'X-Men Gold' #30 Delivers the Unexpected Executed With Excellence

X-Men Gold #30 from writer Marc Guggenheim and artist David Marquez finally tells the tale of Colossus and Kitty Pryde’s wedding day. However, things do not go anywhere close to planned and the end result is all the better for it.

Superhero weddings can be a tricky thing. Superhero stories engage in soap opera style melodramatics, which means that the lead up to the moment the characters say “I do” is often one long sequence of hand-wringing as one or both characters go over every possible reason for why they shouldn’t go through with the wedding. The theory is that this will ratchet up the drama before the couple inevitably says, “I do.”.

The problem is that a page or two of vows and a first wedded kiss rarely carry enough weight to counterbalance the 20 or so pages of second-guessing that preceded them, and often this equation adds up to the reader feeling like maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

What X-Men Gold #30 does differently—and we’re marching straight into SPOILERS territory at this point—is follow through on all of that second guessing. It takes what is so often false conflict in the soon-to-be-weds internal uncertainty and turns it into actual drama. If you haven’t pieced it together by now, Kitty and Colossus don’t get married. This feels like it should be a let down given how long this “Wedding of the Century” has been drawn out, but it doesn’t because Guggenheim and Marquez tell the story with care and execute perfectly at every single turn.

X-Men Gold 30
(Photo: David Marquez, Matthew Wilson, Marc Guggenheim, Marvel Entertainment)

Kitty’s reasoning for backing out of the wedding makes sense. When she thinks back on her and Colossus’ history, it's hard to argue with her assessment that their superhero baggage doesn’t make for a great foundation for a marriage. It make so much sense that it's almost like she’s read a bunch of superhero comics herself, or perhaps she’s just seen how complicated and messy the marriages of Cyclops and Jean Grey or Storm and Black Panther became because the most significant thing they shared in common was a never-ending series of conflicts.

That Kitty has a moment with Magik, her maid of honor, best friend, and Colossus’ sister on the eve of the wedding is also a vital piece of Kitty’s coming to this decision. Without Magik’s involvement, Kitty’s sudden decision would ring falsely, a spur of the moment, out of character change of heart meant as a cheap twist. With Magik’s input, it feels like Kitty was forced to confront a doubt that she may otherwise have swallowed and internalized. Magik did for a Kitty what a best friend so often does by speaking the truth that Kitty couldn’t speak for herself, even though she knew it was there.

The issue also would not have worked as well if we did not get some sort of resolution. Yes, there’s still more story to be told here. When Colossus asks where he and Kitty’s relationship goes from here, we don’t get an answer. But we also don’t get a cheap cliffhanger that cuts off just as Kitty walks away from the altar. What we get is a mature, nuanced conversation between two people who have strong feelings for each other but ultimately don’t know if they have a real future together, and that’s far more fulfilling and engaging.

It also helps that readers still get a little taste of marital bliss. It comes for two characters who haven’t been a big part of X-Men Gold so far, but whose romance is well-documented enough that their spur of the moment decision still resonates. Knowing how things turn out is rewarding on re-read as well, as knowing Kitty and Colossus fate adds an extra layer of tragedy to some early moments, and knowing who eventually does get married makes a few smaller moments earlier in the issue stand out.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the narrative structure and choices made for this issue because they feel like the most defining feature of the story, but that also means that I’ve done a near criminal disservice to Marquez’s artwork, which is no less vital to the story’s success. This is an emotionally nuanced issue, with people who love each other doing emotionally hurtful things to each other without any sense of malice and Marquez does an amazing job of showing the emotional confusion in his characters. Matthew Wilson’s colors do a phenomenal job of setting the mood by being one part idyllic spring day, perfect for a wedding, and one part just a tad darker, hinting at the weight underneath the frivolity.

While Marquez and Wilson’s artwork is all around beautiful, nothing is as striking as the page where Kitty makes her choice, the pages where - and again, SPOILERS - Colossus reaches out to put the ring on her finger and she phases, almost reflexively, and his hand phases right through her hand. It is a brilliant use of a splash page, using so much space for a close-up of just their hands, such relatively little action, to truly emphasize the emotional power of that moment, and it's doubly powerful for a being a symbolic representation of the state of their relationship that only works for them specifically because of Kitty’s unique powers.

It feels like it has been a long time coming, but X-Men Gold #30 pulls off a fantastic culmination to the promise of Kitty and Colossus’ wedding by delivering the unexpected and doing so with care and polish. It's a beautiful, complicated issue that’s sure to bring out some complicated feelings from fans, and it's all the better for it.

Published by Marvel Comics

On June 20, 2018

Written by Marc Guggenheim

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Art by David Marquez

Colors by Matthew Wilson