Saturnyne’s game is afoot, but, while the rest of the Swords are finding their own ways to enjoy the eve of battle in Marauders #14, Logan’s being a killjoy.
Marauders #14 (X of Swords Chapter 13)
Stefano Caselli (artist), Russell Dauterman (cover), Edgar Delgado (colourist), Gerry Duggan (writer), Benjamin Percy (writer), Tom Muller (designer), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer)
November 4, 2020
There have been hints of a Hellfire ball happening at some point, but Emma Frost is truly going to have to up her game if she means to top the soiree Saturnyne has put together for the champions of Krakoa and Arakko.
Saturnyne’s invitation is simple:
“Eat of my bread, drink of my wine.
Before you die, together we dine.”
But her party and its purpose are anything but.
Marauders #14 opens with a delectable menu of alien delicacies. The menu’s format does not deviate from the simplicity Tom Muller has incorporated for the data pages of HoXPoX and subsequent Dawn of X books, so the writers’ words must work extra hard to spell out the decadence of tonight’s feast. And work hard they do, making even dishes that include the urine of Orchana the giant squid sound delicious (future Cook Your Comics feature?).
Mermaids and other ocean creatures swim beneath the guests’ feet (though there is little decorative attention paid to the Starlight Citadel’s high ceilings, walls, and imposing colonnades). Beautiful nymphs in white serve colourful libations and strum the delicate strings of harps. The party’s caterer is one James Jaspers, who has done an excellent job with the whole affair, but, understandably, is upset with Logan’s boorish lack of appreciation for the splendor.
The rules of parley are in play. While not all the guests are happy about the circumstances, all but Logan are making the most of it, often in amusing ways as they each assess each other and enjoy a night of peace before battle. Logan is too busy unceremoniously grumping his way through alcohol and accusations, blaming Brian Braddock in particular for not forgoing his vows and honour to bring about an end to Saturnyne’s game. Gee, Logan, what kind of crossover event would this be if we just cut it short with such lusty and logical solutions to interdimensional problems?
But let me get to what I am really here for. Can we just gaze upon the beauty of this Russell Dauterman cover for a moment or seven? Not only must we admire the composition, but we must also appreciate the symbolism and seductiveness of Storm literally dancing with Death.
Such pairings are not uncommon for Storm. She seems to attract the kind of men who would dominate a goddess, only to find themselves in submission. I could wander off into any number of fanfictions and headcanons featuring Storm’s lurid affairs with Khan, Dr. Doom, Belasco, or Dracula, but here, her dance with Death is a lot more subtle and interesting, but no less alluring. In her past encounters of attempted seduction, she has been taken against her will and must teach these fools their place. Here, Storm takes the lead. She has already tasted death in her own way, and knows herself well enough now to meet this horseman as her equal. He, in return, is gracious and intrigued.
Their dance lasts only a few pages, but I would have been fine with a few (many) more. Instead, I will have to settle for adding further depth with my own imagination, which obviously would take this couple from their provocative dancefloor encounter to a sensual evening of dark and stormy pleasures…
That is, if Logan doesn’t kill the mood. Or the hostess.