Steve Orlando Previews Marauders Annual and the Return of an X-Men 2099 Villain

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The seafaring crew of the Marauders will soon find themselves with a new creative team steering the ship when writer Steve Orlando takes over for X-Men writer Gerry Duggan. Beginning with Marauders Annual #1, Orlando and artist Crees Lee will introduce readers to a new cast led by Captain Kate Pryde, the Red Queen of the Hellfire Trading Company. She’ll be joined by Bishop, the newly-appointed Captain Commander of Krakoa, Psylocke (another new Krakoa Commander), Daken, Aurora, Tempo, and Somnus, an LGTBQ+ mutant that debuted earlier this year in Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1. Marauders Annual will feature the return of an X-Men 2099 villain named Brimstone Love, who will become a thorn in the team’s side as they transition to the Destiny of X era.

ComicBook.com spoke to Orlando to learn more about his collaboration on Marauders Annual #1, what makes his Marauders run different from Gerry Duggan’s, the construction of the team lineup, Brimstone Love, and more. An exclusive preview of Marauders Annual #1, on sale January 26th, 2022, can also be found below.

How Marauders Annual Leads Into Relaunch

ComicBook.com: What’s the big pitch for your run on Marauders? How will your run writing Marauders differ from Gerry Duggan‘s?

Steve Orlando: It’s mutant rescue in the Krakoan era! When MARAUDERS kicked off, and Kate Pryde put together the first crew, their mission was twofold: deliver Krakoan medicines to those who need it most as an arm of Hellfire Trading Company, and rescue those mutants that couldn’t reach Krakoa. In the first MARAUDERS series, Hellfire Trading took the front seat – which, how could it not? You had Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw and Kate Pryde holding the wheel, you had Shaw immediately falling back into deceit and power grabs, with Kate and Emma out for revenge. And how delicious it was! So now, with the second MARAUDERS series, we want to give Pryde and her crew time to focus on the second part of their initial mission: rescue. And with rescue comes big, bold action! In fact, completing the crew ends up meaning completing their first rescue, because it’s one of their own. As the series kicks off, Pryde and Bishop are ready to refocus, even as Hellfire Trading continues to do business.

The motto is clear: To always go where they’re needed, not where they’re wanted. Wherever there are mutants in need, the Marauders will be there, no matter the time, place, or danger. And as usual when mutants stand up for themselves, a lot of people disagree – that’s when the action kicks off!

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Changing the Legacy of the Marauders Name

Marauders is a new concept without the same legacy as some other X-Men spinoff books — New Mutants, Excalibur, X-Force, etc. Does that affect your approach at all, compared to how you might go into writing one of those other books?

Honestly? It’s exciting, because we’re here on the ground floor, defining what the legacy of the title will be. But at the same time, the assignment’s always the same: know the core of the book, know the core of the characters, and challenge that in the most exciting ways possible to thrill the audience. Now, with MARAUDERS, there’s the added bonus that Captain Pryde and I share the same drives — we’re BOTH trying to define who the Marauders are. For us, on the creative team, it’s because the book’s relatively new as a title. And for Pryde and Bishop, inside the story, it’s because they’ve been busting their asses to reclaim a name that used to mean something painful for mutantkind. And with every rescue, they’re redefining that name to mean “hope” for mutants. And for readers, defining it to mean rescue, action, and adventure on an explosive, subversive, provocative scale.

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How the New Marauders Team Was Selected

How did you choose the new Marauder crew? I notice more than one of Krakoa’s war captains is involved. Is that evidence of big trouble ahead?

Well, from the start, Pryde knows that focusing on rescue, going where they’re not wanted for the mutants that need them most, is going to piss people off. So she needs a strong team. She needs a team that can serve power and justice, but compassion as well. And she needs people who can make each other better. Pryde’s always been driven by her heart. So while Bishop might think he could field a more precise and better-suited team on paper, Pryde knows it’s not all about stats. She’s picked people who need a crew, who need the mission the Marauders have accepted, because they’re the ones that are going to fight the hardest for it. And as for the presence of Bishop as Captain Commander and Psylocke as War Captain — in many cases, the Marauders are Krakoa’s first representatives to people — human, mutant, or otherwise — so the Marauders need to put their best foot forward, and be reader to follow up with a fist if the best foot doesn’t work.

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X-Men 2099 Villain Brimstone Love’s Role

Speaking of trouble, you pulled a deep cut for the annual’s villain by bringing in Brimstone Love for X-Men 2099. What can you tell us about how that decision happened and what Brimstone Love’s role in the annual, and possibly the series that follows, will be?

The Krakoan era’s all about surprises, and all about pushing things forward! To kick things off, we didn’t want the team to be going up against the types of challenges you’d expect. Krakoa has flipped the script – many of the villains we’ve seen, and many people who the world inside the books think of as threats, are now Krakoan citizens who’ve taken the fresh start deal. With Brimstone Love, we get to introduce a villain that couldn’t exist before the birth of Krakoa. His angle, and the way he manipulates people’s emotions, could not have hit as hard as it does with his followers before Xavier launched Krakoa and Magneto declared mutants to be Earth’s new gods. Brimstone Love is a manipulator, and his medium is pain. He twists it, preys upon it, enhances it, to get human and mutant alike to act against their best interests. He’s the worst kind of bad faith actor, trying to poison Krakoa from the roots, and hurt as many people in as many creative ways as possible while doing so.

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Passing the Marauders Torch in the Annual

Why start your run with an annual instead of the first issue of the new series? Is it simply a publishing or scheduling quirk?

The annual is a great way to pass the torch, and reset the table. We’ll see some of the old crew, as well as the new crew. We’ll see the handoff, from an emotional sense and in a mission sense. We knew some characters would be moving to other books and new missions, but here, we can send them on their way in style. And yes, it was also a way to spend some time with Christian, Somnus, and Bobby, before the all move on to their new roles. So we get to mash up our crews, and we also get to make a clean, clear, mission statement in the annual. The threat Brimstone Love poses confirms Pryde’s fears, that the enemies of Krakoa are stranger, more surprising, and more conniving than ever. Mutant power on the scale of Krakoa, on the scale of taking over Arakko, an entire planet, seeds a whole new generation of fears and attackers. And with the annual, we show exactly how in an era of mutant strength like we’ve never seen before, the threats to come will be just as unforeseen and twice and dangerous.

And plus – the annual was a chance for David, Creees and I to introduce an iconic villain in the present, and grind Pryde’s new team right to the raw, blockbuster bone right out of the gate.

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Readers Will Want to Check Out the Final Scene {replyCount}comments

Are there any final teases you want to offer fans?

The last scene! Dealing with Brimstone Love is bad enough. But what Emma and Shaw show Pryde in the last scene picks up the baton from a mystery that started in INFERNO, and will continue in MARAUDERS — it’s not JUST about how the final member of Pryde’s crew is, but it’s about WHAT their next mission is…and it’s a mystery a few billion years old.

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