Tuesday, March 18, 2008

X-MEN #30 – March 1994

The Ties That Bind
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Andy Kubert (penciler), Matt Ryan (inks), Bill Oakley (letterer), Joe Rosas (colorist)

Scott Summers and Jean Grey prepare for their wedding. Rachel Summers reconciles with Jean shortly before the ceremony begins. Scott and Jean exchange vows, while Sabretooth watches from the hillside. When he contemplates disrupting the ceremony, a mystery figure stops him. After the ceremony, Rogue catches Jean’s bouquet and Gambit grabs Jean’s garter belt. Jean uses her powers to share a dance with Professor Xavier as the reception ends.

This issue has three inbound trading cards focusing on the relationship between Scott and Jean, raising the price forty-five cents. This issue also has a wraparound cover.

Continuity Notes
Rachel Summers is Jean Grey’s daughter from an alternate future. When they first met in our reality, Rachel didn’t receive the warm welcome she expected from Jean.

The mystery figure that stops Sabretooth is heavily implied to be Wolverine.

The letters that Jean and Xavier read from Wolverine were seen in the final pages of Wolverine #75.

Xavier has a file on the Legacy Virus, with a post-it note from Moira McTaggert that says that Cable might “hold the key” to a vaccine. This is never developed. He also has brochure on “The Massachusetts Academy”, foreshadowing the upcoming Generation X series.

Creative Differences
When Jean uses her powers to dance with Xavier, a re-lettered word balloon emphasizes that most of the guests have gone, so she won’t be outed as a mutant.

“Huh?” Moment
Scott and Jean’s wedding song is “One” by U2. The lyrics of this song (which I think Bono wrote about his father) aren’t really appropriate for a wedding (“you gave me nothing, now it’s all I got”?). I remember some fans speculating that Nicieza chose this song as a joke, or as a commentary against the wedding.
Speaking of "One", does anyone remember "Lucky Clovers" from the Ben Stiller Show?

It’s another quiet issue, appropriate for a wedding. The entire issue is narrated by Professor Xavier, in a very sympathetic portrayal where he spends page after page talking about how much he loves his students. It’s a little schmaltzy, but Nicieza makes it work. There’s not a lot of attention paid to the cast members of the other X-books, but they’re shown just enough to give you the “family feel” amongst the X-teams that Marvel used to promote. A lot of people dismiss this entire era as nothing but crossover-fueled nonsense, but it’s important to remember that there was still an emphasis on characterization and writing relatable characters. We’ve all been reminded lately of Marvel’s insistence that marriage is some horrible event that chases kids away from comics, but I liked this issue a lot as a thirteen year old.

Kubert does a capable job on the art, but a quiet issue dedicated entirely to a wedding isn’t really his strong suit at this point. Some of the faces look a little odd, and a couple of the female characters look like they’re dressed for a Maxim shoot and not a wedding. The story makes a big deal about how beautiful Jean looks as she enters the ceremony, but it’s actually Kubert’s weakest drawing of her in the entire issue. There’s also a coloring mistake that has a large part of her head colored blood-red.

As a testament to just how crazy these times could be, I remember getting a mail-order catalogue that hyped this issue by saying that Wolverine’s letter to Jean would have a shocking revelation. You must have a weak heart if you think Wolverine telling Jean that she should plan a future together with Scott is “shocking” at all. A friend of mine was convinced that Wolverine’s “shocking” revelation was that he’s gay.


evanmcb said...

Hey, who are those kids on the cover?

Also, it would be cool if you reviewed WildC.A.T.s 8 next, where Scott and Jean make a honeymoon cameo. That counts as in-continuty, right? :)

G. Kendall said...

The last time I tried to review WildC.A.T.S. I got a migraine. :)

MWM said...

the kids are Jean's niece (Gailyn) and nephew (Joey), children of Jean's deceased sister Sarah.

their only worthy appearance was in X-Factor 40, when they were rescued from Nanny and the Orphan-Maker. (ugh - did i just type that? how does G. Kendall do it?!)

not sure if they (SPOILERS!!) bought it in the recent UXM issue when the (SPOILERS!!) Grey family was slaughtered to end the Phoenix bloodline.

Teebore said...

I was 14 when this came out, and loved it. I remember actively yearning for Scott and Jean to get married. Yeah, I was an odd kid, but I can't be the only kid NOT scared away by the concept of a marriage, despite what Marvel thinks these days.

As for "One", I've found an awful lot of people don't really "listen" to the lyrics of songs, and if the music suggests romantic power ballad, they just assume it is. I remember an interview with Sting where he talked about people coming up to him and saying that "Every Breath You Take" was "their song" or their first wedding dance song, and it weirds Sting out because the song is about a creepy stalker watching his ex, refusing to let go.

So maybe Nicieza (or someone in editorial) just liked the sound of the song, without ever really listening to it.

Anonymous said...

I liked this issue a lot as a kid, too (and still do, actually). I do feel like perhaps they went a little overboard with the 'quiet time issues' during this period, though. I felt like they almost focused too much on relationships at the expense of globe-trotting action. Don't get me wrong, I like good interplay between characters in my X-Comics, but I feel like there is room for that along with exciting adventures (Claremont, Davis, Morrison, and Whedon all still remembered to have the X-Men getting in kick-ass adventures.)

Fnord Serious said...

"One" was the wedding song for my bother and his wife. They got married in '92, IIRC. In the defense of people who don't listen too closely to songs, at least half of the lyrics in One are love-affirming. And self-contradictory nonsensical lyrics are a long tradition in rock & roll :)

rob said...

As an eight year-old when this came out, I was not scared away from the books by the marriage. It was special to me that characters that had been a part of my life since before I could read were such a family. Marvel is run by idiots now. And Rogue and Gambit each getting the bouquet/garder always gets me.

I agree that there were tons of 'quiet' issues in these days, but for the most part they worked. They're what connected me to these characters, so I can't complain it retrospect.

The handling of the larger X-cast wasn't great, especially Havok. It always stuck out to me as a kid that the man so devastated to Madrox's death that he quits X-Factor is the same person at this wedding (as this is supposed to fit between X-Factor#100 and 101).

K. D. Bryan said...

You know, for some reason, I always thought that the "One" song in question was "The One" by Elton John. Probably those lines about "Fire flying from your hands" and "when stars collide, like you and I". You learn something new every day.

It's interesting to think the writer was against the wedding; I'd never even known that was an idea people were entertaining. Of course, as a big Emma/Scott fan, I could certainly get behind that rumor. ;) In any case, thanks for the insightful commentary.

And that Ben Stiller Bono gag was awesome! Thanks for reminding me of that. :D

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