Astonishing X-Men #51: A Wedding That Works

Marvel's major gay wedding defies convention in more ways than one as Northstar ties the knot.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Astonishing -X-Men #51

Comic book weddings are much like pro wrestling weddings – they almost always go disastrously wrong before they can ever manage to go right. However, with Astonishing X-Men #51, Marvel shows they've got more integrity than the WWE by actually going through with their hyped-up same-sex marriage rather than chickening out and admitting it was a publicity stunt, like WWE did with Billy & Chuck several years ago.

Thus, Marjorie Liu's story defies that convention, as well as the one where supervillains ruin a wedding and keep it from happening. Even though there are some pressing issues going on involving the mysteriously missing X-pal Karma being mind-controlled to mind-control her friends (always a favorite move in Heroclix, but I digress), the fastest man in the world races to the altar in between catastrophes with his longtime boyfriend only a week after getting engaged. Have they actually clocked Northstar as faster than Quicksilver? I suppose it's a good assumption, since Ol' Pietro can't fly.

Anyway, Jean-Paul Beaubier and Kyle Jinadu came to a breakthrough in their personal issues that led to the latter rejecting the former's proposal last issue, thanks to Karma's mind-messing. Intense circumstances tend to lead to those, and Kyle being forced to try to kill Jean-Paul is fraught with intensity. Thus, Kyle realizes life's too short to wait until every little problem in their relationship is ironed out before getting hitched, because if people did that, no one would ever get married.

The actual wedding takes up the last half of the issue, with friends from all around gathering and offering their perspectives. Rogue wonders aloud if her "mothers," noted same-sex aficionados Mystique and Destiny, getting married would've helped anything, while Shi'ar hardass Warbird apparently has a problem with the vows for some reason not explicity stated. She just says "I do not recognize the validity of the ceremony vows." The implication, we suppose, is that she's homophobic. Apparently, the bird people don't have such things. Or maybe she's the newest character around, so she has to be the one representing anti-gay people, because if you made any of the X-Men anti-gay, it'd start up a shitstorm. As well it should, because who wants to read about a hero who decries gay rights? That would make them an oxymoron. Puck and Havok feel weird about it, but they just drink their weird away. At least the humorless warrior-woman from another planet can take that homophobe hit and be shrugged off as a wacky alien who needs to learn the ways of the world. She at least has a start – she does seem sad and reluctant about the invalidation of equality, but she goes through with it anyway. At least she doesn't start a protest – she does what anti-gay people should do, if they've not yet progressed enough to stop being anti-gay. She just doesn't attend the ceremony and gets on with her life.

Something about "mutie-macho" Wolverine being entirely unfazed by this and completely supportive, however, warms the hearts of Canucklehead fans everywhere.

I thought the cover image wasn't going to correspond to the interior art, but apparently, some people attending the wedding actually think it's okay to wear superhero garb instead of formal wear. Offenders include Guardian, Snowbird and the rest of Alpha Flight (although at least Jean-Paul's sister Jeanne-Marie is dressed up), as well as Rachel Grey in her cleavage-heavy little halter-top thing. It's entirely possible that Psylocke is wearing her nimbo get-up, even. One supposes super-folk are never really on the forefront of taste, despite constantly pushing the envelope of bold fashion choices. Overall, the art from Mike Perkins is okay but inconsistent. Sometimes it's so good that it's eerily true-to-life, and other times its just kind of viscerally unpleasant and off-putting.

The much-ballyhooed gay wedding goes off without a hitch. Karma at least waits until after the reception has started before doing… something gross to Ol' Woofie. Having tuned in to check out the hype machine, I'm not sure if I'll continue reading this title now that the big event has happened. It's a good enough book, but aside from being the host series for a social landmark, these last two issues haven't really jazzed me, which may just be a purely aesthetic response on my part. Your mileage may vary, of course. It's a place to get something you don't really get in most other superhero comics. If you dig it, keep on digging it.