The Falcon & The Winter Soldier: the secrets of Madripoor

The Falcon & The Winter Soldier: the secrets of Madripoor

The Falcon & The Winter Soldier

For voracious readers of Marvel comics, especially those related to the mutant world, the name Madripoor is synonymous with pulp-flavored stories animated by an atypical criminal environment, but viewers of The Falcon & The Winter Soldier have become acquainted with this paradise of ' illegality only in Power Broker, the third episode of the series starring the two Marvel heroes. The contrast between the paper original and the bright city seen in the Disney + serial is quite stark, with a depiction of Madripoor making it more like a sprawling cyberpunk city than the smoky and dangerous oasis of safety for villains and desperates known in the comics.

But how was Madripoor born?

It all came to life when in the mid-80s the mutant world is firmly in the hands of Chris Claremont, the architect of the mutant renaissance, who after having revived the historical formation of the X-Men, expands the family of the children of the atom by adding a new formation, the New Mutants. Within this series, dedicated to a group of teenagers who entered Xavier's school as students, in number 32 appears a mysterious city, built on an island in Southeast Asia: Madripoor.

Madripoor, the safe haven of Marvel Universe criminals

Conceived by X-Chris and graphically rendered by Steve Leialoha, Madripoor is a den of criminals, with a long tradition as a free zone for criminals and pirates. Not surprisingly, one of the young mutants compares her to Mos Eisley, the famous 'den of scum' seen in A New Hope. To create this exotic and lethal location, Leialoha was inspired by Singapore, to the point that in the fiction of the Marvel Universe it was decided to place Madripoor right in front of the city that inspired its design.

Historically, Madripoor is conceived as a mecca of crime, whose origins go back to the times of piracy. Over time, this safe haven has continued to hold its role as a refuge, becoming a world of its own, control of which has passed from hand to hand among some of the great villains of the Marvel world, such as Viper, the Hydra or The Hand, but always maintaining its own identity. A unique personality, that of Madripoor, who made her the scene of some Marvel stories in which great criminal exploits or borderline missions of the heroes of the House of Ideas saw the Asian island as a must.

After its premiere appearing in New Mutants # 32 of October 1985, Madripoor had to wait for one mutant in particular to enjoy his autonomy and elect this paradise of lawlessness as his home: Wolverine.

First step was Wolverine and the Tiger , narrative arc of 1988 published within Marvel Comics Presents, an anthological publication of the House of Ideas in which solo adventures of heroes part of larger formations or stories that did not find space within the titular series were inserted. Signed again by Chris Claremont, this mini was lucky enough to be entrusted to the Sal Buscema trait, which best captured Claremont's intentions: to give life to a spy story.

Wolverine is far from the X-Mansion, the X-Men seem to have mysteriously disappeared, and the Canadian mutant ends up in Madripoor in disguise, wandering the dodgy alleys with an eye patch and calling himself Guercio (Patch, in English). The narrative identity of these stories is similar to the adventures of Bond, the prerogatives of the mutant world diminish leaving room for a social dimension based on an atypical criminal code, in which fights and subterfuges are the order of the day. Everything revolves around the Princess Bar, a meeting place for spies and criminals, where everyone knows what to avoid in order not to end up in the crosshairs of Jessan Hoan, the Tiger, Madripoor's crime mistress.

Madripoor thus became the perfect theater for stories that knew how to get rid of their nature to offer their characters adventures of another thickness, thanks to a setting in which elements such as crime, mystery and a touch of mysticism do not fail to give life to a place out of time. Not surprisingly, in Uncanny X-Men # 238, a long flashback story sees Wolverine and Captain America fight side by side through the cramped streets of Madripoor during World War II to save a little girl from the clutches of local crime. Infante who, later, the world will know as Natasha Romanoff, or the Black Widow.

Seeing Madripoor in The Falcon & The Winter Soldier was certainly a pleasure for Marvel fans, who, despite seeing a bright and modern far from the vision of Leialoha and Buscema have tasted the typical charm of this corner of the Marvel Universe. For those who have never traveled the alleys of Madripoor with Il Guercio, braving the lurking death, the capital of crime seen in the third episode of The Falcon & The Winter Soldier (what a power to see on Disney +) is a fascinating setting. >

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