REVIEW: Mr. and Mrs. X #1 – “Love & Marriage”

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Writer: Kelly Thompson
Penciller: Oscar Bazaldua
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 7/25/18

After their surprise wedding in X-Men: Gold #30, it’s time for Rogue and Gambit to take the reigns of a life together in their own title. How does Kelly Thompson’s view of their relationship measure up to fans’ imaginations and the history built up in last few decades worth of comics? Let’s dive in and find out.

Plot: Rogue and Gambit walk down the aisle in an impromptu yet beautiful ceremony, but later on their honeymoon (in space!) is interrupted by Kitty Pryde with an important mission. Will the lovebirds make it out of their first test alive and together?

Story: Right off the bat, Mr. and Mrs. X #1 opens with a wedding sequence that makes up for the rushed and haphazard ceremony introduced in X-Men: Gold #1. Readers are given a glance into the last-minute preparations, complete with a touch of adorable anxiety from the groom and the calm composure of the bride. It’s sweet and funny without venturing too far into the saccharine, as Thompson knows how to service fans without ever making it feel like fan service. Plenty of characters get their moments to shine during the proceedings as well, such as Jubilee and her attempts to fulfill all things new, old, borrowed and blue. But perhaps the most important moment of all is the reveal of a very special wedding guest – Mystique.

Mommy Dearest’s arrival is an unexpected but not entirely unwelcome surprise. Rogue is given the opportunity to react to her presence accordingly, and their tentative truce for such a meaningful day helps create the sense that Mr. and Mrs. X will remain character-driven even amongst the wacky hijinks that the issue gets into later. As for character details on Gambit’s side of the story, it’s particularly nice to see that his Cajun accent is present in the writing but not overdone as it has been in other cases. Rogue’s power-dampening collar is another interesting tidbit that sheds light on both her and her husband, introducing the concept of sacrifice in a relationship and pain mingling with love without explicitly driving the point home.

The action, and therefore meat of the story, commences appropriately in the middle of their honeymoon in space. It wouldn’t be an X-Men comic if disaster didn’t get in the way of happiness, but Thompson maintains the playful newlywed banter even as she pulls out the Shi’ar Imperial Guard and even Deadpool to spice things up for them. That being said, the last cameo in particular felt a little bit like overkill and mostly likely due to the recent release of Deadpool 2 – but we still don’t know what exactly Wade’s role will be in the story, so I will hold off on my judgment for now. Instead, we can focus on the maturity with which Thompson handles the couple and the near seamless continuity from both their previous miniseries and the big wedding issue.

Art: Oscar Bazaldua has a knack for backdrops and scenery, which Frank D’Armata breathes extra life into with a set of lovely greens, yellows and purples that make the wedding that much more romantic. Their artwork also makes a lot of sense for the action sequences in the second half, as once again the new setting of Che’An in the Shi’ar Empire gives the artists plenty of room to play around. Together, they seem to know exactly what tone Thompson is going for and how to convey it.

The only problem with the otherwise stellar art is that the character designs are not particularly consistent, and more than that they are rather youthful considering the content and the depictions we’ve seen in both the Rogue & Gambit series and the recent X-Men: Gold wedding. It’s more apparent for the women – as you can see above, even Mystique looks about Rogue’s age. It’s far from a deal breaker, but it does take some getting used to. Once your eyes have adjusted, however, the aesthetic is fresh and fun just like the couple.

Verdict: Overall, Mr. and Mrs. X #1 sets up a fun and exciting adventure for Rogue and Gambit, keeping them true to themselves and exploring new sides to their relationship. The art may feel a little strange at first, but still looks spectacular.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

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