Chain Reactions | Astonishing X-Men #51
“The wedding of the year”–at least according to the promotional email I got yesterday–hit comic shops both virtual and real this week, as Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle tied the knot in Astonishing X-Men #51. The issue came with quite a bit of publicity for Marvel, along with the protests from anti-gay marriage factions, gay marriages in comic shops and a show of support from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (as well as an invitation to his house for a BBQ).
But once all the pomp, circumstance and hype is over with, we’re left with a comic story, one crafted by Marjorie Liu, Mike Perkins and Andrew Hennessy. Was it any good or not? Here are a few reactions from around the web to tell you what a few folks thought of it:
Andy Hunsaker, CraveOnline: “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.”
Martin Gray, Too Dangerous for a Girl: “This is really rather good. Yes, Marvel has pumped this wedding for everything it’s worth in the real world, but as a special issue it holds together rather well. While the wedding party isn’t attacked by the Circus of Crime or whomever, the other tradition of gorgeous nuggets of characterisation is adhered to by writer Marjorie Liu. So we have Rogue wondering what would have happened had her two evil mothers, Oracle and Mystique, tied the knot, while Wolverine recalls the tragedy of his own wedding day, without raining on Northstar’s parade. And there’s a lovely line from Beast emphasising that the heroes of the various teams really are simply one big (occasionally) happy family.”
Joshua Yehl, IGN: “I might be the only one who is upset that Doop came naked; how cute would it have been for him to have a little bowtie?”
Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: “The human aspect is truly where Mike Perkins’ artwork excels. His range of character body types and emotions is strong and well-suited to this quieter tale. Unfortunately, Perkins’ strength becomes a distraction in this issue. Beast officiates the ceremony and never has the character looked more like a human wearing prosthetic fur than he does in this story. The same holds true for Northstar’s teammate Sasquatch. Beyond that, however, Perkins’ penchant for detail serves the setting of this issue quite nicely.”
Russ Burlingame, Comicbook.com: “Generally I like Mike Perkins’ artwork, but it doesn’t really work for me here. As with many artists who have a more ‘photorealistic’ style (most evident when looking at someone like Bloomberg), it tends to look a bit odd at times when he’s working with characters designed to be depicted more iconically than realistically. It might seem like a wedding issue would sidestep that issue a bit, with characters being out of costume and the like, but there are quite a few places where the faces just don’t seem right.”
Wade Christian, Captain Bloggington’s Blog of Bloggers: “In the end, it was a good issue, but not a great one, largely due to trying to handle too much in a single issue, which left a lot of the seemingly important details out. The events obviously lend the issue a more important air, and I really wanted it to be dynamite because of that, but good is where it ends up. It’s a nice little issue, but it doesn’t rekindle my interest in the title or even in finishing this particular story, of which this seemed to be simply the middle act. I can only imagine how comics new-comers and lapsed readers who were drawn in by the media campaign feel walking away from this, but it probably won’t bring many of them back next month, sadly.”
Steve Seigh, Talking Comics: “Okay, so is it a good book aside for all of this soapbox talk? Yes, it really is. The events of the previous issues never feel overshadowed by the big event as they are still very much a threat for the X-Men. In fact, it feels like the whole issue as if some characters are waiting for the other shoe to drop, which was a really nice touch. And you’re going to have fun at the wedding, I don’t care who you are or if you approve. There are so many special guests and cameos worked into Perkins art that you’d think this was Highlights Magazine: Astonishing X-Men Edition.
“So, if I can say just one last thing. Buy this book. It’s important, it’s a great read, it’s a fantastic and tense arc, and you just might find yourself touched by the events that take place.”