Saturday, 4 July 2015

Astonishing X-Men, Volume 10: Northstar Review (Marjorie Liu, Mike Perkins)

How about that - gay marriage is legal in America! Well done, Supreme Court, fuck you hateful religious nutters! (Gets down from imaginary soapbox)

In celebration of the occasion I wanted to read some comics with gay marriage featured - and came up short! There are a few out there though and Astonishing X-Men, Volume 10: Northstar is one of them (from no less than 3 years ago too) - good on you, Marvel! 

I’d love to say this is an awesome comic and a must-read landmark publication... but unfortunately it’s not. The wedding at the end is very sweet but the story leading up to it is all over the place. 

Karma’s gone bonkers and has turned the X-Men against Northstar. He’s gotta fight them all for at least three issues because that’s the amount of filler this volume needs! It’s a storyline that’s never very clear or that interesting - and to think that this is the line that began so strongly with Joss Whedon’s amazing run! 

Ok, we’ve passed the blockage - onto the reason why anyone would read this book! Northstar marrying his boyfriend Kyle has gimmick written all over it but the wedding itself was kinda nice. Logan acting as the worldly father figure to Northstar (then quietly hitting on a then-married Storm during the reception - yeah!), Iceman building an ice arch for the Central Park ceremony, Beast presiding. You’d have to be dead inside not to enjoy seeing these two getting hitched, especially in light of recent events - social progress! 

Marjorie Liu even provides a dissenting voice for any Marvel readers who aren’t pro-equality in Warbird - I guess the Shi’Ar vote Republican! 

Also included are some pages from Nation X #2, showing us the early days of Northstar and Kyle’s burgeoning relationship, and Alpha Flight #106 from 1992 which reminds readers we’re really lucky artists no longer mimic Rob Liefeld’s drawing style! For an issue featuring a character dressed as a mountie calling himself Major Mapleleaf, it’s a pretty serious comic about AIDs and a baby born HIV-positive. It’s handled pretty ham-fistedlybut then Scott Lobdell wrote the comic so whaddayagonnado? To his credit, Lobdell does infuse the comic with an intense empathy for gay people. Oh and it’s also the issue Northstar came out. 

Astonishing X-Men, Volume 10: Northstar’s not a great comic but it has some nice moments, all of them tied in with Northstar’s wedding. Gay or straight marriage - whenever they’re featured in a superhero comic, it’s usually only ever going to be an ok book at best. Equal mediocrity!

Astonishing X-Men, Volume 10: Northstar

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