LONG LIVE THE RED QUEEN! Kate Pryde is back, and ready to take some revenge on the Black King. But first, she has some people to see and places to go in Marauders #12.
Russell Dauterman (cover), Edgar Delgado (color artist), Gerry Duggan (writer), Anthony Gambino (production), Matteo Lolli (artist), Tom Muller (design), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer)
September 9, 2020
Last month left off with the long-awaited resurrection of our Red Queen, Kate Pryde, after her controversial funeral. That’s where we start issue #12, specifically with Kate being welcomed by all of the mutants she’s rescued and brought home. That was just the first of several extremely touching moments throughout this issue.
She’s greeted by Ororo, with a sleeping Lockheed curled on her shoulders, buried in her restored curly hair. Ororo asks the same question asked at every public resurrection: “How do I know it’s you?” Kate’s answer was the time she was scared of Storm’s punk look. Ororo hugs her close and reflects on how far that little girl has come, from being afraid of a punk look to getting knuckle tats of her own.
Kate and Emma’s resurrection party looks are pure fire, illustrated deftly by Matteo Lolli. Kate’s slinky red dress and Emma’s diamond scaled bodysuit both shine and fit their characters beautifully. The party itself is a joyous affair, with Kate being greeted by all of her favorite people in the world (not a Peter in sight, thankfully). She raises her glass at Logan. She exchanges a subtextually charged glance with Rachel. And oh my god that very soft smile while she whispers Rachel’s name? That was the first time I almost died this issue.
I say the first time, because after she hugs Nightcrawler and he returns her Magen David necklace to her, we see Illyana Rasputina pop out of a gate with a mariachi band behind her shouting Kate’s name, interwoven with profanity. And if the glance with Rachel was subtextually charged? Yana tackling Kate and pinning her to the ground? That could power a queer woman for a good week. If that had been all that happened this week, I’d have been eating well.
But it’s not, and I’m eating even better because next, we have Kate’s confrontation with the man who murdered her, Sebastian Shaw. She knows what he did to both her and her dragon, and she’s ready to make him pay. He feigns pleasantries, and she feigns acceptance of those pleasantries. But he can tell that something is amiss, and shortly after, Kate uses Yana to ditch her own party, utilizing the much-vaunted “Irish exit” method of disappearing without a word. She and Yana have burgers, and Kate heads into a nearby tattoo parlor.
It’s a different tattoo parlor than the one we saw in Marauders #2, but a very similar pattern of events. Kate slaps a pile of Benjamins on the table, gets brand new knuckle tats, and kisses her tattoo artist. There are three big differences this time around, one of them bigger than the other two. The first is that the words on her knuckles change. The beauty of resurrection is you can change your mind about permanent decisions. Instead of “Hold Fast,” her new tattoo is “Kill Shaw,” as we see on Russell Dauterman’s gorgeous cover. The second is that she doesn’t steal a jacket on her way out the door, since she already has a kick-ass red coat.
The third thing though? That’s the big one, and the one I shrieked about when I read the issue. Kate’s tattoo artist is a woman, specifically a woman with hair very similar to her “best friend’s” hair. This is something momentous for the character of Kate Pryde, as it’s the first time she’s been allowed to move past subtext and claim her actual sexuality on the page, in canon.
For thirty-five years, Kate has flirted with Rachel and Illyana, become very close to Xian in Mekanix, and dated three different Peters. She’s been engaged to two men with that name, but never followed through on either. And yet, despite years and years of subtext, she’s never been able to show provable attraction to another woman on the page. Until today. This single kiss makes all those years of subtext worth it: her re-meeting Rachel in Uncanny X-Men #192 in 1985; her phasing through the bed with Illyana in The New Mutants #63; the promise she makes to a Rachel about to be lost in the time stream in Excalibur #75. All these moments mean so much more, now that we have something to point to that makes Kate’s bisexuality canon on the page thanks to Marauders #12. It ain’t no lie, Kate’s