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Aug 18

Marauders #23 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS #23
“Time for Tempo”
by Gerry Duggan, Ivan Fiorelli & Rain Beredo

COVER / PAGE 1: Kate, Bishop, Banshee and Tempo in action.

PAGE 2. Opening quote from Cyclops.

Tempo was shown using her time-manipulation powers to make rapidly-maturing whisky for Sebastian Shaw in issue #10, and Port Genosha whisky has shown up a few times since then. In the real world, Tempo was one of the characters who was put up in a public vote to determine the final member of the new X-Men team, which is (in practice) what Cyclops is referring to when he says “She wasn’t elected to the X-Men this year” – presumably, in-universe, she did actually put herself forward for it in some way.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGE 4. Emma recaps the plot.

“The biggest party this world’s ever seen…” Last month’s “Hellfire Gala” crossover.

“We terraformed the first mutant world.” Mars was terraformed in Planet-Size X-Men #1.

“But then somehow had to go and murder the Scarlet Witch at my party.” Her body was discovered in X-Factor #10.

“The Marauder is a total loss after it was attacked.” In Wolverine #13-14. It was carrying a consignment of logic crystals and was destroyed as part of a scheme by Solum, the full details of which are still working themselves out over in Wolverine.

“Aliens were the last ones aboard.” Well, Arakkii pirates (see Wolverine #14). I suppose they count as alien if they were born while Arakko was in Amenth, or simply on the basis that Arakko is now on Mars.

“Our medicines are temporarily in short supply.” The recap page ascribes this entirely to the destruction of the Marauder, which doesn’t really make sense – that one boat can’t be responsible for the whole global distribution network. On page 6, Sean refers to “production problems”, presumably the destruction of the Savage Land flower farm in X-Corp #1. Emma’s comments on page 18 about farms on Arakko reinforce that.

PAGES 5-6. Banshee calls for help.

Banshee. We haven’t seen much of Sean Cassidy during the Krakoan era. He has a long history with Emma Frost from the 1990s series Generation X, where they were joint headmasters of the Massachusetts Academy.

Banshee is fighting one of the new Reavers created by Homines Verendi, as seen in issues #18-19. At least in those issues, we were told that the Reavers were humans who had been injured fighting mutants and who had been reconstructed as cyborgs. Banshee apparently blasts one to pieces in this scene, which looks an awful lot like a violation of the no-killing-humans rule. Possibly the Reavers aren’t regarded as human for this purpose (which would fit with Krakoa’s paranoia about post-humanity), or maybe Banshee is figuring that as long as the core of this guy is intact, the rest can be rebuilt.

“The Irish Constabulary”. Ah, Americans writing about Ireland. The Irish police force is generally known as the Gardaí (literally, the Guardians). It hasn’t been called the “Irish Constabulary” since independence in 1922.

PAGES 7-10. Banshee recaps the plot.

Fair enough, I’ll buy this as a drawing of an industrial estate on the outskirts of an Irish town. Although page 17 has it inexplicably as a single warehouse in the middle of an otherwise residential area…

“With the UK suddenly changing its tune on mutants…” In Excalibur #21. Let’s assume this warehouse literally is supplying all of Ireland, i.e. including the North.

“You know seventeen people named…” Um, Cassidy isn’t a particularly common name for Irish people. It doesn’t rate in the top 20 surnames in Ireland (in fact, one page I found didn’t even include it in the top 100). Sean is a consistently popular name in Ireland, though. So the joke would have worked if Banshee’s name was Sean Murphy, is what I’m saying.

PAGES 11-12. Emma and co arrive, and Jumbo Carnation is in action.

I think this is the first time we’ve seen Jumbo Carnation in any sort of fight (unless you count the time he was mind-controlled and made to attack Kid Omega). He’s a non-combatant and it’s not really obvious why you’d bring him along to this, unless you were pretty desperate. That said, he does have a reasonably useful defensive power which makes him very hard to injured, so he’s unlikely to get hurt. And yes, his Teflon skin was established way back in the Grant Morrison storyline that created him.

PAGES 13-18. Tempo saves the day.

Basically, Tempo slows down the bomb long enough for everyone to get to safety, and then Kate phases herself and Tempo so that the explosion does no harm.

“My days in the Mutant Liberation Front…” Tempo was a member of Stryfe’s Mutant Liberation Front when she debuted, and for some years afterwards. Some efforts were made to rehab her during the 90s.

PAGES 19-22. The Stepford Cuckoos and Wilhelmina Kensington.

This follows up on the Wilhelmina subplot from the last two issues, which hasn’t got any more subtle. The basic problem remains that Wilhelmina has always been a joke character; now she’s being written “seriously”, but only in the sense of giving her a traumatic history in lieu of a personality.

Wilhelmina kills her father in the same way that she apparently killed her mother.

“Stay out of the hole.” This would be the penalty for killing a normal human. The Cuckoos don’t do this, but they certainly enable Wilhelmina to do it herself.

The Cuckoos’ response to a single comment from a passerby is wildly disproportionate to anything he’s said or done, and plainly an abuse of their power. Possibly the idea here is to undercut the previous scene.

Emma’s dialogue refers to the Cuckoos being “all together” in London, but the art only shows three of them with Wilhelmina. A fourth appears right at the end to lead them to a gate.

PAGE 23. Wilhelmina quits Homines Verendi.

Doesn’t she own actual cases?

Wilhelmina interprets Kade’s motivation – at least currently – as jealousy at Krakoa’s success. That sounds reasonable.

PAGE 24. Data page – an extract from Pyro’s romance novel. He was established as an author back in his earliest appearances, though he’s been written inconsistently since then. Of course, he’s written himself as the lead in this story. His publisher, “Timely Publishing”, was one of the forerunners of Marvel.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: SPACE PIRATES.

Bring on the comments

  1. Jon R says:

    This issue felt ‘off’ in some way, except for the existing Wilhelmina plot. At the end I went back to make sure that this wasn’t a fill-in writer spending time on a one-off plot (and wrapping up Wilhelmina) while Duggan was out.

    It was nice to see Pyro’s excerpt, though of course it’s about the only thing he’s gotten to do in a while.

    The only other thing that jumped out at me was Wilhelmina’s outfit, which seemed.. awfully not her? And okay, she’s turning a corner of some sort, but it kept feeling jarring to see her trying to be Boom-boom or something.

  2. Salomé y says:

    This was plainly terrible. Marauders has always been one of my favorite titles in the Krakoa era. The writing’s usually pretty sharp and amusing, and there are nice character beats in most issues. This reads like a rushed collage of three X-Men: unlimited stories.

    Bringing back Banshee, trying out Carnation as a fighter, consolidating Tempo’s standing as a possible X-Men member… It’s messy, unstructured, and barely there. And it feels like the title has had no defined identity after the storylines surrounding Kitty’s death and rebirth, and the conflict with Shaw.

    Where’s Bishop, and why is he here rather than on X-Force?. Where’s Pyro, aside from a data page joke? Is Iceman featuring somewhere else? Also: Christian Frost and his flirtations with Bobby…?

    Weirdest anthology series which isn’t.

  3. JD says:

    Bishop and Iceman are mentioned to be busy elsewhere (the former in South America, the latter in Asia). And apparently Pyro’s too busy writing.

  4. Si says:

    Tempo’s power was originally that she could basically give people super speed or super slowness, right? She wasn’t literally altering time. I suppose you could say she was giving the bacteria in the whiskey super speed, which is a fun concept. But can she literally change the flow of time now?
    Also, she needs a new costume. The gold foil and Nova helmet was one of Liefeld’s lazier efforts.

    As for Jumbo Carnation’s powers, it’s hard to make out what were his powers, what was the drugs in his system, what was the thugs who mentioned it just saying what it looked like, and what was Grant Morrison descending into semi-legible word salad. What even is teflon skin? It’s weird that he’s made of a synthetic, human-made substance. Organic steel and organic diamond are one thing, but organic polytetrafluoroethylene?

  5. Evilgus says:

    I also had to check this wasn’t a fill in writer. The art didn’t help (Kate with straight hair, when so much emphasise having been given to her being curly again?).

    I’m happy to see Banshee and Tempo step up, but given we’ve really yet to see Bishop, Iceman or Pyro do anything of note, it does feel very drifting. Can Duggan manage multiple books..?

    Also I’m tired of Emma’s overexposure. It’s almost Wolverine levels how she is everywhere.

  6. SanityOrMadness says:

    Anyone else getting Internal Server Errors when they try to reply?

    *yes, this IS a test post to see if something in my replies is triggering it*

  7. SanityOrMadness says:

    Okay, let’s try these one at a time, then…

    Paul> In the real world, Tempo was one of the characters who was put up in a public vote to determine the final member of the new X-Men team, which is (in practice) what Cyclops is referring to when he says “She wasn’t elected to the X-Men this year” – presumably, in-universe, she did actually put herself forward for it in some way.

    You didn’t see the comic strips Marvel put out in the run up to the announcement with the various characters reacting in pairs to their (mostly non-)election? Tempo’s was her having to deal with a drunk Boom-Boom. (While Banshee was in the last one, with Polaris, ending with him gathering the losers for them all to get drunk)

  8. SanityOrMadness says:

    (If this goes through too, big shrug about what the hell happened there…)

    Si> As for Jumbo Carnation’s powers, it’s hard to make out what were his powers, what was the drugs in his system, what was the thugs who mentioned it just saying what it looked like, and what was Grant Morrison descending into semi-legible word salad.

    Yeah, that’s one reason why I’ve never been a fan of Morrison. “Word salad” is a good way to describe it – he frequently throws out compound words and neologisms as an alternative to creativity rather than actual, y’know, creativity. (A tendency in full view in this week’s Superman & the Authority, especially the Steel vignette.)

  9. Raoul Seagull says:

    @sanityormadness where are these strips available? I haven’t seen them but am intrigued.

    w.r.t. Tempo it seems weird they are retconning her to have the same powers as Tempus, especially when they have such similar names? Maybe they’re setting up backups for The Five in the same way they have done for other mutant circuits in other titles?

  10. SanityOrMadness says:

    Raoul Seagull>where are these strips available? I haven’t seen them but am intrigued.

    They don’t seem to be on Marvel’s site all on one page, so unless you want a Bleeding Cool link, this will have to do: https://twitter.com/search?q=(%23XMenVote)%20(from%3AMarvel)%20until%3A2021-04-16%20since%3A2021-04-10

  11. Moo says:

    “The gold foil and Nova helmet was one of Liefeld’s lazier efforts.”

    Liefeld had more than one kind of effort?

  12. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Is Teflon skin really that hard of an idea to grasp? His skin is like Teflon, not literally Teflon.

    Anyway, this book has gone off the rails. I was hoping the cast shake ups would set it back on track, but we’re into drop territory here.

  13. Allan M says:

    This book’s really lost direction, and this issue is the most egregious offender. Bishop, Iceman and especially Pyro have all been terribly underused and have little resembling personal storylines or character arcs going on. Honestly, even Kate’s not been up to much post-resurrection, either. The Shinobi subplot hasn’t advanced a jot since it was introduced. This issue also guest-stars Banshee, and we don’t even mention the “two invitations” reference from all of two issues ago.

    What’s frustrating is that we get bits of Bishop and now Pyro from the text pages, and Duggan knows the characters and can write them well if he wants. He’s just spending his panel space on Emma Frost and Friends. All the more frustrating given how focused his X-Men has been so far.

    Re: Tempo’s powers, they were murky from early on. There’s a beat in X-Factor v1 #77 where she slows down a group of cops, but then Quicksilver is able to run through the “time distortion”, so evidently she controls time in areas of effect rather than individuals or there’d be nothing for Pietro to be seen running “through”.

  14. Si says:

    @Moo Liefeld did have his moments. I mean Deadpool looks so good they’ve never significantly altered his costume.

  15. Col_Fury says:

    re: Jon R
    I haven’t read the issue yet, but…

    Aren’t the Hellfire kids supposed to be like, 9-12 years old or something? Definitely pre-pubescent, right? Do 11 year old girls dress like Boom Boom? They aren’t sexualizing children here, are they?

    (he asks, knowing full well these are fictional characters, but still. gross)

  16. Ben Johnston says:

    I agree with the consensus — Marauders feels like it’s marking time right now. Perhaps we’ll be returning to Shaw vs Emma as the final story before the impending relaunch… but this is a major disappointment after the book was so good for its first year and a half. Especially baffling since X-Men has been quite good.

    The Wilhelmina story is a wildly misjudged take on trauma and abuse. This is the sort of thing I thought modern comics were supposed to be better about.

  17. JCG says:

    @Col_Fury

    They did seem to be in that age range when they were first introduced, but maybe it was just down to the artist?

    They definitely seem to be teenagers at least right now.

  18. Drew says:

    Not my site, no affiliation, but all of the X-Men election strips seem to be available here:

    https://greatxmentations.com/xmen-election-results-new-team-revealed/

  19. Luis Dantas says:

    Marvel mutants have left behind the limitations of real world biology for a long time now. Take for instance Dust (Sooraya Qadir) and Iceman apparently not even having any need for vital organs anymore. By comparison, organic teflon skin is almost trivial.

  20. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @JCG
    No, Aaron’s dialogue in Wolverine and the X-Men explicitly mentions them being prepubescent kids. I don’t recall if they were given actual ages, but 10-12 was my read.

    Guess puberty finally hit them.

    On the topic of this issue, I can only add to the chorus – it was noticeably below the average for this series. The art definitely didn’t help. I’m game if Duggan wants to make something of Tempo and I’d love Banshee to get a starring role… but yeah, the people who already technically have starring roles in this series disappeared a while ago, so maybe I’d rather Banshee starred somewhere else. That or for Duggan to get his act together.

  21. Luis Dantas says:

    The Homines Verendi kids are depicted as a cabal causing lots of strife, presumably costing lives. Whilelmina specifically has apparently killed both her parents willingly.

    I would say that whether they are over-sexualized for their ages is very much a minor concern both in and out of universe.

  22. Chris V says:

    Banshee is a member of this cast now, isn’t he?
    Emma gave him an offer to replace Ororo on the Marauders, if I am remembering correctly.

  23. Paul says:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been regarding the election strips as non-canon, since they don’t really reflect the communal decision-making process that was actually depicted in the books. You could make them fit in you want, though.

  24. DaibhidC says:

    @Si Steel is also a man-made substance that doesn’t occur in nature, of course, just one that’s been around a bit longer.

  25. Jon R says:

    @Col_Fury:

    Other people answered on the ages, but.. yeah. It wasn’t *extremely* sexualized, but it was a shift to put her into ‘tough girl’ chic. Torn jeans, belly-baring top, leather jacket, fingerless gloves. I don’t think it was necessarily meant as sexualizing her so much as having her reinvent herself as tough taking no prisoners. But the normal image of ‘tough girl’ is already sexualized, so they steered right into it.

    The Boom-Boom comparison was just that she was also wearing pink sunglasses and had her hair up in a way that vaguely made me think of early Boom-Boom. Not a specific image, but the blonde mall-rat thing.

  26. Loren says:

    I was assuming this issue was starting to redefine what the Marauders team was and their goal. It seems like with the destruction of the boat and whatever comes out of Inferno, that this issue was taking first steps toward divorcing Marauders from Krakoa drugs navel remit and into a more traditional team. Banshee’s reference of them, to Emma, as her Marauders also felt like it played into that notion. Something like a secondary X-Men team headed by Emma & Kate. Dunno; that’s just the vibe I was getting for this.

  27. Voord 99 says:

    Sounds like I will have to check this one out for the amusement value.

    Supernitpicky um, actually: while one could in principle translate Gardaí as “Guardians,” no-one ever actually does: “guards.”

    “Irish Constabulary” sounds like what they want is the “Garda Síochána,” the official name for the organization. And I wonder how someone comes up with “the Irish Constabulary,” when the default that an American would say would surely just be the “Irish police.” Even before independence, I don’t think anyone ever wrote “the Irish Constabulary” (happy to be corrected – not my area): it was the Royal Irish Constabulary, or the R.I.C.

  28. Col_Fury says:

    Thanks everyone! I was sure the Hellfire kids were, well, kids.

    re: Jon R
    Thanks. I finally had a chance to flip through the comic and yeah, “tough mall-rat” is a good description (which is how Boom Boom started).

    Between the Hellfire kids’ debut and now was Secret Wars, and in-universe there were 8 months leading up to it and another 8 months following it. With everything that’s happened since Secret Wars we can assume it’s been at least three years (or so) since they first appeared. If they were 10-12 then, they’d be 13-15 (maybe 16) now. I’m going to say Wilhelmina is 16 now.

    Oh, the kids grow up so fast!

  29. Si says:

    To be clear, my main issue was with what Jumbo’s power actually is, given how difficult it can be to interpret Grant Morrison’s writing sometimes. It does strike me as strange that he’s made of a trademarked chemical treatment. Not because it’s unrealistic, I mean people are made of all sorts of wacky stuff in the comics. It’s just so oddly specific.

    Mind you, to counter my own statement, early 90s characters used to routinely have the power of “lots of purple glowy stuff that kills people somehow”, and some of them have gone on to be workable characters.

    Anyway, the real issue with Jumbo is why a flamboyant fashion designer still wears the same outfit day in, day out, that he wore 20 years ago. Dude should be changing costumes mid-scene. With unstable molecules he could be literally doing that. Why aren’t the artists having a field day with this guy?

  30. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    In retrospect my post about Teflon was unnecessarily salty, sorry.

    I must have been in a bad mood.

    I agree about his outfit, I don’t think I’d thought about it before.

  31. Si says:

    Not a problem, I know we’re all good people here.

  32. Taibak says:

    Si: I still miss the days when the Wasp had a new costume for every story.

  33. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    While not remotely my favorite character, it’s a bummer they decided to make both Wasps in the movies incredibly dull.

  34. MasterMahan says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only person to check that this wasn’t written by a fill-in.

  35. Sol says:

    Surprised at the negativity towards this issue. I thought it was a lighthearted action story that successfully introduced new-to-the-book characters and moved the bigger plot along a bit. Not my favorite story, but nothing I’d complain about except quibbles. (I’m suspicious the author thinks all of Ireland is in the UK, for instance.)

    I dunno, maybe I’m out of sync because I’ve been reading Excalibur vol 1 along with the Oh Gosh Oh Golly Oh Wow Podcast, and every time there is a fill-in artist for Alan Davis both the art AND the writing go off a cliff. This one was miles better than any of those…

  36. David says:

    This book really has gone off the rails of late. I really loved it up through Kate’s resurrection, but the last few issues have been off. Has Emma even realized that Christian was murdered during the Gala?

  37. David says:

    Nevermind. Wolverine is the one Krakoa book I don’t read, but apparently she’s acknowledged it there. Still seems reasonable to expect it to come up in Marauders, considering it’s her main (and his only) book.

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