The Hellfire Trading Company is one of the most curious aspects of the Dawn Of X. We learn more about what they do and why they exist with each new issue of Marauders, as well as what their power structure is like. Marauders #7 is all about fleshing out more of that empire, delightfully so.
Written by Gerry Duggan (Savage Avengers), drawn by Stefano Caselli (Avengers), colored by Edgar Delgado (Amazing Spider-Man), lettered by Cory Petit (Excalibur), and, as always, with designs from Tom Muller (House/Powers Of X). Covers are provided by Russell Dauterman (Thor) and Matthew Wilson (Thor). Fair warning, all of the art you’re about to see is utterly fabulous and may result in a compulsion to want to die for Emma Frost.
A White Knight Rises
The holes in the power structure of the Hellfire Trading Company are being filled as we go. In Marauders #7, Emma finally names her white knight. If the cover isn’t a dead giveaway, it’s Callisto. I wasn’t expecting Callisto to be joining them as well in Hellfire Bay, but I’m loving it. Callisto is an inspired choice for the series and I’m thrilled she’s here, in a role of prominence no less. Unfortunately, the issue is a bit Kate-deficient, but Emma is front-and-center, baring it all, almost literally.
If Caselli/Delgado’s art didn’t make your heart stop, congratulations. Callisto is a great counter for Emma, representing the disenfranchised and downtrodden, even among mutants. Emma appears as the opposite at most times, seen as the 1% among mutants rather. It’s easy to see why some might not trust Emma but would trust Callisto. Emma’s judgment in choosing candidates for her side of things is, thus far, impeccable.
Checking In With The Team
While a large part of Marauders #7 is dedicated to Callisto’s appointment, we do see what everyone else is up to as well. There are so many small moments in Marauders that really solidify it as being one of my favorites in the Dawn Of X. There is one such moment here, with Bobby kissing Christian Frost. It’s so nice to see X-Men get their due and enjoy some relaxation and companionship, much like Rogue and Gambit over in Excalibur. Too often in comics, can publishers be withholding on certain relationships and letting characters be content, and in love, so I’m thrilled to see it let loose within the X-books at the moment.
Another incredible moment of Marauders #7 that Duggan, Caselli, and Delgado absolutely nail, is the meeting between Callisto and Storm. The tension at first is palpable but ends so rewardingly. Pyro’s reaction is priceless. I’m thrilled he’s keeping the face tattoo indefinitely, it’s a perfectly silly thing to saddle him with that he absolutely takes seriously. The charm Duggan brings to his character is nothing like what I thought it would be when he was announced for this team.
The back half of the comic focuses on Kade Kilgore’s Verendi plot and how that intersects with the team. The kids feel like they’re going to be playing out for a bit longer before it comes to ahead. The mysterious vote held by the quiet council is potentially of some concern, especially with Sinister abstaining. Shaw relishes his vanquishing of Kate, with the smugness of someone you just know is going to get what’s coming to them sooner rather than later. The game of deception between Emma and Shaw is one of the best parts of the whole book. It’s two master strategists, who hate each other vehemently, trying to gain the upper hand on the other.
What Makes Marauders #7 So Good?
This book has so many things going for it. Firstly, it’s such a unique team of mutants that are comprised of fan-favorites operating as pirates for Emma Frost. Secondly, Gerry Duggan is having so much damn fun on every page. It’s so incredibly evident in each issue and that joy is contagious.
Thirdly, while the art team changed a bit too much for my liking, they knocked it out of the park getting Caselli and Delgado here. They bring life to the characters that are impossibly gorgeous to look at and compliment each other very well. Knowing that they will return for the next issue has me gushing with excitement.