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Feb 19

Marauders #8 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm and Emma Frost, in a very stylised version of their argument from later in the issue.

PAGES 2-6. Bishop reports Kate’s death to Emma Frost.

Mars. We’ve seen the Mars outpost mentioned a few times before, and I think this is the first clear confirmation that it’s being used as a farm for Krakoan flowers (or at least that’s a big part of it). This makes a degree of sense; Krakoa isn’t big enough for large-scale agriculture, and they need to grow the flowers somewhere that’s entirely inaccessible to hostile forces. (Wolverine this week suggests that they’re still struggling to keep up with demand, though, to the point where the transformative effect of Krakoan drugs remains somewhat theoretical as far as many humans are concerned.)

Forge’s automatons. These are new. Presumably they’re just organic tech robots… but, um, isn’t that essentially a person…?

“Flatscan.” A derogatory term for ordinary humans which has been around for decades.

“Magneto’s secret island.” Island M – but it can’t be that secret if Emma is taking tour groups there. Incidentally, note that while all the adult mutants wear stylised clothes or costumes from their back catalogue, the children are dressed normally.

Emma and the Cuckoos. Bishop is understandably surprised that his telepathic call for help is picked up only by Emma, and not by any other telepath. Emma attributes this to the Stepford Cuckoos “acting like an antenna”, but she’s a little evasive about why that is. For example, she suggests that this works because they’re spread across the globe – but why are they spread across the globe? The Cuckoos don’t normally like being separated. It’s almost as if Emma knew she might need an antenna. That said, she seems shaken by Kate’s death, especially after she’s alone.

“To me, my Marauders.” Referencing the “To me, my X-Men” line which has somehow become associated with Professor X, even though he hardly ever said it.

PAGES 7-8. Credits and recap. The story is “Furious Anger” by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli and Edgar Delgado. The reference is to the Ezekiel 25:17 speech quoted in Pulp Fiction (“and I will strike down on thee with great vengeance and furious anger…”).

PAGE 9. Emma breaks the news to Iceman.

Iceman seems to be the only Marauder currently available on Krakoa. We’re told that Pyro and Storm are in Brazil, presumably still helping to rescue some of the mutants trapped there – Storm shows up later in the issue, but we never see Pyro. That has the happy effect that Homines Verendi (who have bugged Pyro) don’t get to see these scenes, and we don’t have to do a sequence of them gloating.

PAGES 10-18. Bishop retrieves Kate’s body. Iceman takes out the Homines Verendi mercenaries.

The main point here is that Iceman – who is normally the nice one – takes Kate’s death very badly and does everything short of breaking the rule against killing. Recall that in issue #6, Sebastian Shaw strongly implied that he had enlisted Christian Frost in his plans against Kate – if he was telling the truth, then that’s clearly leading to trouble in due course.

“Frostbite never quite heals.” Not always true, but it certainly can cause permanent damage.

PAGES 19-21. Storm confronts Emma over Kate’s death.

Emma basically confirms the indications in earlier issues that Storm and Iceman were specifically tasked with shadowing Kate and keeping her safe, until they figured out why she wasn’t able to use the Krakoan gates.

Emma says that they both know that Kate wouldn’t have tolerated being stuck on the island, which is interesting, since most characters persist in speaking about Krakoa as a paradise. Other teleporters do exist (like Gateway or Kate’s good friend Magik), so why are they so sure that she couldn’t have tolerated life on the island until the problem with the gates was sorted out?

Again, for whatever reason, Emma and Storm seem to take very seriously the risk that Kate cannot be resurrected. The logical connection between this and the doors is far from clear, but plenty of characters have asserted that it’s a worry. Maybe Emma and Storm know something more, or maybe they’re just buying into that theory.

“…when you reintroduced Cyclops after the assault on Orchis.” House of X #5, when Storm gave the ceremonial speech to the people of Krakoa, telling them that the seemingly deceased X-Men had been brought back from the dead, and (symbolically) confirming their identities. Emma seems to have found this particularly touching. Note that she refers to the reintroduction specifically of Cyclops, her longtime partner, even though a number of other characters were resurrected at the same time.

PAGE 22. Shinobi Shaw introduces Fenris as the new Black Knights.

Shinobi. Sebastian Shaw seems pleased with Shinobi, but it’s still not clear how much Shinobi really knows about Sebastian’s plans. He responds by talking about their success in their official missions. But maybe this is for the benefit of the waiters. Come to think of it, it’s interesting that Shaw has conventionally dressed waiting staff on Krakoa – is he just hiring from the mutants on the island? If so, he’s conspicuously choosing the most-human looking.

Fenris. The Fenris twins are Andrea and Andreas von Strucker, the children of the Nazi scientist Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. They were genetically engineered to have super powers, but they are mutants, albeit deliberately created ones. Their powers only work when in skin-to-skin contact. Andrea was killed in Citizen V & The V-Battalion #3, which was a plot point in later appearances by Andreas (he had her tanned skin wrapped around his sword handle, so that he could keep using his powers). Despite that, Andrea clones have shown up subsequently, the most recent being in the 2016 Illuminati series. It’s not immediately clear whether this is a resurrected Andrea or another clone (or one that we’ve seen before).

PAGE 23. Data page – more blind items from Mr Sinister’s gossip column.

Sinister Secret #16. Sinister is referring to Kate Pryde’s persistent absence from Quiet Council meetings, which he takes to be some sort of show of power. As he points out, though, even he has enough sense of responsibility to show up for the meetings.

Sinister Secret #17. Sinister seems to be suggesting that “Bar Sinister” has literally become a bar on Krakoa. At any rate, he refers to “a certain quirky Q that can’t quite catch his quarry.” I suppose that might refer to Christian’s attempts to corner Bobby, or it might be something we haven’t seen yet on the page.

Sinister Secret #18. The first mutant to become pregnant on Krakoa is… Stinger. Stinger was a henchman of Apocalypse back in early issues of X-Factor, but she’s done almost nothing since then. She was among the mutants living on Utopia about ten years ago, so it’s not particularly surprising to learn that she’s on Krakoa. As best as I can tell, she was last seen in the Deadpool v Gambit miniseries in 2016, when she was among a bunch of random villains at a barbecue.

Sinister Secret #19. Sinister is appalled by Fenris, though he doesn’t spell out why. Most likely, he’s referring to the frequent implication that the twins’ relationship is incestuous, usually conveyed by body language. New Thunderbolts described Andreas as “a man whose prime motive for working with us is your promise to clone his dead sister, for whom he has a … well, let’s be charitable and call it an unusually intense attachment.”

PAGE 24. Lockheed lives!

Of course he does.

Despite the trailer page, we get a straightforward “next issue” caption, promising something to do with the Yellowjacket and Pyro plot.

PAGES 25-27. The Krakoan trailer text reads NEXT: YELLOWJACKET.

Bring on the comments

  1. Michael says:

    Ugh, Fenris.
    On the one hand, it’s great that the new status quo is willing and able to bring back literally any mutant ever.
    On the other hand, we’re getting back some real trash characters.

    And wow, Stinger. She IS obscure. I recall her being a rather valley girl kind of character, so I wonder what she’s like now, and who her baby daddy is.

  2. Si says:

    Note that no version of the Ezekiel actually uses the words “furious anger” or most of the speech as shown Pulp Fiction.

  3. Salomé Honório says:

    Ah, I actually read the alliterations throughout the 17th Sinister Secret note as referring to Quentin Quire (rather than “Christian” or “queer”).

  4. Allan M says:

    Interesting that Bishop is the one who flags Iceman’s extraordinary brutality, just as he did with Kate. It’s a nice reversal of his original characterization, where he was the violent extremist who would be called out by his teammates (including Bobby). It’s showing his character growth, while also flagging a troubling side effect of the Kill No Man law that the mutants are growing callous about inflicting crippling but non-fatal injuries (which we’ve also seen in X-Force and Wolverine).

    As for Sinister, as a genetics-obsessed villain, I imagine that he’d be especially incensed by incest. He’s spent decades trying to interbreed mutants, and these dopes are looking to breed with each other?

  5. JCG says:

    Emma was not on Mars, they went through the gate to Earth before Bishop called.

  6. Evilgus says:

    Hooray, Lockheed!

    Fenris featured in Christina Strain’s recent Generation X – Andrea was a clone there too. It was quite a fun little series. Though I feel Fenris are a bit passe now, the twincest thing has been done to death in pop culture/comics with Game of Thrones/Ultimates…

    I’m enjoying Bishop being the voice of reason here. He’s been in need of this for a while (and he’s a bit of a square, stickler for rules). But equally, I’m enjoying seeing characters cut loose a bit with their powers. Even if it’s unpleasant.

    Are we going to start to get a load of very minor, pregnant X-Characters? Groan

  7. Paul says:

    Ah, you’re right – she does indeed return to earth first. I’ll fix that.

    Quentin did occur to me but I couldn’t think what on earth the line had to do with him (besides which, he’s a regular in a different series, while all the other entries seem to relate specifically to Marauders).

  8. JCG says:

    The “x-axis” category is missing from the post.

  9. SanityOrMadness says:

    Paul> Emma says that they both know that Kate wouldn’t have tolerated being stuck on the island, which is interesting, since most characters persist in speaking about Krakoa as a paradise. Other teleporters do exist (like Gateway or Kate’s good friend Magik), so why are they so sure that she couldn’t have tolerated life on the island until the problem with the gates was sorted out?

    Well, for one thing, she specifically said so at the end of issue #1! (“I can’t live on that island, Storm.” / “I know.” / “I figured I wouldn’t have to explain myself to my claustrophobic friend.”)

  10. neutrino says:

    Xavier Files had this explanation.
    Sinister Secret #17:
    Wait-listed by Jumbo? A few of my thirsty patrons quenching thirsts have been quizzical about a certain quirky Q that can’t quite catch his quarry. We hear he’s blaming his wardrobe. It does quite make the man. Perhaps it’s time for a fabulous cape.

    VG: With the number of Qs in this one, it just has to be about Quentin Quire, who’s really bad at getting people to like him – romantically or otherwise. He started a riot when Jumbo Carnation died, so he’d definitely feel entitled to a fast-tracked new look. Not sure if Jumbo would agree, though.

    In issue #1, Kate said she didn’t want to be a backpack for Magik.

  11. Thom H. says:

    Having always enjoyed Fenris, I can also acknowledge that they’re not great. But here’s where I think they fit in:

    Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (616 versions) are the haughty, slightly remote original sister/brother twins, children of (evil) mutant royalty. Their powers are distinctly independent of each another.

    Aurora and Northstar are still haughty, but more (independently) sexualized and problematic (mental illness for one, terrorist past for the other) sister/brother twins. And some of their powers depend on physical contact. Not sure if that last part is still true.

    Andrea and Andreas Strucker are children of Marvel villain “royalty,” and have the completely unearned haughtiness that entails. Their powers definitely depend on physical contact, and they are overly sexualized in an unequivocally problematic way.

    A lot of these features depend on when the characters debuted, how they were originally conceived v. subsequently developed, etc., but that’s how I think of them.

    It’s like Marvel in general has a fixation on the different-sex twin mutant phenomenon, and they’re working it out slowly over decades. Or they keep making photocopies of the same idea until the resolution starts to blur. Or both.

    This doesn’t even take into account the Charles/Cassandra relationship or the more recent twins (I think they’re twins?) currently featured in the New Mutants title.

  12. Chris V says:

    I find the inclusion of the Fenris twins to be appropriate.
    They’re mutant supremacists who are actually outright racist fascists. Most fascists in the Marvel Universe have a hatred for mutants.
    They are mutants. Their fascism sees mutants as the “dominant race”.
    Except, they’re still white supremacist fascists, so they have a real problem with anyone who is not white also being a mutant.
    The “next stage in human evolution” should be white European people, and no one else.

    Honestly, I thought that Sinister was referring to them being neo-Nazis with the disgust, not incest.
    I think it could go either way with Sinister.

    Wasn’t it hinted that this Gillen version of Sinister, being a neo-Victorian decadent, was having sexual relations with himself (his clones)?
    We also know, from ret-cons, that Sinister was secretly working with the Nazis too, so maybe the neo-Nazi connection wouldn’t be that upsetting to Sinister either.

    Anyway, that’s what I always think about with the Fentis twins, not the later incest angle.

  13. Mark Coale says:

    I never thought of Baron Strucker as scientist. Seems like he also had them as seconds (be it Arnim Zola or others), but he was just a military man.

  14. Dazzler says:

    “…a troubling side effect of the Kill No Man law that the mutants are growing callous about inflicting crippling but non-fatal injuries (which we’ve also seen in X-Force and Wolverine).”

    Maybe I’m just inferring this, but I get the impression you take the Kill No Man law as something virtuous. It’s not a matter of kindness, it’s a public relations policy. These characters taken as a whole are amoral now. The rampant maiming of humans fits perfectly with the rest of this. Humans have new gods now, remember? Gods gotta have a little wrath or else they’d just be regular heroes.

  15. thud says:

    The law doesn’t state “kill no man.” It’s “MURDER no man.” Maybe this is splitting hairs but killing somebody in a combat situation in defense of your nation isn’t murder.

  16. Chris V says:

    It has never been meant to be applied to self-defense.
    It’s stupid to think that you’d pass a law that would make it so that someone could kill you while you just stand there.

    It’s somewhat of a public relations tool, yes, but I believe it was always supposed to put an end to the threat of “evil mutants” going around indiscriminately killing humans.
    A major reason for why humans could have good reason to fear and hate mutants.

    If Avalanche is coming to town and destroying the entire city with his power, killing numerous innocent people, I can’t say I particularly blame humans for saying, “Maybe we do need Sentinels”.

    Now, it’s only the lunatic fringe who feel they have a reason to hate mutants, while the rest of humanity begins to accept mutants.

  17. Allan M says:

    thud, thanks for the correction.

    Dazzler, you are wrong. First, the murder no man law is proposed by Jean, who argues that “the highest crime would be killing someone who cannot come back.”, as opposed to killing other mutants who can come back. Mystique and Magneto raise concerns, but Xavier endorses her argument and the law passes. House of X #6, page 15. It is an expressly ethical argument made by one of the most heroic characters in the franchise. The notion that is was intended to be a cynical PR move is incompatible with the printed story.

    Second, it definitely has PR aspects which may well have been some characters’ underlying motive to support the law – Xavier being the obvious choice – this policy backfire of increasing brutality undermines that. “Oh, mutants don’t kill humans anymore. They only dismember them!” “Oh, well that’s just fine. Who needs legs?” So even if you take the position that “murder no man” was always just a PR stunt by amoral characters, then it should follow that they should be concerned about a complete PR backfire emerging. But that’s not what is happening. It’s Bishop, who is framed as the organizational and moral backbone of the Marauders, who is calling this behaviour out.

    Third, I stand by saying that it’s troubling since the examples we’re getting in Marauders are Kate and Bobby, who are veteran heroes with conventional heroic codes. Gorgon stretching the law so he can mutilate people is to be expected. Iceman crippling people is not. So we have a split in the book, where Pyro, barred from killing humans, is actually becoming a functional and even loyal member of the team, whereas Iceman’s losing his moral compass.

  18. Si says:

    @Thom H. Don’t forget Karma and her twin brother Tranh. Identical powers, no contact necessary, no boundary-pushing, one good(?) and one evil.

    Of course, All of these sets of twins barring Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were created by Chris Claremont. Chances are he just liked twins, as he liked dystopian futures and aliens.

  19. Alan L says:

    I just assumed Fenris is there because they were, with Shinobi Shaw, early members of the Upstarts in the 90s. I thought it was just that nostalgia thing.

    The Ezekiel quote as it is presented in “Pulp Fiction,” is actually cribbed from the English dub of the Sonny Chiba movie, “The Bodyguard,” which I believe includes the “furious anger” line, but also says at the end, “for you will know that my name is SONNY CHIBA when I lay my vengeance upon thee!” Or something close to that.

    Also, though no one mentioned it at the time, pretty sure the title of issue 01 of this series, “I’m on a Boat,” is a reference to the Lonely Island song, featuring T-Pain.

  20. neutrino says:

    @Allan M: But Jean Grey is now a member of X-Force, which is exempt from that law. X-Force #6 shows her killing some defeated plant creatures.

  21. YLu says:

    Q might be a James Bond reference, referring to Forge’s new role in Krakoa. This is such a huge stretch that it normally wouldn’t be worth mentioning, but Forge does have a history of failing to win the affections of one specific someone. One specific someone who’s a prominent member of this book’s cast.

  22. Loz says:

    I really liked this issue. It reminded me of when the Human Torch ‘died’ in Hickman’s ‘Fantastic Four’ run, especially with Bruce Banner and Thor taking the Thing into the desert so he could have a massive fight with the Hulk and Thor to process his grief without having to worry about damaging anything.

    For me, Fenris are up there with the Junior Hellfire Club in whichever title it is they are in, are we really so short of decent villains at the moment? I mean, I know that like Sebastian they would be too stupid to not cause trouble within a few miles of several of the most powerful and violent telepaths on the planet but they are a joke.

  23. Thom H. says:

    @Si: Thanks for the reminder of Xian/Tranh and of the Claremont connection.

    I think Xian/Tranh are a failed version of the trope since Tranh has featured in how many stories total? Two? Three? And when Claremont was specifically looking for someone to mind control Xian back in the ’80s, he chose the Shadow King over her own brother. That’s some weak sauce.

    And whether Claremont had a particular fascination with different-sex twins or not, the idea seems to have traction (in most cases). The longevity of a concept as weak as Fenris is a testament to more than Claremont’s interest in the idea.

    Trying to think of some same-sex twins in the Marvel universe and coming up with nothing. Different-sex twins are just more interesting visually, maybe? And have more to say about masculine/feminine versions of the same character, obviously.

    The Cuckoos are clones, right, not naturally born quintuplets? Are Monet’s sisters twins?

  24. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Monet’s sisters are twins.

    I thought that there’re also Ladies Masterminds, but I have just learned that Regan and Martinique not only aren’t twins, they’re also half-sisters. And anyway, they weren’t created as a set of two, with one appearing years after the other.

  25. Allan M says:

    @ neutrino True. Though a) Jean directly asks how that squares with “kill no human” (misquotes her own law!), b) there’s a brief question over whether they are still human at all or just (organic) machines and the X-Men 100% are down with killing machines, and c) it’s even a secret from most of X-Force, so there is no PR value at all. If the law was a purely cynical exercise, none of that would have taken place.

    We’ll undoubtedly see Jean continue to darken and cross ethical boundaries – it’s X-Force, after all – but “murder no human” is still founded on an ethical basis. The ugly complications of that simplistic law are the story.

  26. Thom H. says:

    And I forgot Wiccan and Speed, but are they really twins now? They were originally twins created by the Scarlet Witch’s powers, but then something happened with Mephisto and they were eventually reincarnated into separate families? Something like that?

    Also, Karma apparently has a set of younger siblings who are different-gender twins: Leong and Nga. They were briefly aged into adulthood by Mojo and took on the joint codename Template in a New Mutants Annual. Their powers definitely seemed dependent on some kind of connection. Also created by Claremont, which makes…4 sets by him now.

  27. Chris V says:

    I’m wondering if we’re meant to be reading this wildly irrational and uncharacteristic behaviour from characters as related to drug addiction, related to living on Krakoa.

    Iceman acts so happy on Krakoa, saying it’s great that everything is one big party.
    Then, he’s away from Krakoa, and he seems to be suffering from mood swings, at times bouts of severe anger. Acting uncharacteristically in this issue of Marauders.
    Is he suffering from drug withdrawal?

  28. Si says:

    Wiccan and Speed are complicated. It seems to depend largely on who the writer is, what their exact relationship with each other and Scarlet Witch are. I’d like to see a story where it’s revealed it’s all an elaborate fantasy, subconsciously made real by an Avengers fanboy with reality warping powers. Speed originally had red hair and a pug nose, but was remade to look like he’s Quicksilver’s nephew.

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