The Fucked-Up Love Life of Scott Summers: Jean Grey
So last time, Scott feel in love with a woman because she looked like Jean Grey, his dead girlfriend. I know, I know, but they kinda pulled it off. Then someone had the bright idea of reuniting the original X-Men into a new team called X-Factor. Of course, Jean was at present dead, so some hasty retconning revealed that it had actually been a clone of her, bringing Jean back to life at the small cost of invalidating a classic X-Men story.
And, of course, Scott was with Madeline. Married. With a baby son. Not the kind of a thing you can just sweep under the rug, but damn if they didn't give it the ol' college try.
Now, there were all sorts of ways they could've reconciled this. Kept Scott married to Madeline and (gasp!) have Jean not spend the rest of her life with her high school sweetheart. Revealed that Madeline really was Jean, thus keeping the Dark Phoenix Saga in continuity and still leaving room for some angst. Or just slowly breaking up Scott and Madeline over time, in a realistic and heart-rending plotline.
Or they could have Scott walk out on his wife and baby son at the mere mention of Jean's name, in one of those plot developments so absurd that you have to believe either it was first suggested as a joke or Garth Marenghi is writing comics. I mean, don't these things only happen to Peter Parker? Radioactive semen, deal with the devil to save his 110-year-old aunt? I guess the writing here wasn't an incredible failure at characterization and sympathetic actions so much as eerily prescient.
Ah yes, the mundane and everyday life of having a wife and newborn kid. Which Campbellian archetype is it again to have the call to adventure indistinguishable from a mid-life crisis?
Okay, Scott does have a bit of a point here, since he is a mutant and legislation against mutants would affect him and, by extension, Maddie and, yes, the baby. Savor this moment, guys, it's the last time Scott's going to be remotely likable.
So Scott's reunited with Jean and he decides not to tell her about Madeline. So, time it takes for Scott's reunion to go from heartwarming and emotional to douchey? One page.
"A dear friend is alive!" :[
And here we see homo sapiens summersus in its natural habitat: AAAANGST.
Aaaaaand it turns out that none of them tell Jean about Madeline for months. Amazing how this storyline can make you hate everyone involved. Except for Jean and Madeline, who probably need to do a Thelma & Louise thing in the Blackbird.
I'm also a little amused at how quickly Scott's angsty stubble can flare up. You think he just carries around some hair and crazy glue to rub on his face?
Well, I guess that makes the whole "walking out on your family" thing all okay then.
And here we see Angel in one of his many "why, yes, I do happen to have a manly man's chest" moments. The guy is just so... curious about the nudist lifestyle. Still, at least someone is talking sense. We can look at Warren Worthington and think "there's a stand-up guy, trying to do right by both of his dear, dear friends."
Okay, so after taking the time to set up a superhero team, advertise it, and go on an adventure, Scott finally thinks to call his wife. And, stymied by a disconnected number, our hero decides to let it lie while he continues to "woo" Jean. Because he's just a highly-trained mutant operative with a millionaire for a best friend. How can he be expected to find his wife and baby son?
Not to mention the way he thinks Madeline has left him instead of possibly being kidnapped or harmed, as happens every other week to girlfriends in the Marvel universe. Projecting much?
Don't you just love how they try to "soften the blow" by making Madeline a shrewish nag, not at all seeing that people tend to side with the single mother and not the deadbeat dad in domestic disputes? I mean, just take a look at that picture and tell me they're not trying to make it "Scott leaves his hag of a wife for his True Love".
I know angst is the bread and butter of Marvel Comics, but what this writer fails to grasp is that we don't sympathize with people when they bring angst on themselves. That's why we laugh at snooty French waiters when they get a banana-cream pie thrown in their face. Now, we'll make some allowances for characters we like and for dumb kids who don't know any better, but when the thirtysomething, super-responsible leader of the X-Men is pulling this shit, we just want someone to slap him. Hard.
But hey, people do do stupid shit in real life, like walking out on their family to have an affair. There's no reason Scott can't be made sympathetic. I mean, caught between an old love and a new flame through circumstances not of his choosing, that's pretty much why I wrote a Peter/MJ/Felicia love triangle.
So it's not like people haven't sympathized with bigger jerks. After all, at least he isn't yelling at anyone like a giant douche.
Well, Jean, you did step on his witty champagne line.
Around this time Louise Simonson took over writing, which takes the entire storyline to a really weird place. She does move the Scott/Jean/Maddie plot forward instead of letting it "simmer", but she also seems to be reacting to Scott's mischaracterization in Bob Layton's issues by making him more of a forthright douche, as shown in him yelling at Jean above. So instead of doing damage control, she just seems to be digging Scott's hole deeper. It makes me wonder if she wanted to deal with Scott and Madeline in a more forthright manner, like having them actually talk out their problems instead of literally being unable to talk to each other, but editorial said nay and so she just threw up her hands and said "fuck it."
Way to shift the subject, Scott. Was Warren talking about X-Factor? Because I don't think Warren was talking about X-Factor.
LOL at Jean throwing a mattress at Scott, though.
...well, at least now we know what Chris Brown would be like with superpowers.
Why do they call him Cyclops when his mutant name should clearly be Mr. Smooth? Because he's so smooth, you see.
No, Warren, I'm sure Jean will be fine without your penis. She's gotten by perfectly well without it in the past, after all.
You know, I never really got Logan/Jean before this, but now I can see how you'd want Jean to be with anyone but Scott. To be fair, though, the way Jean readily admits that if she had the ability, she would invade Scott's mind to find out something he didn't want her to know... well, I'm back to hating everyone, and we all know that only works if your comic has "Ultimate" in the title. Thanks for being awesome a little while there, Jean. Now I'm going to have to make a post about Angel's nudist tendencies to perk myself up from this head-hurtingness.
RUSTY! HEY GUYS, IT'S RUSTY! Oh, Rusty, it was horrible while you were away! Everyone was making jokes about cheating on their wives or girlfriends, everyone was fixated on Jean's ladyparts like she was a creation of Hemingway's drug-addled cousin, BUT LOOK AT YOU! You actually care about people other than yourself! And your relationship with Skids doesn't make me want to throw things! I should've done a series about your totally-not-fucked-up love life.
Yeah, Scott and Maddie were having problems. What Warren doesn't mention is that, as you saw, the problem was Scott being a giant tool.
Next time: Scott goes back to Maddie, goes crazy, and gets back together with Jean. Maybe not precisely in that order.