RSS Feed
Nov 11

Marauders #15 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

“X of Swords, chapter 14”
by Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. A smug-looking Saturnyne stands over her unconscious, and presumably poisoned, guests. None of the Marauders appear here, and this is another of those “X of Swords” chapters which is an issue of the title in question in name only.

PAGE 2. Two epigraphs. The first is indeed a quotation from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Given the way this week’s issues play out, the point is presumably that the whole contest is essentially rigged by Saturnyne, or at least open to rigging. The second is from one of the Arakkii champions, who we know has a hundred followers that he raises from the dead with his healing powers every day.

PAGE 3. Credits page.

PAGE 4. This is a faux recap page. The previous issue ended with Wolverine apparently killing Saturnyne; as we’ll see, she’s actually just showing Wolverine how matters would play out if that happened. That starts with a “recap” page covering events that we never actually see.

Essentially, if Saturnyne is to be believed, her death would leave the way clear for the Arakkii to invade Earth and conquer the world. For some reason, this recap goes out of its way to mention that Moira is among hundreds of mutants who are psychically wiped instead of dying – presumably because if they all died then Moira’s powers would reset the timeline, but it seems an odd thing to specifically address here.

PAGES 5-6. Saturnyne approaches Wolverine in the post-Arakkii wasteland.

Wolverine is strapped to an X-shaped crucifix, which is an echo of his captivity by the Reavers circa Uncanny X-Men #250.

Although Saturnyne presents this as a punishment for trying to kill her, she also seems to intend it to motivate Wolverine to participate in her tournament. But more to the point, the whole logic of this timeline is that if she hadn’t stepped in with the tournament, the Arakkii would have swept all before them. If that’s right, then it implies that Saturnyne’s motivation in intervening was to stop that happening – despite all appearances in this week’s other issues. But of course, precisely what Saturnyne is up to and why she’s doing it in this roundabout way are deliberately obscure.

PAGE 7. The actual recap page.

PAGES 8-12. Cypher is poisoned and saved.

Storm knows that Wolverine was going to kill Saturnyne – they talked about it in the previous issue.

War intended to poison Wolverine. Notably, though, it’s the other Arakkii champions who step in to stop it – Isca cuts him a second airway, and the White Sword heals him after berating War for her cowardice. This isn’t entirely surprising from either of these characters; the Sword is some sort of puritan extremist but clearly doesn’t have much time for the Horsemen, while Isca seems to be a generally reasonable person whose power forces her into alliances she might not want. Even War seems to be simply trying to short circuit the contest because there’s too much at stake to play by the rules – which is basically what Wolverine was trying only a few pages earlier, and the whole point of the Hellions’ strand of this storyline.

(Hopefully the payoff to all this is a bit more nuanced than “both sides get tired of being messed about by Saturnyne and they join forces against her just as she’d wanted all along”, but…)

PAGE 13. Captain Avalon tries to get a win by forfeit.

Which doesn’t work because, as already mentioned, War wasn’t doing anything that Wolverine wouldn’t have done.

PAGE 14. Wolverine and War talk.

The obvious point here is, again, that they’re basically similar characters and they recognise that fact.

The food. Do you want me to be really pointlessly nitpicky? According to the menu in the previous issue, these should be “scarabs stuffed with a cumin-spiced pharaoh brain mash in a wine reduction”. The stuffing seems to have changes to “hearts of polinae from the rivers of Wuhave”. There’s no such thing as polinae, and as far as I know, Wuhave is new.

PAGE 15. Death takes offence.

In ancient Egyptian religion, the scarab was a symbol of the cycle of rebirth or regeneration – so appropriate enough for Death. He seems to have a scarab symbol on the back of his (real) head, and apparent he can kill people by looking at them when he removes his helmet. That creates a vague parallel with Gorgon on the Krakoan side.

PAGE 16. Saturnyne and Briana again.

Saturnyne is still trying to get Brian to return as Captain Britain, and suggesting that this would put a stop to matters. Brian’s reluctance to do this is increasingly odd, considering that he’s already a version of Captain Britain and that a lot seems to be at stake here.

The exchange “I trust you won’t go to bits” / “No, not I” foreshadows Betsy’s fate in the next chapter.

PAGE 17. Unicorns are served.

This was indeed on the menu last issue.

PAGE 18. Summoner and White Sword talk.

The White Sword’s daily resurrections obviously parallel the resurrections on Krakoa. Summoner seems to have no interest in resurrection, insisting that he only wants to die once. Again, this seems to be foreshadowing his fate in this week’s Wolverine.

PAGE 19. Cable tries to make conversation with Apocalypse and Annihilation.

With predictable results.

PAGE 20. Data page. Sir Jim Jaspers is taking bets on the 19 champions’ odds of survival (remember, Gorgon has two of the ten Krakoan swords). Given what happens in the following chapters, this may suggest that Jaspers doesn’t know the rules of this tournament, and is assuming that it is indeed simply a set of swordfights to the death. Then again, these odds only work if more than half the combatants die (otherwise, you can make a guaranteed profit by betting the same amount on everyone).

PAGES 21-23. Cable and Magik test Isca’s powers.

Once again, Isca seems… actually quite pleasant.

PAGE 24. Death aand Redroot.

Again, the one who isn’t a Horseman is fairly reasonable. Redroot rather hammers the point that most of the Arakkii champions would probably have been quite reasonable people if they’d be born on Krakoa.

PAGE 25. Storm and Wolverine.

They haven’t given up yet on having a fallback plan.

PAGE 26. Saturnyne announces the first contest.

It’s Captain Britain versus Isca, which seems very unlikely to be a genuine random draw. Since Saturnyne apparently wants Betsy/Cap out of the way, it’s decidedly convenient that Betsy gets to go first, against an unbeatable opponent, in the only contest that takes place while people are still expecting a series of sword fights.

PAGE 27. The trailer page. The Krakoan reads NEXT: VERSUS.

Bring on the comments

  1. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Just like the last Marauders issue, I enjoyed this one. At the very least we get a sense of who some of the Arakki champions are – I wouldn’t say we get to know them, but there’s at least some characterization going on.

    Saturnyne’s fakeout was predictable, but that’s not what I hold against it. It’s just that when reality is questioned in this way, I often stop caring about what’s on the page, because, well, it might not be happening at all, so why bother?

    Now, I didn’t mind it here – and if it was the only instance, I wouldn’t mind it at all. But the other two issues from this week go full steam ahead into topsy-turvy cloud cuckoo land, and that sort of colours my thoughts on this issue.

  2. Chris V says:

    I remember that issue of Cable during the Onslaught debacle where Onslaught slaughtered all these prominent characters with simply a few thoughts.
    Only to discover that Onslaught was just showing Cable what he had the potential to accomplish.
    Ok, that was the utmost in stupidity and served no purpose other than to try to fake-out the reader.
    This actually served a purpose.

    So, is everyone who witnesses this alternate scenario going to wonder why Moira was shown alive?
    Was this a major change point for Krakoa?
    Will it just be ignored?

  3. Daibhid C says:

    There’s no such thing as polinae


    According to Google, polinae is the species name for two extinct beetles (boleopsis polinae and stephanastus polinae) apparently because their discoverer had a daughter named Polina. If that’s what’s intended then I guess that would be beetles stuffed with other beetles? (Or rather, the hearts of other beetles, which is somehow even weirder.)

  4. Jerry Ray says:

    It seems as though the other characters didn’t actually witness what Saturnyne showed Wolverine, right? I guess if Wolverine read the recap page, he’d be curious about Moira, though.

  5. Ahri says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Wolverine already knew about Moira in this life.

    Fun issue; thanks for the post.

  6. Matt C says:

    While we knew there was likely gonna be some sort of takeout, I still feel a bit cheated by having it resolved in one text dump page and one art page of fiery backgrounds and not much more. I think this could’ve been stretched out and taken up half an issue or so (maybe instead of all that repeated art from last issue?), and still made for an effective cliffhanger.

    That said, the dinner scenes were very nice. White Sword and the Magik/Isca stuff in particular. Marauders continues to be probably the best written book overall of the current line.

    I agree with Krzysiek though that the two other issues this week were a jump straight into absurdity that has me very leery of where this event is going.

  7. Matt C says:

    Fakeout not takeout, damned autocorrect…

  8. Ben says:

    Me- “Well at least we’ll get some really cool issue long sword fights out of all of this.”

    X of Swords- “Hold my Amenthi blood wine.”

  9. Alan L says:

    I liked this issue a little better than the previous one, because we’re starting to get real characterization for a few of the Arrakko characters. But I have to say, I only needed about an issue and a quarter of this, or perhaps one longer-than-average-sized issue. The last issue was much less amusing, and condensed it would have made a decent 5 or 6–page introduction to this issue. The following couple of issues are written with a lot more elan, and they move at a much faster pace. i think this whole storyline would have worked a bit better if we could have gotten to that point earlier. All the ceremony of the last few issues, and the flatulent, doom-laden portentousness of the earlier issues has really dragged potential fun to a halt. Now that the engine is cranking up, I can see some of the potential this story could have had, with a brisker pace and a far lighter tone.

    But I gotta say, I hate the way Caselli draws Wolverine. The huge belt is off-putting, and those weirdly sticky-looking mutton-chop sideburns make me want to retch every time I see them. He looks as if he’s composed of gradually melting plasticine clay. I’m fine with the way he draws everyone else––though I think Phil Noto and, of course, Pepe Larraz, draw a far better Saturnyne, as well.

  10. Adam says:

    Enjoyed the little moments in this (“You’ve done well with the kids.”).

    I’ll wait until Paul posts about the other comics to comment on them, but this is Otherworld, after all—I like how the contests have turned out not to be as straightforward as we thought they’d be.

  11. Dave says:

    “Then again, these odds only work if more than half the combatants die”

    By my estimation, they only work if there’s a single survivor of the whole tournament. I think it’s clear whoever wrote that page doesn’t know how odds work. AND the odds are contradicted in the next issue (and still don’t make sense).

  12. Joseph S. says:

    I was disappointed to learn that Death’s dog head is only a helmet. The art in that scene wasn’t particularly clear, in any case.

    Dragging out the dinner scene was actually a good call. Not exactly a softball game issue, but having them all interacting and getting to know each other in this way adds a nice dimension, not unlike bringing villains to Krakoa in the first place. Having the tournament proceed with a more magical logic plays with the perceived oppositions in interesting ways.

  13. Ben says:

    Yeah I was hoping Death’s dog head was real to.

    On a positive note, I do like a lot of the Arrako team now that they’ve been given some personality.

    Pogg, White Sword, Bei, Isca, Death are all interesting enough and have cool designs.

  14. Ben says:


    I really need to proof read before I hit submit on here.

Leave a Reply