REVIEW: King in Black: Marauders #1 Battens Down the Hatches

The Marauders fight off a big black symbiote

I could have sworn Emma Frost was just planning a party while Kate Pryde sorted out the bad guys in Madripoor but suddenly we are off to save symbiote Storm and Cyclops in King in Black: Marauders #1? This is what I get for being too busy to pay enough attention to mainstream comics lately. Or, maybe Marvel needs to settle down with these damn events and give readers time to breathe between them?

King in Black: Marauders #1

Russell Dauterman (cover artist), Gerry Duggan (writer), Carlos Lopez (colourist), Tom Muller (designer), Cory Petit (letter), Luke Ross (artist)
Marvel Comics
February 3, 2021

The Marauders fight off a big black symbiote

Can we talk about those adorable snarls everyone is sporting on Russell Dauterman’s cover? Symbiote dragons are a formidable enemy, but those facial expressions tell me this team is more than up to the task. Inside the issue, Luke Ross offers his own take on quirky but determined facial expressions, even giving Bishop a few surprising lighthearted moments. I quite like lighthearted Bishop and would love to see more of him, along with Kate’s wild and kinky curls. In fact, despite a plot twist that gets pretty dark and then another that gets darker still thanks to Beast’s continued assholery, everyone is all smiles, camaraderie, and even a joke or two.

Anyway, so the cold open threw me for a bit of a loop, with Eddie Brock’s body apparently leading to yet another apocalypse on earth, and Kate and her crew off to save it. Or at least, save the X-leaders who are typically more adept at the world-saving. And maybe take out a few dragons along the way? Thank goodness for Tom Muller’s datapage stepping in to get me all caught up — before the whole issue literally detours from the mission to get back to Krakoan/human politics as the crew saves some folks from a sinking ship.

There’s a bit more time spent with the symbiote dragons, where Lockheed and Pyro get to use their abilities to great effect. But other than serving as a nuisance, the dragons and related symbiotic details are quickly shunted off to the side as Kate and her team remind us of how shitty humans can be, and how much tolerance Krakoa shows to people who don’t deserve forgiveness or anything else. The Marauders, despite their pressing goal, also take the time to be heroes to the oppressed, who will, in turn, serve as ambassadors, one hopes, for the good that mutantkind has to offer.

Gerry Duggan gives the point of view reins to Bishop for a bit during this issue, giving him space to consider the role Kate had asked him to take on before she’d been killed. There is guilt in his words, having failed to be what she needed of him, but their relationship shows that Kate has moved well beyond this, never pausing to blame him in the first place. But now, as Red Bishop there are far greater responsibilities on his plate than he may have expected and Duggan leaves a sense of uncertainty over how Bishop may undertake those responsibilities and their very significant consequences if the situation comes to it in terms of dealing with possessed Krakoan leadership.

I’m still out of it enough not to know exactly where this issue fits within the King in Black storyline, but the ship sails through this event quickly enough for me to not worry too much over that concern. Instead, I can focus on what it means to be a mutant with a home where one feels safe enough to break the rules and allow others to drop by, even if only for a moment.

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.

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