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May 27

Marauders #10 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized, x-axis

And we’re back. Now, how did this go again…

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

PAGE 1 / COVER. It’s Emma, Storm, Iceman and Forge fighting the guys in the armour that we’ve seen in previous issues. As in X-Force, Forge is using the “organic tech” that he’s been working on since coming to Krakoa.

PAGES 2-5. Sebastian Shaw enjoys Krakoan whiskey. Storm tells Forge that his old power-dampening technology has resurfaced in Russia. Forge admits that one of his underlings from the time had a photographic memory.

Port Genosha. The first time we’ve seen Genosha’s first distillery. For some reason it’s been named after the previous mutant island nation, which was wiped out by Sentinels in New X-Men vol 1 #115. From the scale of this thing, it looks as if Sebastian Shaw is trying to develop a business that isn’t based on pharmaceuticals… which is probably quite sensible for the Krakoan economy, to be honest . But obviously the trope here is the rich villain who’s killed someone and is mostly interested in his luxury goods.

Tempo. Heather Tucker was a member of the Mutant Liberation Front back in the 90s. As the scene implies, she has the power to warp the rate of time in her area. The idea is that she’s using her powers to let the whiskey mature by 50 years in the course of a day. She has no apparent interest in this exercise, so presumably she’s being paid for it. 50 years is on the high side for whiskey, or indeed for whisky, but more because of the economics than anything else. (The cheapest 50-year-old whisky currently listed on my local specialist retailer’s website goes for £2,395 a bottle. A bottle of 70-year-old whisky is also available for anyone who has £17,500 to burn.)

Tempo has shown up on Krakoa before, in X-Force vol 6 #9. For what it’s worth, the ridges on her helmet are new.

Forge and his power-dampening weapons. Forge was a US government weapons designed when he first appeared in X-Men stories during the 1980s. It’s not expressly referenced here, but a major storyline involved him developing a neutraliser device that could remove a superhuman’s access to their powers. The device was used on Storm in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #185, and she remained powerless (well, super-powerless) until Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #226, during which time she and Forge had a relationship. In fairness to Forge, the neutraliser wasn’t intended for use on mutants, but for the Dire Wraiths, the alien villains from Rom. At any rate, the Forge/Storm back story is an important piece of context for this scene.

PAGE 6. The recap page.

“Send one of theirs to the morgue.” This is from The Untouchables. “He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.”

Note, though, that what actually happens in this issue is not quite what the strapline implies. Kate was killed at the end of issue #7 (not just hospitalised). The strapline sets us up for the Marauders to head off on some sort of massacre. But what they actually do is capture a boatload of hostile soldiers and brainwash them to be nicer in future.

PAGE 7. Sophie Cuckoo tells the Quiet Council that the Marauders are off to exact retribution for Kate Pryde’s death.

Sophie. We haven’t particularly seen the Cuckoos act as spokesmen for Emma in this series, and it’s also somewhat unusual to see them acting individually. The Cuckoos have frequently been shown with four members in white and one in black, though which one doesn’t seem to be consistent (in House of X #1, one of the white-clad Cuckoos identifies herself as Sophie). At any rate, where stories have bothered to distinguish between the Cuckoos, Sophie has generally been one of the more heroic.

Emma (through Sophie) is presenting the Marauders’ retaliatory strike as a fait accompli and denying them the attempt to veto her. That may also be because she knows Shaw is in league with the bad guys and doesn’t want to give him the opportunity to tip them off.

X-Force are meant to be Krakoa’s black ops / CIA division, so Shaw is superficially playing by the rules by suggesting that the matter be referred to them.

Nightcrawler, the most pacifist member of the Quiet Council, is the only one to clearly raise any concerns about this. It’s not entirely clear whether Professor X is objecting alongside him, or cutting him off. We see more of Nightcrawler on this issue’s text pages, so it’s probably deliberate that he gets a line here.

Magneto removes his helmet in order to talk to Sophie, because the helmet contains psychic jamming devices. (This idea has been around for decades, since there had to be something to stop Professor X or Jean Grey from just putting him to sleep in the second panel.) That allows him to give instructions without being overheard by most of the room, but it’s less clear that Jean, Xavier or Exodus wouldn’t hear.

Magneto tells Sophie that the Marauders should “leave none to tell the tale”, which would normally imply that they should all be killed. Technically Emma does comply with this instruction by erasing everyone’s memories of the last month – since they no longer remember “the tale”, she has “le[ft] none to tell” it.

Storm. Curiously, even though Emma has declined to attend this meeting because she’s already off with the Marauders, Storm is there. Nobody seems to question this. Storm is also shown on the attack later on, but perhaps she just flies very quickly in order to catch up.

PAGE 9. The credits. This is “Leave None to Tell the Tale” by Gerry Duggan and Stefano Caselli.

PAGE 10. An email from Kate to Kurt asking to meet up with him for some emotional support.

“Fuzzy elf” was Kitty’s standard term of endearment for Kurt throughout the Claremont era (once she got over her initial fear of him, anyway). Kitty seems to have been actively looking for Kurt and struggling to find him – but it’s not like he’s had that much to do in the Krakoa-era stories so far. Has he been avoiding her for some reason? Has she just been unlucky? Is somebody keeping them apart?

“When my old man tanked that savings and loan for the Yakuza…” Refers to the plot of the 1984 miniseries Kitty Pryde & Wolverine.

“When the OG Marauders almost killed me…” In the Morlock Massacre, specifically Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #211.

“When Ororo’s mohawk scared me” In Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #173. Kitty does indeed break down in tears and run off crying when the new-look Storm shows up.

“I’d love to walk to the moon sometime.” Referring to the Summer House on the moon, where the Summers family and certain associates live – accessed via the Krakoan gates that Kitty mysteriously can’t use.

“I can’t even phase through most of Krakoa.” Not sure this has specifically been claimed before, but it sure sounds as though something has been done to try and stop Kate from exploring the inside of the island and discovering Moira, doesn’t it?

“I know our big brains care and I know they are working on it.” Well, maybe. But given how Mystique is being strung along over in X-Men, maybe not.

“I’ve got to head to Asia to help Bishop with a caper in Taipei.” The story from Marauders #3. So this is an email sent between issues #2-3, just after Kate became the Red Queen and moved into the Red Keep. We’ll see later in the issue that Kurt apparently doesn’t write a reply until after she apparently dies in issue #7. That seems an inordinately long time to reply to a cry for emotional support from a close friend. What’s going on here?

The term “caper” is very, very Claremont, and this email really feels like Kitty reaching out to try and connect to her X-Men history at the same time that she seemed to be self-destructively distancing herself from it in the main story.

“Now I suppose you’re my rabbi too.” Kurt has always been the most religious X-Man, and has been shown training as a priest in the past.

“Grab your cutlass.” Claremont-era Kurt in particular always loved pirate movies and swashbuckling – as one of Kitty’s closest friends from both the X-Men and Excalibur, you’d have thought he would be a natural fit for the Marauders, yet he’s been virtually invisible in this series until now. Strange, isn’t it?

PAGES 11-20. The Marauders storm the bad guys’ freighter, capture all the bozos, and brainwash them to be nice, planning to dump them all in Red Square as a message.

Basically, this is one of those scenes where the Marauders beat up some people who obviously deserve it, but in a way that makes you slightly uncomfortable about their ends-justify-the-means philosophy. They don’t just erase people’s memories here (which is standard X-Men trail-covering stuff). Emma actually changes people’s personalities to make them less prejudiced. Traditionally this is a villain move, at least within the conventions of the superhero genre, since it violates personal autonomy and makes people nice in a meaningless way – entire stories such as Squadron Supreme have been built around why this sort of thing is an ethically terrible idea that always goes wrong in the end. Viewed another way, since the Marauders are constrained by Krakoan law not to kill, they retaliate with a gesture which is much more grand-scale and intimidating in every other respect.

“Bozhe Moi!” Russian for “My god!”, but in the X-Men context something that Colossus used to say all the time.

Daniels. As far as I’m aware, Forge’s sidekick is a new character, though I suppose it’s possible that he was hanging around in the background of an issue somewhere.

The Mercury is Christian Frost’s boat, and we’ve seen before that it has internal shapechanging features. The idea that it’s a UFO is completely new.

Emma Frost is dialling up the sex angle something fierce here. There’s a vaguely plausible in-story rationale offered: Emma seems to be claiming that it makes groups of men easier for her to control, partly because of the shock value and partly because it makes them all think the same thing. If you’re looking for a reason for her to keep dressing like that after leaving the Hellfire Club, it’s as good as any.

PAGE 21. Christian ducks Bishop’s questions about where the Mercury came from.

We’ve seen before that its control consoles change into things like pianos for him.

PAGE 22. Daniels catches up with Forge and realises that he’s going to get mindwiped.

Daniels seems like a perfectly nice guy, who deliberately sabotaged the weapon he was forced into building, and tried to get a message to Forge (which went completely unnoticed). This scene seems to take place on a Krakoan beach, and it would be unusual for the X-Men to bring a non-mutant there – though not unprecedented, since X-Force have done it to interrogate someone.

PAGE 23. Daniels – now “Dan Molina” – moves into the Morlocks’ golfing community in Rio Verde.

Daniels meets up with Masque, who is pleased to have someone to play golf with.

PAGE 24. Kurt’s reply email to Kate. The closing paragraphs make clear that it was written after her apparent death. That means he waited over four issues before replying. And even though he says “This letter will be waiting for you”, he hasn’t actually sent it – it’s headed as a draft.

Basically, Kurt says that (1) Kate needs to know that the refugees the Marauders rescue are flourishing when they get to Krakoa, so she’s doing good; (2) he wants her to feel that Krakoa belongs to her as well; (3) he is making his own separate investigation into why she can’t use the gates; and (4) he misses her very much.

Number 3 is particularly interesting. On the surface Kurt phrases it in a fairly standard “let’s pursue religion alongside science” kind of way, but he really does seem to be saying that he’s investigating, not just lending some supportive prayers.

PAGE 25. The Five throw in the towel on trying to resurrect Kate.

Egg concludes that for some reason she doesn’t seem to be resurrectable. Professor X agrees – “for now”. That could be taken simply to mean that he’s going to investigate the problem further before trying again, and no doubt that’s how the Five take it.

PAGES 26-27. Trailers. The release schedule hasn’t been updated from the original plans, so this issue is still shown as being released on 1 April 2020. Note that Children of the Atom #1 is highlighted in red, which normally indicates a story of especial wider importance.

The Krakoan reads NEXT: HESPED. (A hesped is a eulogy at a Jewish funeral.)

Bring on the comments

  1. neutrino says:

    There’s nothing close to genocide. There are hints things are off in Marauders, X-Force, Excalibur, and X-Men. Some seem to be noticing it, Like Bishop questioning the brutality of his teammates and Cyclops telling Wolverine they used to get more upset about things like the Crucible. Mystique is acting on Destiny’s predictions, who has been shown willing to sacrifice herself for Mystique and the greater good. She gave up her chance at resurrection to Wolverine because he was more important to the universe. That implies Krakoa should be burned to the ground. Also, none of what Krakoa is doing will prevent the rise of post-humans. If anything, it’s accelerating it.

  2. Chris V says:

    Which, again, may simply be Hickman’s whole point with Moira; that “mutants always lose”.

    You can argue it is part and parcel of the history of the X-Men. Really, outside of Morrison’s run, Xavier’s dream wasn’t going to end humanity’s hatred of mutants. It was just going to lead to more hatred.
    Humans had every reason to fear mutants, as they were stuck in between what seemed to be one big gang war between one group of mutants and another.
    The X-Men never seemed very heroic to the common human, as they’d run out and cause huge amounts of property damage fighting other mutants, and then run back to hide in their secret base.

    Yes, Mystique is going to try to follow Destiny’s prophecy, but that still doesn’t mean that Hickman wants the reader to see Mystique and Destiny as the heroes.
    Anymore than he wants readers to read Orchis or Nimrod as heroes.
    It seems like Hickman is just setting up future antagonists to challenge Krakoa.

  3. Chris V says:

    There’s an outside chance that this is going to pick up from where Claremont’s aborted run ended.
    There are a lot of references to that point in the X-Men’s history and the Shadow King.

    -The story-arc with Professor X’ resurrection revolved around the Shadow King.

    -The Muir Isle Saga featured Shadow King secretly taking control of an island.

    -All the prior connections between Destiny, Mystique, and Moira revolves around that plot.

    -Claremont’s eventual goal was to reveal that the Shadow King’s agenda was to create a genocidal war between humans and mutants.
    It seems that this is where events are moving with Krakoa and Orchis.

    -Shadow King’s motives involve hive-minds and collectives.

    -Claremont mentioned that Shadow King hopes to control the entire planet, and then would eventually move on to outer space and bring the entire universe in to his collective consciousness.

    -There was an off-hand picture in either House or Powers showing the scene of Magneto fighting the Shadow King when Magneto was White King of the Hellfire Club.
    Did that quick drawing mean anything? Maybe not.

    I don’t really want it to be the case that all of this is revealed to simply be a mind-control story, so I don’t put it high on my theories, but there are some links.

  4. neutrino says:

    Krakoa won’t work — and Magneto and Xavier know it won’t work. So they have some kind of hidden agenda. Destiny has always been portrayed as devoted to Mystique and mutants in general, so if she wanted it burned to the ground, that means the agenda is almost certainly bad.

    Xavier’s dream was mutants and baseline humans existing peacefully. Progress was being made toward that during Morrison’s and Claremont’s second run, then Decimation was mandated.

  5. Dave says:

    “Xavier and Magneto appear to need Mystique to plant the gateway on the Orchis station and continue to infiltrate it.”

    Morph? Copycat?

  6. neutrino says:

    They’re not nearly the infiltrator Mystique is, esp. into a mostly unknown organization. Changeling worked with Professor X to impersonate him, for example.

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