While I did enjoy Kelly Thompson’s Rogue & Gambit mini-series I was not sure how the Mr. & Mrs. X series would turn out. That is mostly due to how rushed the marriage between Rogue and Gambit was done in order to give us an X-Men wedding after Kitty Pryde left Colossus before they could go through their own wedding. The first issue of this series ran into trouble addressing that fact. Luckily Thompson quickly turned things around in the previous issue of Mr. & Mrs. X and created a fun sci-fi adventure around Rogue and Gambit’s honeymoon. Let’s see if Thompson can continue that fun with Mr. & Mrs. X #3.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On Chandilar, Gladiator reprimands the Shi’ar Imperial Guard for failing to retried the egg and letting it fall in the hands of the X-Men. Gladiator orders Oracle to release Cerise so she can make things right.
On Rogue and Gambit’s honeymoon ship Rogue angrily reprimands Kitty Pryde for not giving her all the details of their mission. Kitty notices Gambit and Deadpool chasing a naked girl around the ship in the background. Rogue says the girl is what came out of the egg.
After they sit the girl down and have Deadpool leave the room Kitty explains that the egg was genetically engineered to produce a child using Professor Xavier and Lilandra Neramani’s DNA and word has now spread about the egg due to the potential of it producing an Omega-Level weapon.
Understanding this Rogue says she won’t let anything happen to the egg but is still confused the girl looks like her. Kitty believes the girl used her telepathic powers to mirror Rogue for survival purposes.
The girl touches Rogue and Gambit in order to learn about her parents. Once she psychically learns about her parents she creates an appearance that is a mix of Professor Xavier and Lilandra, adopting the name Xandra in the process.
Deathbird’s ship suddenly appears and starts shooting Rogue and Gambit’s ship. Rogue orders Gambit and Deadpool to teleport into Deathbird’s ship while she tries to evade all the shots their ship is taking.
Inside Deathbird’s ship Gambit and Deadpool work together to take down the Imperial soldiers inside. During the fight Gambit “convinces” Deadpool not to use lethal force by letting Deadpool borrow his kinetic energy enhanced bo staff.
After a long fight Gambit and Deadpool finally reach Deathbird’s location. Deathbird stands down and reveals that she wants the egg because she wants to use it to have Lilandra’s child to be at her side and help her take the Shi’ar crown away from Gladiator. Gambit thinks Deathbird is crazy for using her niece in this way but Deathbird says the Shi’ar are at war.
Gambit does not like that answer and warns Deathbird to evacuate her crew. Gambit then throws several kinetic energy charged cards to destroy part of Deathbird’s ship.
Gambit and Deadpool teleport back to their ship. While they talk Rogue decides Deadpool is too much of a wildcard to have around. Since he is injured Rogue teleports Deadpool to a planet for him to get healed, even though Deadpool heavily protests being left out of the adventure.
Just then Nightside appears out of nowhere and quickly takes Xandra in her egg form back to the Shi’ar Empire before Rogue and Gambit can stop her.
Cerise then appears on the ship. Cerise tells Rogue and Gambit where the egg was taken though she can’t go there since she is being hunted by the Shi’ar. Cerise then breaks down because she feels a strong connection to the egg after having it in her possession for such a long time.
Rogue and Gambit reveal that Xandra transformed back to an egg before Nightside took her so no one but them knows she has taken a physical form. Cerise comes up with a plan since no one but them knows that fact and hands supplies to Rogue and Gambit so they can infiltrate Chandilar.
While they change Rogue and Gambit reflect on how this may not be an ideal honeymoon but they both understand they are doing the right thing in saving Xandra.
Sometime later on Chandilar Rogue and Gambit are captured and placed in chains while hanging upside down. End of issue.
The Good: Mr. & Mrs. X #3 continues to move forward with the momentum created by the first two issue. Kelly Thompson continues to she the clear understanding she has of the Rogue and Gambit pairing and why these two together is so much fun to see. In the process of exploring the pairing Thompson adds an extra wrinkle to the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe that could dramatically affect comics beyond the X-Men series.
Throughout Mr. & Mrs. X #3 Thompson does not shy away from how much the Marvel Universe’s cosmic corner has changed. In particular the Shi’ar Empire has had a lot of turnover as Lilandra has not been around to lead them like she had for so long. Rather than just trying to reset things back to how they were Thompson fully embraces the changes to Shi’ar Empire. She takes those changes, such as what it would mean with Gladiator on the throne, to explore the greater ramifications of what has gone on.
The opening of Mr. & Mrs. X #3 is a great example of this as Gladiator is doing everything in his power to maintain control of the situation with the egg. At the same time we see through his words and the way he carries himself that Gladiator feels immense pressure in this situation. Gladiator willingly using Cerise to find the egg after she betrayed the Shi’ar Empire shows just that. They are simple character choices added depth to the current war for the egg.
Speaking of the egg, Thompson does a great job revealing that the egg was genetically manufactured with the DNA of Professor Xavier and Lilandra. Even though the relationship had its ups and downs Professor Xavier and Lilandra’s romance was one of the more impactful ones within the X-Men franchise. For Lilandra and the Shi’ar Empire to create an egg with both of their DNA guarantees the existence of a powerful weapon for them.
And as a character Xandra already showed herself to be incredibly compelling. Thompson does a good job balancing the childlike innocence of the newborn with how powerful she actually is. Through her interactions with Rogue in particular we get to see how confused she is to be in the middle of a war. At the same time, because of the level of her powers Xandra instinctively understands the danger she is. Turning back into an egg to hide her real form when Nightside attacks showed that. This quick move puts into question what else she picked up from Rogue and Gambit when she read their minds to learn about her parents.
Adding Deathbird into the equation gave this series a true antagonist to hate. Even though her appearance was short Thompson maximizes that panel time to show how power hungry she is with the way she talked to Gambit. Deathbird’s presentation was so well done that even if you don’t know much about her you understood that she is a villain that is not to be messed with. And for those that know about Deathbird you’ll get more out of her appearance due to knowing what it would mean for the Shi’ar Empire if she got her hands on Xandra.
All of the drama around the Shi’ar Empire civil war works fantastically well to give Rogue and Gambit a fun first adventure together. This entire situation that they find themselves is not something either one is used to without the other X-Men. And since they are both learning more new details on what is really going on with Xandra we get to see how flexible both Rogue and Gambit are. Even without all the information they are able to tackle everything as it comes at them with a plan that works for their strengths.
That is best seen with Rogue immediately sending Gambit and Deadpool to teleport into Deathbird’s ship without knowing all the threats inside. It spoke to the trust Rogue and Gambit have in each other. It all worked to put their respective skills on display, with Deadpool as a fun tagalone. The entire fight sequence within Deathbird’s ship had a fantastic flow to it that was given greater tension due to Rogue having to still pilot their ship away from all the laser fire. This combination of things going on made Gambit’s quick decision to blow up Deathbird’s ship even more impactful as it was the best choice to help them get away.
Deadpool being the tagalong for this part of the story added an extra layer of fun to what was going on. Thompson does a great job nailing what makes Deadpool such a fan favorite without making his brand of comedy be over the top. It was just enough for fans to smile while Deadpool kept poking at Rogue about their previous kiss and then bemoaning when Gambit told him not to use lethal force. The chemistry between the three worked so well that there was a sense of disappointment when Rogue teleports Deadpool off the ship.
That was balanced out well with how Thompson used Xandra’s presence to ground the story around Rogue and Gambit. Through what we learn about Xandra we get to see Rogue step up and call Kitty Pryde out for not giving them all the information about their mission. This was an honest discussion that finally had Kitty admit that she shouldn’t have left that info out. It was a good moment for two of the X-Men leaders that showed the comfort and trust they have in each other that this didn’t break their friendship.
This whole situation also further highlighted how both Rogue and Gambit have grown. Even though Rogue did question Gambit’s moral compass Thompson did identify that this was wrong for Rogue to do. Gambit calling her out and Rogue admitting that was a good way to show how they’ve matured together and won’t let things like this cause a massive argument like when they were younger. And bringing this up establishes how Thompson will go about displaying Rogue and Gambit in action in future issues now that they’ve been captured by the Shi’ar Empire.
Oscar Bazaldua does a great job amplifying the fun that Thompson has writing Mr. & Mrs. X #3 through his artwork. Bazaldua’s art style has a great animated look to it that matches the highly expressive dialogue that Thompson is writing for each character in this series. He takes his art to the next level when given action to draw, as was the case with the two double page spreads that showed Gambit and Deadpool in action inside Deathbird’s ship. The flow to the action was spot on as you got to see how quick both characters fighting styles were.
The Bad: The only disappointing part of Mr. & Mrs. X #3 was the fact that Deadpool was taken out of the equation for now. Thompson did such a good job having Deadpool play a supporting role that it did not feel right when he was teleported to another planet. With the great chemistry Deadpool had with Rogue and Gambit he will hopefully not be gone for long and turns out to be a supporting character for this series.
Overall: Mr. & Mrs. X #3 was by far the strongest issue of this young series starring Rogue and Gambit. Kelly Thompson nails how fun and dramatic the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe can be by putting Rogue and Gambit in the middle of a Shi’ar Empire civil war. The reveal of a powerful X-Men related offspring and what she means for the larger story created greater anticipation for where Thompson plans on going with this first story arc.
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