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Apr 7

Marauders #19 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Fire & Ice”
by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. Kate, Callisto and Bishop, posing with the Marauders flag in a pile of junk.

Incidentally, it’s been seven weeks since issue #18 came out, which is an unusually long gap.

PAGE 2. Opening quote from Wolverine, in the “Patch” identity he uses in Madripoor. This is pretty standard stuff for Madripoor, though it’s obviously an exaggeration – Madripoor also has a steady supply of victims, and several Wolverine supporting characters wouldn’t really fit into this description. It’s maybe true of the sort of people Patch hangs around with, mind you.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits. One point worth clarifying: the Marauders’ instructions to stay out of Madripoor come from the Madripoor government with the backing of the United Nations, not from Krakoa.

PAGE 4. The new Reavers run wild in Lowtown.

Picking up from the cliffhanger of the previous issue. The Reavers are meant to be henchmen injured by the X-teams, who have submitted to cyborg treatment as a result. This mission has nothing to do with any sort of revenge, but evidently the Reavers are still up for a bit of generic henchman work.

Note that the narration calls the cyborgs “post-human”, a buzzword in Krakoa-era X-books for technologically enhanced humans, which plays into the cosmology from Powers of X.

PAGE 5. Homines Verendi watch from the balcony.

There’s some seriously wonky law here. Chen Zhao seems to be telling us that the Marauders can’t intervene because they’d “risk forfeiting the recognition they crave at the United Nations.” That really doesn’t work, for at least two reasons. First, we surely all know that that’s not the consequence in the real world of ignoring a UN resolution. And second, the whole reason why Krakoa got recognised so quickly in the first place was supposed to be a combination of massive leverage and outright manipulation of the vote – why would anything the Marauders do change that?

To be fair, it’s probably true that ignoring a UN resolution would at least cause Krakoa some diplomatic problems. But we devoted an entire issue of X-Men to the X-Men showing up at the global elite and treating them with disdain because they had all the power. It’s rather hard to buy that diplomatic consequences are much more than a mild inconvenience for Krakoa, given the wider direction.

PAGES 6-8. The Marauders decide to intervene surreptitiously.

Pyro and Iceman create the necessary distraction while Kate swims ashore to plant a new gate. As we’ll see, the plan seems to be to get some of the Morlocks – the ones who don’t live on Krakoa – to go in and sort out the Reavers, with a deniable place of entry that prevents them being directly tied to Krakoa.

The story also tries to draw out the parallels between Iceman and Pyro, who provide the title of the story: Iceman is the buttoned up one who’s cutting loose with the Marauders, Pyro is the crazy one who’s atoning here. To be honest, this fits Iceman’s back story better than Pyro’s, which (at least in some versions) has him starting out as a novelist.

PAGES 9-10. Kate plants her flower.

The guys in the ship are from the UN peacekeeping force seen at the end of the previous issue.

The father and daughter couple are the fishermen who retrieved Lockheed from the water in issue #7, and nursed him back to health. Kate already thanked them for that in issue #17.

The hospital was opened in the previous issue.

PAGES 11-13. Callisto rounds up some Morlocks to help.

This is the Morlock community which declined to come to Krakoa, and instead chose to live in Rio Verde, Arizona, back in issue #7.

Most of the Morlocks, of course, were non-combatants or outright cannon fodder. The ones Callisto rounds up here – who conveniently happen to be just passing, it seems – are among the more threatening. They are…

  • Masque, who’s a regular character. He became a “doctor” in the previous issue by using his face-altering powers in the Lowtown hospital to do legitimate cosmetic surgery on hare lips and the like.
  • Marrow, referred to only as “Sarah” here, started off as a terrorist and went on to be an X-Man for a while.
  • Hump and Brute are the two big hulking guys, as you might expect. They were Masque’s henchmen in the final issues of the first New Mutants run.
  • Bliss, the redhead with the prehensile tongue and second head, was one of Masque’s followers in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #261-263 – during which he used his powers to turn her into a copy of Jean Grey. That’s why she’s wearing Jean’s X-Factor costume from that period. The creators may be under the impression that she’s an obscure character who hasn’t been seen since – in fact, she was brought back by Ed Brubaker in Uncanny X-Men #487, and she’s appeared plenty of times since, mostly as a background character. From those appearances, we know she didn’t keep her Jean Grey look. Let’s assume that she asked Masque to change her back for some reason. She was last seen hiding out with Blindfold in the Morlock tunnels in Uncanny X-Men vol 5 #11.

Masque is rightly unimpressed with any suggestion that the sewers are the natural point of entry for the Morlocks just because they used to live in a hidden community in the New York tunnels. After all, given a choice they went to play golf in Arizona.

PAGES 14-16. The Morlocks fight the Reavers.

The Reavers can’t be that impressive if Masque can take one of them out. He has no combat-relevant powers – for this purpose, he’s just a guy with a club.

Hump asks whether the Reavers are “human” or “post-human” because of the Krakoan rule against murdering humans. As he points out, this may be academic if they stay clear of Krakoan law. Bliss is evidently aware of the existence of “the hole” – the suspended animation type place where Sabretooth is supposedly held. Note that Hump’s question seems to assume that “post-human” classification makes you fair game because you’re no longer human. This is, of course, the mutants’ own terminology.

PAGE 17. Kitty returns to the boat.

PAGES 18-19. Bishop blows up Max von Frankenstein’s building.

Bishop does this on his own initiative, which is curious. Of course, Bishop has connections with the Beast, and he’s focussing not on the justice question of the treatment of Lowtown, but on the whole project of creating post-human cyborgs. You suspect the Beast would be more interested in that last bit.

PAGES 20-21. The Morlocks drive back the Reavers.

Masque discovers that he’s been misled – the hospital was the only building that the Reavers weren’t attacking. To be fair, Callisto didn’t know that when she enlisted Masque’s aid. But it begs the question of why the hospital was left. Maybe Homines Verendi thought it would attract too much negative attention even for Madripoor. Maybe they figure it’s better to have the mutant outpost where they can see it.

PAGES 23-24. The Morlocks celebrate in their new bar.

This is the bar that they bought in the previous issue. Masque refers to it as the Princess Bar, which was Wolverine’s old bar. The Princess Bar was a bit more classy than this, though, so it’s not clear whether the idea is that he’s bought the actual Princess Bar from a new owner who let the place go downhill, or simply that he’s renaming this one after the original.

I’m not immediately convinced about the idea of renaming Lowtown as Mutietown based on the presence of a relative handful of mutants (even if the Rio Verde contingent are going to relocate here en masse, surely there’s an actual population here already…?)

PAGE 25. Data page trailing the Hellfire Gala. It’s an interview with Jumbo Carnation; Jumbo died in a high profile way in New X-Men vol 1 #134, and since resurrection remains a Krakoan state secret, his official story is that he faked his death. The page title indicates that this article has attracted the attention of the X-Desk, i.e. the CIA’s mutant monitors.

PAGE 26. Trailer. The Krakoan reads NEXT: FAREWELL.



Bring on the comments

  1. JD says:

    It looks like the X-office is deliberately rotating skip months through the line ; either because there are just too many of them and it doesn’t make financial sense to publish ALL of them every month, or just to allow for Covid-related delays. Or maybe they just wanted all the books to be in synch for the Hellfire Gala in June.

    Whatever the reason, there were no issues of MARAUDERS, NEW MUTANTS nor WOLVERINE in March ; X-MEN, X-FACTOR & HELLIONS will be skipping April ; and May will be bereft of X-FORCE, EXCALIBUR & SWORD (as well as CABLE and X-MEN LEGENDS, which have both been delayed into June ; fortunately those were the two titles not tying into the Gala, and LEGENDS would have been skipping June anyway).

  2. Allan M says:

    Minor Marauders continuity note: in Savage Avengers #19 (which won’t be on Marvel Unlimited), which wraps up a King in Black/Marauders two-parter, Conan claims ownership of the old Hellfire Club building in New York City. He informs Wolverine of this, who tells him he should be concerned about “queens” taking issue with that (i.e. Emma and Kate).

    It also has a beat emphasizing how incredibly powerful Iceman can be when he really cuts loose, which ties into this issue. Not sure where Duggan is going with that.

  3. The Other Michael says:

    Worth noting that in their earliest appearance, Cable shot either Brute or Hump in the face, killing the victim and reinforcing his then image as a grizzled, no-nonsense soldier. And apparently, Brute (I think) was another early beneficiary of the resurrection protocols, along with so many other Morlocks. (And another question to be asked about HOW they’re prioritizing the resurrections queue when it’s not being hijacked by A-listers with a new being-murdered kink…)

    Bliss is such a weird character simply because we’ve never seen her with an identity of her own–just knock-off Jean and knock-off Storm. So to see her go back to her faux Jean Grey, complete with X-Factor era uniform, even now that she has a cushy life on the surface, really makes me wonder what sort of personal identity she -has-. Does she -like- being fake Jean? Or just not care?

    And it’s still odd that Masque looks so much more conventionally ugly–kind of corpselike–but nowhere near as hideous as when he first debuted. At what point did he adopt this appearance, and -how-? Initially, he couldn’t alter himself, but that later changed as part of a supposed secondary mutation. So can he still alter himself, and if so, why this appearance in particular? Is he embracing mutant pride/otherness in choosing to be noticeably mutant instead of going for conventionally human? (For someone who always hated the pretty-pretties, he’s really done an about-face with his hospital work, no pun intended…)

    (Could someone like Hope or Synch, capable of mimicing powers, borrow Masque’s power to affect him in return?)

    Also, anyone else think that Pyro and Bobby’s “distraction” up top was a giant flaming ice penis? I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.

    I hope that the multiple scenes of Kitty getting sick from her swim aren’t foreshadowing of some sort.

  4. Evilgus says:

    I found this issue a bit thin. Another running battle with the uninteresting Verendi children? Cutting away when Iceman “unleashes” is cheap – give me the visual splash page!

    Still don’t know who Pyro really is after all these issues, and the book doesn’t seem to quite know what to do with Bishop (despite his best look in years). A few of the current X-books are like this. Oh for the days of every character having a simmering plotline!

    I feel a bit perplexed that everyone now seems to be knowledge of “the hole” Sabertooth is in. I thought it was meant to be a horrific secret? Did I miss that somewhere – I’d have thought many characters would question the justice.

  5. Si says:

    I’m confused about Iceman’s status as an omega mutant. What does that mean? Omegas have no upper limit, right? So he can create infinite ice? He could lower the temperature of the entire universe? His powers are so ill-defined, he’s a terrible choice for the status. How do you compare his powers with, say, Franklin Richards creating entire new realities? When Iceman makes things cold, is he destroying energy? That could work I suppose, but it drifts away from his core identity as a character.

  6. Chris V says:

    It’s meant to be used as a deterrent punishment. It doesn’t serve much good if it’s kept a secret.
    Basically, it’s follow Krakoa’s laws or go to Hell. No indiscriminate killing of humans.

    Xavier needs a way to control all the former-villains living on Krakoa.
    Otherwise, they could revert to their old ways.

    There are certainly characters who in the past would have questioned this decision, but there are a lot of details of Krakoa that these characters once would have questioned.
    Best that the reader just play along or Hickman might just sentence you to Hell.

  7. The Other Other Michael, or Crisis on Infinite Michaels says:

    Like Evilgus, I was non-plussed that we did not get a splash page of Bobby and Pyro letting loose after an entire page of puffery about “The Two,” etc. … and because of this failure, I will always envision a giant flaming ice penis as The Other Michael suggests above. At any rate, my interest is piqued, I want to see what The Two can do.

  8. Jon R says:

    I was assuming an entire nude man for the sculpture, but now I definitely am thinking ice penis shooting flame.

    After the talk about Bliss, my personal head-canon is now that she alternates between whatever female X-Man she feels like each day, and Masque is happy to oblige because it keeps freaking people out when she opens her mouth.

    While this issue felt thin, I’ve got to say that I’d love a Morlocks mini that is just them messing around with the fact that they’re part of the global elite now and can get away with random stuff.

  9. Drew says:

    “Bliss is such a weird character simply because we’ve never seen her with an identity of her own–just knock-off Jean and knock-off Storm. So to see her go back to her faux Jean Grey, complete with X-Factor era uniform, even now that she has a cushy life on the surface, really makes me wonder what sort of personal identity she -has-. Does she -like- being fake Jean? Or just not care?”

    Well, Jean is canonically attractive enough (even by Marvel Universe standards) to have worked as a model in the Silver Age, so maybe Bliss just likes being that attractive. If I could look like Timothy Oliphant, I might stick with that too. 😉

    (As for the uniform, uh… maybe there’s some cache that comes with looking like you’re associated with the X-Men? No-Prize!)

  10. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Yeah I guess Duggan is getting the X-Men title this year, which is a bummer.

  11. Chris V says:

    I’m guessing because after the Hellfire Gala there will be an actual core team of X-Men with a running narrative.
    I guess Hickman isn’t interested in writing that type of story.

    Hickman has a new project he’ll be writing as part of the Krakoa era. It’s currently redacted.
    I am hoping that it’ll end up being the Moira X book that was once announced and then dropped.

  12. neutrino says:

    The Moira X book would probably be the start of the endgame.

  13. Redd Dayspring says:

    I think Duggan getting X-men is great news. Everyone who disagrees shows their hand at their bad taste

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