up properties in Madripoor in response to what Kate learned from Lockheed’s rescuers.

The fact that Homines Verendi are running the government of Madripoor is evidently now public knowledge (and as we’ll see in the next scene, their base is openly called Verendi House). Madripoor used to be a principality and it’s unclear whether there’s still a notion royal figure in the background somewhere.

The Hellfire Gala has been in planning for months in this book – Emma first mentions it in issue #7. The mention of a new team of X-Men being announced at the gala comes from X-Men #16, where Cyclops was organising an election for a new X-Men team, to be unveiled “at the first Hellfire Gala”. (A slightly odd place to do it, if it’s not going to be on Krakoa and most of the guests are going to be foreign government representatives.)

PAGES 23-24. Kate delivers a gala invitation to Homines Verendi.

Max von Frankenstein has some sort of special project under way, which is obviously foreshadowing.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: HEALING.

Bring on the comments

  1. Rob says:

    Shinobi has suspected Leland was his father from his first appearance, when he taunted Sebastian with that same reasoning about their powers as he attempted to murder him. So, this could be a widely rumored notion, or Emma knows that Shinobi suspects this and is flattering him.

    I also read the scene with Christian as a date/seduction. Shinobi has been coded as gay or bisexual since his introduction.

  2. CitizenBane says:

    Reads strangely for Callisto to take issue with the Strucker twins for *racism* when Krakoa is home to any number of terrorists, mass murderers and serial killers. Several government members like Exodus and Gorgon are open believers in mutant racial supremacy; even Emma’s cook is derisive of humanity here.

    I don’t know if this is supposed to be indicative of contradictions within Krakoa, or if the writer is just oblivious to the contradiction.

  3. CitizenBane says:

    Also, Callisto’s Crucible experience is distinctly more….merciful than what Apocalypse put Aero through in X-Men #7. It seems to undermine the whole purpose of the ritual. Supposedly it’s meant to test your determination to be a mutant, and you get that while Apocalypse is taunting Aero and telling her that she should just give up and live as a human, but here it just seems like Callisto got one of her friends to give her a quick and easy kill.

  4. SanityOrMadness says:

    Two points leap to the eye:
    1) There’s a lottery to determine ressurection order? (Emma says it during the Harry Leland thing) While it’s semi-understandable that mutants who die “in Krakoa’s service” get to jump the queue, you’d think they would throw Empath into the general pool at some point, given the premise of Hellions combined with the number of slots he’s taking up…
    2) Callisto’s eye. Another case, like Chamber and Nanny, where a character’s standard visual outweighs story logic? (All the moreso because this was all about her getting *enhanced senses* back…)

    Paul:Storm… did get to cause diplomatic problems with Wakanda during “X of Swords”, so perhaps she’s planning to smooth things over with them – though given its cultural importance, surely she’s already returned the Wakandan sword by now?

    She did, during the wash-up at the end of XoS.

    Paul: “The Pretender.” The Scarlet Witch, but I think this may be the first time we’ve seen her called that by a character rather than by the data pages.

    Magneto did in SWORD #1.

  5. Thom H. says:

    Yeah, the lottery bit doesn’t make a lot of sense. Siryn has been resurrected twice in a week as of the latest X-Factor. Surely she doesn’t receive special treatment?

    Also, this is the first time I’ve thought of Harry Leland in years. It makes me happy to think that he might be resurrected someday.

  6. Chris V says:

    Why has he not been resurrected?
    He died fighting Nimrod, which would seem like a badge of honour with Xavier and Magneto.

    Why is Nimrod called Killrod? Isn’t Nimrod a name that every Krakoan would know? Is the Quiet Council the only ones who realize the importance of Nimrod?

    Citizen-The Strucker Twins shot Storm during Claremont’s X-Men run because she is black. Maybe she holds that against the Strucker Twins.

  7. Mark Coale says:

    “Reads strangely for Callisto to take issue with the Strucker twins for *racism* when Krakoa is home to any number of terrorists, mass murderers and serial killers.”

    Things like that always remind me of the infamous picture of Doom crying after 9/11.

  8. Ryan says:

    I got the sense that Emma said ‘Killrod’ and not ‘Nimrod’ because a) the main people in power in Krakoa don’t want to let on that Nimrod is a big deal and b) because she’s Emma and she’s attempting to be flip in a too cool sort of way

  9. ASV says:

    Siryn and Empath getting frequent, quick resurrections really highlights how little presence the supposedly large population of Krakoa has in any of these books. Even most crowd scenes are filled with identifiable characters. Perhaps XM/FF can’t be trusted, but there are supposed to be 200,000 people on the island.

  10. Si says:

    Maybe a book along the lines of District X would be good. But then, maybe they don’t want to show much of the everyday stuff, because the premise doesn’t bear close inspection, or because it’s just not the kind of story they’re telling and people are paying too much attention to what amounts to set dressing.

  11. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    To my knowledge they haven’t shown a single panel of a large population or where they would live or what they would do to fill their days.

    I think they fed them all to Krakoa.

    Hell they barely even show the cast of this book.

  12. MasterMahan says:

    As I recall, Shinobi’s power is specifically density control, so he can make his body dense and heavy in addition to phasing. It’s still a stretch, but not quite so out there – and as Rob says, this has been suggested before.

    I wonder if Callisto’s distaste for Fenris relates to her and the other Morlocks having spent less time on Krakoa. Most Krakoans have been surprisingly forgiving of piddling details like murder, terrorism, and attempted genocide. One of the only times we’ve seen someone seek revenge was Callisto and some other Morlocks picking a fight with Greycrow.

  13. Jon R says:

    I think the biggie is that (as mentioned above) the Fenris twins aren’t *pro-mutant* racists, but neo-Nazi racists. Unless they suddenly got religion and shifted their focuses to being pro-mutant, their worldview is one that probably thinks the majority of mutants on Krakoa are better off dead.

    Like, Apocalypse may have been a more bitter enemy to most people in our casts than Fenris, but he also was willing to bury the hatchet and move on. Assuming Fenris haven’t changed, they’re probably hanging around sneering at any non-white or ‘ugly’ mutants. By now they’ve presumably figured out how to stay on the safe side of ‘not being swarmed by lots of angry Krakoans and being sent back to the resurrection pit’, but I doubt they’re too popular. Hard to forgive and forget if they’re constantly throwing it in your face.

    (And now I kind of would like to see a well-written limited series about how being a part of the ‘chosen ones’ that includes people like Storm and Kitty and Leech affects their worldview, but that would require a really deft hand.)

    And for Callisto in particular, well her background with the Morlocks probably doesn’t help. Aside from MasterMahan’s mention of them spending less time on Krakoa, they’re the group that absolutely would not want to put up with neo-Nazis. They’re the outcasts too ugly or strange to live in the upper world. And as pointed out above, they still haven’t forgiven the Mauraders. So they’re probably not looking too happily at people who probably would have been all-in in that sort of massacre.

  14. Si says:

    How interesting it would be if the Struckers said “it’s okay, we’re MUTANT supremacist nazis now”, and Krakoan society embraced them. Where would that leave Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, Magneto? Captain America?

  15. Drew says:

    Not to dismiss the utter abhorrence of his previous beliefs, but Fabian Nicieza did a lot of work (partially) rehabilitating Andreas Strucker in New Thunderbolts/Thunderbolts back in the mid-00s. I’m guessing that’s just all been junked and he’s back to straight villainy?

    (Which, to be fair, A. Can be No-Prized as his sister dragging him back into disgusting beliefs, B. Warren Ellis already basically erased in his follow-up Thunderbolts run anyway, and C. They also tossed Baron Zemo’s character development afterward, so I guess New Thunderbolts just didn’t happen, basically. Pity.)

  16. Matt says:

    CitizenBane: “I don’t know if this is supposed to be indicative of contradictions within Krakoa, or if the writer is just oblivious to the contradiction.”

    Callisto lived in sewers and caves for decades. Saucier can’t pass for baseline human, and would have been at risk of being murdered for walking down a public use street.

    There *is* a world of difference between the people belonging to a traditionally marginalized group expressing distaste and hostility toward their historic oppressors, versus the murderous racism of actual nazis.

  17. Rybread says:

    Excellent point, Matt. And I would argue that not only is it different because Saucier is from a traditionally marginalized group, but there are also degrees of racism. Not that any form of racism should be condoned, but I think someone could make casually racist remarks like Saucier did while still looking down on murderous Neo-Nazis advocating for genocide.

  18. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Ellis didn’t quite erase Strucker’s development – telepaths are messing with everybody in his story and that’s what causes Strucker’s villainous outburst there. He’s still, well, not heroic but not actively evil, only obsessed with his sister, in Diggle’s run.

    Then Osborn kills him and whoever resurrected him later on (and he was resurrected before Krakoa) probably didn’t bother reading anything past UXM#200.

    But your point about Thunderbolts being ignored still stands. It still bugs me that Songbird didn’t get to play a role in Osborn’s downfall around Siege.

  19. CitizenBane says:

    “There *is* a world of difference between the people belonging to a traditionally marginalized group expressing distaste and hostility toward their historic oppressors, versus the murderous racism of actual nazis.”

    I think this just scrapes against the limitations of the mutants-as-minorities metaphor. It’s fine to say people who are born with three eyes or four arms are marginalized and therefore mutants are a stand-in for black people or gay people, but then you also get people like Exodus and Gorgon whose disdain for humanity isn’t based on a history of oppression, but on a belief that humans are racially inferior and should be enslaved or exterminated. Every marginalized group has its wackjobs, certainly, but I’m not aware of any other marginalized group that elevates its wackjobs to positions of power while still complaining that they’re regarded as a threat by the people the wackjobs want to – and certainly have the power to – exterminate.

    I think Hickman strains the historic oppression argument somewhat when you consider that in X-Men #4, Apocalypse was bragging about single-handedly causing the Bronze Age Collapse and terrorizing early human civilization into anarchy.

  20. Chris V says:

    I believe the Strucker Twins were mutant supremacists also though, unlike the majority of Marvel bigots.
    They are also white supremacists.
    So, they believe that mutants are superior to humans, but they also believe that white people are at the top of a racial hierarchy.

    They shot Storm, I think, because they saw her as a member of an “inferior race” having no right to be part of the “master race” of mutants. Storm challenged their Nazi views.

    Claremont created them in the issue of X-Men where Magneto reformed and gave up his prior views.
    They were a challenge to him. They represented the views he used to embrace, but also what he most hated (Nazis).

    It would be interesting to explore how they feel about Magneto, Storm, and Shadowcat as rulers of Krakoa.
    Do they now accept Krakoa’s idea that all mutants are equal?

  21. MasterMahan says:

    In terms of Andreas reverting to generic evil after his resurrection, he was brought back by Baron Strucker.

    As for the Callisto and the Morlocks, I think it’s less that everyone else is being mind controlled and more that the Morlocks are outcasts suspicious of authority. Krakoa hasn’t done much to reassure them. Callisto wasn’t let in until the same batch as Selene, and the group asking them forget the past in the name of unity includes the guy who started the Massacre.

  22. MasterMahan says:

    (So Strucker could have reverted Andreas back to his original Evil)

  23. Luis Dantas says:

    Not to get too topical, but requests for forgetting the past “in the name of unity” are often regarded with suspicion. And that suspicion is often well deserved.

  24. Chris V says:

    People can change.
    Sometimes those who embrace horrible things like hating others because of their race can learn and grow so that they embrace something like…hating all of humanity instead.
    Well, huh. Is…is that an improvement…?

    Xavier’s dream is all about the idea of forgiveness and that anyone can change.
    We haven’t seen anything particular about the Strucker Twins as of yet, but Apocalypse and (especially) Sinister haven’t changed, while Magneto has gone backwards (not to fully villainous Magneto, but back towards the character from God Loves, Man Kills). Gorgon was also explicitly a member of a fascist organization. All of them have been, not just be given a chance, but allowed to flourish on Krakoa.
    Moira believes that all mutants must forget the past and embrace unity or face extinction.

  25. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I think Saucier’s comment is supposed to be read as a joke, like, say, a gay man complaining that straight guys dress poorly.

    On the other hand, some kind of heightened senses is a pretty common set of mutant powers. Preparing food for a group of people that includes such mutants would probably be more of a challenge to a chef.

  26. Richard Howe says:

    Surely there must be another way to restore lost mutant powers. Beyond just having Proteus undo it, there must be a “mutant technology” that could accomplish it (Sage+Cortez+Healer?) without adding to the resurrection queue?

  27. CitizenBane says:

    Mr. M was able to disable someone’s X-gene with his matter manipulation powers in District X, and Legion gave Chamber his powers back after Age of X. Stands to reason such powers can reactivate the X-gene in place of the unnecessary Crucible process. So reality warpers should be able to do it, but Proteus supposedly has “better things to do”, like resurrecting a million people one by one instead of just waving his hand and giving people their powers back.

  28. Chris V says:

    It’s interesting that the two mutants you mention are both missing and Sinister doesn’t have their DNA.
    It seems like something that Hickman may be aware.
    There’s talk of Legion returning sometime this year, and Mr. M is in Otherworld.

  29. JCG says:

    Yes, all this talk about “mutant technology” and mutants working together is pretty much nonsense when we have far too many over-powered mutants with far too convenient powers around.

    But we are probably supposed to assume that there have been a de-powering across the board to make that a non-issue. Or just not think too much about it.

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