Emma Frost gets down to business in Marauders #17, cleaning up after Sebastian Shaw’s treachery and solidifying Krakoa’s enterprises with the humans. But first, a dance to the death.
Russell Dauterman (cover), Edgar Delgado (color artist), Gerry Duggan (writer), Matteo Lolli (artist), Tom Muller (design), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer)
January 13, 2021
In the last issue, Emma and Kate Pryde took their revenge on Shaw. Now, they deal with the ramifications of his efforts to undermine the Hellfire Trading Company’s business of providing Krakoan medicines and more to the human world. Via memo, she informs the company staff of some changes in management and distribution structure in terms of the black market and above-board business — and Delores at the X-Desk is paying attention.
Emma also invites Hellfire staff to Mykines, the island obtained for her by Magneto. It seems, at last, that we will be seeing the “Hellfire Gala” that’s been hinted at, but Emma’s words and demeanor imply that this will be less of a ball, and more of a subdued business meeting in the form of a state dinner with humans on the guest list. Of course, she will look fabulous at the event, with her preferred designer ready to deck her out in the finest mutant fashion, but there’s a heaviness that rests on Emma’s shoulders in these panels. What ought to be a grandiose affair for a woman like the White Queen, feels somber in the planning, perhaps because of the pains she continues to endure, despite Krakoa’s promises of a bright mutant future. “We are mutants, and we must all pay the price for paradise,” she says, not long after taking a swig from the flask she seems to carry with her everywhere. She has business to take care of, and despite what she may feel, she remains focused and reasonable, though no less dangerous to those who would cross her or mutantdom.
My only complaint about this issue is the return to Matteo Lolli’s same face for the women, with everyone looking like a variation of a very young, adorable Buffy Summers. With that noted, I’ll move on to the other major story happening in this issue.
The cover of this issue speaks to an epic showdown between Storm and Callisto. With that cover in mind and the page I saw before reading the issue, I was prepared for another fantastic fight between the two of them, where they both show off their martial skills. Reading the full issue, what I discovered was something far more powerful.
Storm has always worked best in antagonistic relationships (aside from Jean Grey), whether it be lovers or friends, (or those that fit into both categories). Callisto is no exception, with Storm fighting her for control of the Morlocks or in an alien battle arena. The imagery immediately calls these fights to mind, but the reality is something far more emotional and unexpected.
As a victim of She Who Must Not Be Named, Callisto has lost her mutant powers, and, though she is still highly skilled enough to serve as Emma’s enforcer, she does not feel whole. With Apocalypse gone, Callisto comes to Storm with a favour that she knows only Storm can understand and grant as Callisto, dressed to the nines, chooses the Crucible to reclaim her mutant powers. I expected an exciting battle between two skilled rivals. I did not expect to end up in tears when the storm comes.