Except for the last panel of “Astonishing X-Men” #51, there’s very little action to be found here as Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins explore the emotions and thoughts running through Jean-Paul Beaubier’s mind as he embraces the happiest day of his life.
Yes, this is the first highly-publicized same-sex marriage in comics, but Liu’s story is less about the pomp and circumstance of the nature of the union and more about the pomp and circumstance of the wedding day itself. Liu puts the wedding day jitters on full display and celebrates the human condition in this comic. As with any wedding, there are details to be pinned down, troubles with decor and individuals who choose not to participate. Through it all, the fact that Northstar is marrying Kyle Jinadu remains the focus of the issue, celebrating their commitment to one another.
Ironically, commitment is the key to the other part of the story as Liu takes a handful of pages in “Astonishing X-Men” #51 and wraps up the story of the X-Men’s mental possession. She also reveals the master manipulator in a surprise move left wide open for more exploration in future issues.
The human aspect is truly where Mike Perkins’ artwork excels. His range of character body types and emotions is strong and well-suited to this quieter tale. Unfortunately, Perkins’ strength becomes a distraction in this issue. Beast officiates the ceremony and never has the character looked more like a human wearing prosthetic fur than he does in this story. The same holds true for Northstar’s teammate Sasquatch. Beyond that, however, Perkins’ penchant for detail serves the setting of this issue quite nicely.
Given the trio of colorists used to complete this issue, the art is safe and consistent throughout. A wedding of superheroes (or a superhero and a civilian) is typically cause for an explosion of color, but this wedding is serene and typical of what one would expect from a wedding with only a handful of characters adding splashes of color.
With all of the calamity and chaos surrounding the X-Men titles right now, this issue is a nice suspension of action. It’s a wedding tale reminiscent of “Tales of the Teen Titans” #50, but with less over-the-top celebration. Sure, “Astonishing X-Men” #51 got substantially more media attention, but in the end, it’s simply another comic book wedding and a quiet one at that, undisturbed by invasion or attack. Hopefully Kyle and Jean-Paul find their happily ever after. From here, however, Liu appears to have some plans that are going to test the X-Men a little more intently than the crisis of whether or not Avengers should be seated at the same tables as X-Men.