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411’s Comic Reviews: Marauders #6, Excalibur #6, More  

January 23, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Marauders 6

Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews (and previews) from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!  

Marauders #6

Review by Jeremy Thomas

For a while now, Marauders has been sailing clear atop the other books in the Dawn of X line as the most interesting, well-plotted story.  That’s a high bar, but Gerry Duggan and the art team – mostly Matteo Lolli with Michele Bandini and Lucas Werneck filling in on a couple issues – have done well with intricately setting up the pieces on their chessboard of piracy and mutant politics.  It’s created a well-balanced story arc that just needed a single spark to blow it all up in the best potential way.

Issue #6, “A Time to Reap,” provides that spark.  Following up on the last issue, Duggan and Lolli set the crew of the Marauder against Hate-Monger and the X-Cutioner for a fairly thrilling battle, while also unveiling some of the various plots that threaten our jolly superpowered pirates.  Not all the threats are external either, with some of the political machinations coming to fruition in shocking yet eminently logical ways.

While there’s been a lot of fun to be had in the high seas adventure, one of the biggest successes of this book has been how Duggan has been able to unveil the more serious aspects of this story.  Marauders is a book that tackles the mutant vs. humanity themes in ways that the other books aren’t, and that’s very much to its benefit.  The key to that has been capturing the voices and character motivations well, while at the same time finding new story beats for them.  Duggan has turned the members of the young Hellfire Club, aka Homines Verendi, into a real threat.  This issue makes it clear how seriously we have to take them, as their plans are more long reaching than perhaps were first believed.

Similarly, Kate Pryde continues to be a delight as the lead of this story.  Positioning Kate as the outcast of Krakoa was always a smart move, as she’s always been very much the eyes of the audience during her lifespan.  Duggan, with Lolli’s expressive art providing a big assist, finds the essence of Kate in all of her scenes here as she battles the attacking anti-mutant bigots and then deals with a shocking revelation. 

The final pages are the essential evidence of what really separates this book from the pack.  There’s a huge moment here that not only changes the game for the Hellfire Trading Company, but also drops a hint about Kate’s reason for not being able to enter Krakoa.  The issue ends on quite the cliffhanger that, to its credit, puts some serious stakes in a comic that is part of a line where death is not much of a concern.  In another book, this issue would be an undisputed high point from a storytelling perspective.  For Marauders, it’s just another example of why if you can only read one X-book, this is the one you should be checking out. 

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Excalibur #6

Review by Jeremy Thomas

Much like the aforementioned Marauders, Excalibur has spent much of its first five issues setting things up for its sixth. It’s fair to say that while it hasn’t quite had the soaring success of the other book, there’s been a lot to enjoy here.  Tini Howard and Marcus To have done a great job leaning into the legacy of the previous volumes of this book and the Otherworld storyline has brought plenty of mystical mayhem to dig into.

The story has all been clearly building up to something, and we learn exactly what that something is in “Watch the Throne.” Rogue’s killing of Apocalypse at the end of last issue – all part of Apocalypse’s plan – opens the floodgates for some serious changes to take place in the status quo of this book.  It doesn’t seem a spoiler to say that with the Resurrection Protocols of Krakoa that Apocalypse’s death is only temporary, and it allows the former (?) villain to unleash his plan for the mystical realm.

Howard and To have created a capper to their first arc of Excalibur which feels very much like essential X-Men.  There’s a ton of action, all of it interlaced with some intricate personal dynamics whether it’s between Betsy and Brian, Apocalypse and Otherworld, and even Apocalypse with his other Krakoans.  The issue leans very heavily into its fantasy elements – all wonderfully depicted
by To’s cartoon-esque style – but stays true to what the line should be about.  There’s betrayal and conflict to spare, and yet no one is necessarily the capital-V villain even if a few are far closer to that line than others.

The resolution of this arc is satisfying for several characters including Betsy, Brian, Apocalypse, Rogue, and Gambit.  It also sets up a new normal for the Excalibur team that is rife with possibilities for great storylines.  The only complaint I can really levy is how Jubilee and Rictor remain somewhat of background characters.  In any team book someone has to take a backseat, but it does seem to be them a lot of the time.

Then again, if that’s the worst thing I can throw at this issue, then it’s an absolute blessing.  Excalibur, while a cult fan favorite of many X-fans, hasn’t felt like it’s had its due since the late stages of the first volume in the late 1990s.  Thanks to Howard and To, this is a series that feels vital and thrilling for the first time since then, and this issue sets up the potential for plenty more of that to come.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 

Lumberjanes: Farewell to Summer 2020 #1

Preview by Steve Gustafson

BOOM! Studios revealed an exclusive first look at the LUMBERJANES: FAREWELL TO SUMMER 2020 FCBD SPECIAL, an all-new free comic book special written and illustrated by acclaimed comics creators including Aubrey Aiese, Dozerdraws, Maarta Laiho, Carolyn Nowak, polterink, Sarah Stern, and co-creator and original Lumberjanes artist Brooklyn Allen, arriving in comic shops worldwide on Free Comic Book Day, May 2, 2020.

Comic book writer and artist polterink and letterer Aubrey Aiese take us on a surprise adventure in this preview of LUMBERJANES: FAREWELL TO SUMMER 2020 FCBD SPECIAL as April, Ripley, Mal, Jo, Molly, and Jen make everlasting memories during the most magical summer of their lives in a collection of all-new stories set in the world of the New York Times bestselling phenomenon, perfect for readers new and old alike!

Launched in 2014 under BOOM! Studios’ YA-focused BOOM! Box imprint by series co-creators Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn Allen, and Noelle Stevenson, Lumberjanes was originally solicited as a limited series, but the overwhelming response from fans transformed it into an ongoing series that has become a New York Times best-seller, earned numerous prestigious awards including the GLAAD Media Award and two Eisner Awards, and has even crossed over with heroes from the DC Comics Universe (in Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy). The Lumberjanes have expanded to middle-grade novels at Abrams Books, as well as a diverse array of merchandise.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice

Preview by Steve Gustafson 

IDW Publishing brings the beloved DS9 crew back to comics with a taut noir thriller: the four-part comic book miniseries Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — Too Long a Sacrifice, under the license of ViacomCBS Consumer Products.

Written by longtime Star Trek scribes David Tipton and Scott Tipton and illustrated by Greg Scott (Gotham Central), the new series marks the first Deep Space Nine title published in over a decade. Debuting its first issue in April 2020, this long-awaited DS9 storyline shines the spotlight on Constable Odo, the fan-favorite shapeshifter brought to life by the late (and greatly missed) actor René Auberjonois.

“Set during the most difficult hours of the Dominion War, Too Long a Sacrifice shows the station during trying times: a series of mysterious and seemingly unsolvable terrorist attacks just as the war has everyone strained to the breaking point,” says David Tipton. “We’ll get to see the darker side of life on the station as Odo leads the investigation, with increasingly desperate conditions forcing him and others to deal with new and unexpected allies and to use unusual tactics in their efforts to stop the attacks.”

Scott Tipton says, “We’re so excited to return to the world of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. With its ‘frontier setting’ and precarious place in the galaxy, Deep Space Nine offers the opportunity to tell truly unique tales of intrigue and suspense. Combine that with one of the best character ensembles ever assembled, and you get something no other Star Trek series can offer.”

“I’m really excited to be spending time with the DS9 crew,” says artist Greg Scott. “I’ve always loved Star Trek, and can’t wait to draw these wonderful characters!”

“Deep Space Nine is one of the Star Trek series that I’ve been the most eager for IDW to dive into in comics form, so to be at the helm for the first series in over a decade is a dream come true,” says editor Chase Marotz. “I’ve worked with David and Scott Tipton on several amazing Star Trek books and know that they’re going to deliver a story that the fans will love, and it’s exciting to finally be able to work with Greg Scott. I’m a big fan of his style and I think we’re poised to create a Star Trek book that’s going to both surprise and delight.”

Detective Comics ##1019

Review by John Pumpernickel 

With so much Batman related offerings on the newsstand, I wasn’t sure I was going to continue reading Detective Comics but the teaser in Previews peaked my interest:

The Dark Knight is on the trail of the figure behind a brutal series of murders across Gotham City-and what he finds will send a cold shiver up his spine! A public attack on Bruce Wayne has brought the possible perpetrator of these murders to light…so what is an axe-wielding cult leader from the 1600s doing in present-day Gotham? Find out for yourself in the conclusion to Batman’s “Silent Knight.”

Writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Scott Godlewski deliver a solid story with some stellar artwork that makes me think I need to keep Detective Comics in the rotation. It has a good mix of action, character building, and, best of all, Batman being a detective!

The only thing that took me out of the story was John Constantine. I get the why but Detective Comics should be the more grounded of the Bat books. 

Good stuff from the team. 

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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