First off, this is NOT the much hyped wedding issue. It is, however the proposal issue. That being said…
After being attacked by the Totally 80s bad group The Marauders, Northstar, Iceman, and Gambit check out an abandoned munitions factory and discover empty holding cells. The whole time, however, they are discussing Northstar’s frustrations with his relationship to Kyle, whom it seems Northstar never has time for what with all his world-saving and all. Gambit then spots a S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on the wall, prompting Wolverine to contact the Black Widow who fills him in. The factory belonged to Hatchi Tech, but the company has fallen in years and lost their S.H.I.E.L.D. contract. Hatchi looks like a dead end, but Black Widow supplies Logan with a list of their holdings. Their pleasant meeting is interrupted by Warbird who demands food.
A little spoiler-y after this point.
In New York, Kyle is having a hard time with the fact that their apartment doesn’t have wireless internet and his smartphone is broken. Northstar (Jean-Paul) joins him, but Kyle gets an important business call. Jean-Paul pleads with him to hang up. Then Jean-Paul drops to his knee and proposes. Unfortunately, he phrases the proposal so awkwardly that Kyle says no. “It doesn’t sound like what you want. It sounds like you were just doing me a favor.” He storms off, unaware that he has been targeted.
Wolverine, Warbird, Iceman, and Gambit investigate a Hatchi Tech warehouse and find a beaten and bloody Blockbuster. He isn’t after them, though. Inside the warehouse, they find the Marauders dead, having killed one another. Just then, the X-Men are assaulted.
Northstar is en route, when he has an epiphany about his relationship to Kyle and just how much he needs him. He receives a call from Kyle who tells him he is inside the factory. He enters, but is ambushed by his own teammates.
The melodrama regarding Northstar’s relationship was layered on a bit thick. Sure the X-Men are a melodramatic lot, but it felt a bit odd that they were investigating an attack, but spent all their time talking about his romantic issues. This does lead to some really funny dialogue between the three mutants though, with Iceman proving to be his usual hilarious self. The dialogue in general is excellent. The scene between Logan and Natasha is quite good, with the hilarious Warbird punchline at the end.
The super heroics felt secondary, though. I read a lot of comics, so I think I forgot to read the issue before this one, so I’m not quite sure what the conflict is. And like I said, the heroes spent all their time acting out “Sex & the City: The All-Male Version” so that didn’t help.
Overall, while the book had some great dialogue and very nice art, there was something that didn’t sit right with me. Here’s what I think the issue is: Why, out of all the X-Men, would a villain target Northstar’s loved one and not some other hero’s? Or, as is mentioned here, why not target his sister? Because it’s a ploy. It puts Kyle in danger, reducing him to the “damsel in distress.” It makes Northstar realize he can’t live without him and they get hitched in an event that’s gained the attention of mainstream media and was even “revealed” on ‘The View’. There’s the problem. It’s forced. It’s not organic. It’s a ploy to create an event to gain notoriety and outside interest. It’s too bad, because this creative team is really good and I think if given the chance, they could have come up with a really good way to get Jean-Paul and Kyle to the altar, but this just seems insincere and half-hearted.
It’s not a deal breaker. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but something kind of bugged me about it and I think that’s it. It just didn’t feel “real” to me. But good art, good dialogue. Overall, I think a solid book.
Verdict: Borrow (just barely not a Buy)
ASTONISHING X-MEN #50
Written by Marjorie Liu
Art by Mike Perkins
Cover by Justin Weaver and Rachelle Rosenberg