Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Michele Bandini, Federico Blee, Elisabetta D’Amico, VC’s Cory Petit, Tom Muller, Matthew Wilson, and Russell Dauterman
Release Date: December 4th, 2019
Sebastian Shaw recruits a new Black Bishop continuing with his machinations against the two Queens of the Hellfire Club in this week’s all-new MARAUDERS #3 by Gerry Duggan! Meanwhile, Captain Kate and her Marauders wreak havoc on the high seas from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the name of the mutant cause. Let’s dive in and see who the new Black Bishop is and what Captain Kate and Emma Frost have to say about this decision.
Gerry Duggan delivers an issue that seems out of character from the prior two and invokes a more straightforward and serious tone. This reader isn’t implying the issue was bad by any stretch however, it definitely felt different, less comedic, and appeared to have more purpose and direction than prior. Duggan delivers some minor background to the Shaw family, the Hellfire Club, and reasonably summarizes the recent events of Krakoa to his new Black Bishop.
This leads me to the biggest negative of the issue; nothing happened… or at least nothing happened that couldn’t be deciphered from the cover and the preview excerpt. To any lifelong X-fan, the synopsis to this story was easy to establish prior to reading the issue. This wouldn’t be a problem if Duggan deviated a bit from the plot or dropped little nuggets, twists, or cliffhangers to the reader. However, that’s the thing… he didn’t. Nothing new happened other than what was expected. Therefore, this week’s tale was overly predictable and remotely pointless, especially with the cover reveal. Don’t get me wrong; the detail and story were needed to the overarching plot. However, what readers learn could have been established in such a smaller page count leaving more room for activities… or other dangling and more interesting plot threads.
On a more positive note, Michele Bandini’s art was natural and earthy, while Federico Blee and Elisabetta D’Amico’s colors saturated the page with definition and strength. This art team magnified specific panels beautifully to expose movement and action amongst the characters by taking away backgrounds and reinforcing particular colors and shades to drive home elements of the story that carried more weight and value to the narrative. This reviewer thoroughly appreciated the art in this week’s MARAUDERS tale. In all actuality, it is because of the art that this reader noticed a time difference within the issue. Outside readers may think this issue chronologically is the third issue. However, Xavier is alive in MARAUDERS #3 because this issue takes place before he died. Duggan does not make reference to this aspect throughout the dialogue until over halfway through the issue. Maybe the blame for this should be more on Tom Muller? Maybe Muller, as well as the Head of X (Jonathan Hickman), should have made the timing of this issue more clear? However, it’s the art team that helped this reviewer distinguish the time jump immediately and not Duggan or Muller for that matter. So, kudos to them!
Overall, the issue was good. Other than the time difference, this week’s tale wasn’t confusing at all. Characteristics and attitudes of the main influencers in the story were spot on. However, the issue was just too simple, predictable, and bland. Nothing crazy happened and nothing overly impactful changed the course or direction of the narrative. This issue wasn’t overly exciting or stimulating AND lacked Captain Kate, which has taken center stage for the comic as the lead. Duggan simply created an average issue that was right down the middle. If you’re not an X-fan and have just hopped on board, you will probably enjoy this issue more since you had no background of Sebastian Shaw prior. Furthermore, if you’re a completist, then you have no choice but to snag this issue. Otherwise, the entire issue could be summarized by the cover and preview excerpt alone.