The White Queen was noticeably missing from the last issue. In Marauders #7, it’s the Red Queen that’s absent, which is extremely disconcerting since the last time we saw her, she was drowning on the precipice of permanent death.
Stefano Caselli (artist), Edgar Delgado (colourist), Gerry Duggan (writer), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson (cover art), Tom Muller (design)
February 5, 2020
This issue oozes tension for the simple fact that the reader has no idea if Kate’s fate is truly sealed. While we can rest on the hope that of course they wouldn’t really kill her, Duggan still works maddening magic by sauntering through the issue, beginning with Emma Frost welcoming Callisto to the White Palace where the duo discusses fashion with Emma’s chosen designer. The two discuss the next phase in Emma’s plans, which involves Callisto taking on the role of the Hellfire’s White Knight to act as liaison to the mutants who don’t much care for Krakoan politics, Xavier’s dream, or Emma Frost.
The rest of the Marauders stroll in at their leisure, with a delightful reunion between the Goddess and the Morlock that isn’t exactly the tentacle-armed hot tub threesome I left them with in X-Treme X-Men, but I’ll take it and hold out hope that we’re going to see a lot more Storm and Callisto interactions in the future.
Moreover, we know who the traitors are in the midst, but other than a coy word and confident lean from Sebastian Shaw, readers are left with the nail-biting frustration of dramatic irony. Only Bishop seems to have a concern or two, but even then, Duggan tantalizes with a pace that makes you question just how long Kate can hold her breath underwater…
This issue finally addresses the elephant in the room. As I’ve said before, Kate choosing the name Marauders for her group has a whole lot of traumatic weight behind it. Having seen Russell Dauterman’s gorgeous cover for the issue well in advance, it was only a matter of time before Callisto got to weigh in on that choice, and she does so in the pithiest and most perfect way, silencing my complaint with dagger-sharp finality. This occurs while hanging out on a golf course with a fellow Morlock. From the X-Desk, we get to learn a bit more about those golf courses and more of the intricacies of Emma’s arrangements with Callisto and the mutants who historically haven’t been invited to the sunshiny side of the table.
The artistic team has changed, with Stefano Caselli taking over the illustrations and Edgar Delgado on colours. With some artistic team shifts, the change in the book can be jarring, but this transition is fairly smooth thanks to a similar style. Not too similar; most notably, Caselli gives us more defined faces than Matteo Lolli, particularly for the women. While Emma’s too youthful appearance thus far could be chalked up to really good Krakoan plastic surgery, it’s nice to have her and the others looking more like the distinguished older women they are. Delgado’s colour work is less vibrant than Frederico Blee, but this isn’t a complaint. Blee clearly loves playing with light, though in some cases, it was to the detriment of darker-skinned characters. Delgado works with more natural lighting and more comparatively subtle colours.
While Kate’s fate is still up in the air, Krakoa also has more to worry about with Homines Verendi’s insidious plans working their way into the human populace. We’ll just have to hold our breath till the next issue to see how things play out.