NEW YORK • Issue No. 30 of the Marvel comic book X-Men Gold, which hit stores yesterday, featured a wedding, but not the one fans were expecting.
In January, Kitty Pryde, the leader of this group of X-Men, proposed to her teammate Piotr "Colossus" Rasputin and the current storyline Til Death Do Us Part has been marching towards their big day.
But in yesterday's issue - spoilers ahead - after a tough heart-to-heart talk with her best friend, who is also the groom's sister, the would-be bride gets cold feet.
The issue is written by Marc Guggenheim and drawn by David Marquez.
The pivotal moment is beautifully captured and gut-wrenching.
"My stress level went way down," Guggenheim said, "once we secured David Marquez to draw this issue. So many of the key moments turn on the acting - the ability for the artist drawing it to convey very subtle emotions. This issue would not work without David's art."
But with love in the air - and an officiant and an open bar on hand - two other X-Men decide to get hitched: Gambit and Rogue.
Their adventures as newlyweds will be chronicled in Mr And Mrs X, a new series beginning next month, which will be written by Kelly Thompson and drawn by Oscar Bazaldua.
In telephone interviews, both writers mentioned that the story twists emerged from a creative summit held by Marvel last year.
"Comics, like TV and film, is a very collaborative medium. These are not my characters, they are Marvel's," Guggenheim said.
"Part of writing other people's characters in a shared universe is that other ideas are going to end up supplanting yours. My job as a writer is to take those marching orders and write the best issue I can."
Guggenheim opened each issue of this story line with a flashback involving Kitty and Colossus - who first met in 1979, when she was 13 - which he used to lay the foundation for her hesitation.
And the story of the would-be wedding does not end here.
"There are several issues of X-Men Gold that deal with the ramifications," he said, including how they define their relationship moving forward.
Thompson, who recently reunited Rogue and Gambit in another comic, was taken by surprise by the turn of events.
"Marvel likes to keep things interesting and throwing the wrench into things," she said. "I think I was resistant to it initially, but that's my mistake. It creates all this great conflict and intrigue."
Issue No. 1 of Mr And Mrs X will fill in some details about Rogue and Gambit's wedding that the X-Men Gold issue left blank.