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Sep 15

Marauders #24 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS #24
“Date Night”
by Gerry Duggan, Phil Noto & Cory Petit

COVER / PAGE 1. Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost nad Kate Pryde face off against aliens in the Red Lagoon bar.

PAGES 2-4. Eden Rixlo arrives at Port Prometheus.

Port Prometheus is the main intergalactic hub on Mars/Arakko. This is the first time Marauders has spent any significant time on Arakko since the terraforming during “Hellfire Gala”.

For the most part, Port Prometheus in this issue is basically just Star Wars which… seems ill-advised when the place hasn’t really been defined very clearly yet. Doesn’t it have an identity of its own?

Eden Rixlo is, as far as I can tell, a new character.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits.

PAGE 6. The Marauders arrive on Arakko.

The Mercury. For some reason, rather than using the gates, they’re using the Mercury – the shapechanging ship that Christian Frost has generally been using in this series. Emma’s conversation with Rixlo later in the issue very strongly implies that she got it from him, though she doesn’t actually say so in terms.

Bishop is here to deal with the murder of the sheriff of Port Prometheus for the second time in four days. It’s not entirely clear what authority Bishop would have for that, and who the sheriff of Port Prometheus actually is – is it an alien, and if so, who’s appointing them?

Since Emma says in the next scene that Port Prometheus has only existed for “days”, it seems to be a bit of a no man’s land already. Maybe the Arakkans just don’t care about law and order when you can have a good fight instead, but it doesn’t seem like much of an advertisement to the wider galactic community.

PAGES 7-9. Emma and Kate in the market.

The Red Lagoon is obviously named in homage to the Green Lagoon tiki bar back on Krakoa. And yes, obviously, the Krakoan symbols are just its name again.

Sebastian Shaw says he came to Arakko to drink alone, but… why? He can do that at home. It seems more likely that he’s planning to meet someone here.

PAGES 10-11. Data pages on the back story of Eden Rixlo.

Nova Corps. The intergalactic police force that Nova is part of. Basically Marvel’s own-brand version of the Green Lantern Corps. Rixlo is a former Nova Corps member who was dishonourably discharged.

He was recruited, we’re told, “during difficult times in the run up to the destruction of Xandar”. This is straying some way from my area of expertise, but Xandar was destroyed by the Annihilation Wave in Annihilation: Prologue. However, the second page has a note from Commander Scott Adsit, a supporting character from Duggan’s run who became an officer in the re-formed Nova Corps in Deadpool vol 5 #30, much more recently. Adsit also seems to be describing the state of the Nova Corps during his own period of service when he talks about it being a bit of a shambles.

PAGES 12-18. Emma confronts Rixlo.

It’s a shoot out in a cantina, obviously.

Emma’s account of going into space with Rixlo as part of the formation of Krakoa is completely new. Assuming she’s talking about the Mercury, it must have happened before the Mercury debuted in issue #3.

“Our cousins. So weak.” As always, the rather one-dimensional Arakkans are unimpressed by the lack of gratuitous lethal force. Shaw’s response that “We do not wish to kill. There is strength in restraint” is obviously hypocritical given his attempt to kill Kate and Lockheed earlier in the series… but it’s not completely dishonest either. Shaw certainly is much more sparing about the use of physical force than even most other mutants, after all.

For once Shaw actually intervenes to help Emma by using his powers to absorb Rixlo’s explosion. But of course there’s no downside to him in doing that. He refers to having “underestimated them once too”, suggesting that he’s learned his lesson from issue #16, but really, why not help Hellfire to establish its reputation on Arakko? Where’s the downside?

PAGES 19-21. The Marauders dine with Rixlo.

Peepers and Emma talk as if they’re old friends. I don’t recall any story where they’ve met before, but this may just be a callback to the schtick in S.W.O.R.D. where the likes of Magneto greet this rather obscure character as a beloved ally. (Though Magneto does actually have a history with him.)

Port Genosha whiskey comes up repeatedly in Marauders; it’s “mutant-aged” using Tempo’s time-warping powers.

Mysterium is the wonder metal that the mutants have been peddling to the rest of the universe over in S.W.O.R.D..

PAGES 22-24. Lourdes Chantel returns.

The Marauders apparently just die in page 22 panel 1, to be resurrected in early course.

The giant treehouse is the X-Men’s New York base from the current X-Men series.

Lourdes was last seen in flashback in issue #22, where Emma helped fake her death in order to extricate her from her abusive relationship with Sebastian Shaw. She’s a teleporter, so I’m not sure what she’s doing with the molotov cocktail – putting her hand over the flame doesn’t seem that smart. The Kingpin had agreed to give her a new identity in exchange for a favour from Emma, so evidently we’re going to find out what happened to her. She looked much paler in previous issues, but maybe it’s just the light. She also seems a lot more assertive than before.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: NIGHT OF THE COMET.

 

Bring on the comments

  1. Mark says:

    Hellions ending in December

  2. Chris V says:

    I’m pretty sure all the titles are ending in December, if not sooner.
    The one exception may be X-Men, which I’m unsure if it will continue or be ended with the rest of the Hickman era.
    It would be weird to see the X-Men title end with only issue #7.

  3. Ben Johnston says:

    I thought this issue was decent. The book still seems to be killing time until Inferno, but at least a light Star Wars-inspired romp for Kate and Emma plays to its strengths. We’ll see how part 2 goes next month.

    Of all the non-Hickman books in the line, I rather suspect that Marauders is the one that suffered the most from the decision to keep the Krakoa era going longer than originally laid out. Duggan seems to have had a perfectly reasonable three-act structure planned: (1) Emma, distrustful of Shaw, recruits Kate, (2) Shaw kills Kate and plots against Emma, (3) Kate returns and defeats Shaw with Emma.

    And that pretty much happens over the first year and a half, but then the book just… keeps going. And it doesn’t seem to have any real direction, or stories for its lead characters. My guess is it was originally scheduled to end with #18 and that a bunch of subplots got unexpectedly extended to fill space — Madripoor, the Hellfire kids, whatever Bishop’s up to, the origin of the Mercury, etc.

  4. Chris V says:

    All the first wave of books were scheduled to end after about a year.
    Hickman would then write his second act, followed by the launch of a second wave of titles.

    The sales were strong enough that Marvel requested that they keep all the X-books going.

    During that time, the other writers apparently voted to continue the current Krakoa status quo, so they must have had plans to continue writing their titles.

  5. Aro says:

    I agree with the other posters that it seems like plans for this book must have shifted when the Krakoa status quo was extended. It’s just weird that Kitty’s resurrection didn’t work due to a misunderstanding, and that their revenge against Shaw seems to have had no repercussions. Typically in a story of revenge, the act of getting revenge is both necessary for catharsis and poisonously destructive. Here it just had very little impact beyond the issue where Kate and Emma beat him up. Even Shaw himself seems to get better pretty quickly. I mean, maybe that’s the point, or maybe there’s a twist coming, but it doesn’t fit the normal dramatic tropes.
    I also wonder if Kate’s resurrection was originally meant to tie into some larger plot point in whatever Hickman’s original third act was meant to be.
    Currently the editorial office palace intrigue is more interesting to me that the plots of the books …

  6. Chris V says:

    Yeah, that’s a shame. My interest levels just totally dropped when it was announced that Hickman was leaving early.
    Well, it’s hard not to feel that way when you realize so many plot point seeded earlier in the era will have no payoff or importance.

    I read fan speculation that the Kate plot was going to end up involving Sinister.
    One of the Sinister secrets which doesn’t seem to have a solution, about something washing up on the shores of Krakoa, the theory was that was a reference to Kate.
    It was going to be revealed that she named her group the Marauders due to Sinister’s influence.
    It was dropped pretty early, it seems.

  7. Joseph S says:

    Considering a good number of space plots were seeded in HoXPoX. New Mutants had their opening arc in Shir space. Cable had its space subplots with Galador, SWORD’s whole remit is space. So this angle for Marauders makes sense to me. They begin as pirates on the open seas, and now they’re doing space pirate stuff since Arakko has turned into a spaceport. Why not? I hope the Starjammers show up again soon.

  8. Evilgus says:

    I’m going to compare the Hickman X-franchise reboot to Bond and Casino Royale. In both, the new direction was a hit with the audience. But then behind the scenes, producers (for Bond) and editorial (for X-Men) have pulled it back to more middle ground rather than continuing with bold new direction.

    I mean, in the case of Marauders, I suspect we’d have followed through with “Kitty was never really a mutant” (Sinister Secret, she can’t pass through gates, not able to be resurrected). Sure as a fan I’d be horrified – but the story implications would have been fascinating. Which is the point of a big reboot. And I’m various other characters would have similarly dramatic shifts, that we won’t see come to pass.

    So yes – the editorial palace intrigue is definitely worth following! 🙂

  9. Allan M says:

    December solicits out, and as anticipated, Marauders is getting a finale issue to go along with the finish for Hickman’s Inferno – it says it’s the end of the “first tour” for the team. Duggan just went to the effort of digging Lourdes out of obscurity (and death) and added Tempo to the roster so I tend to think it’ll get a new #1. We’ll see how much Duggan wraps up this run. I wonder if the Shinobi storyline will finally go somewhere.

  10. Aro says:

    In the solicits, Hellions #18, Marauders #27, Excalibur #26, and potentially SWORD #11 all read like they could be final issues, while X-Force #26 and New Mutants #24 both mention new status quos but explicitly refer to future issues. X-Men #6 and Wolverine #19 both seem like they’re in the middle of storylines.
    The final issues of Trial of Magneto and Inferno are also in December, so the full relaunch is surely coming in January…

    What is most curious to me is how confused the PR for Hickman’s exit has been. There was the announcement of Inferno, which was ambiguous about how much of a finale it was, and then the transition from X-Factor to Trial of Magneto, with Leah Williams giving all kinds of signals of discontent. Not long after that, Hickman announced his new Substack series, which was followed almost immediately by news that he was leaving the X-books. The messaging on that was *particularly* poor.

    It seems like it would have been easy enough for Marvel to coordinate the message to be “Jonathan is wrapping up this chapter of the books, but he’s passed on his plans and the rest of the writers have amazing stories to tell in the aftermath! Don’t miss it, true believers” but instead there’s been a muddled message about changing plans in Entertainment Weekly of all places, and Hickman’s departure has been presented as both unexpected and premature.

    … then a month later he’s on the new Marvel Unlimited web series. Which admittedly seems like a bit of a lark, but it shows they could have spun a different PR narrative out of this.

    Considering the complete PR blitz Marvel put on for launching House/Powers, the onramp to Inferno has been weirdly shambolic…

  11. JCG says:

    January will see the launch of a weekly Wolverine series as a follow-up to HOX/POX, this time written by Benjamin Percy, this will probably last 10-12 weeks.

    After that comes the full relaunch.

    But not quite full, some comics, among them X-Men will keep running during the Wolverine series.

  12. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Good. It would be the nadir of X-Men stories for me if the only book coming out for three months was a Wolverine event title.

    I mean it will probably be a Wolverine-Focused team book, but still. Dreadful.

  13. Thom H. says:

    I agree that the messaging around Hickman’s departure has been a mess. It seems like Marvel is being transparent by admitting that “plans have changed,” but I have a feeling they chickened out on some of Hickman’s more radical ideas because they like the sales/projected sales right where they are, thank you.

    So they decide to stick with the status quo for longer than originally intended and create some cockamamie story about the other X-writers loving it so much they don’t want to change. When have the writers — at least a couple of them on soon-to-be-cancelled books, mind you — ever had that kind of sway? I don’t buy it.

  14. Chris V says:

    I wonder how long before the sales will drop after Hickman leaves.
    I wonder how much the current sales have to do with the synergy that this whole era is part of Hickman’s grand design and readers didn’t want to miss clues or signals that would play in to the finale.

    After all, the strong sales have only persisted for a few core titles. We’ve seen a number of books launched which have already faced poor sales.
    It seems as if only the team books launched immediately after House/Powers were able to viably sustain their sales figures. Even then, Excalibur’s sales aren’t exactly strong.

    I made a joke back during House/Powers that after the Hickman era ended, Marvel would probably relaunch the line and give X-Men to Gerry Duggan.
    While the Krakoa set-up is continuing, it is sort of funny that I ended up being right that Duggan ended up as the writer on the X-Men.

    While the Krakoa motif is continuing, I wonder how much longer the novelty of the mutants operating on Krakoa will last without the vision of Hickman keeping readers’ interest.
    I’m sure the line is going to be moving in safer territory.
    After all, it is still the X-Men being written by Gerry Duggan.

    I’m not saying anything bad about Duggan. He just isn’t a top-tier writer whose name tends to bring in fans.

  15. JCG says:

    Well, Inferno will most likely change the status quo quite a bit, maybe enough to sustain another 20-something issues for the subsequent relaunch. Or at least 10.

  16. Chris V says:

    I’m guessing that a lot of the dark and ominous elements to Krakoa will be explained, so that the Krakoa set-up can continue past the Hickman era.
    We’re already seeing some of that, like with Onslaught being the negative force involved with resurrection.

    I think a lot of the appeal, which has sustained sales, has been the mystery element coming out of House/Powers.
    That will be gone with Hickman, because there will no longer be a grand plan post-“Inferno”.

    It’ll most likely makes changes to the status quo, but I’m sure in a more conservative/safe direction.

  17. Evilgus says:

    I think editorial has missed the fact that readers like, and will stick with, a book that has a clear vision, story direction, and authorial voice. Claremont, Morrison, Hickman being good examples of this…

    Once the main driver leaves it falls apart very quickly when it becomes story by editorial fiat.

  18. Thom H. says:

    “Well, Inferno will most likely change the status quo quite a bit, maybe enough to sustain another 20-something issues for the subsequent relaunch. Or at least 10.”

    Exactly this. Inferno, then another weekly miniseries, then a bunch of spin-off books/relaunched titles. I have a feeling we’re going to see this cycle repeat at least a couple more times. God knows if something works once (as with HoXPoX), then Marvel will hammer it into the ground until everyone hates it.

  19. neutrino says:

    Marvel has announced a new Sabretooth series for January 2022. https://www.marvel.com/articles/comics/coming-in-january-2022-sabretooth-1

    From July’s Comichron sales chart, sales are already dropping one month after the Hellfire Gala. https://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2021/2021-07.html
    X-Men #1 is at the top as expected, with almost twice the sales (248,800) of Batman. Wolverine though, is barely in the top 20 and the rest aren’t even in the top 50 with sales below 40,000, cancellation territory. 50 spots below is Marauders at #71 (36,103), followed by Hellions at #79, X-Force at #81, Excalibur at #88, Way of X at #90, X-Corp at #93, New Mutants at #100, Children of Atom at #119, SWORD at #121, and Cable at #130. With New Mutants’ sales of estimated 30,234, I’m surprised there’s any talk of future arcs.

  20. Aro says:

    I don’t think 40k has been cancellation territory for a long time now. The modern cut off for cancellation based on sales alone is probably closer to 20k.

    What’s weird to me is that it wouldn’t have taken that much PR effort for them to spin this in a way that at least prolonged the semblance of a clear direction a little longer. Why not just keep faking it? It would have only taken a bit more buy-in from Hickman, and some media coaching to keep ie Duggan and Williams on message. Odd that the veneer (such as it was) all started to fall apart around the time of the gala…

  21. Chris V says:

    A Sabretooth series written by Victor LaValle?
    It feels like I’m in some sort of alternate reality. I never would have expected a day where Marvel would have gotten LaValle to write a Sabretooth series.
    I’m definitely going to have to check that out, even if I am done with the X-books.

    I can’t believe New Mutants has fallen so low on the sales chart.
    X-Corp was canceled at issue #5, and it is selling better than New Mutants.

    Aro-I’m going to guess that it’s because “Inferno” will read as a finale for Hickman’s run.
    It will probably be easy for readers to figure out that Hickman was finished after Inferno #4.

  22. neutrino says:

    Marvel titles tend to disappear when they slip into the 30,000 range. X-Corp has been selling at least that well, and it was cancelled after five issues.

  23. JCG says:

    Can’t really look at it that way.

    There’s a difference between selling 30K at #5 and at #20. The latter has shown it has legs, while the former is in free-fall.

  24. Thom H. says:

    #5 is also the endpoint for a trade collection these days. If all of the titles are going to be cancelled/rebooted anyway, may as well end at a clean break point even if it happens a little early.

  25. neutrino says:

    @JCG

    You could also argue that a new series would need time to find its audience, while an established book probably wouldn’t pick up new readers without a change in the creative team. All the books except X-Men and Wolverine have been in freefall since June, going 20+ places down the chart. It’s probably due to people checking out after the news of Hickman’s departure.

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