While slow to start Mr. & Mrs. X has quickly become one of the better titles at Marvel. Kelly Thompson has done a good job thus far showing how strong of a pairing Gambit and Rogue are. The dynamic between the pair has been off the charts, which is a good thing since its been the driving force of this series. Adding in an adventure with the Shi’ar Empire’s current status quo has helped this first story be fresh since we haven’t seen the X-Men get involved with this side of their franchise in a while. Now with the child of Charles Xavier and Lilandra out in the wild there is no telling how things will go. Let’s find that out now with Mr. & Mrs. X #4.
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: Inside the Shi’ar Empires’ Detainment Facility the guards go over Gambit and Rogue’s case after being captured. As Rogue and Gambit share a kiss the guards leave them locked up.
Now alone they break the kiss to reveal that Rogue had snuck in one of Gambit’s pins in her mouth. Gambit uses it to set them both They find out from a nearby computer Xandra’s (Charles Xavier and Lilandra’s daughter) egg is being held in the same room.
When they find it Xandra transforms back to her normal form and hugs Rogue. While figuring out their next move Xandra reveals she can mask all of their appearances with her powers. She transforms Rogue and Gambit into members of the Shi’ar Empire.
They then quickly leave and get in there ship. Rogue has Xandra drop there disguise as they take off.
As they exit Shi’ar space they are attacked by the Starjammers. Xandra detects Cerise inside the ship and contacts her so they can reunite somewhere..
On the Moon of Chandilar Corsair apologizes for attacking Rogue and Gambit as he thought they were the Imperial Guard. Gambit mentions that there ship is now damaged so they’ll need a life.
Cerise is surprised and happy to find out Xandra has taken on a form.
Rogue asks Xandra how she knew about Cerise. Xandra reveals that while she was still an egg Cerise voice was the first thing she heard and promised to protect her.
Xandra then says she would like to repay Rogue for her help. Xandra then reveals she can fix Rogue’s powers by going in her brain to turn them off. Rogue and Gambit are shocked to hear this and talk alone on the side.
As Rogue and Gambit talk Xandra asks Cerise if she said something wrong. Cerise says before Rogue and Gambit can decide they have to talk things through.
Gambit asks Rogue if she is considering Xandra’s offer. Rogue says she did for a second but it is not something that she can just walk away from even if Gambit wants to. Gambit says he will not go anywhere and just wants to know why Rogue doesn’t want to turn her powers off. Rogue reveals that when Professor Xavier did the same things went out of control because when her powers did return she did not have the control to handle that situation (X-Men: Legacy #224).
Rogue apologizes for their situation. Gambit says he understands and tells Rogue to never apologize.
The Imperial Guard suddenly appear to take back Xandra. Rogue acts quick by knocking down Titan first.
As the fight between Rogue, Gambit, Starjammers and Imperial Guard intensify Deathbird and her rebel group appear out of nowhere.
Deathbird gets some revenge for being left to drift in space by stabbing Gambit with her spear.
Seeing this, when Rogue touches Xandra a large beam of light consuming them both starts shooting into the sky. All of a sudden the light turns into an explosion blowing everyone in the area back.
When Gambit recovers he and everyone else is shocked to see nothing but smoke around where Rogue and Xandra were before. End of issue.
The Good: Kelly Thompson does not let the momentum she has created for this title slip her by and Mr. & Mrs. X #4 is an example of that. Throughout this issue Thompson creates a story that is fun to read and never wastes time. And at the core of it is the strong dynamic between Rogue and Gambit that continues to be the core of this series.
Because there is not a waste page or panel Mr. & Mrs. X #4 is a tightly paced comic that just keeps moving forward. That is something Thompson establishes early on as we don’t go through some sort of flashback to find out how Rogue and Gambit got caught so quickly. Instead Thompson makes it clear that since they didn’t hide their appearance the Shi’ar were able to easily spot them since they are well known X-Men. That quick pacing is only further by how we see the Starjammers, Shi’ar Imperial Guard and Deathbird’s rebels get integrated back into the story for the final climax of this issue.
In establishing the fact that the Shi’ar know all about Rogue and Gambit Thompson pushes the history between the X-Men and Shi’ar Empire. Even if it is your first experience with the Shi’ar Empire the way Thompson presents them throughout the issue shows the history that is already there. That close tie that is re-established helps push the sense of urgency in the resolution for what to do with Xandra.
Through having a sense of urgency Thompson is able to position Rogue and Gambit in a story that tests their relationship and teamwork. From the beginning of Mr. & Mrs. X #4 Thompson puts over how these two share a deep trust in each other to help the other get out of any situation alive. That includes tricking an empire’s guards for them to easily escape.
The dynamic shown between Rogue and Gambit was further explored as we see Thompson develop the trust these two share. Because their current relationship is new and they rushed into getting married there are still things left for them to build a strong foundation in their marriage. This in turn made the big opportunity that Xandra presents to Rogue and Gambit, as she reveals she can turn off Rogue’s powers, an even bigger thing for them to talk to through together.
Given that her powers is always going to be something that she will have some insecurities about this was a big decision for Rogue to make. Thompson does a good job using past X-Men history to reveal why Rogue would turn this opportunity down. Reminding readers that this is something Rogue has actually gone through before shows that this decision was a character growth moment. In providing Rogue this type of character growth Thompson avoids having her go through a recycled angle moving forward.
Gambit’s role in this decision also showed the personal growth that he has been through. Gambit is no longer a guy that will cut and run in the first opportunity he gets. He has actually become more mature as he has grown older. And being with Rogue is something he wants more than anything and will do anything to make it work, unlike when they were younger. Gambit reminding Rogue of his dedication to her further makes the reader hope this is a lasting marriage.
Thompson also does a great job portraying the innocence of Xandra. As a new character she has turned out to be a fun addition to the Shi’ar side of the X-Men franchise. She has a wildcard nature to her since her powers are almost unlimited. At the same time she is still just a child which we see with how she talks about her connection with Cerise, Rogue and Gambit. That connection makes Xandra even more likable addition to the franchise, even if the way she was created was a bit confusing.
Xandra being presented as such a fun character made the three-way fight between the Starjammers, Imperial Guard and Deathbird’s squad even more. Since Thompson builds a personal connection to what is at stake we have a reason for the heroes to win that is more than just them being the protagonist of the story.
Because of that it made the interactions between everyone in the fight even better as they all had their own reasons to want Xandra for themselves.That reason for fighting made the ending with Xandra and Rogue blowing up an effective ending. This created the hook needed to make the reader wonder how this entire conflict will end up being resolved.
With this story revolving around the Shi’ar Empire it was great to see the Starjammer be brought into this conflict around Xandra. Their involvement makes perfect sense since they are always looking to gain something for themselves, especially when it comes to the Shi’ar Empire. And I liked the fact that Thompson does not spend a bunch of time putting their connection with the X-Men over. We have seen the Starjammer enough to already know who they are and their interaction with Rogue and Gambit shows that they have a history that they can trust them as allies.
Oscar Bazaldua once again delivers strong artwork for Mr. & Mrs. X #4. Bazaldua adds to the quick pacing of Thompson’s story with his energetic art style that has a very animated look. He especially does a good job with how he shows the emotional rollercoaster that Rogue and Gambit go through during this issue. And with Mr. & Mrs. X #4 ending on a big action sequence Bazaldua delivers on the chaos of so many different types of fighters going at it at once.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Mr. & Mrs. X #4 was a fun, fast-paced issue that continued the strong momentum Kelly Thompson’s has created for this series. Thompson understanding and love for Rogue and Gambit is made clear throughout this issue as she tests their relationship in different ways that makes them a stronger pair. The involvement of the Starjammers, Shi’ar Empire and Deathbird made the entire conflict around the child of Professor Xavier and Lilandra even stronger. If you are an X-Men fan you should give Mr. & Mrs. X a shot.