X-Men Vignettes #20 (1988)
“Mother of the Bride”
Writer – Jo Duffy
Art – John Bolton
Letters – Tom Orzechowski
Colors – Petra Scotese
Edits – Kavanagh, Nocenti, DeFalco
From: Classic X-Men #20 (April, 1988)
Here we are, back to physical media — so’s I don’t have to try and sneak around my own (too rigid for my own good) rules… well, until Chapterrrrrr… 27, wuzzit? Now, that one I can’t even say I own any physical version of… so, I may not be able to talk myself through!
Anyway, here we be — back in the land of awful askew and drab iPhone camera pics, with that unmistakable Sheehan charm and skill. Hope we survive the x… well, you know.
Also, heard three of the sweetest words I’d ever been told yesterday — “It’s a cyst”.
Today’s Vignette opens during the wedding of Storm and… well, he’s got a mustache, but that certainly isn’t Forge. Before we get all that much further in, this is gonna have some hippy-dippiness to it, lots of talk of “Mother Earth” of “Mother Nature”… hence the title of the bit, “Mother of the Bride”. It’s got a bit of X-Men Greeniness to it… but, will it manage to leave the same black stain on my soul as that piece of sh…err, litter? Let’s keep goin’ and find out. So, Storm’s at the altar… and her friends (and some old bitty) are all here to watch her be wed. It might be worth noting that Duffy is doing her damnedest to evoke that “Claremontian” tone in the narration captions.
Suddenly, the entire scene devolves into something out of public access horror… or a wildly uncreative current year comic book — everybody’s a zombie! Well, everybody except Storm, that is. The putrefied versions of her friends start working their way toward her… with dark lust in their eyes. Ororo backs herself out of the chapel and manages to take flight.
Turns out, this is all some sort of a fever dream. Storm’s actually sleeping it off in some tree house or something, like she’s turn of the century Donna Troy. She notices that she’s injured her arm… but cannot seem to remember quite how. We will find out soon enough. Now, Storm wakes up, yea? When she does, she is attacked by a Zombie Janitor named Jack. Well, his nametag says “Jack”… and we’ll soon find out why such attention was paid to that portion of his jumpsuit. I mean, it’s the only part of the thing that isn’t shaded in — so, it’s gonna mean somethin‘, right?
Before long, Storm-in-the-present finds herself surrounded by an entire team of Zombie Janitors. Behind the lot of ’em stands… the dude she dreamed she was going to marry. Their eyes meet, and suddenly Ororo begins to remember. Now, we might all be paraphrasing that certain song by asking “Well, how did we get here?” — so, howabout we hop into Flashback Land and find out?
We zip back to Storm enjoying a day off after a recent X-Men adventure. She’s at a resort getting some Sun next to the “man-made concrete-lined hole in the ground”, which, if I may translate from annoying-to-English, means “swimming pool”. Nearby, she sees a crying older woman — the same one we saw at the “wedding” a few pages back, asamattafact. Storm inquires as to what might be troubling the bitty, and finds out that she was married to a fella named Jack (oh?), who worked for Twelvetrees Chemicals. Twelvetrees, inventors and producers of a “metal substitute” had Jack working in their factory — but, he died on the job, likely of some sort of chemical poisoning. Twelvetrees told the ol’ lady (Alice Norton) that it would be too dangerous to release his body back to her… and, even too dangerous for her to have a viewing.
And so, we leave it to ‘Ro. Before we know it, she’s set up a meeting at Twelvetrees — with Richard Twelvetrees himself. Richard is, duh, the mustachioed dream-groom. Storm chats him up about Jack Norton. He shows her the YK-23 Jack (and others) died working on. It’s light as plastic, strong as steel — and less expensive to produce than either. Just then, our Vignette writer sneezes and loses her place in the story — so, we jump right ahead to Zombie Jack shambling into Twelvetrees’ office. Richard is initially quite annoyed… but, his mood changes in an instant. He orders Jack to — kill Storm! This… this is pretty rough.
Jack lunges at Storm, taking a big ol’ bite out of her arm before she manages to take flight and escape. Somehow in between the time Jack lunges… and reaches Ororo, she has changed from her sharp business-casual skirt combo into her full X-Men costume — tiara and all! Did Kurt let her use his Image Inducer or something? Oh well, Storm does escape — and manages to keep herself collected until reaching the tree house, where she passes out.
That’s “how we got here” — so, howsabout we wrap this sucker up, eh? Storm is surrounded by the Zombie horde — realizing she’s been literally and figuratively backed into a corner. She’s vowed never to take a life — even that of a zombie, I guess. So, what is she to do? Well, turns out the question is about to be rendered moot — because, ugh — Mother Nature decides to intervene. The zombies are hit with bolts of lightning — “killing” them. Storm escapes with her life, and didn’t have to compromise her morals to do so. Well… hmm… we’ll talk about that in the down below.
Okay, well this kinda sucked.
Has a bit of the X-Men Green stank on it — which begs the question: Is it #worsethanxmengreen? [balki]of course not, don’t be reedeekolous[/balki]. Nothing is worse than X-Men Green. I mean, this was bad — and I never wanna read it again — but, I think I’d rather tattoo this on the inside of my eyelids than ever subject myself to X-Men Green again.
I only really have one takeaway — and I’m only seeing it thru squinted eyes. The ending of this story has Storm seemingly being “gifted” a gimme by Mother Nature. We know from future stories that Storm, moral/ethical code or not — will do what needs done when the situation calls for it. She can be ruthless… and, as current year comics refuse to stop mentioning “is just as dangerous with or without her powers”. But here — she can’t bring herself to “pull the trigger”.
Or, at least that’s how it looks, yes?
Part All of me wonders if she may’ve unconsciously summoned the lightning to take out the zombies. Asamattafact, I read this for the first time while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. It wasn’t as thorough a read as I usually give these things — I was pretty uncomfortable, and really just reading to keep my mind off things. But, during that read, seeing these zombies taken out by lightning — I just assumed Storm did it. It wasn’t until my second read-thru that I noticed this weather-witchiness being attributed to Mother Nature. But, ya know what? I’m still not buyin’ it. I think that Storm was pushed to her limits… was in a do or die situation, and chose to “do”.
She can wrap that up as a “gift” from Mother Nature… if that’ll help the medicine go down a bit easier, but if you ask me — this was ALL Storm. Sure, this way she doesn’t have to feel accountable — but, I think this is a situation wherein she’s just lying to herself. Could I be wrong? Of course… but, at the end of the day, it’s not as though this story will ever be referenced again, right?
Overall, a bit of a stinker — unevenly (and conveniently) told, probably the weakest Vignette to this point. Only worth a look for the Bolton art, which — as usual, is a treat.