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Feb 17

Marauders #18 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

“Saving Face”
by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli, Matteo Lolli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1: Just an action shot of Iceman and Pyro. I think it might be going for a yin-yang thing, but if so, it’s pretty loose.

PAGE 2. Quote from an anonymous UN ambassador about Madripoor. Could well be Madripoor’s own ambassador, Donald Pierce. In terms of the way Madripoor has been presented in Wolverine stories over the years, the comment isn’t unreasonable.

PAGE 3. Professor X and Magneto arrive for Emma’s ceremony.

“I know you have been helping Emma with her gala…” The Hellfire Gala, first mentioned in issue #7. It’s finally going to happen in upcoming issues of X-Men, where the new team line-up is going to be held. Magneto helped Emma by acquiring the location in Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1.

“[D]id she offer any hint as to why she insisted on our presence in Madripoor this morning?” This is interesting. Emma has insisted that two of the most important mutants in Krakoa come to Madripoor, not to actually participate in this ceremony, but so that they can watch it from the audience. And she does it even though the ceremony is televised (as we see next page). Why? See further below.

Presumably Magneto and Professor X arrived by a gate, not by the Marauder, despite what the art suggests.

The ceremony. The people on stage – from left to right – are Callisto, Pyro, Kate Pryde (with Lockheed), Emma Frost, Bishop, Christian Frost, Sebastian Shaw, Iceman, Shinobi Shaw and Proteus. Proteus is the only one of these characters not associated with Hellfire Trading, and he makes a rare appearance here without the rest of the Five – taking him off Krakoa to a state with a hostile government seems kind of risky.

PAGE 4. Homines Verendi watch the presentation.

Emma’s basically right that Madripoor has always been a kleptocracy, even before Homines Verendi got involved.

PAGES 5-6. Emma unveils the memorial.

Not only is Emma setting up a hospital, but it’s a memorial to Moira MacTaggert. This is why her son Proteus is present. We know, from House of X and Powers of X, that Moira is hidden on Krakoa and has regular dealings with Professor X and Magneto. Nobody else is meant to know that, and Emma describes Moira in her traditional, pre-Hickman role (“one of mutantdom’s most staunch human allies”). Professor X and Magneto look distinctly uncomfortable about the mention of Moira’s name, as well they might when they’ve been concealing her role as the power behind the throne.

Emma says to Kate that this was “worth it just for the look on Erik’s and Charles’ faces”. Which is… interesting. If she knew nothing about Moira then she’d have no reason to expect any particular response from them. So how much does she know, and why is she poking Xavier and Magneto about it? Is she just stirring, or is there some reason why she wants to provoke them and observe their reaction?

PAGE 7. Recap and credits.

PAGES 8-10. Masque is put to work in the hospital.

Masque’s power to alter faces always had potential applications for plastic surgery – here, to cure a cleft lip – but in the past he always used it sadistically, or to help mutants fit in as Morlock outsiders. In some ways that was a precursor of the mutant-nationalist attitudes of Krakoa.

PAGES 11-12. Bishop, Iceman and Pyro buy a bar.

Apparently you can buy a bar in Madripoor just by handing a sack of money to the owner and reaching an oral agreement. Seems a bit relaxed even for Madripoor. Let’s assume the Marauders just forge the necessary documents once he’s out of the way, though the timescales do seem to suggest that in the next scene Kade somehow learns about this transaction right away.

PAGES 13-14. The new Reavers emerge.

Max von Frankenstein is taking the lead in creating these things, consistent with his junior mad-scientist persona. The original Reavers’ leader, Donald Pierce, is also on the Homines Verendi payroll, but it’s not apparent that he has any particular involvement in this. We’ll see later that these are all people who’ve been injured by the mutants in the Krakoan era, and have become cyborgs in order to get revenge. This is time-honoured stuff for the Reavers – it was basically the motivation of Cole, Reese and Macon from the classic team.

PAGES 15-21. The Reavers attack the bar.

Largely self-explanatory. Page 19 has three flashback panels showing battles where the Reavers suffered their injuries. One of them appears to have lost an arm to Iceman in Marauders #10 (as confirmed in the later data page), which must have happened off panel. Gorgon’s battle with mercenaries at Davos was shown in X-Men #4. The other panel is a fairly generic image of Wolverine in Madripoor, wearing a jacket and clawing two individuals – this seems to be generic, since there hasn’t been a Krakoa-era story with Wolverine in Madripoor dressed like that.

PAGE 22. Data page. Bishop reports to the Beast. It’s basically recapping the plot we just saw, but it also reminds us that Bishop joined the Marauders in part because the Beast suggested it was an intelligence opportunity (in issue #4).

PAGE 23. Donald Pierce addresses the United Nations.

Ah, it’s one of those stories where the United Nations is a fast-moving organisation that actually does stuff fast. For some reason Krakoa is completely unrepresented at this meeting. Who is the Krakoan ambassador to the UN, come to think of it? Was anyone particularly qualified for that job?

PAGE 24. Homines Verendi send the Reavers into Lowtown.

Okay, this bit doesn’t really make sense. The government of Madripoor doesn’t need the UN’s permission to bar the Marauder from its waters. True, they did ask the UN for a peacekeeping force, but does Madripoor really not have its own navy to do this? And it’s not as if the Marauders is the mutants’ only way onto the island – even if the gates are destroyed, they have plenty of teleporters.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: MAD WORLD.



Bring on the comments

  1. Chris V says:

    Thom-That Olaf Stapledon novel is a great read.
    I’m not sure if Lee, Kirby, or Ditko read it. Any one of them might have at some point, because all three were science fiction fans.

    Stan Lee came up with the idea of the X-Men after reading the story “Children of the Atom” by Wilmar H. Shiras (originally published in 1953) though.

    Lee borrowed heavily from Shiras’ story, but the mutants in the story only had extremely advanced intelligence, rather than outright powers.

    John W. Campbell was one of the major editors in the science fiction field at that time, and during the 1950s he was a believer in the idea that humanity was evolving, and the next stage in human evolution would have psychic abilities.
    So, he was always interested in publishing stories that featured mutants with psychic powers.
    The idea was certainly prevalent within elements of the culture of the time when Lee wrote the X-Men.

    It was Kirby and Ditko who had more interest in those sort of occult ideas.

  2. Allan M says:

    One of the few consistent characteristics of the Neo was that they had a telepathic communal mind link of some kind, to signify how they were beyond mutantkind. So this is a recurring idea for the franchise. Germanely for current continuity, collective intelligence is also part of the Phalanx’s schtick, an advanced machine civilization.

    As to the broader question of how Emma figured out that Moira’s alive, I agree with Thom H that picking up on a stray thought from Magneto, thinking about Moira in the present tense, is the likely culprit that tipped her off. And it needn’t have been Emma herself who noticed – the Cuckoos are standing around in the background of nearly every major event on Krakoa, treated like furniture by everyone except Emma, Cable and Quentin.

  3. Luis Dantas says:

    @Allan M: that the Phallanx has a collective consciousness was very much lampshaded in HoX/PoX. It led to a major plot point about Moira, IIRC.

  4. Thom H. says:

    A couple more points about Stapledon and “Odd John.”

    1. The novel is typically packaged with another short novel called “Sirius.” Both stories are excellent explorations of mutants living in a world that misunderstands (hates and fears?) them. But be forewarned: the original texts feature some casual and explicit racism.

    2. “Odd John” might also be of interest for its obvious parallels to the current status quo of the X-books. In fact, any story that features an [SPOILERS for an 85-year-old novel?] island nation of mutants might owe a debt to Stapledon.

  5. Chris V says:

    Don’t give away the spoiler for Sirius!

    Odd John may be one influence for Hickman, because the plot seems more relevant to the current X-Men comics.
    However, an island of mutants is something that predates Olaf Stapledon.

    I know that Edward Bellamy wrote a short story called “To Whom This May Come” in 1885 about a man getting shipwrecked on an unknown utopian island.
    In the end, he discovers that the people there are mutants (although I’m pretty sure the term isn’t in use yet, he may just refer to them as “evolved humans”, but it’s been a while since I read it) whom are in hiding from the violent outside world.
    They have managed to create an utopian paradise because they are all telepathic and have a collective consciousness.
    The man realizes he will never truly belong in this utopia and he must leave, back to the all-too-imperfect world he left behind.

    Stapledon and Bellamy were both Socialists, so I’m pretty sure that Stapledon read Bellamy’s fiction.
    I’m pretty sure Bellamy wasn’t the first to use the idea either.

  6. neutrino says:

    Instead of knowing Moira’s alive, Emma could have been trolling them by reminding them of a trusted associate that was a baseline human (for their mutant supremacy tendencies) and a woman (She seems to want to create a matriarchy).

  7. Luis Dantas says:

    Come to think of it, very early on (perhaps even before Action Comics #1) Kryptonians’ powers were a result of evolution as well, and they had those powers in their home planet.

    Arguably, Hugo Danner (one of Superman’s precursors) is an evolved human as well.

  8. Luis Dantas says:

    @neutrino, that makes a lot of sense, and would be even more interesting.

  9. Si says:

    Yeah, that Ascent of Man picture with the five figures walking in single file from ape to human has a lot to answer for. It implies that evolution happens in steps and there’s a next, even better step after us. In real life of course evolution is more likely to give us Homo Floresiensis than super intelligence.

    And part of pulp fiction, tied to the idea of evolution being a process of making things more awesome from generation to generation, is the idea that being really smart automatically means having telepathy. Brain power and all that. So in the comics, Xavier has an amazing brain. MODOK and Leader were both given enormous brains, and psychic powers naturally followed.

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