RSS Feed
Jun 2

Marauders #21 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS #21
“You are Cordially Invited to the Hellfire Gala”
by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. Emma Frost welcomes you to the Gala. Though really, by the time you’ve got this close, it’s a bit late to be offering you an invitation.

PAGE 2. Data page: the invitation to the Gala, which also appears on the cover of this week’s X-Force #20.

“On the evening of the summer solstice.” That would be 21 June. Apparently in the Marvel Universe you can see a starry sky on Mykines “a few minutes after midnight”, and enjoy a fireworks display, all on the summer solstice. But the Faroe Islands are so far north that it doesn’t actually get dark in midsummer. Let’s politely ignore that and move on.

PAGES 3-4. Kate, Sebastian and Emma await the arrival of the guests.

Mykines, which is a real place in the Faroe Islands, was acquired by Emma in Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1. The Faroes are actually an autonomous territory within Denmark.

“Remarkable to be at a Hellfire gala once again…” Shaw is referring to the “annual gala” from the back-up strip in Classic X-Men #7, which is reprinted at the end of this issue. In fact, when the Hellfire Gala was first mentioned back in Marauders #7, Emma said that “Jumbo just said I should throw a Hellfire gala, and neither of us knows what it is yet”. Which rather suggests that the link to the Classic X-Men story is something that came along later.

Shaw also referenced that story in the previous issue, when he brought up Lourdes Chantel – which is probably the main reason for reprinting it here.

X-Force are serving as security for this diplomatic party, as seen in more detail over in X-Force #20.

PAGE 5. The Avengers arrive.

That’s the current line-up of the Avengers: the Hulk (Jennifer Walters), Blade, the Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Captain Marvel, Thor and Captain America. Iron Man makes his own way to Krakoa. Oddly, former villain Tempo has been assigned as the greeter – but people are coming from a lot of places, and somebody needs to be on the other side of each gate to hand out to the flowers. The flowers presumably serve as the signal that allows guests through the gates without having a mutant right next to them. Over in X-Force #20, Iron Man strongly implies that the flowers are tracking devices, which is why he refuses to wear them and avoids using the gates.

Emma is in full-on, rather un-subtle diplomatic mode here.

PAGE 6. The Fantastic Four arrive.

Aside from the obvious four members of the Fantastic Four, that’s Alicia Masters, Franklin Richards and Valeria Richards in panel 3. Kitty and Franklin have a history from X-Men / Fantastic Four back in the 80s, and the more recent miniseries from the Krakoa era, hence their reaction here. Since we last saw Franklin in the X-books, he’s been retconned into a non-mutant in Fantastic Four vol 6 #26. Broadly, that story claims that Franklin was never a mutant, but that he used his powers to subconsciously make himself appear to be one.

The woman with facepaint coming through the gate is Dazzler.

The scene with Iron Man and Kid Omega is shown in more detail in X-Force #20; that version shows Iron Man being rather more rationally sceptical about using Krakoan technology when he can avoid it.

PAGE 7. More guests arrive.

Doctor Doom‘s treatment of mutants came up in the recent X-Men / Fantastic Four series. Basically, he sees them as a national resource (though more in the way that he sees everything in Latveria as a national resource).

The ambassadors. The Russian ambassador is the same woman we saw in House of X #1 and #5. Her name is Natalia Vollock. Reuben Brousseau is a villain from Excalibur, where he leads a right-wing mystical cult that for no terribly clear reason seems to have considerable influence within the UK government. The Madripoorian representative is Donald Pierce, who’s shown up as a Madripoor diplomatic in previous issues.

The celebrity guests. J Jonah Jameson is fairly obvious. The two in the foreground of the panel appear to be Meredith Salenger and Patton Oswalt.

The AIM agent is Ned, the defector who helped save Storm in Giant-Size X-Men: Storm #1. That’s where Marvel Girl recognises him from.

PAGE 8. Xavier greets Reed.

Reed is (understandably) still angry about X-Men / Fantastic Four #4, where Xavier messed with his mind to prevent him re-creating a device that had the potential to eliminate mutant powers.

Franklin is referring to the revelation that he was never a mutant, and Kate is being typically supportive. I’m not sure if she’s referencing a specific Wolverine line.

PAGES 9-11. The telepathic concert.

You’d think the less sympathetic guests would be a bit more freaked out by having their minds affected in this way, but  everyone does seem to enjoy it, even if Brousseau dismisses it as a cheap stunt. Doom evidently has his armour sealed against telepathic interference, and who can blame him?

Rhapsody debuted in X-Factor vol 1 #79 in 1992 and has made very scattered appearances since. Her actual power is to use music as a focus to create mind-control and flight. While she’s also a talented musician, that’s not actually a power. She’s just good.

The Stepford Cuckoos – going by the more formal “Five-in-One” – are in their usual colour scheme of one in black and four in white. The significance of this, if any, remains unclear.

Delores Ramirez from the CIA’s X-desk is next to Reuben in the crowd, and as usual, she’s more sympathetic to mutants than he is.

PAGES 12-13. The Marauders gamble on the roof, and Sean and Emma speak

Specifically, that’s Shinobi Shaw, Bishop, Pyro, Ned from AIM and Iceman.

Sean Cassidy was co-headmaster of the Massachusetts Academy alongside Emma back in Generation X, hence their rapport here. He seems to say that Emma also sent him another invitation which, for whatever reason, he’s not going to accept. We’ll doubtless hear more about that in due course.

PAGES 14-16. The Shi’ar show up.

The celebrity cameos in the background are Run The Jewels.

The mysterious uninvited gift from the Shi’ar is clearly a plot point. Over in X-Force #20, it turns out to be “a big, shiny pile of logic diamonds” – the memory storage that’s used to record Cerebro’s backup data. Hmm.

PAGE 17. The hostile states negotiate.

Emma doesn’t seem to care; and fair enough, really. Any discussions they’re having here, they could just as easily have had somewhere else. Madripoor, the UK and Russia all seem to be on board. To be fair, the UK government right now would sign a trade deal with pretty much anyone if they thought it could be presented as evidence of the benefits of Brexit.

Even though Donald Pierce was in the Madripoorian ambassador role earlier on, this time it’s Chen Zhao, the token adult in Homines Verendi.

PAGE 18. The Stepford Cuckoos and Wilhelmina Kensington.

This is a bit out of the blue. Wilhelmina Kensington is probably the least developed of the Homines Verendi kids; as originally presented, she was basically a joke character, even more than the rest of the group. The Five-in-One apparently believe that something unpleasant has either happened to her mind, or been done to it. They restore her memory of something not specified here. Her back story is pretty limited: she inherited her fortune when her mother supposedly committed suicide, according to X-Men: Schism #3. While the obvious reading is that Wilhelmina murdered her, it’s certainly possible that she had nothing to do with it.

PAGE 19. Another page of the party.

An opportunity to play Spot The American Celebrity, for those who like that sort of thing. Oh, and Prince Harry. I recognise Conan O’Brien, but really most of these people don’t mean a great deal outside North America.

Emma’s dialogue here doesn’t quite fit the running order – they haven’t even had dinner yet, let alone reached the fireworks.

PAGE 20. Assorted vignettes.

Panel 1 has Northstar and Kyle Jinadu catching up with Northstar’s former teammate Vindicator. Presumably Heather is off mingling.

Panel 2 has Captain America and Henry Gyrich. Gyrich is associated with Orchis, as we’ve seen over in S.W.O.R.D., but Captain America doesn’t know that. Gyrich essentially implies here that he sees no real difference between Krakoa and Doom’s Latveria.

PAGE 21. Emma gathers the Hellfire Trading Corp for a toast.

That’s Fenris behind her, in the quasi-Norse outfits. Emma seems convinced that this is a wonderful diplomatic outreach which will win over more countries, though it’s hard to see how her approach to Doom was really likely to achieve that. Shaw evidently believes that the anti-mutant forces are going to come out on top from all this, and that Emma is a naive diplomat.

PAGE 22. Recap and credits – interestingly, the Marauders themselves don’t feature in the cast list, except for Kate. This is a Hellfire Trading issue. The credits design is altered to look more like an invitation.

PAGES 23-24. Flash forward to the end of the evening.

Self-explanatory, really – something shocking and amazing will be announced in one of the Hellfire Gala issues, so stay tuned.

PAGES 25-36. The reprinted Classic X-Men story.

PAGE 37. Trailers (reading “Next course” and “Dinner is served” in place of the usual tag lines). Marauders #21, X-Men #21, Planet-Size X-Men #1 and S.W.O.R.D. #6 are highlighted in red, which normally indicates key issues.

The Krakoan reads NEXT: MANY HAPPY RETURNS.

 

 

 

 

 

Bring on the comments

  1. Evilgus says:

    I’m willing myself to like this. But are we about to have however many issues of ‘different perspectives of the evening’ before we zero in on the big reveal?

    In terms of storytelling, I actually think it suffered in comparison with the dense but deft excerpt from Classic X-Men.

    Ultimately what really drew me out of the story was the incongruous celebrity and prominent Twitterati inserts. I don’t know nor care who these people are – the realistic visuals distracted me, and gave prominence that could have been given over to actual characters.

    I also couldn’t initially figure out if the ‘big reveal’ was free medicine on the open market, or meant to be something else. Just felt like more wheel spinning…

  2. Evilgus says:

    (also for the invite to use GMT? Why not some new Krakoan unit of time? Maintain the facade of mutant culture! And, “your host, Emma Frost” twice in the one paragraph. Just sloppy!)

  3. Allan M says:

    I’m guessing that Emma sent an invitation to Moira, via Sean, hence his confusion that she sent an invite for someone whom he believes is dead. Between this and the hospital, I’m confident Emma knows Moira’s alive and significant to Krakoa. How much she actually know, we shall see.

  4. Chris V says:

    I thought it was an invitation to appeal for Ororo’s spot on the Quiet Council.
    The review says “which, for whatever reason, he’s not going to accept”. Which would be a strange way to describe Sean being confused about receiving an invitation for a supposedly dead person.

  5. Allan M says:

    The relevant exchange is:

    EMMA: I’m grateful you accepted my invitation.
    SEAN: I got both of them, but I’m afraid —
    EMMA: If you’re to give me bad news, please not tonight.

    If Emma wanted to invite Sean to join the Quiet Council, sending two invitations to the Gala doesn’t accomplish that. Nor would brushing him off when he followed up. Emma wanted Sean to bring someone – or at least make it known that she wanted him to bring someone – to the Gala whom she could not invite directly. I don’t think Banshee won’t accept the second invite, I think he, so far as he knows, can’t.

  6. NS says:

    It’s quite possible Emma just invited Sean to the gala and to join the Marauders. He is on an upcoming cover and in the solicitation as working with the team after all. Also, they will have a slot as it were since

  7. Chris V says:

    Ah.
    I base my thoughts off of these reviews. I am only reading Way of X, SWORD, and X-Men (dropping it after Hickman leaves) currently.

  8. Chris V says:

    Still, saying, “If you’re going to give me bad news…” seems like an unusual response to the idea that Sean is about to tell her that a known-dead person is dead.

    I still lean towards either an invitation to join the Quiet Council or NS’ idea.

  9. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Yeah it has nothing to do with Moira, that doesn’t track.

    Even beyond that they’re really setting up Emma as the most powerful true blue believer in all if this, someone who actually thinks the diplomacy will work and mutants will benefit.

    She’s pissed in this week’s X-Force about all of Beast’s behind the scenes shenanigans.

    I think they’re setting her up for a rude awakening, which means she can’t know about Moira yet.

    Also- yet another issue where the main cast members of this book do almost nothing, say almost nothing, and barely appear.

  10. Chris V says:

    If Emma doesn’t know about Moira, in light of Uncanny X-Ben’s comment, then the hospital unveiling could simply be to rub in the faces of Xavier and Magneto that they once considered a mere Homo Sapiens to be their close friend (Emma not realizing Moira was a mutant).

    Her reaction with Kitty after unveiling the statue could simply be that she thinks she has shocked the two due to their current mutant supremacy rhetoric by reminding them of a mere human they both once respected.

    None the wiser, Emma doesn’t realize the true reason they Xavier and Magneto were disturbed to see a statue of Moira.

  11. Rob says:

    Also on Page 19 are Megan Rapinoe (pink hair – US Women’s soccer team) and her partner Sue Bird (WNBA).

    I never would have thought that was Prince Harry… I’m still not entirely convinced.

    I thought Run the Jewels were Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Woops!

  12. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Does anyone remember the issue number where they unveil the Moira statue?

    I actually liked this issue, it’s just a terrible team book.

    Doom makes every party better.

  13. SanityOrMadness says:

    Paul> The Stepford Cuckoos – going by the more formal “Five-in-One” – are in their usual colour scheme of one in black and four in white. The significance of this, if any, remains unclear.

    It’s come up in interviews that the one wearing black is in charge for the day, and they rotate that position.

    Paul> This is a bit out of the blue. Wilhelmina Kensington is probably the least developed of the Homines Verendi kids; as originally presented, she was basically a joke character, even more than the rest of the group. The Five-in-One apparently believe that something unpleasant has either happened to her mind, or been done to it. They remove her memory of something not specified here.

    Isn’t it the exact opposite – i.e., they RESTORE her memory, not block it.

    Paul> Panel 1 has Northstar and Kyle Jinadu catching up with Northstar’s former teammate Vindicator. Presumably Heather is off mingling.

    The whole point of the scene (as spelt out by Northstar when Kyle misses it) is that Mac & Heather have broken up, no?

    Uncanny X-Ben> Also- yet another issue where the main cast members of this book do almost nothing, say almost nothing, and barely appear.

    I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Frost, Pryde and Shaw are the main characters, and everyone else is supporting-at-best.

  14. Mark Coale says:

    Anxiously awaiting to see what Paul says about the Hellfire Gala Fasion Special or whatever its actually called.

  15. Allan M says:

    The Moira hospital is unveiled in Marauders #18.

    Solid points raised about the second invite about bringing Banshee onto the Quiet Council or the Marauders, but given the hospital setup so recently, I’m sticking to my Moira theory. I think she knows more about Moira than anyone expects, and also less than she thinks she knows, which feels very Emma. I believe I get penalized 2000 Internet Points if I’m wrong. I’m game.

  16. Joseph S. says:

    I think we can No Prize the midnight sun. Perhaps it was in Hellions but there was some suggestion that the fireworks were psychic

  17. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    The Hellions seem to get indicate the “fireworks” are code for whatever they’re doing in Planet Sized X-Men.

    Terraforming Mars or whatever.

  18. wwk5d says:

    Overall, a decent issue. Still one of the better X-titles being published today. The real life celebrity depictions were a little jarring, but eh, I guess they needed to sell how big of an even this would really be.

    “The whole point of the scene (as spelt out by Northstar when Kyle misses it) is that Mac & Heather have broken up, no?”

    Yeah, I got that impression as well.

    I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive about the whole Gala idea, but I am definitely intrigued to see where things are going, and what Planet-Sized X-men will offer. It can’t be worse than X of Swords.

  19. Col_Fury says:

    Fun issue.

    But wait… when did Banshee stop looking like a gaunt wraith?

  20. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    The wraith-like (or, well, banshee-like) incarnation died, like most everyone else, in Rosenberg’s Uncanny run / cleanup operation right before HoXPoX. Sean must have been resurrected on Krakoa.

    (I digress, but how come we haven’t seen Thunderbird yet? First X-Man to die and all that, not counting Changeling, because who does, really. He should be a prime candidate for resurrection. Though, of course, Warpath is esentially the same character, only with years of development, meaning Thunderbird’s still redundant, just as he was in 1975… But still.)

    I still like Marauders very much – I’ve long since accepted it’s a Kate/Emma book rather than a team title. But this week’s trophy goes to Hellions, which was a mad delight.

  21. Chris V says:

    It was recently mentioned in one of the books that Xavier’s records for Cerebro only go back so many years.
    It seems that Xavier does not have access to Thunderbird’s mind, so he can’t be resurrected.

    Also, Sinister is currently using Thunderbird’s DNA for the mutant gene.

  22. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    But Changeling has been around Krakoa. Though I guess this could be explained away as an art error or something.

    On the other hand Thunderbird has been resurrected for a hot minute during Chaos War, Cerebro could have picked him up then.

  23. neutrino says:

    Delores Ramirez is described and acts more sinister towards mutants in Wolverine. I’m wondering if Hommes Verendi leaked the information about the tainted medicine to the CIA so she could have an in with the Marauders.

    My guess for the reveal. Judging by the Shi’ar logic diamonds and Doctor Strange’s reaction, Krakoa is going to offer to back up the minds of citizens of treaty countries, after which they can be put in cloned bodies for a kind of Altered Carbon immortality.

  24. Chris V says:

    I think that is where this is going also.
    Moira’s plan is to create a “dominion” for organic beings, which would then unite humans and mutants.
    That way, the only future won’t be reserved for the mechanical.

  25. Chris V says:

    The hint seems to have always been in life six.
    The Librarian confronts Moira about being conflicted with the fate of being assimilated by the Phalanx, solely for the sake of achieving true immortality. The Librarian wonders if it is worth it.
    The Librarian asks Moira, “What would you do to prevent our surrender to the machines?”.
    Moira has no response.
    The Liberian goes on to say that “Moira has no alternative to offer.”
    At that point, the Librarian seems resigned. His hesitation, of course, does allow Moira and Wolverine the chance to act.
    She’s had over three lifetimes since life six to plan an alternative.

  26. JCG says:

    > My guess for the reveal. Judging by the Shi’ar logic diamonds and Doctor Strange’s reaction, Krakoa is going to offer to back up the minds of citizens of treaty countries, after which they can be put in cloned bodies for a kind of Altered Carbon immortality.

    No, that does not fit with what we saw.

    The logic diamonds arrived while the gala had already started and Emma did not expect them. I think we can assume she knew what the big reveal was about.

  27. Chris V says:

    I don’t think Emma knows about the entirety of the plan though. I think only Moira. Xavier, and Magneto know the full reality.

    I mean, the “big reveal” is pretty obviously that Krakoa is now terraforming Mars.
    That’s not really much of a surprise for the reader though.
    So, I think the actual “surprise” will involve the logic diamonds.

  28. Paul says:

    Yes, it should be “restore” the memories. That’s what I meant to type. I’ll get that fixes.

  29. ShadowKatsu says:

    If Emma wasn’t aware of the logic diamonds but the Shi’ar guy sought her out specifically to tell her about them, is it possible Mystique impersonating Emma requested them for some purpose that will lead into Inferno?

  30. Loz says:

    The last time I saw Heather Hudson was in a weird short story somewhere where she was being mind-controlled and in some sort of witness protection program and everyone else in Alpha Flight thought she was dead. I don’t know if that’s her current status quo and if it is whether Vindicator and Northstar know the truth or not.

    I did like this issue. In a way, it was sort of like the breather issues back in the day, where the team would play baseball or just chill out. Most noticeable was Xavier thinking that Reed wouldn’t still be pissed about what he did to him at the end of the miniseries and then rubbing Franklin’s face in the fact he’s currently only a human.

    But that was fun.

  31. Taibak says:

    Mac’s using the Vindicator codename again, huh?

  32. Jeremy says:

    I’m pretty sure the implication of the conversation with Vindicator about Heather is that they’ve split up.

  33. Justin says:

    I think that’s Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan on page 19

Leave a Reply