Jan 24, 2022


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Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. Sadly, the sentiment only seems sound. No sooner is it stated then structures are set up to secure separation from the unsavory. In the pages of Marauders Annual # 1, writer Steve Orlando brings a past future foe to the present. A foe who takes pleasure in presenting a perverse take on the Professor’s prior preachings. In classic Marvel annual fashion the team re-ups and reloads as new faces arrive and readers get a glimpse at what awaits the Red Queen and the Hellfire Trading Company over the next year of nautical (and maybe interstellar) adventures.

Marauders Annual # 1
Hellfire and Brimstone

Marvel Comics

Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Creees Lee
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

The issue opens in Greenwich, Connecticut with Akhiro discovering the rumor of a mutant potter’s field is true. Seeing Akhiro take on this role highlights the characters transformation in the pages of X-Factor. In fact his presence in this issue is due to that teams mission. Akhiro sends up a mental flare alerting others to the location, only to replace it moments later to alert them that it is a trap.

Pryde and Bishop toast The Marauder

Meanwhile, in Hellfire Bay, Beredo brings a brilliant scene to readers. Amidst the backdrop of the peaceful cove Kate and Bishop toast their trouble and assess the damages to The Marauder. And their futures. Marauders is one of only a few of the original titles from the House of X launch. The amount of time the team has existed doesn’t appear to be lost on Captain Kate. And their current status, in terms of mission and members, doesn’t sit well with either Marauder. With Storm now acting as Regent of Mars and Pyro no longer listed on the roster there are at least two spots on the crew. By the annual’s end several mutants will have heeded Kate’s call.

Not Spoilers if It Was in the Solicits

Although the annual’s annoucement revealed several additions, reading the issue it looks like Kate initially only intended to fill 3 spots. First up is Psylocke, joining her third team since House of X. Next is Tempo, having only recently missed out on an opportunity to be on the new X-Men team. During the scene featuring her recruitment readers get to witness Heather’s power on display while also getting a quick recap of her history. Reading this info while witnessing her use her abilities only highlights how under utilized this mutant was for so many years. Now she finally gets to be a hero outright; not a terrorist or spy. Akhiro is the final member Kate seeks out. It is upon discovering Akhiro’s residence in X-Factor’s Boneyard vacant that Kate recruits two of his “lovers” , Aurora and the newly arrived Somnus, to assist in locating him.

As the team is assembling, Akhiro is confronted by his father’s father figure’s legacy. An unfortunate side effect of the Krakoa “drug” is the sense of abandonment of Xavier’s dream. For me, Rick Remenders Uncanny Avengers was so close to the culmination of the dream. But Krakoa, much like Asteroid M and in some ways Xavier’s original school, are something of a cop out due to a sense of exclusion. Places where some-none-all arguments begin to occur; arguments that one such as Brimstone Love can use to their own desires.

Those who missed the year 2099 may be unaware that Brimstone has almost taken out one team of X-Men. Much like Xavier, Brimstone succeeds by convincing others to embrace his “vision”; his actions and the outcomes supporting his “messiah complex”. Now, in the present Brimstone Love has bought together those mutants and humans broken by the dreams end.

future so brimstone

Steve Orlando does an amazing job of never forcing anything this annual. For example the discourse that takes place during the final confrontation between the Marauders and Brimstone reflects a debate some people really struggle with daily. Also, the teams formation itself plays out very well and while the makeup offers several great future storylines. Psylocke’s story has been building ever since Fallen Angels. Pryde’s mention of Psylocke’s lost child offers hope The Marauders rescue mission may see this family reunited. Having Akhiro mention Kate in his X-Factor report reinforces their “sibling” relationship. And while not every team needs a “Wolverine“, Creees Lee and Rain Beredo found the right moments for Daken to let some show.

Speaking of relationships, Daken currently has the fullest dance card on the team though Christian’s does fill up this issue as well. And Jeanne-Marie, Somnus and Akhiro each have their equal share of emotional issues. But the same could be said of Christian (and Bobby) and Hellfire Trading. Well they say all you need is “Love”. Meanwhile they all are exactly what he looks to exploit.

Marauders returns with issue # 1 in March 2022, with it’s final crew member and a mystery which comes at the end of this issue. At least this may offer Kate (and us) a distraction from her gate puzzle. Or is it a clue to the reason? With the mystery taking place in the past I’m excited to read how Tempo and a time displaced Captain Commander of Krakoa fare. Until then Marauders Annual # 1 gives readers a hint at how well this series will be maintained going forward.

Score: 9.4