Misunderstood Mutants, Carefree Destruction, and Cool Guests
Right off the bat, you would expect Mr. Sinister to be the leader in the Marauders book, seeing as how his former team was called “The Marauders.” But they’ve chosen instead to make him the sponsor of the Hellions: A group of un-matchables that represent the slice of mutant society that Sinister stands for in The Quiet Council (a group of powerful mutants serving over worldwide affairs from Krakoa). So this list of screwballs includes people like Sabretooth’s former lackey Wildchild, original Hellions members Empath and Scalphunter, problem child Alex “Havok” Summers, eternal weirdos Nanny & The Orphan-Maker (more on that later), and field leader Psylocke. This is not Betsy Braddock, this is Kwannon, original inhabitor of the body Betsy Braddock entered after the X-Men passed through the Siege Perilous (I said Im a DC guy right?).
Mister Sinister features heavily, and boy is he sassy! He is practically a joke-a-minute. Sinister talks the council into letting these miscreants go on dangerous, black-ops missions, rather than sending them to prison. Seemingly no one will miss them if they don’t return from these clandestine missions, like some kind of “suicide” “squad.” Thankfully for the Hellions, there is plenty to do just with cleaning up Sinister’s old messes, including shutting down a mutant “orphanage” he ran in Omaha, but abandoned long ago. This mission holds some interesting surprises, again, heavily tied to The (classic) Marauders.
New Interactions and Character Depth
Naturally, we get to learn more about fringe characters like Wildchild than we have before. This leads to some interesting scenes involving Psylocke having to establish herself as the “Alpha” of their group. We also get a lot of dialogue weight thrown on Havok, which is fine, but the dark comedy overtone of the book makes even this familiar character act and speak in ways he hasn’t before. Empath (here’s where my DC-ness shows) has apparently had a long history with versions of the Hellions team, and recent developments reveal that he became a sociopath DUE TO his x-gene, an idea that kind of rocks the foundation of Marvel mutant psychology. Did I just say that?
How Weird are Nanny and Orphan-Maker?
The X-Men I love were the scraggly bunch holed up in Australia after the Fall of the Mutants. And during this time, Nanny showed up and caused some major headaches. Nanny’s origin is a LONG story, but suffice it to say: She is a scientist eternally-encased in a robot egg who has lost leave of her senses. In her mind, adult mutants are evil for abandoning mutant children and must be punished (whether they have actually done it, or even if they have children or not). So, early on, Nanny picked up an orphan named, “Peter,” and also encased him in armor, dubbing him, “Orphan-Maker.”
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
The Good: I don’t know much about this version of Psylocke, but I’m interested to know more. I REALLY enjoy learning more about Nanny and Orphan-Maker, they may be my next trip down the back issue rabbit hole. I am a big fan of the original Marauders, and there’s actually a LOT about them in this volume (but not in The Marauders, which I’ll write about later).
The Bad: Mister Sinister’s banter is just too much. His jokes are so rapid fire that he seems out-of-character to past versions of the character. Maybe a bit too much drawing out of the Psylocke vs. Wildchild alpha debate, it’s pretty much strung across the whole volume. How you feel about The Quiet Council of Krakoa can’t help but come into play here, and traditionalists may find it weird in here.
The Ugly: Scalphunter’s name, but luckily they change it after this I hear. A couple of these characters could use new costumes, namely Empath and Wildchild. Havok’s new “close-cropped” head bands. Some of the gnarly, demonic, stuff that happens surrounding the secret guest villain and their love interest.