Everyone’s attention has been taken up by Kate Pryde’s death, but Marauders #9 hasn’t forgotten the stowaway riding into Krakoa on Pyro’s coattails.
Russel Dauterman (cover artist), Edgar Delgado (colourist), Gerry Duggan (writer), Matteo Lolli (artist), Tom Muller (design), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer)
March 4, 2020
There’s always a party going on somewhere in Krakoa, but the party that begins Marauders #9 isn’t exactly what it seems. Emma Frost has caught wind of the miniaturized Yellowjacket hitchhiking inside Pyro’s body and is putting on quite a show for him as she and Bishop try to determine how best to deal with the intruder without letting him know they are on to him.
Emma has put on some creative psychic displays in the past. The trashy reality TV nature of this one is clearly beneath her, but the little peeks into Emma’s inner workings are always welcome. Especially when it comes with her connections to others. As with the last issue, it’s Bishop Emma reaches out to and I am beginning to adore their ease of communication. Bishop is never bothered by her being in his head. Their connection is purely business and respect, but there’s also a level of comfort and trust on display between the two of them.
Matteo Lolli returns on art, which means Emma Frost has gone back to looking like a young Sarah Michelle Gellar. SMG isn’t necessarily my first choice to play Emma on screen, but as far as comics Emma goes, I’d at least like her to look more finely aged wine than young adult book cover. Original Marauders colourist Federico Blee has not returned though, but the problematic lightening of darker skin tones has, with Bishop appearing washed out in several scenes. Bishop also seems to struggle with hair identity, with Lolli preferring short, tight locs, while the interim artist Stefano Caselli and cover artist Russel Dauterman give us thick, twisting, moving locs. Given the lack of strongly identifying African American features for Bishop here, and the experience we’ve had with Storm in earlier issues, I’ve come to the conclusion that Lolli doesn’t know how to draw Black people in terms of hair and features, instead opting to play it safe and pale.
After the gloom of the last few issues, it’s nice to see Marauders return to being the fun and funny comic in the Dawn of X lineup, though that’s not to say it doesn’t have its serious moments. The Five and Xavier are working hard to bring Kate back, but the resurrection protocols reveal that whatever was keeping Kate out of Krakoa extends to this process. Emma has locked down her grief over Kate’s death, but in a few brief panels, we see that she is still trying hard to be hopeful, with the potential to edge into desperation if failure continues. And still vulnerable, both inside and out without Kate at her side. “I need you, Kate,” she says, with meaning that goes beyond Kate’s role as Red Queen. Emma genuinely wants to be a better person, and, rather than remain the cold and aloof White Queen, we see her here — and elsewhere — finally making the personal connections that can elevate her character development to new, unexplored heights.
But she’s still got a reputation to uphold, which means continuing to appear in gorgeous new designs and making plans for another kind of party. Our human intelligence friend at the X-Desk has returned, having passed their security review. Their investigation into Homines Verendi’s nefarious actions based in Madripoor continues, and the information they are finding is disturbing for both humans and mutants alike. I’ve come to appreciate this potential ally, whom we’ve only gotten to know through Tom Mueller’s data page interludes, but this two-page missive implies that their involvement could shift off of those pages soon enough. Perhaps they will manage to score an invitation to the Hellfire Gala they’ve discovered that Emma is planning. Their recent discovery is that hellfiregala.com has been parked, but currently has no content. Unfortunately, Marvel has not taken the opportunity to have some extra fun with a real fake website as Lost, Westworld, or Heroes did. Hellfiregala.com comes up empty — unless it can only be accessed by mutants…