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Dec 10

Marauders #16 annotations

Posted on Thursday, December 10, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1: Emma and Kate together, standing over the defeated Sebastian. Incidentally, both on the cover and throughout the issue, Kate isn’t wearing the necklace that Kurt gave back to her in issue #12. Make of that what you will.

PAGE 2. The epigraph is Kate’s last words before drowning at the end of issue #6.

PAGE 3. The combined recap and credits page, now in the line-wide post-“X of Swords” design.

PAGE 4. Bishop and Storm talk.

Bishop retrieved Kate’s body in issue #8, and we saw him pick up the vines in that scene. They were the vines that Shaw used to tie Kate up before throwing her into the sea. Their fast-growing nature was also mentioned in that issue.

PAGE 5. Emma and Kate ride to Shaw’s castle.

“The tournament” is the “X of Swords” crossover, which interrupted this plotline for three issues.

Emma and Kate were shown riding horses (probably the same one, judging from the colours) in issue #12.

PAGE 6. Shaw answers the door.

The “Otherworld nonsense” is, again, the “X of Swords” crossover. Shaw’s interest in whisky was established in issue #10, where he was using Tempo’s time manipulation to create fast-maturing whisky on Krakoa. But this collection is apparently conventional, at least in large part, from some of Shaw’s later dialogue.

PAGES 7-9. Kate punches Shaw through the door.

Obviously, this shows off the “Kill Shaw” tattoos on her knuckles which she got in issue #12. Her decision to show off these tattoos is probably meant to be conscious; the art isn’t absolutely consistent on this, but at Quiet Council meetings during “X of Swords” she’s generally been shown wearing red gloves.

This scene doesn’t really make logical sense; Shaw’s power is to absorb kinetic energy, so punching him isn’t meant to work, even when he’s taken by surprise. It shouldn’t really have any effect on him.

PAGES 10-12. Emma confronts Shaw, while Kate starts smashing up his whisky collection.

Emma’s recap of the plot is accurate. Shaw is presumably telling the truth when he says that he didn’t know what Homines Verendi were planning to do with the drugs he sold them – Emma would surely know if he was lying. Moreover, while Shaw probably wouldn’t have cared about the people who were poisoned, he would have cared about the fact that HV were trying to undermine the reputation of Krakoan drugs, since they’re his economic power base.

Port Ellen distillery. This was a real distillery on the isle of Islay. It closed in 1983, though it’s meant to be restarting this year. The Queen did indeed visit it in 1980, when a small number of bottles were produced specially for the occasion – and they do indeed resemble the bottle drawn here, which may look fairly nondescript, but is clearly photo-referenced. As that link also shows, they do indeed change hands for eye-watering sums.

“It was a gift from Ichiro himself!” Presumably the Japanese distiller Ichiro Akuto, who is apparently “the rockstar of the Japanese whisky industry.”

Note that Shaw refers to Kate as “Kitty” until actively prompted by Emma to stop, later in the issue.

PAGES 13-14. Emma gives Shaw a choice.

Saucier was the mutant chef who served Emma and Magneto in Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1.

Sabretooth has been in exile in punishment for his crimes, supposedly held buried beneath Krakoa, ever since House of X #6. There’s always been a little uncertainty about what exactly is going on with him.

PAGE 15. Shaw falls out of the window.

Not sure what Glob Herman is doing here, but it’s probably just a sight gag. That said, Emma was pitching to Shaw just a minute ago that they’d keep this a private matter within the Hellfire Club, so there might be some significance in the fact that Glob is an outsider who sees some of what happens – particularly since as far as everyone else is concerned, Shaw is about to become mysteriously crippled.

PAGES 16-17. Shaw makes his plea in mitigation.

Shaw argues that Kate’s inability to use Krakoa’s gates cast doubt on whether she was a mutant at all. Therefore, he argues, killing her was either going to result in her being resurrected as a clearly-established mutant, or removed from the board as an impostor. He’s correct that Kate’s resurrection seems to removed a large amount of doubt from her and that she seems more focussed and at peace with herself than before. But his claim that this was his goal is highly dubious; just before killing her, he was claiming that he wanted to get his son Shinobi into her place, as a next step to getting rid of Emma. Besides, Shaw has never shown any personal investment in the mutant nation project. It’s possible that he genuinely doubted that Kate was a mutant, but highly unlikely that he cared. Nor is it a defence that he would particularly want to put to the Quiet Council, since it amounts to saying that he was trying to kill a normal human – precisely what got Sabretooth banished.

PAGES 18-19. Lockheed takes his revenge.

Shaw also tried to kill Lockheed in issue #6, without any real expectation that he could be resurrected. So Lockheed’s attitude is understandable.

Emma seems to be reasoning that Shaw is doing important enough work for Hellfire Trading Corporation that she can’t easily replace him altogether (she’d doubtless try if she thought she could). Of course, that’s why he was given the role in the first place. She does insist on Shaw moving to deal with the above-board Hellfire activities, presumably because those have less scope for dodgy side dealings.

PAGES 20-21. Kate poisons Shaw.

Kate is carrying an eyepatch in her pocket as part of her pirate gimmick, I guess.

Cordelia Frost, Emma’s younger sister, was a recurring character in Generation X. I suspect this may be an error, since Cordelia wasn’t previously established as dead, and I’m not sure it’s ever been clearly shown that she was a mutant. (She was immune to Emma’s telepathy, but that seemed to be on the off-and-on principle that siblings are immune to each other’s powers.) The reference makes more sense if it’s meant to be Emma’s other sister Adrienne Frost, who was also a Generation X villain, and who was killed by Emma in Generation X vol 1 #70. Adrienne had the ability to see the past and possible future of objects that she touched, so her resurrection might well have been blocked under the same “no precogs” rule that applies to Destiny.

PAGES 22-23. The Quiet Council meet.

This scene confirms that Jean is indeed off the Council, so her appearance as a Council member in Hellions #7 was evidently an error.

The ten-member Council are deadlocked on whether to investigate the point further. The five who vote against are the four who already know what’s happening, plus Mystique, who seems to be amused by the whole thing and presumably doesn’t much care for Shaw. The five who vote in favour are an interesting bunch. Professor X and Magneto are presumably worried about the stability of the Council. Mr Sinister wants to know the gossip. Exodus seems reluctant but has no dog in this fight and seems to recognise that it’s the sensible thing to do – besides which, he’s following Magneto’s lead. And Nightcrawler, who can see that three of his fellow X-Men are on board with something very dodgy indeed, is very confused.

Cypher, sitting in his usual translator’s position, and once a close friend of Kitty, seems unimpressed by what he’s seeing.

PAGE 24. Closing quote by Kate, presumably in response to Shaw’s argument that her resurrection turned out to be a gift to her.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan text reads NEXT: WHAT’S COMING.

Bring on the comments

  1. Chris V says:

    I don’t understand why they are underutilizing Storm so badly since the relaunch.
    Marvel said they had plans for Storm around the time of X of Swords or slightly afterward. So far, there has been nothing done to hint this is happening.
    It seems the writers are going out of their way to push her in to the background.
    It would seem like Storm would be more heavily involved in this story.
    It’s like they are going out of their way to remove Storm from being too heavily involved in this plot, even with Storm being in the case of this book.
    If it’s a major plot-point that Emma has grown so close to Kate at the expense of Ororo, it’s coming across on the page as just more of doing nothing with that character.
    Emma is on the Council and one of the executives of the Hellfire Trading Company, so you can’t argue that Ororo is too busy helping to rule Krakoa.

    I wonder if Shaw’s defence was based around something like the aborted idea that Pryde was a member of the Neo.
    She has powers, so she’s not exactly a baseline human.
    There are many examples of baseline humans with powers, but Kate Pryde was never bitten by a radioactive cat or anything to explain her powers.
    So, he probably wasn’t trying to argue that he thought he killed a regular human, like Sabretooth.
    Which would be ludicrous.

  2. Rybread says:

    “ So, he probably wasn’t trying to argue that he thought he killed a regular human, like Sabretooth.
    Which would be ludicrous.”

    I don’t think the argument against killing humans is “we have powers and they don’t.” It’s “we can be resurrected and they can’t”. So it wouldn’t matter if she had powers or was just a baseline human, it would still be a crime by Krakoan law

  3. Rybread says:

    Also, I’m not sure if it was deliberate or coincidental, but the X-office really came out of the event with their best foot forward. Their three best books (Hellions, X-Factor, Marauders) and the new Al Ewing book.

  4. Chris V says:

    I realize that’s not the argument, but the law explicitly references humans.
    If Kate were a Neo, she wouldn’t count as a human, so the law could not be said to apply.
    Otherwise, the law could apply to the Brood or the Amenthi.

  5. Benjamin says:

    Hickman talked about Storm during a recent Q&A at Adventures in Poor Taste – for some reason they had to discard their initial plans. Judging by the cover, X-Men #17 looks to be Storm-centric.

    “Jonathan: For lots of reasons (creative, logistical, etc.) we actually ended up throwing away most of our initial Storm plans, which is why it’s taken a little while to get to where we wanted to with the character. The shutdown, obviously, didn’t help with the timeline.

    I actually think all of this turned out to be a blessing, however. Because the new stuff everyone came up with–and the way it resonates through the entire line–is so very much cooler than what we had initially planned for Storm. So, while it’s taken longer than we hoped, yes, you can expect some pretty big things for the character this next year, and yes, lots of changes.

    Very, very excited about what’s in front of us.“

  6. Salomé Honório says:

    I love Marauders, but this issue, not so much. It struck me as oddly violent to drug and manipulate an unconscious Shaw through a meeting, and at odds with Krakoan codes of conduct. There’s a certain kick to it, as a revenge fantasy, but playing ventriloquist with a vegetative mutant before the entire council kind of breaks with what we know of Kitty, and the understanding we have of the Marauders so far. The issue is fun in places, but I feel this is a misstep…

    About Storm: I’d agree, @Chris V. It very much does read like wide-line neglect. What keeps my hopes up is how much those couple of Giant-Size X-Men issues focused on her, and the very real possibility other plans may have been derailed by COVID-19 and the dilation of “X of Swords”.

    (If there was ever a time to come through on the promise of a Ta-Nehisi Coates/Jean Bartel solo Storm series…)

  7. Salomé Honório says:

    Ah! Lots of comments in the meanwhile. Nice to read those comments of Hickman’s!

  8. Luis Dantas says:

    We still have not seen a follow-up of the plot revealed at the last few pages of Giant-Size X-Men #1 nearly a year ago, have we?

  9. Chris V says:

    Storm being infected with the transmode virus?
    Yes, in Giant Size X-Men: Storm #1.

  10. Uncanny Ben says:

    I don’t really like that Kate can phase parts of her body, so she can reach through the door and solidify her first.

    Other than that, not much to say about this issue.

    They got revenge, which is going to horribly backfire on them.

  11. The Other Michael says:

    “It struck me as oddly violent to drug and manipulate an unconscious Shaw through a meeting”

    I didn’t read it as that–poisoned, yes. But unconscious and puppeted? No. The last couple of panels made it look as though Shaw was playing along with Emma and Kate’s terms, but was already looking forward to the next round of revenge and whatnot. That was the grin of a man with a scheme.

    I’m pretty sure Kate’s been able to selectively phase for a long time now–at least as far back as the Joss Whedon run in 2004–adult Kate demonstrated that skill when she possessed younger Kitty WAY back in the Days of Future Past storyline. So it’s not a startling development.

  12. Adam says:

    I’m not a big Storm fan, but it occurs to me that since more than one of her big stories had to do with being a leader (Morlocks, Wakanda), she would have made a fine Council member.

  13. Chris V says:

    She is on the Council. Her, Nightcrawler, and (once upon a time) Jean represented Xavier’s side on the Council.
    She hasn’t done anything except be a voice since taking the position though.

    I’d dare say that even Exodus has had more of an arc than Storm out of all the Quiet Council members.

  14. John Wyatt says:

    “PAGE 24. Closing quote by Kate, presumably in response to Shaw’s argument that her resurrection turned out to be a gift to her.”

    I went back to Marauders # 12, and the line “Thank you for your gift, Sebastian..” is what Kate says to Shaw at her resurrection party after he gives her a bottle of whisky. I do agree ‘gift’ has a double meaning now.

  15. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    At this point I can’t remember whether it was mentioned by Jordan D. White in an interview, or whether it was just internet gossip, but I recall that Storm was supposed to take care of the Children of the Atom kids, whose book has been delayed by almost a year.

    But maybe that was just internet gossip.

    I liked this issue. It is brutal, yes, but then again Shaw killed Kate and tried to murder Lockheed. Plus, you know… you have to be creative to get actual revenge on a resurrection island. Just killing Shaw maybe would have been cathartic for Kate and Lockheed, but he’d be resurrected immediately due to his position and it wouldn’t defang him long-term.

    Or, well, mid-term, since I read the final panels the same as The Other Michael above.

  16. Luis Dantas says:

    @The Other Michael:

    Kate has been shown to have the ability to selectively phase parts of her body, but the time displacement of DoFP does not seem to result from that. It was not future Kate pupeteering her own past body, far as we know.

    The original storyline back in 1980 or so even has Kate in Kitty’s body mention that she was chosen for the time trip because her past self did not yet have the mental training to resist such intrusions.

  17. Adam says:

    Chris V:

    Wow, I need more sleep. Don’t know how I forgot Storm was on the Council. Maybe it speaks to how little she’s factored into it.

  18. Chris says:

    I’m still stuck on how Shaw’s powers shouldn’t allow someone to incapacitate him simply through punching.

  19. alsoMike says:

    This issue was so satisfying in a revenge way and very entertaining.

    I don’t think it’s necessarily a coincidence symbolically that out of the people voting in the end, the split is along gender lines. I fully agree with all the character/plot reasons Paul mention for the votes but I think there’s an added subtextual layer.
    IIRC Shaw has long been shown to be chauvanistic and belittling towards women (the Kitty/Kate name thing might be read as an example) so I feel thematically the revenge and the catharsis readers are meant to take from it is not JUST meant for the murder attempt. It’s a comeuppance he had coming and in heightened power fantasy superhero comics, he got it in a very dramatic way.

    Other thoughts:
    I also thought they were going to launch into talking about the Neo but perhaps it’s best to pretend that didn’t happen.

    The Glob page made me laugh out loud.

    In the 80s I remember there being a scene of Kitty lying on the floor selectively phasing and solidifying as she’s inside a computer fixing it and even explicitly thinking it’s really delicate and tricky to only partially solidify. Of course that scene is weird in that she usually messes computers up when phasing.

  20. alsoMike says:

    And of course I accidentally refer to her as Kitty at the end after having made the point about the name, oops.

  21. Evilgus says:

    I get it’s cathartic, and I get it’s deserved, but it still just feels… ugly! I don’t like heroes behaving this way. But maybe it’s Emma’s influence on Kate? Or maybe Emma persuading Kate not to go the full distance into murder? (Didn’t Emma have a whole murder Shaw arc herself?).

    But still, a strong book.

    I do think characters like Storm and Nightcrawler who should have more attention are curiously underserved by HoX as a whole. There seems to be primary characters in each book (Cyclops in X-Men… Domino in X-Force… Captain Britain in Excalibur… and Kate in Marauders) that others are orbiting around. But then I guess the fun of HOX is that so many more minor characters are getting dusted off, having ‘moments’, and being built up into viable personalities themselves. Just a shame that the big ticket entry types are left behind!

  22. Alan L says:

    I’ve been reading through early Excalibur recently, where Shadowcat seems to be consistently solidifying select parts of her body and not others. I feel like I’ve seen that happen more than a few times.

    I know the older Kate does that trick in Days of Future Past, solidifying her shoulder to knock Destiny’s crossbow off-course.

    The trouble for me in getting optimistic about the way Hickman talks about his “plans for Storm” are that Hickman’s idea of character development always boils down to something like “they’re in charge of a new thing,” or, “they’re ruler of a who society now,” or “they’re infected with a new technology, making them important to my plot 20 issues from now.” So far what they’ve done with her is miserable. She’s been infected with transmode virus, and then uninfected. That Giant-Sized issue where she gets better is hardly about her, and features no character development. If they had a genuine direction for Storm to go in, writers could be seeding that with little bits of story now. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. Character development usually works when we see a character in a series of appearances; in other words, they have to be around. Storm is, as people have been saying, barely in these books.

    I don’t think that Hickman understands character too well at all. He thinks it means putting a figure through a plot. But it is so much more than that––it’s the character’s needs and desires, their experiences and their reactions to them. It’s the reason they choose to get involved in a story. In better stories, it’s often the main reason a character gets drawn into the action, or even the reason the action gets started in the first place. But Hickman doesn’t see it that way at all. So I’m not holding my breath for something great to happen to Storm. A talented writer could do more with character in these books, making it necessary to and defining of the plot; but in very plot-heavy stories, that plot sometimes serves as an impediment to character, and I think that’s happening in most of these books. Kitty and Emma are getting decent arcs here, and Sebastian Shaw. But Storm is conspicuously absent. No one seems to put her through testing stories the way they did in the 80s. Instead everyone goes the “queenly” direction, kind of ignoring that she used to have all kinds of character experiences happening on the page.

    Honestly, they could be doing it now if anyone were to bring back thought bubbles. Claremont kept the characters moving––or seeming like they were moving––in those bubbles. It’s too bad they’re gone. Because Storm especially, I think, has been put on mute for decades now, because we don’t hear her thoughts. As a result, she seems less human, less relatable, more “royalty” than character.

  23. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Hopefully Hickman’s plans for Storm include her being written by somebody else.

  24. Loz says:

    Right, so I presume that Storm’s bold new direction will be to spend a third of her time watching Shaw to make sure he doesn’t kill himself so he gets resurrected in a new body?

    Why do the council need to vote to find out what happened to Shaw? The most powerful telepath on the planet wants to know and Emma can’t stop him.

    I wasn’t impressed by this issue. It’s probably a side-effect of the fact that Krakoan society hasn’t really been developed now in the years since this time started that there is still no real punishment that you can administer beyond taking them off the board totally by dropping them into the hole with Sabretooth and they presumably don’t want to have to remove one of their troublesome characters when they’ve just had Apocalypse leave.

  25. Salomé says:

    I was about to write something to the effect that the best turn for Storm, in terms of character development, would be for her to have a “fuck-off” anti-nationalist turn against the monolithic conception of Krakoa. Especially because hers is a more complex history where the idea of nation is concerned then, say, Eyeboy.

    And because this reminded me of young, thieving Ororo in Cairo, it suddenly occurred to me: the conception of crime in Krakoan stories seems simplistic to the point of reducing the complexity of the system the characters inhabit…

    If unlawful transgression amounts only to instances such as Sabretooth killing a human or Mr. Sinister being a trickster, then “mutant law” hardly seems a radical departure from human law, and from the pre-existing human status quo.

  26. Chris V says:

    It sort of seemed like Hickman was trying to make a point about that, with the mutants of Krakoa declaring that mutants were superior to humans, but the reader could see the overt similarities being presented.
    However, with how this new era has shaped up since House/Powers, it’s no longer obvious if that wasn’t just lazy writing.
    We’ve been expected to accept that Krakoa is now the dominant power on Earth, but outside of being told this as a fact by Hickman, there’s no reason to accept this as true.
    It’s been argued that this was simply showing the overconfidence of Krakoan society, but no, I think we are just meant to accept this because a writer wrote it on the page.

    I don’t feel this is a living, thriving society.
    I always feel like I’m watching a puppet show with cardboard cut-outs in the background to give the illusion of a setting with people.
    A few of the characters have agency and move the plot in the foreground, but no one else actually exists at that time.

    I’m not even asking for major character development with Storm. I’m just asking for her to be shown to have some sort of purpose on Krakoa.
    Nightcrawler is at least around trying to create a new religion for mutants.
    Ororo started out being written as a “true believer”. She was leading the resurrection ceremonies.
    Then at the end of the Giant Size X-Men issue, she seemed to be sceptical about the resurrection process.
    In X of Swords, Death acted like the fact that Ororo hasn’t been resurrected was a major development.
    There was no character development which led to this change/discrepancy.
    Basically, Hickman started writing Storm in a certain way with no long-term idea about what he was going to do with Storm. Then, later, the character was just taken in a completely different direction with no explanation.
    How does Ororo feel about Krakoa? What is her role within Krakoan society? Just anything.

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