One of the X-Men’s most cruel villains just found a perfect way to use their terrifying powers for good in Marauders.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Marauders #18 by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli, Matteo Lolli, Edgar Delgado & VC’s Cory Petit, on sale now
The idea of Krakoa is to give all mutants a place to call home, and to find a way to help the world in their own way. Far beyond the X-Men, this sentiment has extended to the numerous mutant villains who the heroes fought over the years, with many of them even having a real shot at making up for their past crimes. This extends to one of the most brutal of the Morlocks, who just got a surprisingly important job on Madripoor.
When the Moira MacTaggert Memorial Hospital is opened up to help the residents of Madripoor in Marauders #18, the Marauders gave the former Morlock villain Masque the role of plastic surgeon. With that title, they may have given the former Morlock a shot at real redemption and the ability to help improve human/mutant relations along the way.
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Created by Chris Claremont and Paul Smith in 1983’s Uncanny X-Men #169, Masque was one of the original Morlocks, a community of mutants driven from humanity and forced to hide in the tunnels underneath New York City. A particularly cruel man, Masque has the ability to change the physical appearance of anyone he touches. He can do this to improve their appearance — but more often used it as a means to torture the “beautiful” members of the X-Men — notably once briefly even melting Shadowcat’s face because of his belief that she thought she was better than him. Masque was one of the Morlocks who survived the “Mutant Massacre,” eventually becoming a reoccurring threat to various X-Men over the years.
Despite this, he eventually made peace with the X-Men after briefly leading the Utopians, a band of mutants who took over the abandoned Utopia following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men. But Masque may have finally found a way to fully redeem himself. On Madripoor, the Marauders and the Hellfire Trading Company are trying to bring real change to the local people with acts like constructing the Moira MacTaggert Memorial Hospital. When Callisto leads an unsuspecting Masque into the hospital, she reveals that she’s volunteered his services as a plastic surgeon. While he’s historically used his powers to maim or torture the X-Men, Masque now finds himself using his abilities to treat physical maladies, with his powers making him perfect for the job.
Masque’s first patient is a human infant who’s been born with a cleft palate. Telling the staff and patients that Masque is a doctor, Callisto is able to convince Masque to use his powers to help the child, which he’s able to do in seconds.
Masque is almost shocked by this use of his powers, unaware of how proud Callisto looks behind him, confident that one of her former charges has found a new place in the world. Masque was always one of the crueler Morlocks, with a genuine disdain for the X-Men and the humans who resided in the city above the Morlock community, with the character often bristling under more compassionate leadership.
But one of the defining aspects of the X-Men has always been the possibility of redemption, especially the kind of redemption that involved using mutant powers to help others. Masque’s actions in Madripoor alone will likely endear himself, the hospital, and Krakoa’s other mutants to the island nation and the world at large. This way, Masque could be doing more for Krakoa as a doctor than he ever could as a member of something like X-Force or X-Factor. It’s a heartening development for the old Morlock, and the chance to turn the page towards a more hopeful chapter of his life.
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