Who doesn’t love a wedding? The serialized nature of comics storytelling might mean that most marriages don’t last forever — whether it’s down to divorce, death or an actual literal deal with the devil — but we’ve had plenty of big cape-and-veil weddings over the years.
Jessica Jones & Luke Cage, Black Canary & Green Arrow, Jean Grey & Scott Summers… This year, we can add two more couples to that list of super-nuptials. Batman and Catwoman might be stealing the spotlight this summer, but first we’ve got an X-Marriage to attend. Yes, after an on-off romance that has spanned over three decades, Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin and Kitty “Ariel/Sprite/Shadowcat/Star Lord/Kitty Pryde” Pryde are finally tying the knot. And what would any wedding be without the traditional bumper-size commemorative issue?
Despite the title, though, don’t expect to see any actual ring-on-finger action in X-Men: The Wedding Special — that’s scheduled for June’s X-Men Gold #30. This is all strictly before the big day, with three stories covering Kitty’s pre-wedding jitters and the pair’s bachelor and bachelorette parties.
The issue opens with Chris Claremont, who created Pryde at the start of the ‘80s along with John Byrne. Here he teams with Todd Nauck for a recap of Kitty’s life to this point, most of which — at least the stuff that’s focused on here — he wrote in the first place. It focuses on four other important men in her life: Logan, Nightcrawler, her father and her one-time love Alasdhair Kinross.
You’d be hard pressed to argue that Claremont’s take on the character is anything other than definitive, but it’s not really clear what this Kitty actually wants. She certainly says a lot — this is undeniably a Chris Claremont comic, with the trademark explosion of captions — but they don’t really establish how she feels about the wedding, or Colossus, or why her intangible feet might be getting cold.
It makes sense that the memory of a dead boyfriend would give her pause, and perhaps it’s meant to be implied that her parent’s divorce is contributing to this hesitation, but where her pointy-haired mentor fits in is unclear. By the end of the story, Kurt talks her round — this isn’t called “X-Men: Runaway Bride Special,” after all — but without a clear character motivation, Kitty overcoming her fears and deciding to commit to Colossus falls a little flat. As a result, the story serves as a decent primer, albeit one that doesn’t really focus on Kitty and Colossus’ actual relationship — but not much more.
That leaves the two tales of the couple’s last nights of freedom. First up is Piotr, as the metal stag hits the Vegas strip with Iceman, Gambit and co. Despite Colossus’ protestations, they head to a casino for a night of debauchery.
There’s a grand X-Men tradition of quieter “eye of the storm” stories, focusing on the mutants’ lives between missions and dialing up the soap-opera dynamics. To pick a particularly relevant example, New X-Men #142, where Cyclops and Wolverine share a drink in the Hellfire Club. It quickly becomes apparent this isn’t that kind of story. Before we even see the X-lads, there are two pages setting up a villain, and before they’ve rolled as much as a single die, the story cuts straight to the ‘BAMF’ and ‘CHOOM’ action.
This is, as it turns out, a story more in the tradition of Uncanny X-Men #183, where Logan takes Colossus out to a bar and gets him beaten up to teach him a lesson about breaking Kitty’s heart. That issue is explicitly referenced here, but there’s a key difference. This is a 10-page story, which doesn’t leave much room for characterization or establishing emotional stakes — nor is it a particularly satisfying action scene. The fight is stopped prematurely, before Gambit can even get his hands on one of the playing cards flying through the air. It’s telling that this segment ends with a prompt to “see where they ended up in X-Men Gold #26” — it doesn’t feel like a full story in its own right.
Kitty’s bachelorette party fares better. It’s a fairly light and throwaway story, about Kitty’s reluctance to celebrate with “stripperoke.” That’s a nice bit of character synchronicity between her and Piotr, which helps subtly sell their relationship. There’s a conversation with Rogue revisiting the cold feet plotline from Claremont’s story and, to wrench up the superhero dramatics, a surprise appearance from Callisto.
All in all, though, it’s all pleasingly mundane, falling into that aforementioned quiet-issue tradition. It’s more of a vignette than a short story, but most of the X-Women get a small moment, and unlike the preceding shorts, it does feel like a self-contained unit.
It’s not enough to recommend the special as a whole, however. If you’re excited for the wedding of Kitty and Colossus, you may be better skipping the pre-marital celebrations, and jumping straight to the nuptials in X-Men Gold.