Aside from “Who would win in a fight?”, no debate gets comic fans more heated than the question of whether or not superheroes should marry. In this mini-feature, former Bride Rebecca Henely-Weiss and Bride-to-Be Kayleigh Hearn take a trip to today’s spinner racks and look at the most recent times comic companies took the plunge and got their characters hitched! Did we like the couple? Did we like the dress? And more importantly … why did (or didn’t) the marriage last? Today we look at the wedding of Colossus and Kitty Pryde … or do we?
The Couple: Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin
The Issue: X-Men Gold #30
Published: June 20, 2018
Today: Um, about that …
Rebecca: When I came to Kayleigh with the idea for this series, I don’t think either of us thought it would run for this long. Comic book creators can’t seem to stop walking characters down the aisle and we keep finding more and more that we want to talk about. And now here we are in summer 2018, with two very popular comic book couples getting married in quick succession …
Kayleigh: We’ve discussed twenty comic book weddings over the past two years, but this is the first major event wedding to hit stands while we’re writing this feature. Now I know how Anderson Cooper felt covering the royal wedding!
Rebecca: We’ve been deep into the weeds of the discourse surrounding Kitty Pryde and Colossus here at WWAC, with Claire Napier recently giving the couple’s rocky history a full rundown. I admit I wasn’t ready to extend that much goodwill to the couple or this issue. Given how many storylines have been dedicated to Piotr and Kitty with other people or dying or breaking up horribly, trying to tie it all back together with a big wedding ceremony seemed phony at best or regressive at worst. Plus, that scene in X-Men: Gold #26 where Kitty’s mother claims that it’s a “man’s job” to walk a bride down the aisle, even though in Jewish tradition the bride walks down the aisle with both parents (like I did!), didn’t give me confidence that the creative team would handle this sensitively. In the end I’m glad it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Kayleigh: I’ve been cracking my knuckles in anticipation of hate-writing this Wedding Issue, because while Kitty Pryde is one of my favorite X-Men, I absolutely loathe her relationship with Colossus. Check out Claire’s article for the couple’s greatest “hits,” which include a grown 19-year-old man dating a 14-year-old, cheating on her, savagely beating her new boyfriend out of jealousy, and threatening her and her students when he was possessed by the Phoenix. Yet somehow this relationship is still put through a bad Instagram filter to look like innocent puppy love. Even as I was praying for someone to rescue Kitty Pryde from middle-aged male writers who want her to be the spunky teen girl they had a crush on in 1982 forever, I was willing to accept this wedding as some kind of karmic scale balancing after finally getting the real Jean Grey back earlier this year. But then the issue actually came out, and if the sound of air slowly wheezing out of a hundred balloons was a comic book, it’d be X-Men: Gold #30.
Rebecca: It may be prudent to talk first about the fashion and cameos than the actual events of this issue. I liked David Marquez’s art a lot, particularly since it’s enhanced by Matthew Wilson’s soft, watercolor-like pastels. Kitty’s lacy mermaid dress shows her curves but looks realistic and demure, like something a bride in the late 2010s would actually wear, and I love Kitty’s veil and lavender flower crown. The other guests look nice, too. I’m an easy mark because my own wedding colors were purple and silver but I do like the lavender suits for Piotr and his best man Nightcrawler. Bridesmaid Storm hits it out of the park again with her sparkly dress with a dramatic Elizabethan collar. I’m kind of surprised that Maid of Honor/Sister of the Groom Illyana Rasputin wore black but … maybe that was appropriate in retrospect.
Also, despite the aforementioned walking down the aisle nonsense, I’m happy the ceremony itself is visibly Jewish, complete with an approximation at least of a chuppah and a female rabbi! To be honest, we really had braced for the worst and expected that creative team might not think about Kitty’s culture and give her a generic, Protestant-like ceremony. So when it comes to aesthetics and sensitivity issues, I have pretty much no complaints.
Kayleigh: No matter how I feel about the couple, this is a gorgeous comic, and David Marquez draws everyone beautifully. He’s the first artist to make me like Kitty’s new short hairstyle, that’s how good he is. (And frankly, everyone’s hair is on point. Kitty, Illyana, Rogue, and even Mr. “Lurks Outside Every X-Wedding” Wolverine himself—love it, love it, love it.) Kitty’s wedding dress is … fine. It’s pretty and fashionable, but there’s no OOMPH. I don’t particularly mind though, since Kitty Pryde has never been known for her spectacular fashion sense. Still, Marquez has a good eye for individual style, and Laura Kinney’s little tuxedo with shorts outfit may be my favorite #Lewk. As we’ve seen before, Storm knows how to make an entrance at a wedding, and this gown blew everyone away. I mean it, there were no survivors.
Rebecca: But, we’ve put it off long enough, so … let’s go into the actual events of this issue.
X-Men Gold #30 starts with a flashback of Pitor telling Kitty about falling in love with Zsaji and being there for her death in Secret Wars. Despite the painful memory, Kitty and Piotr sweet-talk a bit before going off to their rehearsal dinner. Near the end of the night, Kitty corners Illyana and extracts a painful confession from her—that she worries that if Kitty and Piotr would have married earlier if they were actually meant to be. The conversation unsettles Kitty, but she seems happy and cries as she prepares with her bridal party. The ceremony begins. Yet as Piotr slips the ring on Kitty’s finger, she phases through it and disappears, saying she can’t do this. In a heart-to-heart on a windswept cliff, Kitty tells Piotr their messy history isn’t a foundation on which they can build a life together.
I … don’t know how I feel about this issue. I can’t disagree with its conclusion, and I actually think writer Marc Guggenheim makes the early scenes melancholy enough that the twist works. Yet it’s still something of a strange beast as a wedding issue, like the somberness doesn’t really cover how this feels more like a joke than a tragedy. And can we talk about Marvel letting The New York Times make the twist into a headline and spoil the story a full day before it came out? Why do comic book companies do this? Disney may as well just do that Westworld “Spoil the whole season before everyone else does” prank for real for their next Marvel Netflix season at this point. I feel like I almost can’t judge this objectively given the hype surrounding it.
Kayleigh: Okay. I’m fine. Just give me a moment to—ahahahAHAHAHAHAHAAAA DENIED, PIOTR! DENIEEEEEED! Now then. While I’m supremely grateful that Kitty calls off the wedding, the problem with this story is that there’s no conviction behind it. It would be interesting if this whole engagement plot was a self-aware commentary about how you can’t recapture the stories of your youth, but since X-Men: Gold is all about Marc Guggenheim reheating Chris Claremont’s leftovers, there was no chance of that. God, his quote in the NYT about taking “marching orders” from Marvel about the twist sounds so defeated! So instead of digging into why the wedding was a bad idea (like Piotr’s past infidelity or Kitty rebounding too soon after her engagement to Peter Quill) we just get some vague comments about their “history” that feel like afterthoughts instead of life-changing decisions. Guggenheim still throws in a declaration of love and a gratuitous scene of Kitty and Piotr looking at each other while another character says “I’ll always find my way back to you” to her spouse, so…did they even break up? What was the point of any of this?
Sigh. That entire sequence of Kitty phasing into the ground, leaving her veil behind to swirl dramatically in the wind was fantastically done, Marquez really does wonders illustrating this wet napkin of a script. I do sympathize with any Kitty Pryde and Colossus shippers who bought this comic thinking their OTP was going to get married, only to find it was actually a commercial for a miniseries about two completely different characters. In the immortal words of Laganja Estranja, “OH, YA’LL WANTED A TWIST?”
Rebecca: Unfortunately, it means we’re going to need a new header …
The Couple: Rogue and Gambit
The Issue: X-Men Gold #30
Published: June 20, 2018
Today: About to start a new series together as a married couple titled Mr. and Mrs. X.
Rebecca: While an earlier scene teased that Kurt was thinking of popping the question to Rachel Grey, the issue actually ends with Gambit proposing to Rogue and the couple marrying.
I can’t necessarily tell if this is a better or a lateral move. If conventional comic book writers’ wisdom is that it’s better to keep up a status quo that’ll generate more storylines than make dramatic changes that could permanently derail it, Rogue and Gambit became an example of how trying too hard not to kill the golden goose can lead to a stagnation. I knew a lot of people who loved this couple in the 1990s—they were sexy and cool and Rogue’s inability to touch people gave the couple some nice soap opera melodrama—yet by the 2000’s people were just sick of how the couple couldn’t progress at all and just replayed out “Ah can’t touch ya, Remy” tropes. But times have changed. Rogue has learned to control her powers. Maybe with a new status quo, Remy and Anna Marie may have the chance to make something work for a while. Still, it does seem like a bit of a bummer that a pair that was so iconic—remember when they caught the bouquet/garter at Jean and Scott’s wedding? —basically just gets tucked into a stunt story. I would have loved to have given them the attention they deserved.
Kayleigh: It is shocking to me that Gambit and Rogue got married and Marvel did nothing to hype it until the day before it happened. People would have been way more excited for this wedding than the one they thought they were getting! And yet I was surprised at how natural and believable Remy and Rogue’s nuptials felt compared to Kitty’s narrow escape from compulsory heterosexuality. A spontaneous wedding feels right for a couple known for their sense of fun, flirty danger, and they both look gorgeous. I love any Rogue look featuring opera gloves and the color green, and if Remy hadn’t been drawn as a total dreamboat (again: HAIR) at his own wedding, the fangirl-induced carnage would have been ghastly. Hell, I just love that Gambit is a messy bitch who loves drama. Don’t ever tell me he’s a bad thief, he STOLE A WEDDING.
(Incidentally, my mom has had a little crush on Gambit since the X-Men: The Animated Series days, and when we talk about comics she still asks “What’s Gambit up to?” like we’re old college pals. Now I have news!)
Rebecca: I think to a certain extent the twist delivers and yet it all feels a bit underbaked. Kitty and Piotr have been through so much death and heartbreak that an exhausted “I don’t think we’re stable enough to make this work” seems like a hollow understatement. And I think Rogue and Gambit deserved some more time to sell us on why we fell in love with them in the first place. I’d like to say that this comic could be effective in putting a fork in the Kitty/Piotr back-and-forth for good but, honestly, I think the issue leaves enough of a door open that I’m sure another shipper-cum-writer might try to push them back together again. Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. LeBeau, anyway.
Kayleigh: Hey, Rogue finally got a last name! A bait-and-switch wedding is definitely a first for this feature, though Kitty leaving Piotr at the altar feels less like an organic surprise (remember how Kitty was the one who actually proposed?) than a heavy-handed editorial mandate. In retrospect, it’s not hard to see why Marvel pumped the breaks, since marrying off the X-Men’s token “kid sister” would probably age her up too much (see also: Spider-Man). I would love for this to be the definitive end to one of the worst on-again off-again romances in comics—hey, how about letting Kitty have a girlfriend, next time—but we’ll see how this unfolds. Gambit and Rogue’s wedding, on the other hand, feels like an exciting new chapter and is a definite upgrade. I mean, after all those “Ah can’t touch ya’s” and “chere’s,” who can really dispute that it’s true love? At least, as true as comic book love can be?
Before we tackle this summer’s Batriomony, Rebecca and I are going back in time for a couple about to be seen on the big screen, whose wedding issue was coincidentally also titled “Till Death Do Us Part!” Did they fare better than Kitty Pryde and Colossus? WELLLLLLLLLLL …