In X-Men lore, the word “marauders” has some seriously bad connotations. Long ago, the group calling themselves by that name consisted of mutant assassins determined to wipe out the X-Men and other mutants. They were behind the Mutant Massacre in the Morlock tunnels and have targeted and attacked mutants over the years. With the mutant renaissance happening because of Jonathan Hickman’s new direction, members of the X-Men are taking the name and using it for the sake of mutantkind.
Will mutants and humans be ready for this new team of Marauders?
With the X-Men franchise getting a fresh start, of sorts, Marauders is setting out to be a different kind of X-Men title. The basic premise deals with the fact that Krakoa is now a home for all mutants. Gateways have been opened to allow them to “come home,” should they choose to walk through. Unfortunately, there are some non-mutant governments and nations that do now want the gateways or their citizens to have the option of walking through. That’s where Emma Frost comes in with her proposal to Kitty Pryde.
On their maiden voyage to deal with some heavy force blocking a gateway, Kitty’s crew consists of Storm, Iceman, Pyro, and Lockheed. The credits page also shows Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and Bishop. Perhaps this is because they also appear within the issue. When the action kicks in, Kitty’s team shows they can more than handle the situation. As a longtime Kitty Pryde fan, it’s great seeing her utilize her hand-to-hand fighting skills. She was trained to be a ninja after all. Kitty has a lot of her shoulders and gets pretty rough with the opposition. You do not want to mess with Kitty Pryde.
That being said, Gerry Duggan does a fantastic job setting up the team’s motives and mission. When this book was first announced, I wasn’t really sure what to think. Now, I cannot wait for the next issue. Duggan is great at fleshing out characters and story threads. With this new dawn for the X-Men, there is a lot of new ground to explore. We’ll see some changes for some of the team as well as a strange mystery enveloping a certain character. (This is something people will definitely be talking about when the book is released). We’ll also have to keep an eye on Emma since she’s obviously dealing with other angles related to this new venture.
Matteo Lolli’s art and Federico Blee’s color really shine here. They immediately establish a different kind of vibe for an X-Men comic from the opening pages. Some characters have minor tweaks to their appearance, such as Iceman or even Kitty with her bandaged nose or new scarf. Duggan often injects subtle bits of humor and those moments, such as Iceman getting de-powered during a fight, are brilliantly captured.
Marauders #1 is off to an amazing start. Along with Kitty being one of my all-time favorite members of the X-Men, there is a lot of cool things to process with this book. We have an intriguing group of characters banding together on a new mission. There is a crazy mystery that needs to be unraveled ASAP. We have a direction for the team that feels fresh compared to what the X-Men have been doing lately. Most importantly, Duggan, Lolli, and Blee already have the makings of a strong and stellar creative team. Marauders is proof that it’s a great time to be an X-Men fan.