The first Marauders annual marks a new chapter for this ragtag group of mutants. Things are changing; not only is this issue introducing a new roster for the Marauders, but a new creative team consisting of Steve Orlando, Creees Lee, Rain Beredo and Cory Petit. This issue works like the first steps into a whole new adventure and the beginning of what could be Krakatoa’s biggest mystery.
Since the start of the Krakoa era, Marauders has drawn my attention. I have always been a massive fan of Kate Pryde, so seeing her in a leading role besides Emma Frost in a mutant rescue mission seemed just my cup of tea. Unfortunately, as the book kept going, I started to lose interest and what once was my most anticipated book became a kind of chore. Eventually, it was announced that Gerry Duggan’s time on the series would end, with the first outing for the new creative team being the series’ first annual. This announcement excited me because it meant a new jumping-on point to the series would soon appear, a fresh start. Having read the issue, I can now say I was right to be excited.
This issue starts with Daken following a lead on the murders of multiple mutants, causing him to fall into the trap of Brimstone Love, a villain from the 2099 continuity. Soon after Daken’s disappearance, Kate starts gathering a new team of Marauders, their first mission? Rescue Akihiro.
One of the best things in this issue is how well Steve Orlando captures each character’s voices perfectly; from Kate to Tempo, everyone feels like themselves, something which can be difficult to manage when handling large casts. Each team member meshes while together; the dialogue is fun and engaging and makes this annual a great reading experience. Orlando acknowledges Duggan’s run without entirely ignoring its importance but does so in a way that sets sail into the future, setting a clear objective that gives the series a sense of purpose from the get-go.
The art in this issue is fantastic, with Creees Lee and Rain Beredo creating some dynamic art that keeps the action scenes flowing and gives the emotional scenes a bit of a punch with some great expressions. Cory Petit also does fantastic work with the lettering, especially with Brimstone’s dialogue, ensuring that it’s always front and center.
All that being said, my favorite part of the issue is the thematic elements. It’s clear to me that this new creative team is ready to explore the meaning of Krakoa without pulling any punches, and it looks like this series is about to give a whole new perspective on what the meaning of mutant community even is.
Marauders Annual #1 is a great new start for a series that hasn’t reached its full potential. I believe that this new beginning brings with it the promise of a new exciting future for Kate Pryde’s swashbuckling group of adventurers.