10 Years Ago, the X-Men Celebrated a Major Wedding

Today, we head back 10 years to see when Northstar of the X-Men married his husband in the pages of Astonishing X-Men.

This is “Look Back,” where every four weeks of a month, I will spotlight a single issue of a comic book that came out in the past and talk about that issue (often in terms of a larger scale, like the series overall, etc.). Each spotlight will be a look at a comic book from a different year that came out the same month X amount of years ago. The first spotlight of the month looks at a book that came out this month ten years ago. The second spotlight looks at a book that came out this month 25 years ago. The third spotlight looks at a book that came out this month 50 years ago. The fourth spotlight looks at a book that came out this month 75 years ago. The occasional fifth week (we look at weeks broadly, so if a month has either five Sundays or five Saturdays, it counts as having a fifth week) looks at books from 20/30/40/60/70/80 years ago.

Today, we go to June 2012 for the wedding of Northstar in Astonishing X-Men #51 by Marjorie Liu, Mike Perkins, Andrew Hennessy, Andy Troy, Jim Charlampidis and Rachelle Rosenberg.

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Northstar was introduced during the John Byrne, Chris Claremont and Terry Austin run of X-Men as a member of Alpha Flight. The initial members of Alpha Flight were sort of just super basic characters when Byrne created them (essentially, “We need a Canadian superhero team for the purposes of this story, so here you go”). When they were going to get their own series, though, Byrne stepped up to write and draw their series, at which point he invented the backgrounds for each of the characters and with Northstar, he decided that he was gay.

The first major hint was when we met one of Northstar’s former lovers in Alpha Flight #7 and this is about as obvious as you can without having Northstar literally shouting, “I am gay!”


It wouldn’t be for almost a decade before Northstar finally came out in Alpha Flight #106 by, well, you know, shouting “I am gay!”


Alpha Flight ended soon after that issue and while Northstar received his own solo series, it didn’t get into his personal life, really, and he (and the rest of Alpha Flight) spent most of the rest of the 1990s in limbo. Scott Lobdell, who wrote the “I am gay!” issue, finally had Northstar join the X-Men in 2001, but it was only a temporary ragtag group of X-Men.

The following year, though, Chuck Austen finally had Northstar join the X-Men for good. In Uncanny X-Men #508 (by Matt Fraction, Greg Land,Jay Leisten and Justin Ponsor), we first met his boyfriend, Kyle, who was a publicist.


Kyle remained a recurring character for the next couple of years, including an excellent short-lived Alpha Flight revival series by Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak and Dale Eaglesham.

Eventually, in an Astonishing X-Men storyline by Liu, Perkins, Hennessy and Troy, Northstar and Kyle begin to have some problems, in the general, “Wait, do I really belong with a SUPERHERO?” sort of way (which, of course, is a completely and totally rational thing to be concerned about, ya know?). Northstar and the X-Men were dealing with a problem with some mysterious person controlling people. Anyhow, in the middle of the cast, Northstar decides to prove his commitment to Kyle by proposing to him…


Kyle shocks him by turning him down….


However, at the end of the issue, Kyle and the other X-Men were all also mind controlled and ready to kill Northstar!!


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Northstar saves the mind-controlled Kyle from killing himself in front of Northstar…


Once the other X-Men were freed of the control (which turned out to be due to their own teammate, Karma, who seemed herself to be under some sort of outside control, also), Kyle decided that life was too short (if you’re the spouse of a superhero, life is often REALLY short) and so he agrees to marry Northstar…


As the wedding is getting set up in Central Park, Liu decided to have the Shi’ar supporting character, Warbird (who was the bodyguard for Kid Gladiator) refuse to attend the wedding because she objected to a same-sex marriage (which is really messed up, as you would think that alien races wouldn’t also be jerks about that. Come on, cosmos!)…


Northstar’s twin sister, Aurora, had a nice little flight through the air with him where she gives him some presents for the wedding, where she then offers him a way out if he thinks things are moving too fast (an ironic statement for heroes who move at superspeed)…


He explains why he is moving at the perfect speed with Kyle…


And then he and Kyle get married!


It’s all handled quite nicely.

If you folks have any suggestions for July (or any other later months) 2012, 1997, 1972 and 1947 comic books for me to spotlight, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com! Here is the guide, though, for the cover dates of books so that you can make suggestions for books that actually came out in the correct month. Generally speaking, the traditional amount of time between the cover date and the release date of a comic book throughout most of comic history has been two months (it was three months at times, but not during the times we’re discussing here). So the comic books will have a cover date that is two months ahead of the actual release date (so October for a book that came out in August). Obviously, it is easier to tell when a book from 10 years ago was released, since there was internet coverage of books back then.