I feel like it's been many years since I was this excited for the future of the X-Men. Between last summer's wonderful House of X/Powers of X event and the myriad of Dawn of X titles that have followed, I have been enjoying a fun new era in mutant mayhem. I know that for some this might've been a more uneven series of stories, but for me this has been excellent. Currently, I have four X-Titles on my pull list and I am gearing up for the X of Swords event next week (I am learning that it's pronounced "Ten of Swords"), so that will mean more in the months ahead. But is there one that I think is the OMEGA level comic in this run?
Picking just one Dawn of X title to highlight for this first blog was difficult. Hickman's X-Universe has been great, but the highlight for this last year for me has definitely been MARAUDERS by writer Gerry Duggan. Not only does it star most of my favorite X characters, but the first story arc - involving pirates, espionage, Game of Thrones-level back stabbing, and murder - has been fantastic. Since issue 12 dropped a little over a week ago, I thought it would be a great time to look back at this story and the impact it's having on the Hickman landscape.
The series focuses on Kitty Pryde, X-Woman of many names, who is leading a ragtag team of mutants across the globe to collect other mutants who, like Kitty, cannot get to Krakoa for one reason or another. Some issues dealt with sinister governments trying to maintain power of their own mutant populace. Others dealt with the illegal smuggling of Krakoan plant-based products. And some dealt with all sorts of industrial and political espionage. It was like a mutant Game of Thrones, complete with it's own villainous Cersei Lannister in the form of Sebastian Shaw. The infighting between Emma Frost and Shaw over who would control the power of the Hellfire Trading Club was the perfect backdrop for all the power plays at work.
I have to say, that Kitty Pryde as a pirate captain, leading X-Men around the world in all sorts of nefarious deeds, has been a kick in the pants. She's been funny, tough as nails, and cool under pressure. The cover of that first issue showing her knuckles tattooed with the classic sailor phrase HOLD FAST (drawn by the great Russell Dauterman) captured her new persona beautifully. This series has also had a lot of fun with her powers and the ways in which the island of Krakoa seems to be at odds with her. Whether she's breaking her nose on the gates (because apparently it's the only object she can't go through in the universe) or struggling to be resurrected (because she's phasing with her pod) the evolution and expansion of her abilities has been great. Plus the slow burn on her murder was wonderful. Shaw drowning her and assuming she won't be able to resurrect was as horrible as it was devious. It left me, and many fans, on the edge of our seats, waiting to see how it would resolve. Deciding to give issue 12 an homage to issue one was a stroke of genius and made for a perfect way to connect to where the series began, as we see Kitty reborn with a deeper, darker mission.
Let's also not forget the use of Bishop and Storm as enforcers for her pirate crew! I loved seeing Storm as a bad ass who can dispense wisdom or beat downs with ease . Plus watching Bishop uncover the plot involving Yellow Jacket infecting Pyro, like something out of the movie Innerspace, was amazing (see issues 7 and 8). Throw in Iceman, Pyro, Emma Frost and a few other guest stars, and you have a lot of great action to go with all of that intrigue.
Where is all of this going, you might ask? I think this series will be a huge part of shaping the political landscape of Krakoa in the next year. Kitty Pryde has decided to play a long con on Shaw. She is acting like she has no memory of her murder at his hands so that she can work with Emma to take him down. I think big things are in store for the Hellfire Trading Club, and the team up of Emma, Storm and Kitty are definitely gonna make sure Shaw pays for his crimes. Krakoan law forbids a mutant from killing humans but I am sure they also forbid a mutant to kill another mutant, so will Magneto and the council take over his punishment and will Shaw get buried in the island like Sabretooth? Or will Kitty take her own revenge and risk getting in hot water herself?
I hope you've enjoyed this run as much as I have. Let me know in the comments if there are other X-Titles I should be reading or which ones are your favorites. I have read most of Excalibur, all of X-Force, and all of X-Men. Some of the others I am sampling too, as they become available on the Marvel app.
If you want to try reading some Marauders issues for yourself, here's an eBay affliliate link that let's you shop for anything you want and also generates money for the Blog of X! Just click the link and when you buy anything on eBay in the next 30 minutes, eBay gives us some of their profit. It's a great way to get the books you already want AND support the blog.