Wedding bells are ringing in Westchester.
Kitty Pryde and Colossus are getting married soon, for reasons that still remain unclear. It’s a symptom of a larger problem with X-Men Gold, a series that banks heavily on mutant nostalgia without bringing much of real substance to the table. If you’re not already on board with the wedding, don’t expect X-Men Wedding Special #1 to change your mind. This book has its moments, but does little to justify a story development that didn’t have a lot of logic or impetus behind it in the first place.
This anthology issue features three new wedding-themed stories from familiar creators. The big selling point here is a new story from legendary X-scribe Chris Claremont and artist Todd Nauck. And generally, this tale doesn’t disappoint. It’s a welcome reminder that Claremont can still recapture the magic from his original Uncanny X-Men run. His script is driven mostly by narrative captions. And while those captions tend to drone on longer than necessary and devote too much time to idly rehashing X-Men continuity, the emotion in these pages is palpable. Claremont builds a sense of joy as he celebrates Kitty and the important men in her life. It’s the sort of story you can only get when a writer returns to one of his iconic creations many years down the line. But again, it doesn’t do much to specifically strengthen this current relationship between Kitty and Piotr.
Nauck’s art also impresses. Given the caption-driven approach, Nauck opts for a less traditional approach to page design and instead focuses on building epic collages showcasing Kitty’s past and present. It’s a lot of fun seeing classic X-Men moments re-interpreted through Nauck’s lens. He’s an artist that would probably make for a great fit on a longer-form X-Men project, given the right approach and tone.
The second story pairs X-Men Gold writer Marc Guggenheim with artist Greg Land. It’s by far the weakest of the three, settling largely for following the usual superhero bachelor party formula. The ten-page structure affords little room to break the mold, and the insistence on calling back to X-Men Gold’s Secret Empire tie-in doesn’t help matters. Nor do Land’s stiff, photo-referenced figures do much to add life to the character-driven panels. The recycled poses and facial expressions only seem to grow more blatant with each new project Land tackles.
This issue wraps up on a somewhat higher note as writer Kelly Thompson and artist Marika Cresta explore Kitty’s bachelorette party. Plot-wise, this story is as guilty as its predecessor when it comes to following the predictable formula. But at least here the strong characterization makes up for it. Thompson’s depiction of Kitty and her fellow X-Men is rock solid. Between this story and the recent Rogue & Gambit mini-series, it’s clear that Thompson thrives in these kooky, character-driven X-Men tales. Cresta’s art and Federico Blee’s colors bring an energetic sheen to the story.
Here, too, I wish there was a little more room to work with. Thompson explores Kitty’s relationships with women like Rogue and Storm as much as she’s able, but it really feels like this story deserved to be a full-length comic. That’s all the more frustrating considering that this is one of the first post-Resurrection of Jean Grey stories to feature Jean interacting with her fellow X-Men. Why not take advantage of that and explore her own ill-fated attempt at marriage?