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January 1994 – “Mixed Blessings”

Yes, I am a sap.  I admit this of my own free will.  Nobody’s holding a gun to my head.  (is that sufficient enough, sir?  please don’t shoot.).  You’ll understand this admission if you just keep reading.

SYNOPSIS

Okay…  so there’s not exactly a lot of action going on in this issue.  A synopsis won’t really tell you much.  Basically, Cyclops and Jean reminisce about their lives together, the X-Men play a nice game of thanksgiving football, and Jean asks Cyclops to marry her and he says yes.  And yet…this is one of my favorite issues to come out in 1993 (I believe December or November 1993 is when it actually came out – comics always come out 1 or 2 months before the actual publication month).

The Danger Yard!
The Danger Yard!

REVIEW/THOUGHTS/SNIDE COMMENTS

When I think of the big couples in the Marvel Universe, I think of three couples:  Reed and Sue Richards, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, and Scott Summers and Jean Grey.  Other characters have had long term relationships (i.e. Rogue and Gambit, Spider-Man and Black Cat) but they never seemed as well matched as the three aforementioned couples.  Since I was never much of a Fantastic Four or Spider-Man fan, I was always rooting for Scott and Jean.  In part because I was a big Cyclops fan.  In part because I’ve always liked redheads.  And in part because, and I freely admit this, I’m a huge sap for true love.

Even from the very early X-Men issues, Scott and Jean were meant to be together.  Unfortunately, that would get put on hold over the years thanks to various comic book drama.  Cyclops even tried proposing at one point and Jean rejected it because she was still dealing with the memories from Madeline Pryor.  So when this issue came out, it was great relief to see that they were finally taking the path that two of the three couples mentioned earlier had already taken.

Not sure, but he may be cheating...
Not sure, but he may be cheating…

This issue is another of those that doesn’t involve some big battle or some major drama.  It’s another of those that I always felt Scott Lobdell excelled at:  it shows the X-Men as a family.  This is why I preferred X-Men over Avengers.  The Avengers have always been a team, but their membership changes so often as their members go off and do their own thing.  But the X-Men are, and always have been, a family.  It’s really hard to pick out the best parts of this issue.  Maybe it’s when Beast and Jubilee wreck Storm’s carefully constructed leaf pile?  Maybe it’s when Archangel steals the ball and flies it for a touchdown before he decides whose team he’s on?  Maybe it’s when three of them tackle Professor Xavier in their attempt to recover a fumble.  Or maybe it’s when Jean and Scott kiss, sealing the proposal.

Of course, now that I’ve read more, this issue has one disturbing scene.  Many may not remember that in an early X-Men issue (I believe #2), Professor Xavier mentioned that he loves Jean Grey.  A little creepy, sure, but it also explains how at the end of this issue, when he hears of the engagement, he has “reservations about “the decision made here today”.  I can’t help but think that his reservation was due to his lingering love for Jean?  Maybe not, but ever since I found out about that one scene early on, it’s hard to look at him the same way.

There's a Savage Garden song in here somewhere...
There’s a Savage Garden song in here somewhere…

The art, unfortunately, was the one distraction from this issue.  John Romita Jr is very inconsistent and his art seemed better suited to the stories told in the mid 80’s than this issue.  Jean’s hair is everywhere.  He also seems to have a problem making two dimensional figures appear three dimensions (when Iceman holds the football, it looks as though the football is paper thin).  And of course, objects that aren’t front and center look like he just quickly sketched them and didn’t pay too much attention.  I’m not trying to nitpick.  My point is that everything combined just seems to form a constant irritant in this issue.  Still, not everything is bad.  The scene with Beast and Storm’s resulting reaction is fantastic and Romita captures it perfectly.  I love the scenes with young Jean and young Scott.  That’s what I mean by inconsistent.

Overall, this is a fantastic read, even if you’re not a big fan of Cyclops and Jean as a couple.  It’s jut nice to see the group have fun.  It’s similar to the baseball scenes that Claremont used to write all the time.  This is one of those issues I look forward to every time I reread my comics.

tackle

FAVORITE QUOTES

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Banshee:  “Hard to believe the boyo’s got a doctorate in physics.”

Forge:  “Actually, Sean, I’m impressed he’s held off for as long as he has.”

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Gambit:  “Part of my charm, Stormy.  Now, if you will pardon moi…”

Storm:  “I should tackle you just for calling me that ridiculous name…”

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Cyclops:  “I say I love you, Ms. Grey.  Today.  Tomorrow.  And every day for the rest of my life.”

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Cyclops:  “If I may, sir.  Jean and I have something we’d like to add.”

Jubilee:  “Don’t tell me – she finally got a code name?”

Jean:  “No, Jubilee.  Nothing that exciting.”

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proposal

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