This week in the Marvel Rundown, our merry gang of mutant pirates continue their trek through Shi’ar space in Marauders #3. Will they escape the clutches of the Kin Crimson? Or will they suffer at the hands of Eric and Delphos the Red? Scroll below for a LITE SPOILER review!
Plus, our own Merry Marvelous Rundown crew checks out Amazing Spider-Man #3, Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor #1, and Marvel’s Voices: Iceman Infinity Comic #2. Read ahead, if ye dare!
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Eleonora Carlini
Color Artist: Matt Milla
Letterer and Production: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller
Cover Artist: Kael Ngu
From the jump, I have to give Kael Ngu’s cover a shoutout. There’s this feeling that the Marauders are about to go wild to get out of the crossfire of those Shi’ar blasters, which makes it all the more dramatic to turn the page and see how they get out of that situation. Eleonora Carlini’s interiors for the book are exceptional as well. Each line feels loose in this cartoony style, but everything is perfectly detailed. The pages look cohesive and clean, with each brushstroke serving a purpose. Matt Milla’s colors complement this perfectly, and I’m a big fan of the way the shadows are used to emphasize certain scenes.
The last issue ended with Majestrix Xandra about to decide the fate of the Marauders after they’d been bested in battle by Eric the Red of the Kin Crimson. And while most of our mutant friends stay captured for the first half of the issue, Cassandra Nova has an incredible battle with a Kin Crimson dragon and a symbiote that’s been transformed into weaponized blood (yes, you read that correctly).
I want to touch on it here because the Marvel Rundown crew hasn’t talked about this new volume of Marauders yet, but I’m very happy with the way Steve Orlando has handled Cassandra Nova in this book so far. She’s not the mellowed out shell we last saw in 2018’s X-Men Red – instead, she’s still a monster who languishes in the pain of those around her. Now, she just won’t be a monster towards mutants. It’s a really good way to recontextualize that previous series and keep her characterization consistent with her previous appearances back in the early Aughts.
The characterizations overall feel really strong in this book. While there’s a much larger focus on the Shi’ar as a whole, we don’t lose the Marauders in the milieu of Shi’ar space. Even Somnus, who Orlando created for last year’s Marvel Voices: Pride anthology, feels strong and secure in his voice throughout the issue.
The Kin Crimson are an interesting set of antagonists that makes the whole Eric the Red thing much clearer. Also, I feel the need to point out how crazy it is to see Eric the Red here after a 20 year absence that was only broken with a quick appearance in an X-Men Legends story last year. Along with the use of Eric, references to the Fraternity of Raptors, and the allusions to 90’s Excalibur mainstay Cerise, Orlando has definitely done his X-homework. I can’t wait to see what other callbacks we see over the course of this series.
Though it’s not a callback, Orlando does a great job expanding on the mythos of the Shi’ar. I’m really enjoying his explorations of the Ten Shames and how they impact both the Shi’ar empire and the cosmos as a whole. There’s a strong sense of impending doom in this book, and it feels like it’s definitely going to come back and have massive ramifications for other X-Books as well. There’s some really solid connections being built out here that I don’t think other writers are going to be able to resist talking about. It’s worth noting that Ariana Maher’s letters do a great job leading the reader to where the story needs to go, making occasionally confusing layouts clear and straightforward. The Kin Crimson Chronicles data pages feel regal and dangerous in the way she formats them for the page.
Verdict: BUY. Mutants in space will always get me, but Marauders outdoes itself with how strong the worldbuilding is.
- Amazing Spider-Man #3
- In the last issue, Spidey walked into a trap laid out by Tombstone. Reminiscent of the classic Amazing Spider-Man #33, writer Zeb Wells uses most of this issue to set the stage for John Romita Jr. to really lean in and show Spidey trapped by the bad guy and getting the living snot beat out of him. While some of the supporting characters have some growth, Pete spends the entire issue on the losing end of Tombstones rage. The brutality of this issue is so visceral that I can’t see how he walks away from this one without spending another six months in the hospital. —GC3
- Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor #1
- Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor #1 started with a bang. By writer Torunn Gronbekk, artists Michael Dowling and Jesus Aburtov, with letters by Joe Sabino, the issue is part one in a five-part saga about Jane Foster’s reluctant decision to wield the hammer once more. The story includes an interesting exploration of the death perception ability that Jane Foster gained when she became a Valkyrie. Dancing above the heads of each living being is a glowing sphere reminiscent of Donnie Darko that represents the human soul as a creepy purple skull on a drug trip—which, for some reason, seems like the perfect depiction of the human soul as slightly corrupted yet beautiful. However, Valkyrie’s death perception is more than a tableau of purple spheres, it lets her see and feel the fates of individuals, a power that she uses to her advantage over the course of the issue. And although that all sounds apocalyptic, the issue also includes a spoonful of humor and a dash of gay that made my heart sing. But I don’t want to spoil it, so get thee to your local comic shop! — ROK
- Marvel’s Voices: Iceman Infinity Comic #2
- While I’ll be covering the Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2022) #1 one-shot for the Marvel Rundown when it arrives on June 20th, that’s not the full extend of the Marvel’s Voices: Pride offerings this year thanks to the four-episode Iceman Infinity Comic by Luciano Vecchio, with lettering by Joe Sabino. In the introduction for last year’s Marvel’s Voices, Vecchio demonstrated an aptitude for examining whole swathes of Marvel continuity – specifically, queer continuity. Those abilities are on full display in this series, which not only sees Bobby grappling with the crazy status quo updates on Krakoa but also brings in other interesting additions to the cast. These include the return of Bobby’s Inhuman lover Romeo, and an appearance by Julian Quintero (introduced in the stellar Reptil run last year). Plus, I am always a fan of real-world locations appearing in Marvel Comics (especially locations in SoCal). On top of all this, there’s lots of smooches and a really weird-looking bug-faced Kaiju. Happy Pride, y’all! —AJK
Next week: Moon Knight: Black, White, and Blood #2, Hulking and Wiccan #1, and X-Men Red #2