Chuck Austen’s X-Men: Sacred Vows

We’ve come through the holy muck and now it’s time for some matrimony!  Be those wedding bells I hear?  It’s time for the wedding of Havok and Polaris!  Chuck Austen style!  What could possibly go wrong?  Let’s take a look at the specs:

Took Place In
Uncanny X-Men #425-427

Team Line-Up
Archangel (Leader), Havok (Leader?), Nightcrawler, Husk, Iceman, Northstar, Jubilee, Polaris, Juggernaut

Others You Should Be Aware Of
Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nurse Annie, Carter, Sammy the Fish Boy

In a Nutshell
After courting forever, Havok and Polaris plan to marry and the festivities go abound with strippers, strippers, and more strippers.  Havok, Polaris, Nurse Annie and Iceman all get caught up in a romantic mess and the whole thing stinks.  Oh, and we get an epilogue of the death of Skin.

It is assumed that you have accepted Nurse Annie Ghazikhanian into your heart as the greatest character ever created by this point.  Seriously.  If not, then get with it.  Jeez.

Anyway, you are cordially invited  to the wedding of Alexander Summers to Lorna Dane.  What could possibly go wrong?

We start out with Havok finding Nurse Annie in a field to talk about wedding preparations with the two revealing that they know quite a bit about one another.  They embrace for a romantic smooch and Havok realizes (as the rest of us have) that he is meant to be with Annie and not Lorna…but unfortunately he comes to this realization in a dream while in bed with Lorna.

Elsewhere in the school, Cyclops is planning Havok’s bachelor party while Juggernaut is trying to get in touch with his little fish buddy that Xavier sent back to Canada to make Alpha Flight go away.  Juggs can’t get through so he punches the phone really hard to send a message…and then he asks Cyclops to join the X-Men.  Scott ignores Cain and walks away while Alex accepts Juggernaut onto his team, much to the surprise of Nightcrawler.  I am assuming at this point that Havok is indeed on Nightcrawler’s/Archangel’s team.  Hell, he may even be leading it for all I know.  Everyone else seems to be.

“Later” at a place called “The Robin”, Annie shows up to the bachelorette party for Polaris.  It’s not so weird that Annie was invited – after all Lorna’s being a jerk to her over the matter – but that she showed up.  The waitress realizes that Annie is from Xavier’s and then shifts into a red, horned form saying that she’s a “low-level” shapeshifter and only does the regular form to keep the “low genes” from freaking out.  Me, I prefer the term “flatscan”, but that’s a personal preference.

Don't mind me. I'll only be relevant for one issue.

In a rare case of good thinking, Annie chickens out from the party, but still decides to stay at the place by herself, but luckily Iceman is sitting by himself at the “runner-up” table.  But we’ll get back to that.  We have a character to ruin and Alpha Flight fans to piss of in the meantime.

Over at the bachelorette party, all the X-Men ladies are having a fun time talking about how hot Gambit ‘s ass is.  And with the X-Men ladies, of course Northstar is at the table!  Because he’s gay!  Get it?  The gay guy is at the bachelorette party because he’s just one of the girls!  And he shows that by agreeing with Lorna that Gambit is a “spicy Cajun dish with some seriously hot buns”.  Northstar.  Said that.  And he probably said it like this.

There are no words...

Jubilee comments that Lorna shouldn’t be having such naughty thoughts and she responds that she’s getting married, not surgically attached.  It’s almost like Lorna is just getting married to Alex to be an antagonist for some other character whom we should be rooting for.  But that would be crazy.  Ha.  Then Lorna goes and mentions that Rogue should “take two aspirin, put on a power inhibitor and go right to bed”.  And there you have it – decades of Rogue characterization solved by mentioning “just turn off your damn powers and be done with it”.  (Though come to think of it, Magneto formed a means to do it back in Uncanny #150.  Oh well.)

How did she not think of that?

Jean comments that Lorna has a more “open outlook of life” (polite way of calling her a whore), and Lorna admits that her life has always been so “chaste”, since before a year earlier Alex was the “only man she had ever really known”.  I suppose that means she was getting the goods in Genosha.  Good thing she’s getting married now…it’s almost as if she’s only getting married to Alex to be an antagonist for some other character whom we should be rooting for.  Crazy.

Oh, but then Northstar chimes in and questions that when Lorna was dating Bobby that they never…what?  Licked a lamp post in winter?  Apparently, Northstar knows as little about the Bobby/Lorna “romance” as Chuck Austen himself does.

Aww, look how cute he looks.

So let’s take a moment and look back.  Waaaaay back in the days of the original X-Men, Lorna was discovered by Beast and Iceman in San Francisco during a Mesmero story in which she was intended to be the daughter of Magneto (who was a robot…but we’ll get back to that in the next chapter).  Bobby had an infatuation towards Lorna, but as he considered her “his girl”, the two never really had time to actually do anything, as the X-Men were crazy busy while Lorna was left at the mansion with a recuperating Havok who had a rough time with Sentinels and Sauron.  So the whole Bobby/Lorna “relationship” was really nothing more than a crush on Bobby’s part and it had not been touched upon since.  Lorna and Alex were established, and Bobby simply moved on.  No mention of Opal Tanaka happens in this story.

But while I’ve paused to comment, let’s get back to Northstar.  Despite what you may have heard in these issues, Northstar actually is a very deep character.  He went over 100 issues of Alpha Flight (okay, so he wasn’t in all of them) before coming out as gay.  There’s his relationship with his sister (not like that, Austen), his smug superiority complex, the list goes on and on.  Do you know what there isn’t to the character?  Flamboyant homosexual comments and a schoolgirl crush on Iceman.  Northstar would not care about Iceman’s sex life, and someone bringing up the issue would probably repulse him.  There.  Got that out of my system.  Now where were we?  Oh yeah!  Lorna’s a whore.

So Lorna goes on, hinting that she doesn’t even really like Alex but isn’t marrying for physical gratification, but rather for stability and good parenting skills.  Because women don’t have the right to be happy.  They need to find suitable mates to further the gene pool.  Wow…Lorna really isn’t a likable character, is she?  It’s almost as if she’s only getting married to Alex to be an antagonist for some other character whom we should be rooting for.  Crazy.  Then we have a Gambit stripper shows up and we finally move on.

Sexy...or something.

Meanwhile, across the bar, Annie and Bobby have apparently been staring at each other this whole time.  She sits down so Bobby can take a moment and tell her how incredible of a character she is.  Annie compliments him as well and they go through the gossip topics, including Annie not liking mutants (she has her reasons), Annie liking Alex, Iceman having “dated” Lorna, no one seemingly having read any pre-Giant Size issues of Uncanny, and even that Annie is dating Northstar, which is laughable since Northstar is so obviously gay.  This is quite a shock to Iceman, who apparently didn’t notice that Northstar is sitting at the bachelorette party right across the room.

No, seriously, how did you NOT notice?

Annie takes Bobby’s confusion to accuse him of being a homophobe and a racist.  Iceman reacts like the rest of us would (where the hell did that come from?) so Annie explains that since the waitress used the term “low-genes”, Bobby hates regular humans (because he didn’t want the complete stranger patching him up in the infirmary after Hope) and 24/7 mutants who can’t pass for human (because he’s freaking out about his apparent secondary mutation).  And then she blows him off.  And at this point, I can’t figure out who the likable character is that I’m supposed to be rooting for in the whole Havok marriage thing, since both Lorna and Annie are acting like assholes.  Probably Northstar.

My reaction on most of Chuck Austen's work.

But let’s take a moment and go see how the guys are doing.  Cyclops is hosting the bachelor party for his brother and brings in a stripper of his own, which just happens to be Nurse Annie!  OMG!  None of the X-Men seem to have a problem with it (but really, the only ones who ever go into the infirmary are Iceman, Havok and Northstar) until Havok hops up on the table and tries to cover her up, only to find that she’s that shapeshifting waitress from earlier.  Nightcrawler apologizes, telling them they were just pulling an inappropriate joke and that no one thought he’d be dumb enough to actually think it was Annie herself.  Alex demands to speak to Scott in the hall while the other X-Men request the stripper to take other forms.  We really don’t get enough X-Strippers post M-Day.

Is there anything you WON'T do Annie?

Alex yells at Scott for being insensitive to someone “as sweet as Annie” and Scott comments that Annie would probably be as upset by this as she is that Alex is marrying someone else.  Almost as much.  Alex mentions the ridiculousness of the situation, saying he barely knows Annie, yet Cyclops points out that he did jump up to protect her honor.  Because if you’re trying to be good to a friend, you should abandon your fiancee for that friend.  Duh.

The lone bout of logic will swiftly be abandoned.

Back at the house of horrors Robin, Iceman catches up to Annie and blathers on like an idiot about how everyone loves Alex, how he was only happy with the original X-Men and then he kisses Annie.  And she’s apparently all about it.  And she’s the one you should be rooting for in this whole mess.

The next day, at the wedding, Havok spots from the altar that Annie is holding hands with Bobby and begins blathering on like an idiot as Lorna comes down the aisle.  If you didn’t like Lorna enough by this point, Husk and Jubilee are whispering that Lorna spent the night with the Gambit stripper.  So, to the shock of absolutely no one, Alex yells out to stop the wedding.  Lorna asks him to reconsider, saying that anything he heard was a damn, dirty lie.  As Alex walks away, Lorna pulls all the silverware to her and creates a wedding dress/Magneto outfit for herself.

The plot demands it!

And that’s the end of the first issue.  The other two aren’t nearly as bad as this one..I mean, how could they be?  So we’ll go through them a little more briskly.

Back to the wedding, Lorna unleashes an attack that drops everyone in attendance except for Havok, Annie, her son, Iceman and Juggernaut, who despite being at the bachelor party apparently wasn’t allowed to attend the actual wedding.  It’s almost like Lorna left everyone standing that  might defeat her.  More impressive is all the people she dropped.  Like Phoenix.  And Cyclops.  And Wolverine.  And Professor X.  Anyway, Havok tells Iceman to ice her up, saying that there’s no metal in water.  Yeah, sure.  Whatever.  Of course, that doesn’t work, so right before Lorna effs Bobby’s world, he declares his love for her (despite that he spent the night with Annie).  How sweet.

...and Annie...but mainly you!

Havok grabs Annie and Carter and shoots his plasma blast straight down which Cannonballs him into the air, landing them in the lake.  This is the type of thing that Havok has never done before and has never done since.  Flying.  Because if he was able to get the propulsion needed to take off, then wouldn’t he fly backwards every time he used his blast?  Oh well.  It worked here.  It’s in continuity.  Deal with it.

Quit staring. It's not polite.

Alex yanks his tux (thank goodness he had his costume underneath it) and has a tender moment to tell Annie that he understands his feelings for her before they begin finding some pointy sticks to fight Lorna with.  Not like Alex has PLASMA BLASTS or anything.  Pointy sticks.  But even though Alex mentioned two pages earlier that they would talk about it later, he decides to spill the beans on everything that has been going on.

Carter, wanting his mom to be happy, has been telepathically linking their sleeping minds together, making the two of them have a sort of dream relationship for over a year.  He explains everything he knows about Annie and finally reveals the reasons she doesn’t like mutants – she banged a mutant and got knocked up so he tried to kill her.  This will never be mentioned again.  Shockingly enough, no writer has ever come back to the mystery of Carter’s father.

Ohhhhhhhh.

After eight pages of Havok talking to Annie, it dawns on someone that there are only four pages left of the comic, so Polaris shows up and yells a while, mentioning that Magneto is her father (we’ll get back to that) before Juggernaut arrives and hits her with a tree.  The end.  No, really.  That’s it.  There’s a couple panels of Husk and Jubilee talking about some of the questionable moments of the issue (how Polaris dropped everyone, why Bobby was not initially affected) and then we get the close of Havok and Annie kissing on the Eiffel Tower.  And all is right with the world!

All you need to end an Austen plot is a tree.

But wait!  There’s more!  Since we’ve been in something of a rush lately, the next issue takes a moment to deal with some of the leftover plot devices left over from Dominant Species and Holy War.  We open up at a Los Angeles cemetery where the recently deceased Skin had been buried.  Jubilee is feeling all depressed about him because, according to Husk, he “asked her out once” and she turned him down.  Archangel, also present, apparently gets bored with these silly girl issues and flies away.  With him gone, Jubilee gives Husk crap about not getting with him, to which Husk mentions that Warren’s been acting all funny since Chamber showed up for two issues.  After all, now that Havok and Annie are together, we need another will they/won’t they relationship to focus on!

Jubilee realizes that they’re standing at Skin’s grave and starts to cry when two guys show up and say that they’ll dig him up when the girls are done.  That goes over about as well as a fart in church with the girls (unless it’s Nightcrawler’s church, of course), and even worse when they learn that he’s being exhumed and cremated because he’s a mutant and apparently even corpses hate them muties.  Jubilee heads over the office and cuts off the cemetery manager’s phone call with his wife to demand an explanation on why they’re digging up Angelo Torres’s body.

If you can't get his name right, I'm digging his ass up!

Waaaaait a second.  Angelo Torres?  Did the two of them say Angelo TORRES?  Those of you who read Generation X or even the Phalanx Covenant that led into it may be well aware that Skin’s real name was Angelo Espinosa.  Seriously, it took me all of four seconds to look it up.  There was a ‘Tores’ in Skin’s life, a former love interest, but his name was never Angelo Torres.  I could understand a writer perhaps not doing the research to find this out, but this book is credited with an assistant, associate and actual editor.  You’d think one of them would have been able to catch that.  The fans certainly did.

Anyway, the manager says that since there’s no one around to pay for moving the remains, Skin will be exhumed and cremated because it’s against the rules to be a mutant in the ground there, on religious principles.  Because, as you know from Holy War, religion is the worst of all things in Chuck Austen’s X-Men.  Out at the grave, one of the workers decides to attack Husk, so she does a little damage which reveals the worker to be a mutant himself.  They fight and Husk loses.  Sad day.

See? Trees solve all problems.

In the aftermath, Jubilee asks that Xavier’s pay for moving Skin and his family, but the manager refuses and cremates him, giving Jubilee the remains.  As for the outed mutant worker, he gets fired because he himself is a mutant, and that’s not allowed either.

As for the story’s other plot device, Archangel flies his healing blood over to a local children’s hospital and politely requests to bleed on the sick kids.

It involves my blood and your children.

The head of the facility is intrigued but skeptical, as for all he knows Warren might just be some crazy that glued feathers to his back and wants to bleed on patients.  He does reiterate the fact that mutants apparently can’t get AIDS, though apparently other STDs are fair game.  Again with the pointless, questionable “established fact”.

I mean, duh!

Warren stretches his wings which is good enough for the doctor to cut into his own arm and let Warren bleed into him.  The wound heals,  and that’s all the doctor needs.  Warren’s off to bleed into children.

After meeting the girls back at the cemetery (with Husk apparently not wanting anything to do with him for now), Warren takes them home while the manager grumbles about the world being a better place without mutants.  And then he gets a call from his wife to tell him that their very sick daughter is all better.  It turns out that she just happened to be one of the kids that Warren bled on.  So we get a happy ending after all.  Well, except for Jubilee who couldn’t keep her friend from being dug up and cremated.  And not for Husk, who lost a fight to a cemetery worker.  And not for the worker who lost his job because his mutant abilities were revealed.  And not for Warren who is getting the cold shoulder from Husk.  So really, it was only a happy ending for the mutant-hating asshole who caused all of the problems in this issue.  So good for him.

What's that, dear? The story's over?

And so ends this chapter of Chuck Austen’s X-Men.  Next up is the legendary tale THE DRACO, which is perhaps the trophy story of Austen’s entire run.  And it’s a big one.  See you next time!

Missed a week?  Glutton for more punishment?  Click here for the rest of the Chuck Austen’s X-Men series!

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5 comments

  1. After reading your description of it, I cannot believe this storyline even happened. It sounds like utter garbage. Or maybe I’m just being cynical…

    Like

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