UNCANNY X-MEN #175, Marvel Comics, November 1983
As you might remember, my first issue of Uncanny X-Men was #153. When I came back to Canada, I jumped on the mutant bandwagon, though by that time, Uncanny was up to #175. Yes, it's a wedding issue (part 2 of my series on the subject), but it's apparently not important enough to be featured on the cover! The cover might also have said "Chris Claremont destroys the Marvel Universe... twice!", but that doesn't feature either.
Why? Well first of all, Dark Phoenix seems to return from the dead here and destroy the city of New York, where practically every superhero in the Marvel universe lives. (It's clear that were I a supervillain in the MU, I'd go commit crimes somewhere else.) But that's just an illusion created by Mastermind. What's less of an illusion is the inclusion of Cyclops' new bride, Madelyne Prior, a dead ringer for Jean Grey. I guess Scott has a thing for redheads.... redheads that LOOK EXACTLY ALIKE (way to get over your loss Cyclops)! This sows the seeds for some of the most complicated continuity ever explored in comics. I won't go into it here into any great detail - mainly because I don't remember or understand it all myself.
In short, Madelyne will turn out to be some kind of magic clone sent to destroy his life, but not before she has a kid that will turn into two possible superheroes who both come back in time to run with today's mutants, but not a daughter who will do the same as a second Phoenix. No, that one was the child of a non-dead Jean Grey. In any case, Jean Grey isn't really dead, she's been replaced by the Phoenix Force, and Cyclops will eventually marry her once she's found at the bottom of a river. If I got any of it wrong, I'm sorry if I can't muster much regret. So you see, Claremont destroyed the MU much more subtly this way.
But this is way before the X-world got seriously fooked, and #175 stands out as a great issue. Since I was coming directly from #153, I'd missed a year, but it wasn't too hard to catch up. Rogue had joined (interesting), Storm had turned into a mohawk-sporting punk (admittedly, all the X-Men are fashion disasters at this point), and Kitty had gotten a pet dragon (but I'd seen his precursor in "Kitty's Fairy Tale"). The art by Paul Smith was great, with Phoenix looking particularly hot, though he hands the last few pages to John Romita Jr. who would go on to draw the book for a good while. To me, the Claremont/Romita Jr. team remains the best to work on the series.
If you're not a Cyclops fan - and who could blame you? - this issue might change your mind about him. His experience plays out like Batman's in JLA as he kicks the ass of every single X-Man in the team (they think he's Phoenix). He uses his brains most of the time, but that optic blast looks like it hurts!
Ouch! Oh and the wedding? Well, first Scott has to say goodbye to Jean in a cemetery. He's all about closure, this guy. Then he goes on to wed a carbon copy of his dead girlfriend. She's mistakenly colored blond as she goes down the aisle (noooooooo, Scott will stop loving you if you bleach your hair!!!!), but back to normal by the time Scott has to kiss the bride (pheew!).