This review won't spoil the ongoing storyline from Astonishing X-Men #48-50, and instead focuses upon the depictions of Northstar, Kyle and the rest of Alpha Flight and a general take on the creative team's issue as a whole, giving minor details specifically about the wedding. These are what I class as minor spoilers; you may class them as more than that so if you read on you have been warned
From the buzz and media hype from this time last month we know the marrying couple are confirmed to be Jean-Paul and Kyle.
It's a massive thing for a comic, and whilst not the first gay marriage in comics (The Authority, Archie) it's the first for a mainstream superhero and for the now Disney-owned Marvel it's a very big step in the right direction, so it's only fitting that the honours go to Northstar, the first publically gay Superhero.
There have been issues raised about the length of time that Northstar and Kyle have been together.
When we first met Kyle in Uncanny X-Men #508 the two were already together and a firm couple.
Whilst Kyle hasn't had much panel time since then (Nation X #2, Alpha Flight (Vol.4) #0.1-8, Astonishing X-Men #48-present) it was never established how long the two had been together.
The last time we'd seen Northstar previous to UXM #508 were Secret Invasion:X-Men #2 and X-Men: Divided We Stand #2, both minor appearances, neither or which we saw anything to say Northstar wasn't already with him. Previous to that was 2007's X-Men Annual #1.
They could well have been together since then.
When Kyle was introduced it was as manager of Northstar's brand, which could well have been running since before Uncanny X-Men #392 when Northstar was on his Book Tour.
Whilst Northstar was single during Chuck Austen's run on Uncanny (UXM #414-) it could well be speculated that he already knew Kyle at that time, even if not romantically, with Kyle organising his Book Tour.
But that's all my speculation.
Even with the facetime Kyle and Northstar's relationship has had, it's still the longest relationship we've seen Northstar have, and not the quickest superhero marriage.
And let's remember that Jean-Paul is a speedster and for him, this is probably slow.
Liu handles Northstar and Kyle's relationship really well in my opinion.
Kyle's change of heart from the end of last issue fully makes sense and you can feel the love he shares for Jean-Paul. It's nice to see a superhero in a relationship with a non-superhero and while we've seen that Kyle did get captured and end up having to be saved, he walked into the situation looking for his man. Kyle's not just some stereotypical equivalent of a damsel-in-distress, and hopefully this will continue throughout the relationship.
Aurora is a character I've wanted to see Liu write for a while now, after reading her Cecilia Reyes and X-23 and while she isn't in it more than the previews we've already seen, I'm very happy with her. She too isn't portrayed as a victim or flakey, and her concern for her brother is touching.
Sasquatch is the character I most have the problem with.
He isn't in it for long, but does have dialogue.
I know we've seen him speak at Northstar's funeral but out of all of Alpha Flight I think he's the person Jean-Paul would least like to be there and seems an odd-choice to say what he says.
But I suppose it's a happy occasion so the two may finally be at ease.
HOWEVER Walter makes what COULD be interpreted as a traditional 'Alpha Flight as a joke' comment... Although it is at the expense of the Avengers & X-Men and very much written for the (Reader's) timing of AvX, so we'll let it slide.
The issue of gay marriage and it's place in society is touched upon in several scenes.
One scene displays Warbird refusing to go to the wedding, and while both her and Northstar are pained by it, there is an underlined respect between the two.
Another involves Havok and Puck, who while happy for the couple represent the side that while respecting and accepting don't quite know if it's right or not.
I was quite taken back by these character choices as Havok always seemed close to J-P during Austen's run, and Puck has always been written as tolerant and accepting of all, so while they're not insulting it is a bit jarring. It's worth it for the art though - Puck on a high stool drinking beer before the ceremony!
(There's also a quite funny panel of Guardian arm-wrestling Rogue!)
The ceremony itself goes without a hitch!
Yup, defying the rule of superhero weddings, as played upon by Kid Omega at the start of the issue.
No attack, no death of Kyle, no Kyle being turned into a superhero/villain.
Liu presents a respectful, happy ceremony, with the vows being very sweet and realistic.
All in all, I'm very pleased with the issue. Well done to all involved.
What're your thoughts?