In a Nutshell
Xavier reflects on his romantic past in the wake of Scott & Jean's engagement.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inkers: Dan Green & John Holdredge
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Professor X has a dream in which he grapples with his subsconscious, in the form of Magneto, regarding his reservations about Scott & Jean's upcoming marriage. He realizes that he's never had a healthy relationship, with his mother's abuse at the hands of his stepfather prompting him to seek out women he views as needing him, like Gabrielle Haller, or with built-in distance, like Lilandra. He then recalls his relationship with Amelia Voght, a mutant nurse with which he fell in love when he was most vulnerable, after being crippled by Lucifer, but who eventually left him for fear his plans involving the X-Men would lead to war between humans & mutants, and on whom Xavier briefly used his powers to make her stay with him, an act of which he is deeply ashamed. Magneto helps him realize through these reminiscences that he wants what he's never been able to have, and is taking it out on his students. Just then, he awakens as Jean covers him with a blanket, and he clears the air with her, making her promise him that she will love Scott forever, and accept his love in return.
Firsts and Other Notables
This issue details the history between Xavier and the Acolyte Amelia Voght (the redheaded woman who serves as their teleporter), whose past together was first hinted at in issue #300. Here, it's revealed that the pair met and fell in love when Amelia was Xavier's nurse following his battle with Lucifer, with Amelia returning to America and living with Xavier during his early planning days of the X-Men (after he was working with Jean but before he brought Cyclops to the school).
Their relationship ended badly when Amelia, fearing Xavier's plans for the X-Men escalate the conflict between himself & Magneto and between humans and mutants to open warfare, decided to leave him (not wanting to be involved in any such conflict). As she left, Xavier briefly reached out with his power and attempted to telepathically change her mind on the subject before stopping in horror at what he was using his power to do.
The fact that Xavier's subconscious takes the form of Magneto in this issue will later be implied to be an early manifestation of Onslaught, the entity created when a bit of Magneto's essence, accidentally absorbed by Xavier when wiping his mind in X-Men #25, merges with Xavier's repressed dark side
Lobdell seems to address the criticism that Xavier is suddenly referring to Magneto as "Erik" of late despite having never done so in the past, with Xavier saying that he no longer has the energy to engage with Magneto's attempts to control his own narrative (which isn't the best explanation - amongst other things, it seems like the time Magneto was working with the X-Men would have been a good time to drop Magnus as well) but the effort to provide an in-universe explanation is nonetheless appreciated.
Given the whole Erik/Magnus discussion, it's worth noting that Amelia refers to him as “Magnus” in the past.
As of this issue, Scott & Jean are getting married in two Saturday's. Given they just got engaged last issue, this suggests a really short engagement (and probably works better in the compressed timeline), but in reality, no wedding of the type Scott and Jean ultimately end up having could be thrown together that fast.
The annual Statement of Ownership lists the average number of copies sold in the last 12 months as 714,675 (down from 731,425 last year), with the total issues nearest to the filing date at 551,400 (vs. 605,900 the year before), which, while still huge numbers (especially relative today) continues to show an overall decline relative to the post-relaunch, pre-Image Exodus heyday.
A Work in Progress
This issue features a brief flashback to Xavier's experiences in X-Men Unlimited #1, which confirms that it was Magneto who rescued him in that issue.
Xavier notes that Magneto has possibly the most powerful mutation (presumably taking into account his larger ability to manipulate electro-magnetic energy, not just "magnetism").
Given some of the other retcons and recontextualizations going on in this issue, it's worth noting that the initial injury that led to Xavier's paralysis is still being attributed to the goofy-ass Lucifer.
Xavier's history with women is recalled, with Xavier (via his subconscious-as-Magneto) at least self aware enough to recognize how skeevy his relationship with Gabrielle Haller was.
Along the way, Xavier points to Lilandra as a successful relationship, though "Magneto" points out she's an alien who lives light years away from him, so it's only barely clearing the bar of "good relationship".
Amelia learns the term "mutant" from Xavier; she says that when she left the country, people were just calling them "freaks".
This issue features an ad for the upcoming Fleer Ultra set of X-Men cards.
There's a full page house ad for the Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix limited series, which more or less serves as Scott & Jeans's honeymoon.
Another Universe takes out a full page ad for their Cyclops & Jean Grey wedding "reception', featuring actors cosplaying as the characters.
There's also an ad for exclusive videos of the animated series from Pizza Hut, which also include original comics (of the rough size and shape of the comics that would be packaged with action figures in the 80s) and round table interviews with various X-Men creators (these videos are how I learned the way "Nicieza" is pronounced).
This issue features the first installment of "Marvel Vision", a recurring house ad sort of thing that Marvel uses to promote "hot" new titles and issues. Not coincidentally, it is laid out and looks a lot like similar types of pages from Wizard magazine at the time. Various versions of this sort of thing (eventually evolving into "title family" pages and recap pages), will be regular features for years to come, as Marvel attempts to increase some added value to individual issues (while also, of course, promoting their product).
It's in the Mail
A response to a letter confirms there is no support staff at the X-mansion currently, and also teases Hodge's involvement in the '94 Phalanx Covenant crossover.
While probably not the best Lobdell Quiet Issue (it's tough to beat the relative quiet of #297, or the day-in-the-life-ness + proposal of #308), this is nevertheless one of my all-time favorites (helped in part by some gorgeous art from JRjr, arguably the best of his second run). At a time before the mid-00s rush to darken Xavier's character by revealing a series of sins in his past, Lobdell makes his contribution to that effort (at a time which, in general, we're seeing an overall darkening of Xavier). But where this retcon works is its scale: Xavier using his telepathy to, however briefly, alter the mind of a woman he loves, is certainly a big deal for him (and her), and a shame he understandably would want to bury in his subconscious, where it prevents him from getting too close to other women. At the same time, it's a sin not quite on the same level as, say, sending an entire team of X-Men to their deaths than wiping all memory of their existence from the world, including one of their brother's, who also happens to be one of Xavier's most devout students, and as a result, it works much better to make Xavier feel like a rich, three-dimensional character instead of just a jerk on a colossal scale.
Retcon aside, and though couched as Xavier's reaction to Scott & Jean's imminent wedding, this is ultimately a searing examination of Xavier's character overall, putting him in arguably the biggest spotlight since issue #161 explored his time in Israel with Magneto & Gabby Haller. It re-contextualizes his previous relationships, including his relationship with his mother. The brilliant choice of having Xavier's subconscious represented by Magneto also helps reflect his recent "darkening", while allowing him to once more verbally spar with his old friend despite Magneto's current debilitated state. The end result doesn't quite work as an explanation for Xavier's initial reservations about Scott & Jean's engagement (the ostensible starting point for the issue), but it is nevertheless an effective examination of Xavier's character that changes how we view him without completely destroying him, and a great piece of craft from writer & artist alike.
Tomorrow, Haven makes a move in X-Factor #99. Friday, Wolverine fights Bloodscream in Wolverine #78. Next week: X-Men #29.