As Emma and Kate open The Moira MacTaggert Memorial Hospital in the most impoverished waterfront in Madripoor, Bishop and the boys deal with the resurgence of one of the X-Men's most dangerous foes.
This issue was, arguably, not as thematically important as previous issues. No one came out of the closet, there were no last-minute pivotal surprises — it was just a really fun, narratively sly, shoot-em-up story, and such fare has been in perishingly short supply in the modern era of X-Books. This was a fun installment, laden with Duggan’s trademark keen characterization, and brought to life with brilliant art.
There was a lot of set-up in this story, focusing on the biomechanical resurrection of the Reavers (whose new physiology is reminiscent of both the architecture of Krakow and the machine-human hybrids promised in Powers of X) and cluing us in to what Kate’s teammates have been up to as they secure their toehold in Madripoor. But Duggan’s writing never allowed the issue to devolve into an infodump. Duggan’s focus has always been on character. He shows us who these people are, makes us care about them, and he builds the flesh of plot around that skeleton.
Part of that flesh is composed of dramatic irony (the hospital for humans is named after a closeted mutant) and nods to other mediums (why is Vash the Stampede working for the Verendi?) but ultimately everything in this story hinges on who these characters are, and what they do. And what the Marauders do is help people. They build free hospitals. They clear out crime. They bring in a mutant who can salve birth defects and salvage lives (who can help everyone but himself) and use him to fix the cleft lips of children. This book is the best part of Reign of X because it shows us what the X-Men are meant to be.
And it wouldn’t have been nearly as good without the art of Matteo Lolli and Stefano Caselli. These artists can show us large action scenes (an exploding bar, anyone?) and smaller, more intimate character moments. That requires a great deal of artistic breadth, and these two artists have it in spades.
If you aren’t reading this series, you are missing out.
Humor, dramatic irony, and fantastic art define this issue. If you aren't reading this series you are missing out.
Marauders #18: Revenge of the Reavers
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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