MR & MRS X #4
After a very short time in captivity, Rogue and Gambit escape the Shi’ar throne-world with Xandra. They encounter the Stajammers just in time for Xandra to reveal, like her father before her, she can “fix” Rogue’s powers. While the couple discusses the ramifications both the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, Deathbird and her rebels arrive to complicate matters. In retaliation for leaving her stranded in space, Remy suffers at the hands of Cal’syee. Rogue and Remy exchange a heartbreakingly knowing look before she makes physical contact with Xandra, which results in a sudden release of energy causing them both to be seemingly blasted into atoms, leaving everyone standing in horror.
Another stunning cover by the Dodsons, showcasing the married couple in Shi’ar attire doing what they do best. Oscar Bazaldua and Frank D’Armata are going from strength to strength here. Though the art has been a little inconsistent before, with strong action sequences but little to say for individual character definition during the quiet moments, here it is showing the characters in all their glory, in both scenarios. We have the heavily emotive discussion between the loving couple, fraught with emotion and pathos and the full-on action of the initial escape and arrival of not one but three different factions vying for power. And the fight scene itself was spectacular and topped the Deadpool/Gambit team up sequence of the last issue, especially with the well-executed homage to Jim Lee in Uncanny X-Men #275. And as again we have so many of the same players, it would almost be rude not to take the opportunity to give a nod back to that.
And also the ‘booms’ are getting WAY bigger, with much more of a wow factor and are far more intrinsic to the story than a simple BIFF or POW. I can see Joe Sabino is clearly making his mark and literally having a blast with it all. And it’s a repeated trick yes, but it is a spectacular one which injects drama with great effect.
As for characters and writing, well, what’s not to love? Xandra gets more character development in her reunion with Cerise, as well as her worrying about the appropriate nature of her powers and the bomb she has dropped on the happy couple. Cerise, of course, is a treasure as well, putting her mind at ease and I couldn’t be happier with her return. I can only hope when this is over she hitches a ride back to Earth with them to maybe allow Xandra to meet her extended family and Cerise to pop in and see the recently single Nightcrawler. And what else? Oh yes, who could forget…Yay Starjammers.
Even if nothing else happened this issue, we got the return of the space pirates; what could be better than that? Well, there was tons to be grateful for, with Rogue and Remy’s daring escape. I do have to say though, the Shi’ar throne-world dungeons seem to have gotten smaller over the years if Xandra is stored so close to the prisoners. So the Shi’ar either didn’t quite realize just how keen Rogue and Remy were to get her back, or they underestimated her importance, both of which seems unlikely. But those Shi’ar guards just checking Remy for lockpicks and not realizing the wife was equally as adept at hiding things was hilarious, and the way she gave it to him as well was definitely in keeping with this couples playful, flirty and downright fun outlook on working with your partner.
That’s right Rogue, don’t let him get too big-headed, keep him well and truly grounded. And the dilemma of how to deal with Rogue’s power was also very well handled by Kelly. Sure we’ve had them discuss their relationship before, ad nauseam in some cases, but rarely have we actually felt the true meaning of what it means for them as a couple. Here we have them discuss it as a proper unit, which is something new, heartwarming and exciting, as they now have to consider the other’s feelings so much more. Not that they didn’t do before, but here it has far more depth and meaning, given their recent change in status. It heavily influences their relationship, both regards physical intimacy, emotional interplay, how they interact with the rest of the hero community at large and the future ramifications for them both as X-Men. It seems the first real major moral dilemma as a true unit has given them a chance to assess what ground rules there are and draws a clear line in the sand. I took it as being akin to the discussions couples have about who should go to work and who stays home to look after the kids or to even have them in the first place. This writer gets into not only Rogue’s head perfectly but also Gambit, in a way that hasn’t been done well for a long time. At the first mention of the possibility of “fixing” her powers he jumps at the positive but she, of course, being on the inside, can see all of the implications for the future, which goes to show that it is something she thinks about on a daily basis.
And Rogue’s reasons for not giving in to temptation is also true to the character, she doesn’t often take the easy way out and prefers to fight her own battles and so this rang true for her, but who can say if her determination to cope with everything alone will soften now she has the true emotional backing of her husband. And in terms of the writing, this works very well. Due to the constant Deus Ex Machina of the power dampening collar any less scrupulous writer may have seen this as a chance to lazily write their way out of a corner. And also she gave it the appropriate amount of space, not dragging it out but also not crow-barring it in for the sake of it, before getting back to the action.
Given the maelstrom of revelations, activity and guest stars that has been going on so far, she manages to keep the focus well and truly on the two main featured characters expertly. Not sure I can wait until November 21 to discover the fate of Xandra and Rogue, the anticipation is already killing me. Kelly Thompson really knows the importance of a great cliffhanger!
Great mix of drama, action, suspense, angst, and inner turmoil. I can’t wait for the next installment of this wonderful saga.
Mr & Mrs X #4 Empires, Rebellions and Starjammers…Oh My!
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 7/107/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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