Friday, July 6, 2012

Jean Grey Getting Married

(The title of this post is meant to play off that Anne Hathaway movie, Rachel Getting Married; I agree both that it would have worked more if this were about the wedding of Rachel Summers and just generally that I could have done better)

Comic-Con might be next week (not “might be,” it is…this could be one of those posts), but the weekend after that, my baby sister is getting married. First of all, this means I’m going to be really tired for about the next month. Real first of all, I’m so excited and happy for my sister and her husband-to-be. Second/third of all, the mash-up of these two events in my head of course leads me to think about great comic book weddings.

The godfather of super hero weddings was of course Mister Fantastic and The Invisible Girl, and it still holds up as a benchmark story as well as the template for zaniness-infused nuptials. I never read the Superman-Lois Lane wedding issue, or Spider-Man and Mary Jane’s for that matter. Though they might be my favorite comic book couple (might be), Wally West and Linda Park’s wedding was all about how they couldn’t really manage to have a wedding.

My close runner-up would be the fun Gary Frank-illustrated marriage of Rick Jones in the heart of Peter David’s run on Incredible Hulk, but ultimately elite comic book weddings whittle down to two big ones in my eyes: Donna Troy and Terry Long in Tales of the Teen Titans #50 and Cyclops and Jean Grey in X-Men #30. The former was sweet, well-written and featured gorgeous art from the masterful George Perez in his finest hour; the other took place when I was 12.

As long as I run this blog, childhood nostalgia will trump artistic genius eight times out of 10, so let’s run down the reasons the X-Men wedding was awesome.

-First off, she proposed to him. As they both referenced as it was happening, he had tried proposing to her years before, but she wasn’t feeling it, but then she turns it around and is like “When are you gonna put a ring on it, dude?” and what’s he gonna say? This is a man who married a clone of her years earlier without ever really questioning that they looked exactly the same (yes, he questioned it, but when it’s an
exact duplicate of your dead girlfriend, there’s not really an “enough” to tack on the end there). There was a printing error in the issue of Uncanny X-Men where Jean proposed and her crucial “asking the question” word balloon was left blank, so they had to show the corrected version the next month in the letter column.

-Cyclops sent a wedding invitation to Cable, the son he had with the aforementioned clone and then sent to the future because he was dying only for him to later come back in time, now older than his dad and as a bad ass cyborg. I’m not sure how Cyclops found the address for X-Force’s secret outlaw Apache reservation or how security got lax enough for a wedding invitation to slip through the cracks, but I accepted it. Cable showed up at the X-Mansion, yelled at his dad for abandoning him, made a crack about whether he was supposed to be the ring bearer or what (for the record, that would have been amazing), then they fight the X-Cutioner, hug it out and all is well.

-There aren’t really any shenanigans at the wedding. Sabretooth is actually on school grounds as a prisoner and contemplates trying to mess everything up, then gets decked from behind and turns around to see “Don’t even think about it” carved in the snow, Wolverine’s implied cameo appearance (he was taking a break from the X-Men at the time after having his adamantium ripped out). I like that Logan was there but didn’t show his face on panel (it was like the equivalent of not being able to get a former cast member back for a big episode of a show except it’s comics so there was no real reason they couldn’t get him back…actually I really dug that the creative and editorial team resisted the urge to bring him back in after he’d only been gone five issues, so that was in fact pretty cool) and I also like that the issue is framed by a heartwarming letter he sent to Jean and an obnoxious one saying “Lighten up” that he sent to Professor X, but more that I believe they say or even show (it was near 20 years ago) that he sent one to Scott as well; what do you write to your arch romantic rival on the day he’s marrying the woman you both love exactly?

-They do both the bouquet and garter tosses; Rogue and Gambit make the respective catches, both by cheating, with her flying and him literally blowing up a good chunk of the wedding. At a friend’s wedding, I caught the garter and my best friend’s wife caught the bouquet and it was super awkward and I’ve never been to another wedding where the garter thing is done. Back to this wedding, the played-for-laughs neediness of the ladies against the full-on horn dog charge of Strong Guy and worst-X-Man-ever Forge was a stark contrast.

-There’s a really nice shot of Cable and Rachel Summers, Scott and Jean’s two time-tossed/alternate reality kids, sharing a tender moment during the ceremony. The vows are pretty sweet as well. There’s a lot of funny/goofy stuff in here, but it was also a genuinely good issue and a story worthy of this milestone in a decades-long romance story (Fabian Nicieza wrote it and Andy Kubert drew it, if you were wondering).

-Polaris complains to Havok that everybody keeps bugging her about when they’re going to get married. Anybody who had even casually observed their relationship through the years was just being cruel asking that. Of course they didn’t eventually try to get married, but she went crazy and started wearing a costume that was a cross between a bridezilla and Magneto.

-Lila Cheney provides the music (of course). Jokes are made about the first dance song that I didn't get in 1994 and don’t care about in 2012.

-After all the “guests who would care” leave Jean uses her telekinesis to dance with Professor X (he was in the wheelchair during this period). It’s a really nice ending to a really nice issue.

I will do my best to make sure my sister’s wedding has as many of these elements as possible, but I already know it’s going to be even better.

If anybody reading knows my sister, do pass on that I wrote her wedding would be better than a fictional one that took place in a 90’s X-Men comic and try to explain that it really was a compliment.