Marvel’s Marauders Annual Brilliantly Turns Charles Xavier’s Foe Into a Trump Figure (Review)

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The heroes of Krakoa are no strangers to adversity, but recent events have made life for the mutants of the world difficult — even by their standards. In spite of that, Kate Pryde and Bishop are determined to reform the Marauders to help mutants in need around the world. Marvel’s Marauders Annual #1 by writer Steve Orlando and artist Creees Lee is an exciting new beginning for the motley crew of mutants.

Marauders Annual #1 begins when Daken, the son of Wolverine, investigates reports of a mass grave of mutants in Greenwich, Connecticut. He finds some bones but then the sadistic Brimstone Love ambushes him. Brimstone Love takes him to his “theater of pain.” Fortunately, Kate Pryde and Bishop discover that Daken has gone missing. Rescuing him becomes the newly reformed Marauders’ first mission. As they unite a global team of heroes and antiheroes, they discover Daken’s situation is even direr than anticipated.

Related: The X-Men’s Newest Enemy Hates Charles Xavier… And He Has a Good Point

Steve Orlando artfully juggles several moving pieces in this issue, assembling a new Marauders team and introducing multiple high-stakes threats to Kate Pryde and her teammates. Kate Pryde’s enthusiasm for her new team is infectious. Orlando writes witty dialogue that sets a fun tone for the comic without getting in the way of the action. Brimstone Love’s cult of personality serves as a poignant reminder of how dangerous leaders who pander towards populist outrage can be. By connecting the villain’s outlandish sadism and brainwashing to real-world cultural phenomena, Orlando makes the horror of Love’s cult relatable and frightening. So, it is all the more satisfying when the Marauders finally arrive to go toe-to-toe against the villain and his rabid followers.

In his first full-length Marvel comic, Creees Lee’s art compliments Orlando’s writing wonderfully. Lee uses a wide variety of angles and perspectives that readers would expect from a veteran artist. Kate Pryde’s carefree demeanor clashes spectacularly against the hordes of Brimstone Love’s angry followers. While he renders every page beautifully, Lee is at his best when the action starts. The heroes strike dynamic poses before diving into a wonderfully staged fight scene that highlights many of the heroes’ abilities without drawing attention away from the battle.

Related: Marvel’s Silver Surfer: Rebirth #1 Comic Review

The end of Marauders Annual #1 sets the stage for the upcoming Marauders series with a time-traveling and mind-bending mystery. As exciting as the promise of the new series is, this annual also stands on its own as a fun, thoughtful story. Orlando and Lee give the heroes plenty of opportunities to shine in their battle against Love while reminding both the protagonists and the audience of the tumultuous social climate in the world outside of Krakoa. This annual is a joy to read from start to finish that is sure to entertain anyone looking for good mutant action.

Keep Reading: X-Men: How Did Wolverine Get His Adamantium Claws Back

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