Marauders #4 continues the trend of jumping perspectives in one volume and overshadowing its story with cryptic foreshadowing that has no substance. The volume starts with Storm, Iceman and Pyro’s perspectives as they save a few mutant children from the Brazilian government and take them safely to Krakoa. After this short scene, the volume then jumps into the main story following Kate Pryde and Bishop as they uncover the secrets around the anti-mutant politician Chen Zhao and her missing husband Lim that she blamed the mutants for kidnapping.
The overall story is interesting with that air of mystery as we uncover his disappearance is linked to him being a mutant worshipper. Lim’s wife, Chen, hates mutants and locked him away as grounds to create an anti-mutant movement to endanger Krakoa. The overall story is pretty solid in execution and development but does little to stand out from the prior volumes. After Chen is exposed she loses her power and starts her life anew with an organization that uses the Hellfire Trading Company’s name.
The story is told well through its use of panels and a consistent art style that effectively conveys the story. All of the characters look their best in each panel, the work doesn’t look rushed like in other series and the flow from each panel makes the volume an easy read.
Aside from the wonderful art in this series, the direction of the writing makes for quite a concern about what the story could eventually become. At its core Marauders is about the Hellfire Trading Company being the pharmaceutical delivery system for Krakoa and saving mutants that are unable to escape to the island themselves, but the constant chess references allude to something else. Since the second volume, there have been mentions of a Red Bishop and finding the person to become the next one. In volume 4, Kate continually refers to Bishop as the next Red Bishop for the Hellfire Trading Company. All of this dialogue is being exchanged while they infiltrate Cheng’s penthouse and rescue her estranged husband.
The dialogue feels constantly out of touch with what is currently going on in the story. There are also references near the end of the volume referring to Storm as the White Queen and the sinister organization having a White King. These cryptic mentions feel like out of place chess references and make the entire plot of the series feel like a chess game. It seems that everything currently going on is just setting up the pieces for a game? None of it really makes any sense and to weigh the series down, even more, it doesn’t seem like the writer has the entire plot mapped out to know either. When Bishop asks Kate why the organization needs a King, Queen, and Bishop she cuts him off and tells him to be quiet so they don’t get spotted by the guards. The entire conversation serves no purpose to them infiltrating the penthouse and when we may possibly get substance to their conversation, we are just cut off in such a way that it leaves a sour taste behind.
While I hope the author, Gerry Duggan provides an answer to this question I remain doubtful to that happening in further issues. It feels like Marauders has a short-term story in place but has yet to look to the future for how the story can develop from here. With the out of place dialogue and constant foreshadowing with chess pieces as titles without any substance provided to explain why they have such importance, Marauders feels like it is running in circles trying to see what sticks.