In the last arc of Uncanny X-Men Kyle and Jean-Paul were married. Then Wolverine exploded at their reception at the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning and their honeymoon got postponed. (I’ve heard exploding Wolverines will do that.) So the 2012 Annual of this title’s first story Welcome To The Family covers the delayed honeymoon – that’s even further delayed. No Wolvie didn’t explode again, thank goodness! That’s a mess to clean up and heal from!
The second story is a reprint of Alpha Flight issue #106. This is the issue is entitled The Walking Wounded where Jean-Paul Beaubier comes out to the world. He loses his adopted daughter to AIDS, she was found in a trash can as an infant. He feels he can live in hiding no more and must come out to bring open the discussion of the AIDS epidemic at the time. This was set in the 80s.
The legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
Now the credit for Welcome to the Family: Christos Gage, Writer – David Baldeon, Penciler – Jordi Tarragona, Inker – Veronica Gandi, Colorist – Chris Elipoulos, Letterer 0 David WIlliams & Jay David Ramos, Cover – Daniel Ketchum, Editor – Nick Lowe, X-Men Group Editor – Azel Alonso, Editor In Chief – Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – and Alan Fine, Executive Producer.
Credits for the Walking Wounded story are as follows: Scott Lobdell, Words – Mark Pacella, Pencils – Janice Chiang, Letters – Bobbie Chase, Edits – Tom DeFalco, Editor In Chief.
The first story is Welcome to the Family of how Kyle’s and Jean-Paul’s honeymoon is interrupted by the team. There is a threat to all non-mutant loved ones of the team. Northstar is the only one with enough speed to reach all of them and warn/take them to safety. He does want to go but Kyle says – go the team will be enough to protect me here and they’re family! So Kyle is left in his honeymoon suite with the team. He tries to get to know each one individually. As he has a conversation with each he gets relationship advice of course. None of it sounds promising as each has a heartbreaking story of loss of a loved one.
I felt for Kyle in this issue. Having been a Navy wife for going on 28 years I know what it’s like to have a spouse that must leave to harms way when duty calls. Yes when we were starting out I got a lot of advice. I faced the highest divorce rate in the services at the time – submarine wives (back then only men were on subs that’s changing). As I read the issue I reflected on the advice and stories I was told. What helped the most oddly paralleled what Logan tells Kyle in the end. Strength holds you together because you know you are better and stronger together than you could ever be apart, because your love for each other is strong enough to flex and not break, because you are strong enough to be on your own when you have to be and strong enough to lean on the other when they are there. Yeah that’s strength to take the risk of loss because the moments together are worth it. In the end Kyle has to find his own way to cope with Northstar’s X-Family and their world saving needs. Just like all military spouses every day have to do the same.
As for the art of this story – it was okay. I found the colors a bit too glowy for my taste, too bright or primary not blended or muted enough. Also the heavy outline of each character gave them cartoony looks at times. I didn’t care for that effect. Though I like the depiction of Logan more as a short powerhouse almost barrel chested than the more Hugh Jackman look he gets at times. (not that I object to Hugh playing Logan in the least! I don’t but it’s nice to see him portrayed as the powerful runt from time to time). Over all it did nicely.
The second story struck me as somewhat of a cop out for an Annual. I like it when they are one long stand-alone story or two new stories that are asides supporting the title’s continuum. I get that this coming-out issue was an important one for the star characters of the story – Marvel’s first married gay couple. But really there was an era there that was horrid in art – it was called the 80s. Time has not been kind to it as it has say the comics of the 50s, 60s, or even 70s. Instead I think as time goes on it becomes more atrocious to me. I’ve read the issue years ago and this time I couldn’t make it deeper than a quick scan due to the art. OMG! I just couldn’t stomach it. I began to think of what I could say good about it – at least there were any ties going back and curling up like greyhound tails that have to poop. Oh and at least I could follow the story with the images, though it wasn’t pleasant.
So that’s this year’s annual Kyle meets the family and comes to terms with Jean-Paul’s 24 hour, 7 day a week, on-call job.
****You know what’s next SPOILER SCANS***You’ve BEEN WARNED**** LOOK AWAY IF YOU MUST*****