In Marauders #18, Emma Frost has taken the battle directly to Madripoor to hit Homines Verendi where it counts: in the wallet.
Stefano Caselli (artist), Russell Dauterman (cover artist), Edgar Delgado (colourist), Gerry Duggan (writer), Matteo Lolli (artist), Tom Muller (designer), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Matthew Wilson (cover colourist)
February 17, 2021
Emma Frost has made it quite clear to the Homines Verendi kids and their billionaire backer that she is their enemy and she will fight them on all levels, particularly over the welfare of the people of Madripoor. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to them that she would use her own significant business and financial interests as part of her arsenal. Verendi has been trying to buy up property in Lowtown, intent on razing the neighbourhoods, driving out the people, and building swanky condos. It doesn’t matter that these people are not necessarily mutants. Madripoor has served as sanctuary for many people, including mutants, and a Frost, representing Krakoa, always pays her debts, it seems. This issue indicates that Emma is making many purchases in Madripoor, but for the sake of showmanship and swaying the people, the property on display is a new hospital.
Marauders #18 is worth it alone for its opening, which features Magento and X walking into town like the gods they are, pausing to bless the children who flock about them, only to have the wind snapped from their sails shortly thereafter when Emma has Proteus reveal the name of the hospital: Moira MacTaggert Memorial.
As much as the memorial hospital is about slapping a few people in the face, the intentions for it remain focused on helping the people. The hospital is free, and, as Masque discovers, it employs mutants whose abilities have often been used for ill but who may find a whole new purpose for their lives.
Reminiscent of groups, such as the Black Panthers, whose social endeavours are overshadowed in history and the media by their more violent tendencies, Verendi isn’t about to take Krakoa doing nice things for the people lightly. They have been recruiting all the henchmen that Krakoans have been leaving maimed after battles and turning them into a new team of Reavers. Gone are the mostly metal Reavers of yore. These Reavers feature limbs and flesh that are as twisted as their thirst for revenge.
The ensuing battle is a great opportunity for the artwork to have some showy fun with Iceman, Bishop, and Pyro’s respective power sets, though the panels aren’t quite as creative with the flashy displays as Russel Dauterman and Matthew Wilson’s yin yang/fire and ice cover. The scenes also spend a good chunk of time with needless dialogue and posturing that reminds me of the best of the ’90s, but feels like misplaced filler text here. One scene particularly deserving of side-eye involves Bishop, a Black man, with his arms up yelling “I’m unarmed! Don’t shoot –“. This is a ploy that he uses to pay back his shooters by revealing his powers with a “– ha, suckers”. I’m all for a Bishop that has a little more fun with life, even as he plays messenger to Beast’s machinations, but this is edging out of character for the usually stoic mutant. And given the greater context of reality, it isn’t at all amusing.
Busting out the new body horror Reavers means we get to see Donald Pierce take the stage wearing a stylish tailored suit jacket with sheer sleeves to show off those cyborg arms. Fashion has always been delightfully prominent in Marauders thanks to a creative team that respects that a book starring Emma Frost should be so, but there seems to have been an odd blooper in this one. At the beginning of the issue, Kate Pryde appears wearing a gorgeous red sleeveless number with a high slit. I wanted to get a closer look at this, but alas, when she appears moments later, she’s back in her pirate gear. Emma, however, remains stylish as ever in a short white dress, thigh-high boots, and a back belted mid-length jacket.
After all, one must always look their finest when tearing down one’s enemies.