Marauders #2

Issue Date: 
January 2020
Story Title: 
The Red Coronation
Staff: 

Gerry Duggan (writer), Matteo Lolli (artist), Federico Blee (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Russell Dautermann & Matthew Wilson (cover artists), Tony Moore & John Rauch (variant cover artists), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

In the London offices of the Hellfire Trading Corporation, the White Queen is giving the Black King trouble over his illegal activities and his money troubles. Shaw is humiliated and furious, as she also blocks all of his attempts to discuss his candidate for the Red Throne. Part of Shaw’s troubles stem from Kate Pryde and her Marauders, who have recently boarded a boat captained by Batroc and his mercenaries with shipment of Krakoan drugs, originally intended for a poor nation which Shaw diverted to sell to wealthier clients. Making a statement, the Marauders destroy the shipment, then travel to Taipei to meet up with Bishop. Bishop somberly informs them of the death of Professor X. Katr processes this by entering a tattoo parlor and getting a tattoo (as does Pyro) while they wait for the teleporter Gateway to fetch them. Gateway arrives and takes them to London, where Kate has an important meeting. Just when Shaw has had enough of Emma’s games and as Emma reveals the position of Red King is already filled, Kate joins them revealing that she is the Red Queen.

Full Summary: 

On the astral plane, Emma Frost is in talks with the Stepford Cuckoos, who say ‘no’ to the offer she made them. Emma is disappointed but not surprised. She has another candidate. Until her issues with the current board of the Hellfire Trading Company are sorted out, there will be no Lord Imperial. She lectures them that it is more important than ever to have strong alliances. Mutants are perfectly aligned Mindee (aka Irma) points out. Patronizingly, Emma clarifies she was taking about women. She needs to go. The Black King is here. One of the Cuckoos wishes her luck and they break off contact.

Emma and Shaw meet at their London offices and Emma gleefully points out the mass of red in his ledgers. He replies that not all of them can enter a bank and walk out rich. He knows what she did. She calls him on trying to change the system and asks if he has had trouble with ships that are not officially registered at the Hellfire Trading Company. Frustrated, he hits the table. She knows he is!

With a smile, she states he has been flooding humanity’s first world market for a quicks buck. She suggests he consider the shipment he lost hours ago as a reminder to stay in his lane and serve only the black markets.

Now on to the difficult conversation. She knows men don’t like having the size of their accounts called into question, but is he financially stable? After a pause, Shaw replies that starting any endeavor needs capital. Emma presses on that she’s heard he has designs on the third chair. So, what trollop has he promised to make the Red Queen?

Trying to control himself, Shaw growls she has made her point about the shipments. He will make sure the countries in need will get their shipments first. However, he would appreciate it if she didn’t play games over the vacant red throne. She suggests they table the topic for the moment. They have more pressing issues, such as his pending insurance claim.

Some hours earlier:
Somewhere at sea, Kate Pryde’s Marauders attack a black ops team led by Batroc the Leaper. Lockheed feeds Pyro fire for him to use in battle and Storm reminds Pyro about the Krakoan law not to kill.

As Batroc attacks Iceman, a big guy is about to stab Kate with a knife, asking with a leer whether she wants to dance. She calls him rude, grabs his knife-hand and announces she will lead. She skillfully dances with him, while numbing his hand by pressing a pressure point, phases him through the ship’s hull and into the water.

Dodging Iceman’s blasts, Batroc swears that they are certifiable. Don’t they know who he’s working for? Storm warns him not to kick her again or he will jump into leg casts. Batroc asks for a parley. Agitated, Pyro jumps at him shouting “you don’t kick Storm!” and bites him in the arm.

Kate phases into the storage and fins the Krakoan meds. Batroc follows and asks for a word. He explains he doesn’t want to cross swords with Krakoa. He suspects who sent her and she probably know who he is working for. Perhaps they all could agree the ship sank but maybe the cargo can go where it needs to go… on her boat, with a generous split to her. No, Kate grins. Nonplussed, he protests the haul is worth tens of millions.

She phases upward and outside, stating that mutant money grows on trees now and sending the Black King this message is worth any price. That shipment was supposed to go to an African nation that can’t take the deal publicly without plunging into civil war. Instead, Batroc was bound for a rich country club in the United States.

Batroc suggests the original African destination still needs – Kate interrupts that a second Hellfire Captain with a fast ship and replacement drugs was dispatched yesterday. And she was sent after him.

She proffers her hands assuring this isn’t personal, then throws him off the ship… into a lifeboat where the rest of his crew is already waiting.

The Marauders set course for Taipei. And then try to sell the ship to the highest bidder in the harbor.

In London, Shaw protests that, in addition to the loss of the boat and the drugs, he now has to deal with a furious Batroc as well. Some correction he can tolerate, but this feels punitive and beyond their new spirit of cooperation. Emma needs to make this right and making it right means a full consideration of his candidate for the Red Throne. Consider it considered, Emma purrs, but the problem is the throne isn’t vacant. She sorted it all prior to his… return. How is that possible?! he shouts. It’s quite simple, she replies. When she was alone on the board, she offered an invitation and it was accepted. She thinks he will be quite pleased with their new red monarch…

Taipei:
In a shop, Kate arms herself with a bottle of something alcoholic, while Storm looks away disapprovingly. The team goes dancing in a club and finally meets Bishop, who tells them they are late. He thought something happened to them, too. When they ask what is going on, he informs them that Charles Xavier’s been killed. Assassins made it onto the island.

After a moment of shock, Bobby urges the others to believe in the Five. They can bring him back! Kate sensibly drinks, then walks into a tattoo parlor and announces she and her friends are going to make themselves comfortable here for a while.

Soon, the tattoo artists are working on Pyro’s face and Kate’s knuckles. Storm takes a hard pass and Bishop points out he already has one. Meanwhile, Iceman is considering.

Overenthusiastic, Pyro has a skull design tattooed on the upper part of his face.

Kate throws the owner way to much cash and tells him to remember that if she returns broke some day and gives him a kiss. When he asks who she is, she replies, a former school teacher, then adds she will take this grabbing an 18th century style British army redcoat, epaulettes and all.

Outside, Emma telepathically informs her it is time and Gateway should be with them presently.

The Australian teleporter is already waiting for them and opens a gateway to London. Emma telepathically informs Kate that Shaw is even angrier than she anticipated. And Bishop reminds Kate he will need their help afterwards in Taipei.

Gateway transports them atop a state-of-the-art ship on the Thames near London Bridge. Pyro enthusiastically suggests they steal her. Kate informs them that they own her. She’s their new home – the Marauder. When they are done gawking, go below and pick their cabin. Oh, Emma, Storm sighs, whereas Pyro believes he is still dead and in Heaven and Bishop grudgingly admits he doesn’t have to returns to Taipei right now.

Kate announces she is going ashore. She is going shopping for some boots and then she is going to burn the old ship. She’s not going to sit around an island all the time watching them having fun.

In the Hellfire Club’s office, an increasingly aggressive Shaw accuses Emma of just wanting to humiliate him. And he won’t have it! Pouring them both a drink, a calm Emma assure him this isn’t personal. They aren’t doing this to line their pockets. What they are doing is important. Shaw urges her to stop playing a zero sum game then. They can both play to win. Emma points out he is back to play. For now, that is a win. He has a long history of hedging bets against mutantdom. In the end, it’s not just about security, it’s about relationships. She cannot allow a third of their voting rights to be bundled up with whatever tramp or witch breed he is sleeping with.

Damn you! Sebastian swears and crushes her against the wall (Luckily, she turned to her diamond form.). She knows nothing! Still calm, Emma points out the wall is more red ink on his tab. Perhaps his affinity for debt is an emergent secondary mutation? He snarls “There will be no Red King, you bit…”

Actually, another voice interrupts him. It’s Kate in a marauder style outfit with the red jacket and new boots. She pours herself a glass of champagne and announces, she is the Red Queen. Bitch.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Iceman, Pyro, Red Queen, Storm (Marauders)
Black King, White Queen (Hellfire Trading Company)
Gateway

Tattooists

Story Notes: 

Text page:
The text page reveals the structure of the Hellfire Trading Company. Apart from the thrones, the only position filled so far is that of White Bishop (Emma’s brother Christian).

Further notes:
Xavier was killed in X-Force (7th series) #1

Shaw’s candidate for the Red Throne will be revealed next issue.

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