As the title and cover suggest, ‘Til Death Do Us Part concerns the wedding of Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin, although in the X-Men’s world there’s always the chance that title could come into play sooner rather than later, with both characters having been presumed dead at one stage. The problems of Cruel and Unusual are behind them team and the wedding preparations can begin.

Throughout the series anti-mutant bigot Lydia Nance has been popping in and out spouting her hateful rhetoric, and now she’s found an ally in Alpha, an advanced Sentinel who’s ideologically aligned and with considerable power and resources. Together they’ve cooked up a diabolical plan, and dealing with it requires considerable improvisation and tenacity on the X-Men’s part.

After several less than enthralling collections, Marc Guggenheim supplies a crowd pleaser here. His major threat is credible, he escalates it well, and most of an enlarged X-Men team enjoy a moment in the spotlight along the way. This time there is a difference between the various characters, and even before the extended wedding chapter some nice personality moments are included. That wedding chapter’s also good, very much character based instead of Sabretooth shipping in to disrupt the proceedings. Guggenheim exploits the nervousness any couple feels before a wedding, and throws in a great surprise. What lifts this chapter above the remainder, however, is the superbly nuanced art of David Marquez. There’s something approaching Adam Hughes in the way he brings out the glamour and the personalities, and while the art of Michele Bandini (sample art left) and Geraldo Borges (sample art right) certainly isn’t poor, their pages both fall below the decorative qualities Marquez brings.

The book ends with three short stories that would have been better placed at the start, or, a heretical suggestion, actually splitting the opening chapter, since that refers to one of them. Kitty Pryde was created by Chris Claremont, so who better to run through her past and have her confront a couple of ghosts? Todd Nauck very deliberately attempts to draw in the style of Dave Cockrum for the flashback sequences, before moving to somewhere nearer his own style. Guggenheim and Greg Land set a bachelor party in Las Vegas, and Kelly Thompson and Marika Cresta show the opposite hen night party. There are some nice touches, but overall this is more suited to bonus material in a collection than the $5 special it was originally. Interestingly, it’s series writer Guggenheim’s story that’s the weakest, just page filler, while Thompson’s approach to the same scenario spends time building the characters involved.

X-Men Gold’s run comes to an end with Godwar.