"King in Black" has hit the Marvel Universe like a whirlwind, and thus far many of the tie-ins have been stellar—contributing to the overall story with their own flavor and personalities intact. That is especially true of King in Black: Marauders #1, which picks up after Cyclops and Storm have fallen under Knull's control. The mission for the Marauders is simple: Get back their teammates by any means necessary. But like all Marauders tales, the most interesting part of the adventure is what happens along the way. Writer Gerry Duggan, artist Luke Ross, colorist Carlos Lopez, and letterer Cory Petit deliver an action-packed adventure with a poignant twist, and it's more than deserving of any reader's time and attention.
Things start out normally enough, with the Marauders on their way to rescue their teammates when they find themselves on an impromptu rescue mission instead. At this point, Duggan has such a delightful handle on the team's individual personalities and how they play off one another that even rather ordinary sequences leap off the page. Although, I suppose there's nothing too ordinary about chucking large fireballs at Space Dragons.
Things take a major turn around the issue's midway point, becoming something else entirely in the process, and showcasing how versatile this title and cast of characters can be. The issue and its characters bounce from lighthearted humor to righteous anger swiftly but organically, and the group's reactions and decisions never feel forced towards an arbitrary objective.
One event flows into another seamlessly, and when Kate Pryde and Iceman each have their respective mic drop moments you can't help but cheer. The same goes for Emma Frost and Magneto, who each own their own moments to shine, individually and as a duo, and honestly, I could use a lot more of Emma and Mags working together in the future.
Those moments don't work without the lovely visuals from Ross and Lopez, who ensure that those tonal shifts are pulled off effectively and whose expression work is a consistent highlight throughout the issue. Every joyous exchange and shocking realization is delivered beautifully through expressions alone, whether it's Kate and Lockheed having a sweet moment or Bishop's inner turmoil seeping out in an exchange with Pyro and planting seeds for future conflicts—all of it occurring without disrupting the central story.
Oh, and if Ross and Lopez don't draw an Emma Frost book at some point X-fans will be robbed, as they capture the odd mixture of aloofness and compassion that is the White Queen's essence in every scene. Seriously, perfection.
While this doesn't have as much to do with the core story of King in Black, and by issue's end readers don't even get to the mission that began this whole adventure, the journey still feels worthwhile. The exchange between Nyoka and Magneto would honestly be worth the price of admission alone, but there are simply too many other delightful exchanges throughout to not recommend. It's a "King in Black" story done in Marauders style, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Published by Marvel Comics
On February 3, 2021
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Luke Ross
Colors by Carlos Lopez
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover by Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson