After her apparent death some issues ago, the X-Men finally assemble to mourn Captain Kate Pryde of the Hellfire Trading Company in this week’s Marauders #11, but it goes without saying that a funeral on Krakoa doesn’t quite go as planned.
If you forgot that Kate was killed by Sebastian Shaw (back in January, the before times) then you may be asking “wait, how did she die? Aren’t all mutants basically immortal now?” Yes and no. While any mutant can come back from death now thanks to The Five, their efforts have failed Kate repeatedly, and the X-Men have finally resigned themselves to their loss. Without getting into details, I don’t have to tell you that the reports of Ms. Pryde’s death have been greatly exaggerated, right? We HAVE all read superhero comics before, yes? We understand that superheroes are killed off to allow for new story opportunities rather than make permanent changes, correct?! Good.
Joking aside, Marauders #11 ends an arc I’ve otherwise enjoyed, and this issue is a satisfying—if anticlimactic—conclusion. Killing off Kate was a clever twist given the current status quo of the X-Men, because if everybody on Krakoa has the ability to cheat death, what happens when someone who can’t? (Her inability to pass through Krakoan gates as depicted in Issue #1 doesn’t seem to be related to the resurrection mystery, but TBD.) I’ll say the explanation given for her revival feels a bit too simple for how much it was hyped up, but again, it seems that Kate’s murder was more about cementing the fact that Sebastian Shaw cannot be trusted than “if” she would return. It’ll undoubtedly have ramifications moving forward, especially now that one of Kate’s closest, fiercest allies also knows he killed her.
Marauders has been one of my favorite “Dawn of X” titles since the start, so I knew what to expect from writer Gerry Duggan’s script going in: humor with a little bit of drama and some lore-building progression. The sequence depicting Kate’s funeral is very well done, narrated by Nightcrawler through a written letter to the late Shadowcat in lieu of dialogue. There’s a scene mid-issue, however, that doesn’t feel like it entirely belongs with everything else going on and ruins the flow of things. I can’t quite remember if it’s related to anything that happened in the previous issues (2020 be like that) or if it’s meant to prelude the upcoming “X of Swords” crossover (which the cover signals this issue on “the path to”), but it’s definitely related to something.
Frequent Marauders artist Stefano Caselli has a lot to work with in this issue, which should be obvious since much of this issue is centered around mourning and unexpected joy. When Kate is reunited with her trusty dragon Lockheed (who has been having a rough go of things lately himself), you really believe it; meanwhile, it’s hard not to empathize with Emma Frost after the funeral once she’s away from the crowd and allows herself to be vulnerable.