Marauders (2nd series) #11

Issue Date: 
April 2023
Story Title: 
Pre-Genesis, part 1

Steve Orlando (writer), Eleonora Carlini (artist), Matt Milla (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer & production), Tom Muller (designer), Kim Jacinto (cover artist), Ivan Shavrin (variant cover artist), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)


Brief Description: 

After everything that she has been through recently, rescuing several Thresholders, assisting with delivering Krakoan medicine to those in need, and bringing mutants to Krakoa when they can't make it there on their own, Kate Pryde still feels like she hasn't won. She seeks counsel with Nightcrawler, who gives her some advice, and Kate realizes that she needs to try something new. At the Theater of Pain, Scratch continues to preach Brimstone Love's message about Krakoa going against the dream of uniting mutants and humankind – but he will preach no more, as Fang and Lockheed attack him. The followers of the Theater of Pain scatter, leaving Scratch to Fang's mercy. Kate meets with Theia, and begins to discuss an idea with her, while in Santo Marco, Kwannon, Bishop, Somnus, Aurora and Triage are on hand to assist with a humanitarian crisis, where former Alpha Flight associate Feedback was being kept prisoner as a living battery, but was killed when a reactor exploded. The Marauders listen in telepathically as Kate pitches her idea to Theia about this era of mutantkind being the first generation of mutants. Soon, Kate, Bishop, Kwannon and Tempo arrive on Genosha, where Cassandra Nova once massacred the mutant population, and now, where Kate plans for those list millions to give life to billions. To bring about Kate's plan, she needsa circuit of unique mutant abilities, and is joined on Krakoa by Polaris and Wicked who will form part of that circuit. Wicked uses her abilities to bring forth the spirit of Kate's father, Carmen Pryde, who was killed on Krakoa. In Madripoor, Brimstone Love is in a high-rise when his peace is interrupted by the arrival of Fang, Mister Dee and Lockheed, who plan to put an end to him once and for all.

Full Summary: 

Dead Mutant Cove, Krakoa, where Captain Kate Pryde sits on the shore of the mutant nation, looking at a map. “It seems the first blood spilled between yours” she quotes. 'The first blood spilled” she quotes again. 'Damn it, Cassandra. Dry and withered. Two billion years away. And still a pain in my -' Kate mutters, when suddenly, there isa BAMF and Kate turns at the arrival of her dear friend Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler. 'You hoped to talk?' Kurt asks, dropping down beside Kate, who notices his horns and tells him that he is looking sharp. 'And I did want to talk. I do, I...don't know what to do' Kate utters. 'Nor do most of us, absent a golden faceplate and a council seat' Kurt replies. 'It's like – I thought I did. Do what's right but not allowed' Kate points out. Get Krakoan medicine to those who need it, in spite of their governments, rescueb mutants wherever they are, in spite of human limitations

'Then Threshold. Mutants from so long ago, it might as well be myth. But, hey, they needed help, right? So I gave it. We beat Sublime and Arkea. The Threshold Three are here, but we left Threshold to fight on alone. It's what they why don't I feel like we won?' Kate declares. She adds that studying the past is one thing, but seeing it so alive, knowing it would end, it was so much more real. 'And I wanted to save them all. Wanted to do more. But if I had...' her voice trails off as Kurt smiles and asks 'What would become of today, jah? Death ferries all to history...all but us, of late. You mourn a people's passing, Kate. Were made to feel it. It's natural you'd want to save them. But against history, few weapons exist'. He then tells Kate that a new friend recently told him “There is no weapon mightier than an idea.”

Kurt points out that the Spark calls them to move forward, to try new things. 'We have beaten death...but is resurrection the only victory over loss? Have you truly tried every weapon? In other words, are you truly out of ideas? If you can't save them all... what can you do?' Kate suddenly goes wide-eyed, then smiles: 'Something new' she declares.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Massachusetts, the Theater of Pain is in session, as Scratch stands on the altat of the church and proclaims 'It's happening every day! Where once we broke bread at the table of unity, now... the Krakoans toss us crumbs! They divide human and mutant!' He continues, exclaiming that mutants use their exclusive island as the wedge. 'But our eyes are open!' he claims. 'Wide open, Scratch! We've known!' one of the followers of the Theater of Pain calls out. Scratch boasts that Love empowers them, assures them the word is as they see it. 'Civilization divides! Society is a tool built by the elite – to define what is other!' As Scratch tells those listening that they alone remember the dream, and that humans and mutants were united long ago, that they can be again – in savagery. At that moment, the strange creature called Dirtnap can be seen scurrying around the church, towards an old hamburger which was on the floor. Dirtnap takes part of the hamburger, while Lockheed watches from above – and then something is hurled at Dirtnap, piercing the rat and seemingly killing it.

'Witness two hearts – one human and one mutant. United by my hand!' Scratch exclaims as he continues talking to the congregation. He claims that he tore out both indiscriminately, an uncivilized act without judgment – an ode to a time when only survival mattered. 'Before society, before law poisoned us...with prejudice! A Theater of Pain is a Theater of the Primal! Of the equitable...and fair! Here, we do not love our neighbors! Here, your life will always be in danger...but you will never be judged! Through brutality, we perform equality!' Scratch continues, while flicking blood from the hearts in front of him out across to the followers of the Theater of Pain standing below him, who revel in his speech and as the blood splatters across their faces. Suddenly, 'Then get ready for one hell of a performance!' a voice calls out. Scratch turns: 'You!' he exclaims. 'So...the canvas returns! But you cannot hurt me – no mutant gift can!' Scratch baosts. 'Sure. My claws might break against your skin. My pheromones can't nudge you... but us mutants? We love baseball' Akihiro a.k.a. Fang smirks as he bashes a baseball bat into the side of Scratch's face with powerful fury. Lockheed drops down onto Fang's shoulder abd breathes some fire, while Fang looks pleased with himself.

Meantime, in the South Pacific, Captain Pryde stands on the edge of an oil rig, while the Threaholder called Theia crouches beside her. Kate thanks Their for joining her, and informs her that the rest of the Marauders are listening in. She remarks that there is something she wants to run past her, and reports that Bishop and Psylocke are running point in Santo Marco. 'My pleasure, Captain. And I see you've come dressed in solidarity?' Theia, who wears the old X-Men training uniform asks. Indeed, Kate is wearing her old training uniform and explains that she thought it would help get her in the right headspace. 'You're no student. You sit high in Krakoa's government' Theia points out. Kate remarks that school is never really over for any of them, but that the teachers change.

Kate reminds Theia that the Marauders found Threshold, saved her and her friends and all because of a box and a map that pointed to a monster who killed millions – her father included. Kate becomes intangible and drops down onto the surface of the water surrounding the rig, and Theia follows her. 'The vessel, yes. Not unlike our seed. But lost to the void, you've said' Theia responds. Kate tells her that the seed was the same and that she saw her name was already etched in Krakoan on the side. “A genetic aleph” that first seeded their waters with life – and her name was already etched on it. 'I keep thinking – where'd that life come from? We all believed you were first... but what if we were the first generation all along? What if, Theia -' Kate begins, before she is interrupted by the voice of Jeanne-Marie Beaubier a.k.a. Aurora, who reports that she has a sitrep from Santo Marco. 'Hit me' Kate responds.

As a fire rages in the background, black smoke billows up and fills the air. Aurora reports that the central grain storehouse was destroyed, and people are hungry. 'Their leaders don't have much to feed them. But we do' Aurora remarks as she uses her light powers to blast open a large container, while some hungry civilians look on. Kwannon a.k.a. Psylocke holds a psi-arrow towards a soldier and reports that food and water will go a long way toward health and spirit, but that as gthey feared, recon confirms a mutant explosion of some kind. She adds that they have enlisted Triage to assist. Carl Valentino a.k.a. Somnus appears while Kwannon remarks that Triage did well responding to Nature Girl's oil rig attack. Somnus uses his powers to wrap the injured in pleasant dreams. Christopher Muse a.k.a. Somnus tends to one of the wounded as Kwannon assures Kate that they are saving everyone. 'Even so, the dead are beyond us' Aurora points out as she hands out water bottles from the container she has opened. Kate instructs Aurora to tell the families of the victims that Hellfire Trading will cover all funeral expenses, and adds that she will notify Christian Frost, before asking Bishop for the status of the power plant.

Lucas Bishop walks through the fire blazing in Santo Marco's so-called power plant reactor, absorbing huge amounts of bioelectricity. He reports that it is worse than they feared, as this facility was not hit by a mutant, rather it blew up from within, where a mutant prisoner was being kept as a power source. Bishop finds the remains of said mutant and identifies him as Albert Louis a.k.a. Feedback. 'These were his death throes' Bishop utters. Aurora refers to Feedback as being part of Department H before her and notes that he had a plaque on the wall. 'Faking a death to sell us for parts would not be above them' Aurora suggests, inferring that Department H had involvement here.

While she supervises the distribution of food to the civilians, Aurora tells Captain Pryde that she heard her pitch to Theia. 'I know you hated leaving Threshold behind but this? Us being first would explain a pre-human society of mutants' Aurora adds, before suggesting that grief is powerful, that it bends your thinking. 'How can we know?' she asks, while Bishop closes Feedback's eyes. 'How can we be sure this isn't self-delusion or a self-fulfilling prophecy? How do we know you're not seeing the path you want in the evidence you have?' Aurora asks. 'Honestly? We don''s a leap of faith, same as what got the Threshold Three here' Kate replies, before instructing her team to finish up and get Feedback in for resurrection, then they can join her in her delusions.

Later, Hammer Bay, Genosha, where Captain Pryde, Bishop, Kwannon and Heather Tucker a.k.a. Tempo stand on the roof of a building and look out over the remains of the city. Kwannon wears a pink jacket over her costume and Captain Pryde suggests that no mutant alive will ever forget where they were when Cassandra's Nova almost got her genocide. 'She said I spilled the first blood between us. But she did swhen she killed my father...on this spot' Captain Pryde tells the others, while wondering why she scribbled what she did on that map, or rather, why she will someday. Kate continues, telling the others that she reads it as a map to Threshold. 'And maybe it was. But not how I thought. We couldn't save Genosha...couldn't save Threshold...' her voice trails off as Bishop remarks that Captain Pryde has that look on her face, and that he will roll up his sleeves. 'All the way up, Bishop. We trapped Nova in the past. Threshold is her cage. What if that cage was built here? Not of bars... but an idea'. Kate declares that Nova didn't get them all, but that she did kill millions – so what if that loss could give life to billions?

Back in the church, the followers of the Theater of Pain look on in shock as Fang informs Scratch that Lockheed has been keeping watch over him for weeks. 'Recruitment drive after recruitment drive and still no Love. I got impatient' Fang  remarks, while Lockheed breathes fire at Scratch, who claims that to wait is a mild suffering, which is the way of a canvas. 'A canvas doesn't act – it is acted upon – and above all a canvas does not speak!' Scratch shouts as he holds up a blade and uses it to cut off Fang's fingers. 'Not even with my hands?' Fang asks as he kicks the blade out of Scratch's hand. Scratch falls to the ground and struggles to pull the blade from where it has embedded into the floorboards. 'Get my meaning, Scratch? I know I'm missing a few letters' Fang adds, before he swings the baseball bat once again, smashing it hard into Scratch's face and sending Scratch falling backwards into the crowd of his followers. 'What do we do now? Do we help Scratch?' one of them asks. 'No, that's not our way! And Scratch, he – he knows that. We all know what Love while you can! Save yourselves!' another of the congregation shouts as they all begin to run from the church.

'Some club you've got there...loyal to the core' Fang jokes as he stands over Scratch, blood-soaked baseball bat resting on his shoulder. 'Loyalty? Loyalty exists only until it's overcome by danger to oneself. When -' Scratch starts to respond, before Fang drops a knee down onto his chest, causing him to fall back to the ground ad cry out in pain. '- when numbers cannot protect, you abandon them!' Scratch gasps. Scratch looks up at Fang, he is now missing several teeth as blood streams from his mouth and nose, and tears fall from his eyes. 'If you think I'd defend Love, you haven't watched us at all!' Scratch exclaims, adding that since Love's Westchester community fell, he has acted through messengers such as himself, sent out to rebuild his Theater until it can support him. 'But we do know where to report' Scratch reveals. Fang turns to Lockheed and smirks. 'That's good, Scratch. Real good. Because as much as I love remixing your face... I'm saving my best work for your boss. Lockheed?'

'You're suggesting we create Threshold, Captain?' Kwannon asks, shocked as the Marauders remain on the rooftop of the building overlooking Hammer Bay. 'Suggesting we were always going to, Psylocke' Kate replies, adding that she does listen to Tempo's time talk. Kate becomes intangible and begins to walk across air as she tells her teammates that the Kin Crimson tried and failed to eradicate the Thresholders, so for them, that loss was “the First Blood Spilled”. 'But what about us? This was Nova's first blood spilled. Genosha. It's mutants are up for resurrection...but its humans aren't. And all the bodies are still here. So why are we settling for a graveyard?' Kate asks. The others join her mid-air, and Kwannon notes that Bishop is smiling, and asks him if she is going to like the plan she is about to hear. 'Hard to say. I showed up a long time ago. Lots of variables since then. Wasn't sure this moment would come, even if I read about it as a kid' Bishop replies.

They drop to the ground, while Kate tells the others that Krakoa means trying what's new. 'Our former enemy is now our island home. A nation died here. And here, a new nation could be born in its memory...wiyth one hell of a mutant circuit' Kate adds, announcing that she invited some friends. The Marauders look over and see Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris the Misstress of Magnetism wearing one of her classic green costumes standing nearby. 'Appreciate the call, Pryde. I love a caffeine desert' Polaris remarks sarcastically, obviously unable to satisfy her coffee-addition on Genosha, before adding that she gets it – it is good to have a physicist on hand when playing god. Lorna and Kate hug, while Tempo points out that physics is just the start of it, as they simply just don't know. 'We don't know this is where Threshold's seed is built' Tempo adds. 'We don't know it's not, Tempo' Kate replies, asking her to look ahead in time and tell her.

'Right. Just gaze into the abyss. Looking back's dangerous enough. The second you act on a future you see, you erase that future. No ripple is closer' Tempo declares. Kate holds up the Mysterium and asks 'Then why not take our future into our own hands? A genetic aleph, Tempo' Kate suggests, explaining that Polaris can shape it, Cerebra can scan the DNA in the ground, plus a bit more. 'We fill the box. You send it back. Then time, nature and evolution bring us Threshold'. Tempo supposes that that does follow Kate's chaotic brand of logic, before pointing over to a woman dressed in back and asks 'But what's she doing here?' Ghosts fly around the woman, who smirks and replies 'Oh, you know. Something Wicked'. 'Great. Who called for ghost recon?' Bishop asks. 'There is a smugness about her. And a kind of psychic stink' Kwannon frowns. 'Who, me?' Wicked asks. 'Psionic scent of death, Psylocke. Don't be scared – it's just necroplasm. Manifestations of the dead. The real spirits are passing notes in our waiting room' Wicked declares.

Wicked continues, explaining that her friends are here, just like the real thing – up to the moment they died. A ghost of a cat flitters over from Wicked towards Kate, who remarks that Wicked is key to this. 'Sure, Threshold believes it came from that box, and, sure...mutant technology could do that. But so many lives were lost you really think we'd touch them without asking?' Kate enquires. The ghost cat perches on Kate's shoulder as Kate announces that Wicked is not their only missing piece, as Cerebra is past due, and she needs Psylocke in the Bay Area. 'You and -' Kate begins, as Aurora suddenly arrives on scene at light-speed. 'Sorry – I'm here!' Aurora exclaims, explaining that she stayed on Santo Marco until the last millisecond. 'So, San Francisco?' Kwannon asks. Kate explains that their aleph's not much good if they can't fill it. She adds that Cerebra's telepathy is biometric, and that Cerebra said Cable dropped her here for a reason, and she is uniquely suited for this job. 'Which is why I don't love that she is late. Her last gate transit logged was for the Bay'.

Kate instructs Psylocke to track Cerebra, and remarks that if there is trouble, Aurora can handle it. 'Without Cerebra, there's no moving forward. Bring her home' Kate declares, when suddenly, Wicked moves up beside her and tells her that she is impressed: 'Quite a play to make without the Council' she smirks. 'This isn't up to the Grove. It's up to them...and...and...and him' Kate gasps when she sees the ghost of her father, Carmen Pryde, floating before her. 'Hey, Dad. You said to make you proud. Let's see how I'm doing' Kate smiles.

Finally, in Hightown, Madripoor, a figure sits in a dark penthouse apartment, when there is a knock at the door. Another knock, when suddenly, the door is smashed down by Fang. 'Love!' Fang shouts. Brimstone Love is sitting in the dark penthouse, and looks up: 'Why, look at that. The dog comes home at last. I suppose you missed our unique brand of fun?' Brimstone Love asks, addressing Fang as “Daken.” Standing next to Fang is a man wearing his shirt open – and some tentacles sticking out of the center of his stomach. 'It's Fang' Fang snarls at Brimstone, while Lockheed flies around him. Fang introduces the man next to him as Mister Dee, and warns Brimstone Love that this time it is they who will be enjoying themselves. 'By all means – let's test that theory' Brimstone Love grins.

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Bishop, Fang VI, Kate Pryde, Psylocke II, Somnus, Tempo (all Marauders)

Nightcrawler, Polaris, Triage


Theia (Thresholder)

Feedback (body only)



Johnny Dee


Carmen Pryde (ghost)


Brimstone Love


Theater of Pain followers







Story Notes: 

This issue includes a text outlining the Three Laws of Krakoa, along with some interpretive notes from Nightcrawler.

Aurora incorrectly refers to Feedback as being part of Department H before her. This is utterly incorrect, and given the writer's knowledge of obscure characters somewhat surprising. In fact, Feedback first appeared in Alpha Flight (1st series) #118 as the first member of a new Gamma Flight training team. When Department H was shut down in Alpha Flight (1st series) #130 Feedback was never seen of or heard from again, until now.

Cassandra Nova's Sentinel massacre of Genosha took place in New X-Men (1st series) #115.

Kate's father, Carmen Pryde, was confirmed to have died in the Sentinel attack in X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #36.

Brimstone Love's Theater of Pain community in Westchester was put to an end in Marauders Annual #1.

Wicked is a character who lived in Genosha and was part of Professor X's “Excalibur” group as seen in Excalibur (3rd series) #1-12. She was confirmed as being de-powered following M-Day in New Avengers (1st series) #18, then appeared in Son of M #5-6 and in the Merry X-Men Holiday Special.

This issue includes Kate Pryde's hand-written notes on the Genosha to Threshold experiment, noting how Theia, Fang, Wicked, Cerebra, Tempo and Polaris will all contribute to the plan.

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