With all the chaos going on around the X-Men at the moment the time for Jonathan Hickman’s House of X and Powers of X couldn’t come soon enough. Now, while most X-Men comics have been all over the map in terms of quality Kelly Thompson’s Mr. & Mrs X has been consistent ray of light in the franchise since launching. Thompson has done an impressive job putting over Rogue and Gambit’s relationship. The chemistry between the two has made their marriage a strong one. After recent events the iconic X-Men pair have been gone on their own as Rogue is dealing with the problem that Captain Marvel is in the middle of while Gambit decides to go back home to the Thieves Guild. Now let’s see what goes down in Mr. & Mrs. X #1.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: By hiding his identity Gambit is able to make it back home to New Orleans.
While he takes off his disguise at a motel Gambit thinks about how Rogue likely joined Cyclops and Wolverine since what remains of the X-Men need her help.
After putting his gear on Gambit makes his way to the Thieves Guild base of operation since they, along with the Assassins Guild, more active lately.
When Gambit arrives he is surprised to see the Thieves Guild greet him, their former “King of Thieves,” by attacking him. Gambit easily takes down all the Thieves Guild members that try to attack him.
Candra, who Gambit thought was dead, suddenly stops the fighting. Gambit senses something wrong with Candra’s presence. Candra states that Gambit was overconfident by thinking that his seat as the King of Thieves would just be waiting for his return from his X-Men adventures.
Bella Donna shows up and, to Gambit’s surprise, knocks him out with a powerful blast.
Gambit wakes up to find himself heavily chained up. Bella requests to speak to Gambit privately. Bella reveals that the Thieves Guild stole Rogue’s power suppression collar weeks ago and have put it on Gambit.
Gambit wonders why Bella would betray him. Bella reminds Gambit what they had is over and that Candra will help protect the Thieves Guild better that the absentee Gambit has been.
They suddenly hear a loud explosion coming from outside the room they are in.
In another room Rogue is shown using her powers and skills to take down all the Thieves Guild members that try to attack her.
When she goes to where Gambit is locked up she is attacked by both Candra and Bella in a combined attack. Bella immediately puts a power suppression collar on Rogue and then locks her in chains next to Gambit.
Gambit is surprised that Rogue didn’t join Cyclops and Wolverine’s X-Men team. Rogue reminds Gambit that he is her husband and she is exactly where she should be.
Suddenly, Candra has the guards knock Rogue and Gambit out.
Sometime later Gambit wakes up locked up in chains and is shocked that Candra and Bella are preparing to sacrifice Rogue for a ritual. End of issue.
The Good: Comic book issues like Mr. & Mrs. X #11 strengthen an entire run. It may not be the standout of the series but Kelly Thompson uses this issue as a chance to expand on who Gambit is at this point in his life. In the process Thompson brings in newer readers into what Gambit’s history is while still moving the character and the marriage forward.
Throughout Gambit’s time back home in New Orleans there was a feeling as though he was revisiting his past. Thompson and, artist, Oscar Bazaldua did a fantastic job getting over that feeling. Between the dialogue and artwork we see how Gambit didn’t go home to return to his old life. Rather, he is dealing with matters that are personal to him as he is no longer letting his past dictate who he is.
Gambit’s inner monologue about how he thought Rogue would be helping out what remains of the X-Men was well in character. While he is closely tied to the X-Men he is a guy that has had more of an outsider role since he is constantly leaving and rejoining the team. It also showed how Gambit does understand how much of a family the X-Men are to Rogue. And credit to Thompson’s inner monologue for Gambit to not have this be a sign of a divorce or anything. Instead it is more about Gambit understanding the desperate situation X-Men are in at the moment that they need Rogue’s help.
At the same time it was great to see even as Gambit worried about where Rogue was that he was still being a badass when fighting the Thieves Guild. He was clearly a force to be reckoned with. It shows that even when Gambit’s mind may be somewhere else that it takes a lot to take him down.
Seeing Gambit in this way made the surprise with Bella Donna and Candra more effective. If it wasn’t for them Gambit would’ve easily reclaimed his King of the Thieves title. Thompson sets these characters up well. She teases us with what history Bella Donna and Candra have with Gambit but she does not beat us over the head with how they’ve known each other for years.
This especially worked with Bella Donna’s presence in Mr. & Mrs. X #11. Thompson was able to walk a fine line where you can tell Bella Donna still considering Gambit a friend but looking out for her Thieves Guild family. That attachment to her family makes it understand why she would side with Candra since she was there to protect the Thieves Guild. Whereas Gambit is more of a loose cannon leaving and coming back as he pleases even though he holds the title of King of Thieves.
All this made Rogue’s big appearance at the end of Mr. & Mrs. X #11 hit with a bigger impact. Rogue reminding Gambit she is where she should be, by his side, once again emphasized how strong of a relationship they have now. This isn’t just going to be a relationship where one thing will cause the marriage to crumble. Both Rogue and Gambit believe strongly in each other and have grown up from the kids they were when they first got together.
Oscar Bazaldua once again delivered a consistent look that fans come to expect from Mr. & Mrs. X. As mentioned before, Bazaldua did a very good job in using Gambit’s inner monologue to explain the expressions he was drawing for him. He also delivered on what the different fighting styles are for Rogue and Gambit. Whereas Gambit is a fluid fighter, Rogue is more about power. That balance is something that Bazaldua pulls off very well in showcasing.
The Bad: The one weak part of Mr. & Mrs. X #11 was the role that Candra served. Thompson wrote her to much like the typical antagonist to get over what makes Candra unique as a villain. She was just there to fill a role to get Gambit back to the Thieves Guild. Especially when compared to Bella Donna’s motivation, Candra comes across as a one-note villain that is used for a fill-in story arc. Candra’s lack of credibility just highlighted how the ending of Mr. & Mrs. X #11 was a predictable ending.
Overall: Mr. & Mrs. X #11 was another solid issue in one of the most consistent titles Marvel is publishing. Kelly Thompson and Oscar Bazaldua did a great job getting us in the mind of Gambit and where he is now. How that compliments where he and Rogue are in their relationship strengthens the scene they have together at the end of Mr. & Mrs. X #11.
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