Ah, Thanksgiving, a wonderful holiday where families gather together to gorge on Turkey and stuffing, watch football, and argue viciously about politics. What better time could there be to slip away from your loved ones and read about comics on the internet? We've got your back here at X-ual Healing, the weekly X-Men recap column, so we've prepared a 2-part special looking back at two memorable X-Men Thanksgiving-themed issues, both written by Scott Lobdell.
In A Very Lobdell ThanXgiving Part 1, we look at the events of 1993's Uncanny X-Men #308.
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but with a corporate merger on the way, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
Uncanny X-Men #308
by Scott Lobdell (writer), John Romita Jr. (penciler), Dan Green and Al Vey (inks), Steve Buccellato (colors), and Chris Eliopoulos (letters)
The issue opens with Cyclops and Jean Grey taking a walk on the grounds of the Xavier Institute on Thanksgiving morning. Jean recalls the time she first realized Scott was "the one," back in the early days of the X-Men, when she met up with him in the Danger Room as he was making some repairs and he was so awkward trying to talk to her that he fell off a ladder. Beast and Jubilee, meanwhile, are frolicking through piles of leaves, which really pisses off Storm because she, Forge, and Banshee have been spent the whole morning raking them. Beast decides to remedy the situation by starting a leaf fight. Gambit, Rogue, and Iceman are building scarecrows with Bishop, who doesn't really get what the big deal of all this messing around is because he came from an apocalyptic future where Emplates were trying to suck the marrow from the bones of he and his sister. Jeeze, dude, get over it.
Cyclops encourages the other X-Men to play a game of football while he continues his conversation with Jean. This time, Jean recalls a time her creepy mentor Professor Xavier pulled her aside to talk about how her attraction to Scott has reawakened her telepathic powers, which the Professor had put blocks on back when they first manifested, though the ethics of Xavier's messing around with people's minds has always been questionable.
TFW your creepy mentor, who in canon was in love with you, "erects" stuff in your mind.
Anyway, back in the 1993 present, the X-Men play football while Jean and Scott recall the end of the Dark Phoenix Saga. It was Jean's love for Scott that allowed her soul to overcome the Phoenix Force. If you're wondering how Jean remembers that when she was actually, as Cyclops points out, in a cocoon underneath the East River, remember that Jean retained the memories of both Phoenix and Madelyne Pryor after Inferno.
We get a brief introduction to the character that would eventually become Harvest, teasing the Phalanx Covenant, which would be happening in about 9 issues. Then we get a few pages of the X-Men playing football before the game breaks out into chaos when Archangel uses his powers. Watching from the distance, Scott remarks that the X-Men sound like a family, prompting Jean to start talking about starting their own family, and not one with just post-apocalyptic alternate future children. She also drops some references to recent X-Men continuity:
Colossus left the X-Men to join the Acolytes after Professor X lobotomized Magneto because Magneto ripped the adamantium out of Wolverine in Fatal Attractions, the most recent X-over event which had just occurred a few issues prior. Colossus, in particular, was having a rough time, having lost both his parents, causing him to bring his sister Illyana back to the X-Men, only to see her die as a result of the Legacy virus (first introduced at the end of the second most recent X-over, X-Cutioner's Song). Not only that, but he had also recently regained and then lost his brother Mikhail. Sabretooth was currently Professor X's most recent fixer-upper project (it didn't work out). Anyway, Jean and Scott briefly discuss and gloss over Scott leaving his wife and young child to find Jean when she returned from the dead (the first time), which was okay we guess because Madelyne was a clone of Jean created by Mister Sinister and anyway Jean has her memories now, and then when Jean and Scott later decided on the moon to send the boy to be raised in a post-apocalyptic future (though just a year from now, we'd learn that Scott and Jean actually spent their honeymoon psychically time-traveling into future bodies to raise Nathan Christopher themselves as Slym and Redd in The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix. This was really a loaded era for the X-Men.
Meanwhile, the football game ends as Professor Xavier wheels himself out to tell everyone that Thanksgiving dinner is ready, of course ending up right in the path of a fumbled ball and an ensuing pile-on. Scott wants to help the Professor, but Jean (who probably figures Xavier deserves it for being a creep), proposes to him. Scott protests a little, still sore over the fact that Jean rejected his own proposal back in X-Factor #53. But eventually, he accepts.
The issue ends with Lobdell doing his best Claremontian pontificating, and also showing us what Professor X looks like when he's happy.
The only action that took place in this issue was a football game, and half the pages were spent playing clips of past X-Men stories, but those kinds of X-Men issues can often be some of the most memorable. The art and colors in this issue, in parts, recall another conversation between two lovers after a crossover event on the grounds of the Xavier Institute, Kitty Pryde and Colossus in the post-Secret-Wars Uncanny X-Men #183. Both are penciled by John Romita Jr. and inked by Dan Green (with Al Vey as well in #308). Steve Buccellato colored #308, while Glynis Oliver colored #183.
Of course, these conversations ended quite differently. Kitty and Peter still can't get their heads straight today, while Scott and Jean have the most important romance in the history of comic books, one which we hope they'll rekindle when Scott comes back in February.
Alright, it's time for you get back in there and make some memories with your own families. And when you can't take that any more, check back here for Part 2 of A Very Lobdell ThanXgiving, where we cover 1997's Generation X #23. And, of course, head back here on Sunday for the usual recap of all of the X-books that came out this week.
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