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Jan 6

Mr & Mrs X #6 – “King & Queen”

Posted on Sunday, January 6, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

So this is the previous issue of Mr & Mrs X – issue #7 was out this week – but I was figuring it was an opening chapter of something, and it turns out that it isn’t.

As promised in issue #5, this is Rogue and Gambit’s… well, apparently it’s a “belated engagement party”, though it’s basically a flatwarming.  Either way, this is what you want from a Rogue and Gambit series; I can understand why the first arc packed them off into space, if only to get them away from the rest of the X-Men, but mainly I’m here to see them be domestic.  That’s the interest here, surely?  That’s what we want to know if they can actually do?

One advantage of moving the X-Men’s Mansion to Manhattan is that it opens up the possibility of characters not actually living there, and having their own space somewhere else (doubtless to the horror of their anxiety-stricken neighbours).  So Rogue and Gambit have got themselves a rather nice apartment – quite how they paid for it isn’t mentioned, but it’s not as if Gambit doesn’t have, shall we say, well established sources of revenue.

The plot of the issue boils down to this: they want to have a party, and both Gambit’s father and his ex-wife drop by to warn him that some of the Thieves Guild are coming after him, because they’re very unhappy about him marrying Rogue.  Some of them do indeed come after him, and do about as well as you’d expect for a bunch of no-names against two of the X-Men.  Also, Rogue gets a slightly more convenient power-damper bracelet to replace her collar.  And that’s basically it – it ends with another ambush that leads into the next story, which I initially assumed was more of the Thieves Guild, but isn’t.

But this issue isn’t about plot, it’s about character.  And on top of Kelly Thompson’s usual excellent job on selling their relationship, it’s got guest artist from David Lopez, who is a reliably fantastic character artist, as well as being great with the action sequences.  It’s the detail they bring to the issue that make it work.

So there’s the design of the flat, which is all a bit designer-y (in quite a nice way) and generally looks like something Gambit would come up with when trying to be classy.  It also has cats wandering everywhere.  Domestic Remy, in his jumper, is a great look, in as much as it feels slightly off in all the right ways – though it’s also notable that while Rogue is bustling around trying to get everything ready for the guests, and roping in Iceman to help, Remy doesn’t seem to be doing anything, really.  He’s just kind of gliding around being Gambit and getting away with it.  And it makes for more of a contrast with the Thieves Guild characters who show up.

Ah, the Thieves Guild.  No Rogue and Gambit series was going to get away with ignoring them – they’re too far embedded into his back story, on top of which Gambit’s notionally supposed to be in charge of them these days.  Of course, Gambit approaches his responsibilities to the Thieves Guild in much the same way Storm took to leadership of the Morlocks  – “Well, I’m very honoured.  See you in three years.” – but for reasons which I confess aren’t 100% clear, marrying Rogue is apparently the last straw for them.  The idea seems to be that since he’s the King of Thieves, he’s inadvertently made Rogue the Queen, which is apparently unacceptable, presumably because Guild politics means he ought to have married someone capable of doing the job.  Though since Gambit himself hasn’t been doing his job either, you wonder whether it’s more about this being the final unmistakeable signal that he can’t be bothered with them.  You and me both, Gambit.

Since Rogue’s powers got amped up at the end of the last arc, to the point where she no longer even needs to be in contact to knock you out, this is a predictably short fight: Rogue takes off her collar while Gambit dives off the rooftop to get out of range.  And of course everyone just gets on with the party as if this was utterly routine.

Of the guests, Iceman and Laura probably get the best lines, though Iceman’s not exactly in character for his solo series; he’s played here more as a preppy guy who does things like recycle the present he bought for Kitty and Peter and forget to change the label.  (If anything, I’ve always seen Bobby as one of the X-Men with a better grasp on practical stuff.)  Laura, by contrast, is very much in line with the All-New Wolverine take, humanised but still slightly stilted, and confused by the fact that you’re not actually meant to show up precisely on time.  Magneto gets a brief cameo as well, dropping by to give his best wishes to Rogue and encourage her to open up to Gambit – it’s a good use of his established relationship with Rogue.

It’s an issue of set-up, light comedy and character beats, and the set-up seems to relate to stuff further down the line.  But it’s a good issue for all that, and much closer to what I was hoping for from this series.

Bring on the comments

  1. Ben says:

    Yeah I liked this a lot.

    I guess I see Iceman as more of a likable schlub who would do exactly that. I don’t really care for him in his own series, where he kind of feels like a different person just because he’s gay. I don’t see him being into clubbing and Tinder dates.

  2. Brian says:

    Writers keep forgetting that Bobby went off and became an accountant — and a good one — while his fellow Original Five were off angsting in solo adventures or drinking mutagenic compounds. He might have never been as proficient as being a Soap Opera character, but he always quietly the character who could operate in the real world (it always struck me that his dating woes were less “I’m secretly gay” and more “settling for this normal relationship isn’t as awesome as what all my friends are doing, so I’m going to mess things up for myself here with this nice girl in hopes that some Ninja Space Princess shows up”).

  3. Voord 99 says:

    I think part of the problem there is that the whole “Bobby is living a normal life” thing was invented by Claremont (UXM # 145) not as a way to give him something that other X-Men lacked, but to put him in a holding pattern at a time when he wasn’t in active use as a character. You’re not really supposed to care about it.

    I think that set the tone for subsequent use. I think J. M. DeMatteis made the most use of it in Bobby’s pre-X-Factor period in his Iceman miniseries, and he’s very clear that it represents the boring ordinary life that Bobby could have instead of being a superhero in the New Defenders. I.e., being a competent adult professional isn’t something that adds something to Bobby as a superhero, it’s an incompatible bland alternative to being a superhero.

    In any case, a lot of that was effectively erased once X-Factor started and that things happened to Bobby, Hank, and Warren after they left the X-Men was mostly quietly forgotten.

  4. Chris V says:

    I’m sure Claremont probably would have liked that direction to stick for Bobby, considering that he also wanted Scott to retire and start a family.
    It seemed to be Claremont’s intent to see the original X-Men leave the superhero world and begin to live ordinary lives.

    Had Marvel editorial not interfered, we probably would have seen Hank and Warren move on with their lives too.
    Maybe.

  5. Voord 99 says:

    Hank perhaps had too high a profile in his Avengers period to be left unused for very long. But it could have taken different forms: another shot at a solo series, for instance.

    Warren and especially Bobby are another matter, though. In fact, I think it’s not impossible that at least Bobby came back into active use *because* of Hank. If one looks at the Defenders issues in which DeMatteis brought them into the title, Hank is very much the main figure who joins the cast. Bobby is used as a bland, colorless foil to support the depiction of the more exciting and dynamic Hank, who has his flamboyant Avengers-era personality. Which is a pretty good use of that version of Bobby, arguably.

  6. Moo says:

    Yeah, Hank wouldn’t have been sitting in limbo. Kurt Busiek very much wanted to have him as a regular in Avengers back when he was writing the book but could only get him on loan for a couple of guest-appearances.

    Hank’s actually been almost in constant publication somewhere or another since he first appeared. It was I think, only two years between the cancellation of Silver Age X-Men and his appearances in Amazing Adventures. That might be his longest absence, I think? I don’t recall a huge gap between his Avengers and Defenders stints.

  7. Anya42 says:

    I wanted more of the ‘party guests,’ a whole issue of wacky team interaction would have been perfect. I can completely see Bobby re-gifting his kitty/peter wedding present. Accountants are frugal, after all.

  8. Luis Dantas says:

    @Brian

    I am fairly certain that Claremont did not make Bobby an accountant. He established Bobby to be in college, but did not specify not what he would be studying.

    Far as I can tell, that came out only three or four years later, in the Iceman limited series by J.M. DeMatteis from 1984.

    There was a very brief mention of the fact in the original issue #1 of X-Factor, where he apparently left his job on a whim out of sheer enthusiasm for rejoining the old folks.

    Oddly enough for a character that was associated with Spider-Man, we saw very little if any of his accounting skills since.

  9. Voord 99 says:

    Bobby was only in his second year of college in those issues, so it’s not unlikely that – if Claremont even thought about it – he was not meant to have chosen a major yet.

    DeMatteis’s idea may have been sparked by a passing reference to an “economics quiz,” that being the only specific subject that Claremont had Bobby mention. But I think it’s very possible that DeMatteis simply picked accountancy as the most stereotypically boring of all professions, to suit its thematic role in the Iceman miniseries as the polar opposite of the colorful life of a superhero.

    No insult to actual accountants intended. Some of my best friends are accountants. Well, *one* of my best friends is an accountant. But he’s a very close friend! Really!

  10. Chris V says:

    Wasn’t it in the Mary Jo Duffy Bizarre Adventures story where Iceman was first shown to be studying to be an accountant?

  11. Voord 99 says:

    Just skimmed it on Unlimited (it was reprinted in UXM #600, in case someone else wants to do the same), and I don’t think so. Bobby’s just a “visiting sophomore” and the text doesn’t mention a current or planned major as far as I can tell. But I may have missed something.

    Curiously, the story seems to equate transferring to Dartmouth with him being a solo superhero. It’s not at all clear why he can’t be a solo superhero at his current institution, wherever that is.

  12. Taibak says:

    Oddly enough, a fair number of students transfer to Dartmouth after two years, simply because Dartmouth has an engineering programme and a lot of other liberal arts schools don’t. They spend their first, second, and fourth years at their home university, but spend their third year and a fifth year at Dartmouth completing an engineering degree.

    Maybe Bobby was supposed to be an engineer?

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