Marauders kicks off this time round with Iceman and Christian Frost, Emma’s brother, who is now back in the fold and working as her White Bishop. It’s subtly made clear that they’re a couple here, or are at least sleeping together, as seen by the “CF” dressing gown which Iceman is wearing. After years of his queer subtext being only subtext – and a subtext which most writers weren’t even aware of, it’s a nice change of pace to have his queer subtext be… actual… text? It’s there for you to read into the comic, even if it’s not punctuated by them kissing or anything like that. Instead it’s heavily implied throughout, and clearly the intention of everybody involved.

It also gives Iceman somebody to talk to who sits on his level. You couldn’t imagine Bobby sitting down to talk to Storm, Bishop, or Emma Frost – god, can you even imagine that conversation? – about Kate, but here there’s a looseness to his conversation with Christian which gives him somebody he can clear the air with. Having him date an established character, albeit one who is functionally a blank slate for the creative team, gives the conversation more weight. It wouldn’t have worked quite the same way if this was some random stranger we didn’t know. Remember Kyle Jinadu? The small recognition that Christian elicits is enough to really help strengthen Bobby’s voice. It feels more like this matters and is a lasting discussion, rather than a one-off confession of worry. Their conversation is light, fun, but it leads to an important and more serious point.

The issue reveals that both Kate and Iceman have the same thing on their mind right now: if the Krakoan gates don’t work for Kate, then would the Krakoan resurrection ritual also fail?

I’m not entirely sure what the logic of that is, because the Krakoan gates are some kind of choice made by Krakoa itself, I think – and the resurrection ritual is an X-Men created thing? So you’d think that as long as “The Five” mutants were together, they’d be able to resurrect someone in a supply closet without any problems. Depends on the supply closet, I guess, but still. I didn’t realise the island was necessary for resurrection.

That idea gets brought up twice in the same issue in quick succession though, so we’re either going to see Kate die very soon and this was a slightly rush-job concept to bring into the story, or the creative team are simply seeding doubts and questions into their run so readers have something to think about. Given the way that Duggan is able to completely introduce a new queer relationship for Iceman without ever outright stating it, I have to imagine that it’s the latter rather than the former.

Fears about resurrection aside, it’s nice to see Emma having so much fun as well, isn’t it?

She gets to show more glimpses of her more fragile side to Kate in the issue – worrying about if she’d have to get a new nose job if she resurrects. That fragility in Emma only comes out when she’s in a place of power and safety, so it’s strangely heartening to see her able to open up to somebody again. Having her brother Christian back also adds to the character, his return to her side unremarked-upon, but adding an additional ally to her side of the table. Generation X and New X-Men gave us an Emma who was playful with her power, and years of being a general with Cyclops blunted that sense of fun somewhat – here she seems back to her full self. Who’d have thought that Cyclops might drag you down?

This is very much a stall issue for Marauders, but it’s in the down-time that the series gets to carefully draw interesting connections between its characters. It’s lightweight, for sure, but it’s perhaps the series which is spending the most time questioning life on Krakoa, and that’s a huge point in its favour.

 

Marauders #5: A Time To Sow
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Matteo Lolli and Lucas Werneck
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Cory Petit

Designer: Tom Muller

 

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