As Emma holds court with Sebastian she keeps him in suspense, even as he makes moves off the board. But the White Queen is in full regal mode and has the Black King in check mate as she scuppers his plans for black market manoeuvres.
WRITING: After the recent years of character assassination Kitty is finally getting her mojo back….well not THAT mojo… and it’s all thanks to Gerry Duggan. The new Kate is definitely an improvement and looking more and more like the old her of yesteryear. A return to form to her older more carefree persona in the days of Excalibur. Being barred from Krakoa seems to agree with her, whatever revelation that brings us later. She has had several setbacks over recent years and this new hobby may just be the making of her. Not least her devil may care attitude as she takes on Bartoc the Leaper (are we still calling him that?) and the assorted pirates in a dance off.
Swearing, tattoos and drinking may be the norm for her now, but I kind of like this expressive side of her. And it does seem a perfectly Pryde reaction to the news she receives of the death of Xavier. And this is the first time we get any inclination that the resurrection process isn’t as definitive as we first believed when this all first came about, which kind of gives urgency to the whole death thing once more.
CHARACTERS: And another revelation that is hitting me is the titles of the new Hellfire Trading Company and it’s pecking order. With Lord Imperial to be announced as well as two of the three Bishops and now Knights, does it matter that Kate was so obvious? And as Emma crowns her Red Queen and gives her another new name to go alongside her more adult Kate moniker we also see her shed her fashion disaster curse. In a few short months Emma has done more for Kate’s growth than her whole time in a relationship with Peter Wisdom. While we are on the subject of Kate and Emma does anyone else sense a return to the kinship she had with Courtney/Opal?? We can only hope Emma bakes her a birthday cake. It was of course practically a foregone conclusion it would be her who took the throne. This confirmation was less a revelation and more a satisfying snub of Shaw, because despite the bait and switch the outcome was never really in doubt.
And I was more intrigued by the idea of who Sebastian had in his shadow than who was really going to be the red Monarch. Maybe this person (Maddy please) will become his Black Bishop? Leaving Lucas in prime position of Red Bishop. I’m sure it won’t be Storm as she has already said she won’t play Emma’s game. This dynamic between Emma and Sebastian reminds me of the heady days of Classic X-Men as Emma and Seb play chess. She the cool pragmatist he the hotheaded man child. Or as we’d say these days triggered!! Sebastian on your first try out you overstep the mark. You played the game and you lost. You’ve been schooled. Just stop it. Loved how she brought up secondary mutations again, even if it was just a dig at his inadequacy.
ART: Matteo Lolli’s Emma in diamond form has never looked so well rendered in my opinion. This depiction of her is enough to make me want a statue commissioned by Swarovski, not to mention the spectacular outfit. Especially speaking with the Cuckoos astrally, this too was visualised to perfection. And to see Lockheed and Pyro let rip together again was as satisfying as the confrontation between Emma and Sebastian, even if Pyro coming to the aid of Storm like a pet dog was a little…odd. Though I have to say I wasn’t as keen on Pyro’s choice of tattoo as Kate’s. I’m hoping it’s revealed he chickened out in the end and this was a compromise with face make up, but it’s not looking likely.Tattoos amongst the X-Men are a contentious issue, just as they are in real life. From Rachel’s questionable branding to Warpaths ‘here one minute gone the next’ back tattoo this is not always a good idea. As much as Skullbuster was one of the fiercer looking Reavers this doesn’t work for me. Speaking of not working for me the overly bold colouring of Federico Blee throughout didn’t fully take me in. It worked well for the neon lights of Taipei, but when not confined to rich reds of Emma’s palatial digs it was a little unrealistic for London. Especially with those trees outside making it more New Orleans than New Oxford Street. Speaking as a Londoner myself cramming all of those landmarks in together that aren’t quite in the same placement in reality? No thanks. But overall the art did do a wonderful job of conveying the mood, from the boardroom ballbusting of Sebastian to the ballsy fighting with Bartoc, this was full on. And both Blee and Lolli worked well together on the whole. And Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson’s cover conveyed the feel of the story to perfection, giving the initial impression the King and Queen are manipulating Kate, when in fact it’s the girls game.
Bold moves and even bolder colours. An incisive way to reveal what we already knew was a foregone conclusion and still make it intriguing.
Marauders #2: Queen Takes King
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 7/107/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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