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Dec 3

Marauders #26 annotations

Posted on Friday, December 3, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Many Happy Returns”
by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli & Rain Beredo

COVER / PAGE 1: Iceman fights Fin Fang Foom.

PAGE 2. Data page. It’s an opening quote by Iceman, talking about how his participation in terraforming Mars in Planet-Size X-Men #1 has led him to rethink (again) the upper limits of his powers. This is a common theme for Iceman stories.

PAGES 3-4. Sebastian and Emma take Harry Leland to the Hellfire Club Mansion in New York.

We’ll find out in a few pages time that this is Emma helping to ease Harry back into life after his resurrection. Harry Leland was a member of the classic line-up of the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club who debuted in the Dark Phoenix Saga; he died fighting Nimrod in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #209, as shown in flashback on page 4. By the standards of an Inner Circle member, he did show some genuine loyalty to his colleagues and he died semi-heroically fighting by their side; his depiction in this story as a basically genial fellow is broadly in line with his earlier appearances.

“It’s nice to see that you two have buried the hatchet with the white queen.” I assume those last few words aren’t meant to be there, since Emma is the White Queen. Emma wasn’t there when Harry died, for reasons which I don’t think are explained on the page, but this line might be alluding to that. (She was a member of the Inner Circle at the time, and appears in that role in the following issue.)

“Our friend Chantel.” Harry is referring to Lourdes Chantel, Shaw’s former lover. Harry believes that she was killed by a Sentinel in the back-up strip in Classic X-Men #7. We established in issue #22 that she actually survived, and Emma Frost helped her fake her own death in order to escape her abusive relationship with Shaw.

Port Genosha whiskey is a recurring background feature in Marauders. Since Harry died before it became public knowledge that Genosha was enslaving mutants, there’s no particular reason why the name should mean anything to him.

PAGES 5-6. Harry learns the truth.

It’s not immediately obvious why Harry had a panic attack on being resurrected (other than to provide an excuse for the preceding scene). It’s certainly not a standard response. Still, he seems genuinely delighted about the idea of a mutant nation. Since the Hellfire Club had been involved in Sentinel building, this is maybe a bit of a stretch, but he’s hardly the only character to make this sort of volte-face in Krakoa. Also, the Club’s rationale for building Sentinels was to achieve political control over mutantkind.

Harry’s back story is not exactly fleshed out, but according to Classic X-Men #7, he was a successful lawyer. Given the talent pool available, he’s a relatively sensible choice for an ambassadorial role.

Banshee, Rogue, Storm, Jean Grey, Angel, Iceman and one of the Cuckoos are visible in the background along with some generics.

“Nimrod is back online.” Emma is referring to Orchis’s contemporary version of Nimrod, seen over in Hickman’s X-Men and Inferno. The Nimrod that killed Harry the first time round was a different one, which originated in the Days of Futures Past timeline.

PAGE 7. Recap and credits.

PAGE 8. The Marauders on their ship.

The flying galleon here is the Mercury, the shape-changing alien ship that Christian Frost has been using throughout the series. The Marauders retrieved it last issue. The Marauder itself was destroyed at the end of the “Hellfire Gala” as part of Solem’s schemes over in Wolverine. Despite what Christian says here, he wasn’t attacked in Madripoor – the Marauder‘s hijackers threw him over the side into the North Atlantic, and then took the ship itself to Madripoor. Wolverine #14 covers that.

PAGES 9-18. Iceman defeats Fin Fang Foom.

Obviously, this is all about Iceman showing his full power levels, reaching his potential, and all that.

Fin Fang Foom debuted in Strange Tales #89 and is a continuity train wreck. Depending on who’s asking, he’s an alien shape-shifter, or he’s been reduced to human size and lives on Earth, or he’s a Chinese dragon, or he’s the Midgard Serpent from Thor (which is why he calls Earth “Midgard” here). There’s really no consistency in it from series to series. He’s one of those M.O.D.O.K. level characters who used to be depicted as a major threat but has been a joke for a decade or more.

“I’ve come from a tournament beyond the stars…” I don’t think that refers to anything in particular. So far as I can tell, Fin Fang Foom was last seen in Beta Ray Bill #1, which was a King in Black tie-in. The two rivals he mentions, Brevoid and Karn, seem to be new.

PAGE 19. Harry and Sebastian argue.

It’s a drunken squabble before the two of them make up. Harry accuses Sebastian of keeping him back in the resurrection queue, which rather suggests that Shaw sees him as a rival. The main reason why Harry was revived now, as best we can tell, is not so that he can serve Krakoa as an ambassador, but because he has a track record of modest success in fighting the original Nimrod.

Harry seems to soften Shaw, even in the role of a drinking companion, though Shaw has been somewhat more on the same page as the rest of the case over the last few issues anyway.

PAGE 20. Data page. A memo from Emma to Harry, rather oddly placed before the scene where Harry makes his debut in the UN (but plainly taking place after).

This memo attempts to plug the plot hole of how Harry, who has been dead for years, can be wheeled out as a high-profile ambassador without giving away the secret of Krakoan resurrection. Their attempts to keep this secret are a major plot thread in X-Men, which is what Emma is referring to when she mentions a reporter from the Daily Bugle (it’s Ben Urich). Pyro is named as contributing to the back story because he’s a published novelist.

The “barbarian that Logan asked we board in the New York club” is Conan the Barbarian, probably going unnamed here for licensing reasons. Emma agreed to let him stay in the unoccupied New York Club building in Savage Avengers #21.

PAGES 22-23. Harry is revealed as Shinobi’s father.

Emma previously insinuated that Harry was Shinobi’s father in issue #17, and this confirms that. Shinobi’s mother was not married to Sebastian, despite some suggestions to the contrary in his earliest appearances, so basically the claim here is that either of them could have been the father, and Sebastian chose to accept responsibility for him. We’re not really told why Sebastian did that, or why Harry didn’t, particularly as everyone was apparently aware of the uncertainty at the time. Maybe there was something in Harry’s personal life that would have created more problems with that. There may be a hint here that Sebastian simply had more of a sense of responsibility for the situation than Harry did, even though he was temperamentally utterly unsuited to parenthood.

PAGE 24. Harry makes his debut at the United Nations.

The “ambassasdor of the United Kingdom” in the stupid cape is Reuben Brousseau, a villain from Excalibur. Quite why he’s wearing his silly uniform when he’s publicly acting as an ambassador, I’m not quite sure. The two characters sitting next to Reuben and shown in full colour are Donald Pierce (the Madripoor ambassador, as established in previous issues) and Natalia Vollock (the Russian diplomat previously seen in House of X #1) – both part of Brousseau’s anti-mutant bloc.

PAGE 25. Lourdes at the Washington Square Park.

You’re supposed to recognise her from her teleporting powers and the beauty spot on the left side of her face. The last time we saw Lourdes was back in the flashbacks surrounding Classic X-Men #7, when she was a rather meek character – she’s evidently changed. She’s also now travelling to Krakoa for what seems to be the first time. I don’t know if her French name explains the decision to give her a beret, although she’s actually meant to be Spanish.

PAGE 26. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: BON VOYAGE.

Bring on the comments

  1. The Other Michael says:

    Poor Fin Fang Foom. One of the greatest monster villains Marvel has to offer, but many years of inconsistent treatment really hasn’t done him many favors. (Like his appearance in Nextwave…) I believe he’s from the same alien race that created the Mandarin’s 10 rings of power (comic version, not movie version). Someone really needs to write a story which clears it all up, even if it’s just “clones” or “imposters” for some of those discrepancies.

    I seem to recall that even back in his first appearances, Shinobi suggested that his own mass-controlling powerset was more indicative of “Uncle Harry” than of Sebastian Shaw… right before he tried to kill his father to gain control of the Hellfire Club and/or part of the Upstarts game. I guess this just changes “Shaw’s wife cheated on him” to “Shaw and Harry shared the same woman” which… isn’t really an improvement?

    You’re right in that they really do return to the “Bobby has untapped potential” on a regular basis. By now, he shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, remember when he was an ice wizard from the future, and had an ice-golem running around?

  2. Chris V says:

    You are correct. John Byrne’s Iron Man story revealed that Fin Fang Foom was part of the Makluan alien race.

    I didn’t realize his background was so muddled.
    Originally, he was a mystical dragon from ancient China.
    Mandarin found his rings in a crashed spaceship in the valley of dead dragons.
    Byrne combined the two characters’ back-story, and I liked the idea well enough.

    I thought the Walt Simonson story featured the Midgard Serpent revealing he was pretending to be Fin Fang Foom as a mindgame he was playing on Thor, but I am probably misremembering.

    Although, I seem to remember Steve Gerber’s Legion of Night mini-series messing up Byrne’s ret-con.
    I think Gerber’s series came first, but can’t remember.
    Maybe Byrne never read it. Maybe it is considered non-canon now.

  3. Mark Coale says:

    There are so many weird FFF appearances, especially once he became a”comedy character” in the last 10-15 years.

  4. Si says:

    Yeah, Jormungand was just pretending to be Foom. He was the wrong colour even. But I think it was just to make it easier to hide, rather than him messing with Thor in particular. He definitely wasn’t supposed to actually be Foom. I might have to go back and read the Simonson Thor again.

    I definitely like the idea of jovial old Leland fooling around behind evil Shaw’s back better than this hippie free love version. Unseen Japanese Wife deserves at least that much dignity.

  5. Si says:

    Okay, he was disguised as Foom because his true form is outside of time, and if he wants to interact with the world he has to do it in another shape. But it isn’t really stated whether there’s a real Foom or if he was always Jormungand in disguise. But he’s definitely orange instead of green. I suspect a Byne-type later cleared that up.

  6. Zoomy says:

    I’d love to see more of Pyro as a writer, and more excerpts from his “torrid Gothic romances”. You’d think the Krakoans would be keen on making their own brand of literature…

  7. Chris V says:

    Si-The Marvel Database web-site agrees with us.
    In its synopsis of Thor #379, it states that is not the true Fin Fang Foom.
    It says that the Fin Fang Foom in the story is an illusion and that Jormungand is just impersonating Foom.

  8. Omar Karindu says:

    The “impostor” status of Jormungand-as-Foom was less clear closer to the Thor story’s publication; the Deluxe Edition Marvel Handbook is written with a “maybe, maybe not” tone. Simonson may have been going for the idea that Jormungandr was THE archetypal dragon, appearing in other guides in other world cultures.

    But then the ’89 Update to the Handbook gives Foom his own entry and clarifies the difference, likely in anticipation of either Gerber’s Legion of Night mini — written and pencilled some time before publication.

    But yeah, Foom vacillated between “magical dragon of ancient China” and “Makluan alien per the Byrne retcon” for a while. Gerber’s mini is written as if Foom has some kind of mystical provenance, for example, while Byrne goes so far as to claim his flame breath is actually just a “combustible acid” spray.

    Kurt Busiek’s use of Foom in the “Heroes Return” Iron Man series has Foom somehow returning by possessing some guy who gets a jade dragon statue with Foom’s spirit inside it.

    That may have been the last “serious” use of the character, however. Though I believe the Nextwave iteration was eventually written off as some kind of clone, maybe in a Handbook or maybe in Ewing’s retcons in his Mighty Avengers series.

    But then, almost all of Marvel’s monster and kaiju-esque characters have been sort of oddly lumped together. The 50s and early 1960s Marvel monsters are mostly used as iconic images of campy B-movie creatures, anyway, not as distinct characters. They’re often lumped together on Mole Man’s island as a pack of beasties, not as separate characters with different origins, behaviors, and motives.

    Fin Fang Foom and Xemnu the Titan/Hulk are usually presented as distinctive characters, probably because they were integrated into the Marvel Universe proper earlier, back in the 1970s. And even then, these days it’s only Xemnu who occasionally gets to be treated as a serious menace.

  9. Si says:

    There’s also Groot of course.

  10. Luis Dantas says:

    I suppose it is a bit difficult to explain how come monsters such as Fin Fang Foom are roaming around for months at a time without being a current concern. Hence having them at Monster Island to live as a recluse society of sorts or treating them as comedy characters as often as not.

    Apparently in this stance FFF pulled a Xemnu by spending some time in outer space before returning right now. That works too.

    What bugs me is that apparently writers and editors have decided that Iceman wasn’t overpowered enough yet. Is he really supposed to strike fear into the hearts of giant dragons now?

    That is not conductive to better stories nor character growth IMO. There is already an inflation of “Omega-Level mutants” as it is – enough to make the label meaningless.

  11. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    I honestly hope resurrection gets sabotaged and a lot of characters come back with their powers dialed down.

    The current arc of Captain Marvel is hinting around Carol getting depowered a bit and I hope they go through with it.

    Super Carol is feeling pretty long in the teeth.

  12. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    “There’s also Groot of course.”

    Someone should revamp Xemnu as a joke character on a repurposed IP team.

    Alpha Flight?

  13. Joseph S. says:

    This didn’t feel to me like a retread for Bobby. He’s not struggling with his powers or confidence. He’s showing how much he’s grown (uh, literally). He’s done this Ice Giant bit before (in the Dark Iceman Saga or whatever it was in Liu’s Astonishing). Others continue to sell him short, including Fin Fang Foom. But of course Iceman is as he says an Omega mutant, and basically an elemental. So we get a reminder that Bobby can hold his own against anyone. Maybe a bit slight but I enjoyed this issue.

  14. MasterMahan says:

    Sebastian Shaw and Harry Leland just shared the same woman? That doesn’t really track. The thing about domestic abusers is that they tend to be possessive.

    Who is Sebastian Shaw supposed to be at this point? A greedy backstabber who will murder a young woman and her friend/pet for his own gain? A standup guy who will take responsibility for a child who might be his without a DNA test? A domestic abuser so dangerous the only way his partner can escape him is by faking her death and letting her friend go into debt with a viscous mobster for her? A swell chap who has your back in a fight, who’s willing to forgive being poisoned and mutilated as fair enough, water under the bridge?

    Maybe there are multiple Gerry Duggans. That would explain stuff like this, X-Men Green, or Krakoa making resurrected mutants extremely visible while expecting people to not notice they used to be dead.

  15. Jacob D. says:

    I had no idea that was supposed to be Lourdes at the end.

  16. JCG says:

    > Maybe there are multiple Gerry Duggans.

    You might be onto something.

  17. neutrino says:

    Claremont wrote Leland as a cowardly bully who did find courage at the end.

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