Let's clear the air right now: Kelly Thompson is a fantastic writer. She could be writing us to-do lists and parking tickets, and we would still happily read them. But where Thompson gets to show her talents in full force is when she clearly has a deep connection with her subjects. When the characters speak to her, they don't spew perfunctory exposition just to hasten the plot. No. When the characters are loved by Thompson, they sing.
In Mr. and Mrs. X #1, the relationship between two of the most beloved X-Men of all time, is practically a choir.
The series' debut issue sets itself apart from other comics featuring a superhero wedding by focusing on the events surrounding it. It's a wide decision from a narrative stand point, which most of you would agree if you've ever sat through a wedding. The ceremony could be the most beautiful declaration of love between two people, but the drama leading up to that moment and everything that follows is far more interesting. Without giving away any spoilers, Thompson and artist Oscar Bazaldua spend a good portion of this issue focusing on the reactions of X-Men and the potential for tribulation with regard to a surprise guest (and no, it's not Magneto).
The creative team also does a fantastic job of skirting moments that feel commonplace with regards to weddings, but when things are over, it's back to business. After all, even when they're on their honeymoon, duty calls. This might be the truest aspect of Mr. and Mrs. X with regards to real life matrimony. Once a couple had tied the knot, the mess of the formal ceremony is swept away, and the celebratory vacation comes to an end, the people who have have been the centerpiece of it all go back to their lives.
For most of us, those lives consist of work, family life, and maintaining friendships. Nothing has truly changed. Sure one of these folks may take on a different last name (an oh, boy the paperwork that comes with that) and perhaps living arrangements have altered, but who the married couple are stays the same...but with tax breaks. But what if this hypothetical couple consist of two superheros? What is the "normal" life for them after they have wed? Well, Thompson and Bazaldua show that things for them do, in fact return to normal, but it's not as mundane as what any of us are accustomed to.
Freshly applied wedding bands or not, Rogue and Gambit are superheroes, and their normal is fighting malicious mutants, protecting innocent people, and going on interstellar adventures. With that much excitement waiting for them on the other side of matrimony, it makes one wonder why they'd take a honeymoon in the first place. No zip line excursion in Jamaica could hold a candle to all that.
Aside from the great dialogue and subversive pacing on this first issue, the art work is fantastic. Oscar Bazaldua seems to love drawing these characters. Their facial tics seem natural and say as much as the world in the dialogue balloon above their heads. Bazaldua has also given Rogue and Gambit matching outfits without making it seem cheesy. These new redesigns keep the color schemes but lose some of the flare that mad Rogue and Gambit's classic costumes standout on their own.
This is by no means a strike against their new looks. The fact that they seem more uniform than ever (except when Gambit had that goofy yellow and gold suite during the Lee/Claremont days), works in the book's favor. Frank D'Armata also brings his A-game, painting these often brightly colored heroes in a slash of more naturalistic tones and color schemes while still remembering the ostentatious green and purple that made the pair stand out in the first place. In fact, every character who shows up is well rendered (especially Bishop, who briefly appeared in a tux while sporting that awesome mullet once again).
Mr. and Mrs. X #1 is one hell of a way to kick things off for this new ongoing series, which to be honest, is a book we didn't know we ever wanted, but we're damn happy we have it. Kelly Thompson continues to impress in her X-Men work and seems right at home with these characters. Even with all the humor and charm this issue oozes, the fun story, wonderfully-rendered artwork, and surprising twists are just icing on the wedding cake.