The Big Day finally arrives and nothing will ever be the same again!
X-MEN GOLD #30
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: David Marquez
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Phil Noto
Variant Covers: J. Scott Campbell & Sabine Rich; Tyler Kirkham & Arif Prianto; Jasmine Putri
Publisher: Marvel Comics
?WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers!!?
What You Need to Know:
What seems like an eternity of waiting has ended and it’s time for another X-Men wedding. After a long on-off romance, Kitty and Peter have finally arrived at the day.
What You’ll Find Out:
And so to our final flashback and this one a doozie. The day Peter announced to Kitty that he had fallen in love with the alien healer, Zsaji, who died saving his life while they were offworld during the Secret Wars. By the way, damn you Jim Shooter for that!! Anyway, focus people. So despite the school now being in Central Park, we find ourselves in the grounds of Xavier’s in Westchester and the couple staring down on the setting up of their big day and it’s all very overwhelming for the groom to be, before Kitty breaks him free of his poetic reverie about her, something Kitty never thought he had in him regarding her, which echoes the flashback scene that came before.
And finally we are invited to Harry’s and the good old get together, where everyone gets to catch up and some truly memorable moments are made between friends, including Lockheed introducing his Kitty to his family. It is then that Illyana steals her best friend away to the rooftops for a private drink and chat. It seems our Magik has something on her mind. After laying it all out there Illyana then passes it off as having too much to drink and the two best friends hug. But Kitty has something new to think about.
On to two other friends now, it’s the big day and Kurt is helping Peter get ready. And it’s Kurt’s turn to drop a bombshell, informing Peter that he intends to propose to Rachel when this wedding is done. Meanwhile, Kitty sits looking almost forlornly at being made up by Stevie, who insists she looks great, while her mother and Ororo cluck and coo like mother hens. It dawns on Kitty she is in the company of the three women who basically raised her. Outside and the procession begins and as Bobby jokingly shouts “dead man walking” as Peter sets off we see someone spying from a hiding place on the roof who knows the true meaning of the phrase.
As Ororo makes her entrance (wow) ready for the event of the year to begin, Illyana confesses to Anna Marie that she is feeling guilty about something. As Anna Marie sets her mind at ease we see the young Scott and Jean talk about their older selves having been through the very same event on a spot not far from where they are all congregated. After some more hilarity, with Kurt having to port off to collect the rings he forgot, it’s all underway. Peter is suitably awestruck by the arrival of Kitty and who can blame him? All the criticism of Pixie Cut hairstyles and masculine looking outfits are washed away as she walks down the aisle towards him. And so the ceremony begins…and that’s where it all goes to pot. First Kitty phases as Peter slips the ring on her finger, then after the shocked looks, from all those gathered who realize what this implies, she exits the only way she knows how and Peter is left distraught and begs his friend to get him out of there
And so to the inevitable. What DO you do when the wedding doesn’t go ahead? Everyone congregates to ruminate over the days’ events and as Anna Marie tries to comfort Illyana, who she thinks is inconsolable that her best friend and brother are no longer to be married, Illyana confesses it is guilt she feels, not desolation. And the subjects of that guilt are currently face to face as Peter inevitably finds Kitty at the very spot where he broke her heart so many years before. Asking her if she knows why she couldn’t go through with it she confesses that is what she herself is trying to understand. The Rabbi’s speech and a reminder of all they faced are too much for her to cope with and despite still loving him with all her heart she is unsure if she can ever go through with getting married. As they stand beside each other, staring over the cliff edge he asks the all-important question.
A question Remy seems to be wrestling with also. As Ororo reminds him, marriage is a commitment which requires that to cease living is preferable than to spend another day apart. This suddenly cements a thought in his mind and galvanizes him into action and he impulsively goes to Anna Marie and proposes. After a brief moment where she proclaims him mad, where she seems as if in two minds, her mind is made up when Peter and Kitty return and make her mind up for her, reminding her of what is at stake and she accepts. So finally vows are exchanged and Peter and Kitty exchange meaningful looks, possibly thinking of what could have…should have been, there is a wedding after all. But just not the one everyone was expecting.
What Just Happened?
Art: Well wedding tradition dictates you have to start with the way everyone looked before going into what happened and what people said. And this one, despite all the drama that happened, should be no exception. Finally, the art seen from the beginning in the flashback is all stunningly drawn and brought out every emotion available with facial expressions of angst, trauma, love, light-hearted humor and compassion and carried right through until the bittersweet end. From a surprise guest cameo, in the form of Wolverine (in the shadows again as he did with Scott and Jean) on one rooftop, to another rooftop with friends drunkenly exchanging deep meaningful thoughts. Right down to Ororo majestically sweeping in looking as regal as ever and Peter’s awestruck expression at seeing Kitty walk down the aisle. Even Illyana’s pained expression, talking to Anna Marie of her possible faux pas at the rehearsal dinner, then again later at the ‘after party’ the agony on her face clear and open, for all to see.
Writing: A wedding isn’t a wedding without having something old, something new, something borrowed… And there lies my only ‘issue’ with this issue. If it makes no sense for Kitty and Peter to marry, why does that mean Remy and Anna Marie should take their place? Ever since the original proposal and the announcement of the wedding, people have been taking to the keyboard, screaming about how rushed it all is. If that was rushed then this was lightning speed to rival that of Quicksilver. Nobody is saying the same of these two and it’s because nobody wants to admit it. They are in exactly the same boat as Kitty and Peter. Too many sour breakups, too many other people in their past and they also live the same dangerous life. In fact, their hurdles are even moreso because they have had far more problems with intimacy and had so much more of a drawn-out separation. After so many years apart, Rogue and Gambit only got back together in the recent Rogue & Gambit miniseries, in a side mission vaguely disguised as a couples retreat, ironically set up by Kitty. Also, the proposal itself and the ‘something borrowed’ element seems a little offhand and tacky to me.
Anyway, there, I’ve said it. That’s the elephant in the room dealt with, we can get on to the good stuff. And there really was some here. Some very funny moments. First Bobby’s dead man walking comment, then look who should appear on the rooftops. Jean and Scott mulling over their own wedding day in X-Men #30….awkward yet hilarious. And the two took it all in their stride as if to prove they have finally made peace with all the oddness of their predicament. Kitty, her mother Terri, Stevie and Ororo bonding while making ready for the wedding. And Lockheed introduces a family…A FAMILY!!! I’m slightly confused when that happened though as we did just see him with Kitty at the Belles of Hell bar in the X-Men Wedding Special and none of this came up. Maybe he was saving it for the big day? Or maybe Guggenheim just didn’t read Claremont’s story. Either way, it’s a bit rude.
Despite the grandstanding and show-stealing here the story was, at heart, all about Kitty and Peter and we at least also see them discuss what went wrong and avoided being left with a cliffhanger. Speaking of cliffs, a nice bookend to the flashback scene having them meet at the same place, it could almost be said they have come full circle now. But is it over for them or is it just that they will not marry? Will they be able to salvage their relationship? My belief is yes, they should be able to. After all, they both still declare they love each other, it’s just that Kitty has had the realization that given the trials of their past and the life they lead it is too hard for her to take such a monumental step. It hasn’t yet been said that they are through, just that they didn’t go through with the wedding. Overall this whole issue is a strange one really. Despite the controversy of the twist and ending, it still has some very heart-rending moments. Kitty and Peter have come through this and still feel love for each other and there is the chance they may even come out of this a stronger couple. And by the look they give each other here, it is pretty obvious how they feel about each other still.
There has been considerable criticism leveled against Guggenheim since Gold started just a year ago now, maybe some by myself also, I have to admit. His inconsistency with action and fight scenes has caused many complaints about shoehorning in illogical plot resolutions, incorrectly using one character to end a dilemma in favor of another and often ignoring true character history to cram in his own plot devices. Although there is some merit to this, one thing cannot be denied. He really does come into his element with intense soap opera drama and tragically romantic incidents that don’t involve superhero battles. And he can sure wring out every ounce of emotional drama from this, which he clearly takes great pleasure in doing.
Characters: Unlike last time at Scott and Jean’s wedding there was no Banshee and Beast karaoke, no awkward glances between Shatterstar and Rictor, no Kurt stealing a dance with Betsy and no Bishop and Iceman critiquing the food. But this time we had the rehearsal dinner which was exceptional fun regardless. Opening with a hilarious and long overdue meeting between the three redheads, Lockheed and the family (that was quick) and the new Fantastic Furry Frosty Four?
Although there were all the guests shown on the cover? Brian? Peter Quill? Hmmm. And although the whole chat on the roof with Illyana came off just a little as airing the dirty linen of real-world online chatter and dissecting the relationship as everyone else has been doing, she doesn’t say anything we haven’t already heard. Is it that Kitty seems to be hearing it for the first time, or maybe it’s just that hearing it from one of her best friends is what she needs? And it’s not often Illyana speaks her mind but when she does Kitty listens. It was Illyana who, years ago, told her she was being a brat about being relegated to the New Mutants. It was Illyana who was there for her when Peter hurt her over the Zsaji incident. And it is Illyana that has been there to pick up the pieces EVERY single time things went pear-shaped between them. So it seems only natural that she be there to have the chat no one else dares.
On the subject of Illyana, it may seem strange to some that this even happened, not least of which because Illyana never really is usually as open as we see her here. But she has recently gone through some issues herself in the Dead Souls miniseries, believing she caused the death of Rictor. However briefly, it still affected her and she even went to his funeral, of sorts. While she was talking I was almost screaming at her to stop. The inevitability of it was like a car crash. But in hindsight, and a reread it makes total sense. My heart also went out to her when she was angsting to Rogue about her talk with Kitty. Poor Illyana really is struggling here and no one seems to realize that this is one of the biggest character-defining moments she has ever faced. And I can’t help think there is yet more to come. And on to the blink and you miss it inhibitor collar moment that Kelly Thompson has promised will be more extensively covered in Mr & Mrs X. At least someone felt the need to point it out and not just forget to explain how Remy could touch Anne Marie without passing out. Imagine, the throwing of the bouquet could have been a LOT more explosive without it. Did we all notice who caught that? Ahuh. That’s going to be interesting too.
Final Thought: The shock value aside this had some deeply emotional scenes that deserve to be explored in more depth. And now Wolvie is back, will he take Kitty to a bar and set her up to fight with Juggernaut and make her pay for hurting Pete?
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