While slow to start Mr. & Mrs. X has quickly become one of the best X-Men comics to be published in recent memory. Kelly Thompson has gone all in on the fun to be had in the X-Men Universe. Particularly how fun it can be to write an adventure around newlyweds Gambit and Rogue. Things took quite a turn recently with Gambit and Rogue coming across the daughter of Professor Xavier and Lilandra Neramani, who is named Xandra. This has led Gambit and Rogue to get directly involved in the ongoing war for the throne of the Shi’ar Empire. With the last issue ending with an explosion that took out Rogue and Xandra where will Thompson go with this story next? Let’s find out with Mr. & Mrs. X #5.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: With the Starjammers and Shi’ar Royal Guard around him Gambit is in a state of shock as there is only dust left from where an explosion happened with Rogue and Xandra at the center.
Oracle suggests to Cerise that she disappear for a while after this event. Cerise agrees and promises to keep Gladiator’s true motives to hide Xandra a secret. Corsair offers Cerise the chance to join the Starjammers, which she gladly accepts.
Thirty minutes earlier it is shown that Cerise used her powers to defend Xandra from everyone attacking her. At the same time Gambit is able to fight off several Royal Guard and members of Deathbird’s rebels.
As the fight intensifies Rogue flies Xandra to a safe spot. A laser is fired at Xandra but Rogue is able to block it. With Gambit and Cerise getting overwhelmed by the numbers Xandra is worried everyone is getting hurt because of her.
Xandra then suggest Rogue let her do something dangerous that could save the day. Rogue agrees. Xandra puts the idea in Rogue’s mind and says they cannot risk anyone knowing this plan. Rogue and Xandra are then consumed by light that ends up exploding.
Back in the present as Gambit is still in a state of shock Rogue and Xandra appear out of nowhere. Rogue apologizes for tricking Gambit but reasons that they couldn’t risk anyone discovering the illusion she and Xandra created. Gambit is shocked that he wasn’t told and walks away.
Meanwhile Xandra and Cerise embrace upon seeing each other.
Rogue is able to catch up to Gambit and says she made a call she believed would be best in saving the day, something she knows Gambit would’ve done in her position.
While they talk Gambit starts feeling odd. As he goes down on his knees Rogue’s starts absorbing the powers of everyone in the area. Gambit quickly gives Rogue the power dampening collar and she quickly puts it on to stop her powers from getting further out of control.
A little later Gambit checks to make sure Cerise and Xandra are safe. They confirm that they are. Cerise asks how Rogue is doing. Gambit is not sure and comments that Rogue will need time to get over the shock. He suggests they teleport to their ship and circle back to pick them up. Cerise and Xandra agree and teleport away.
Gambit checks on Rogue. While she stays silent Gambit says that this must have been all fate to finally give them a moment of peace to talk. He then takes out their wedding rings and says that now that the rings are ready it is a good time for them to put it on.
Rogue is not sure as her powers have gotten completely out of control. Gambit reminds her that they made vows to each other to stick with one another for better or worse. Rogue jokes that she should have never married such a silver-tongued devil as Gambit puts the wedding ring on her finger.
As they make-out Xandra shows back up and is happy to see Gambit and Rogue together again.
Sometime later in the Alpha Flight ship Xandra tells Rogue that Cerise has made preparations for them to go and wanted to say goodbye. Rogue asks Xandra what went wrong when she absorbed Xandra. Xandra reveals that during the lobotomy-like process she ended up accelerating the evolution of Rogue’s powers. Xandra goes on to say that Rogue’s powers are not broken but rather she will need to learn to control her newly evolved powers.
After Xandra and Cerise teleport to the Starjammers ship Rogue and Gambit agree to go back home to Earth together.
Sometime later Gambit helps Rogue move into the penthouse he has in Tribeca. Gambit introduces Rogue to his pet cats. Rogue wonders if they should return Alpha Flight’s ship. Gambit says the ship has a auto-recall function so Alpha Flight likely already got it back.
After an awkwardly silent moment Gambit and Rogue agree to throw the engagement party they never had in their apartment. End of issue.
The Good: Kelly Thompson closes out the first story arc of Mr. & Mrs. X, “Love and Marriage,” in a way that builds an intriguing future for the series moving forward. In the process Thompson uses the developments in Mr. & Mrs. X #5 to progress the relationship of Rogue and Gambit to naturally move to the next stage of their marriage.
With how rushed the wedding of Rogue and Gambit was Thompson made the right choice to use this first story arc of Mr. & Mrs. X to explore the trust the pair have in each other. With each issue in this first story arc we saw how trust was a big thing that kept popping up. Given the characters history together and as individuals it is not surprising that this would be a major part of the story.
That exploration throughout this story made the big decision Rogue makes to go along with Xandra’s secret plan even more effective. The decision to create the illusion was done by Rogue as a field leader. As much as she wanted to tell Gambit she knew that this was a decision she had to make quickly in order to make the plan Xandra created work.
While a harsh decision it is one that the reader understands because of how bad the battle between the Starjammers, Shi’ar Royal Guard and Deathbird’s rogue army was getting. This plan was the most effective job to ensure the battle stopped immediately. In making that decision Thompson was able to show that Rogue has come into her own as a leader willing to make decisions others will not.
Thompson did a good job using this decision by Rogue to show the concern Gambit has for her. You could tell he was genuinely concerned for Rogue’s safety. Having to go from a state of shock seeing the love of his life seemingly die only for minutes later to learn that it was all an illusion was a lot to take in. Thompson made good use to the passage of time to make Gambit’s reaction an understandable one.
Gambit’s reaction to Rogue and Xandra’s illusion made the moment Rogue’s powers went out of control a more powerful moment. The reversal of roles as Gambit needed to switch to being the one to cheer up Rogue was well executed by Thompson. This change showed that while Gambit and Rogue have a lot to work out as their marriage is still new they are willing to talk to each other. That is something that they weren’t always up to doing. Having open conversations about their new situation showed how deep their relationship is. So even if Rogue has to now learn how to control the new level of her powers we know that Gambit will be there to be her lightning rod if things ever get to crazy.
The twist of Rogue’s evolved absorption power opens the door for new ways to explore how she learns to control her powers. From the looks of it Rogue looks to be starting from the beginning again as the level of power makes her almost an Omega-level mutant in terms of power level. How this ends up affecting her mentally and physically will be interesting to see.
Through all of this Thompson did a good job building Xandra as a compelling new character. Her God-like powers make her a powerful ally for the X-Men and Shi’ar. At the same time because she is still a child her innocence in how to approach situations makes her a character with a lot potential in the future. Thompson showed some of the potential with how she interacted and connected with Rogue and Gambit over the course of this story arc. It’ll be very interesting to see her show back up whenever the X-Men get involved with the Shi’ar Empire.
Speaking of, Thompson was also able to create an interesting sub-plot involving the greater conflict going on with the Shi’ar Empire. This conflict was not resolved with this arc. Instead it was just set up as the first stage for a greater story as Gladiator will continue to have problems with Deathbird’s gang and other rebel groups. This set up provides a good foundation for whenever Thompson and the X-Men creative team circles back to having the X-Men get involved with the Shi’ar Empire.
Oscar Bazaldua once again delivered a great looking issue with Mr. & Mrs. X #5. He did a great job making the action sequences look dynamic, particularly the way Gambit took on several people in a way that each action flowed into the next. The dynamic nature of the artwork was on further display with the double page spread of when Rogue lost control of her evolved power. It gave us a good idea of how powerful Rogue’s power level is now. This made the dialogue that followed this event even stronger.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Mr. & Mrs. X #5 was a fantastic end to the first story arc of this series, “Love & Marriage.” Kelly Thompson’s understanding of Rogue and Gambit is the strength of this series. The particular developments in this issue set the groundwork for some intriguing storylines for both the Mr. & Mrs. X series and the X-Men franchise as a whole. If you are an X-Men fan I highly recommend giving Mr. & Mrs. X a try.