Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #425

Issue Date: 
August 2003
Story Title: 
Sacred Vows - part 1

Chuck Austen (Writer), Philip Tan (Artist), Avalon Studios (Colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer), Warren Simons (Assistant Editor), Mike Raicht (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Bill Jemas (President).

Brief Description: 

Havok awakes from a dream in which he and Annie reveal their true feelings of love for each other, only to realize he is getting married to Polaris in two days. As preparations go ahead with the wedding, and the mansion is all set up, Juggernaut asks Cyclops if he can officially join the X-Men, and Havok tells him that he can be on his and Nightcrawler’s team. Later that evening, Annie Ghazikhanian arrives at a mixed human-mutant bar where Polaris’ bachelorette party is being held, despite being invited, Annie ends up sitting with Iceman separate from the party. Annie and Iceman get into an argument about various things such as human-mutant relations and their feelings for Alex and Lorna. After Annie storms away, he follows her out and the two kiss after he reveals that he is so lonely. At the bachelorette party proper, Lorna reveals much of her new personality and after discussing said personality and what marriage means to her, she apparently leaves with the stripper. At Havok’s bachelor party, a shapeshifting mutant stripper impersonates Annie, much to the disgust of Havok, who, not knowing she isn’t really Annie, jumps to protect her. After an argument with Cyclops, who planned this, Alex is confronted again with a hint that he may love Annie. This all comes to a head at the wedding where as Lorna walks down the isle, Alex calls off the wedding, and Lorna gets mad, transforming all the metal into an armor of the type Magneto wore she unleashes her powers and tells Alex that he is going to be sorry.

Full Summary: 

Havok’s dream:

On a windy day, Annie Ghazikhanian, nurse at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, stands huddled into herself by a stream away from the mansion. Alex ‘Havok’ Summers walks up to her, calling out to her. Annie is surprised, but pleased, to see him and asks him what he is doing out here when he should have wedding things to do, like chairs to set up, caterers to berate and in-laws to reassure. Jokingly, Alex asks Annie what she means by ‘In-laws to reassure’ and asks her if she does not think any woman’s parents would be glad to have him as a son-in-law. Annie smiles slyly and tells him she knows her mother would – and that her mother would probably try and wrestle her for him!

Annie goes on, and reminds Alex that Lorna’s parents are rich and that in her experience – Annie cuts her self off. Alex turns to her and tells her to go on, asking her what her experience is – and adds that no one knows much about her, or her son Carter. Annie just looks away. Alex asks her where she and Carter come from, and who the mystery nurse that took care of him while he was an ‘unresponsive vegetable’ really is.

Annie turns back to Alex and tells him that he knows her – he knows her better than any man she has ever known, and adds that she knows him. She remembers all the times she read to him the silly jokes he couldn’t laugh at, but repeats back to her now. Annie confides that all that time, she was just there, sitting with him, waiting and praying that he would just come out of the coma and love her – Alex cuts her off, and tells her that she waited the same way he did, waiting to come out of the coma and love her back.

Annie looks back at him, uncertain of what he just said and tells him not to make fun of her. Alex tells her he would never do that, and the two embrace and kiss beneath the tree that is losing its leaves. Annie holds tight to Alex, his arms around her and she says that she would have never believed it possible. Alex tells her that it is, that he realizes now that he was meant to be with her, and never meant to be…


…with Lorna. Alex opens his eyes. Lorna is beside him, they are in bed. Alex realizes it was a dream and says ‘Oh my God’.

The next day at the Institute, caterers are busying themselves with wedding preparations, setting up seating and other arrangements. Alex, his brother Scott, and fellow X-Man Nightcrawler are standing amongst the chaos and listening to the Juggernauts’ phone call. Cain yells into the phone, presumably talking to the mother of Samuel Pare, a.k.a. Squidboy, who until recently was a student at the Institute and Cain had grown fond of him. He asks Sammy’s mother why she cannot leave a message for him.

Kurt Wagner tells the Summers brothers that he feels sorry for Cain, considering how close he and Sammy had grown in the mutually beneficial relationship. Alex tells the others that seeing Juggernaut here with them feels like he is in an alternate reality. Cyclops changes the subject quickly telling Alex that he still has things to attend to regarding the bachelor party. As the catering is going fine, he suggests they meet later just before seven. Alex tells his older brother that it sounds good, and thanks him. Cyclops smiles and asks him what are best man’s for.

A crash nearby sounds the end of Juggernauts conversation with Samuel’s mother as he smashes the phone into the wall. Cain Marko turns and sees the X-Men nearby and tells Scott that he wanted to talk to him about officially joining the X-Men, as Xavier told him that there were two teams, and that he should talk to both of the leaders about joining. Cyclops walks away without answering Xavier’s stepbrother and Alex tells him that he can be on their team. Alex’s team leader, Nightcrawler frowns and shakes his head.

That evening…Annie enters a bar called The Robin and is welcomed by a waitress who asks her if she is here for Lorna Dane’s bachelorette party. Annie gives the waitress her name and tells her that she was invited, and starts to protest when the waitress says ‘As long as you’re from Xavier’s, well then I can just be me’ and the woman changes her features, revealing red skin, sharp teeth and horns, before telling Annie she will show her to her table. Annie is taken aback and the waitress notices this. She smiles and tells Annie that being a low-level shape-shifter comes in handy in town, as when the Low-genes come into the bar, she doesn’t want to freak them out. She tells Annie that The Robin serves both Low-genes and mutants, but that they have separate sections for each, just in case.

Annie tells the waitress to wait, and tells her that she doesn’t really want to go to the bachelorette party if she is being honest with herself, and asks her for a table in the corner somewhere and for a virgin pina colada. The waitress tells Annie that that is fine, and she will have to get another waitress to bring her the drink, as her shift is ending and she has another job to go to. She points to a table and asks Annie if it is all right. Somebody calls out and says ‘She can sit over here with me if she wants – at the “runner-up” table.’ Annie is surprised to see Bobby, making a sculpture out of his drink, at the bar.

Meanwhile…in a secluded booth, Polaris, Phoenix, Northstar, the Scarlet Witch and others are enjoying themselves, sitting around a couple of tables, dressed up with drinks all around. Jean tells everyone that personally she does not know what everyone sees in Gambit, Lorna cuts her friend off and says ‘Oh please Jean! He’s a dish! Isn’t he Northstar?’ Northstar agrees with her and says ‘A spicy Cajun dish, with some seriously hot buns’. Jubilee shakes her finger and tells Lorna that she is not supposed to notice those things anymore.

Looking absolutely radiant in her pink backless-strapless-above-the-knee dress, Lorna turns to the younger woman, looks at her rather sardonically and tells her that she is getting married, not surgically attached. She tells everyone that if Rogue had any sense she would ‘take two aspirin, put on a power inhibitor and go right to bed –‘ Half the women at the party are shocked, the others amused. Jean, who, wearing black flares and a flame red low cut shirt is one of the few redheads alive who can wear red without it totally clashing with her hair, tells Lorna that she has never heard her talk like this before and asks her if this is a ‘new Lorna’ that they are seeing…’a “post-Magneto’s apprentice” Lorna with a more open outlook on life?’ ‘Absolutely, positively, my dear Jeannie’ Lorna says, then gives a half smile to Jean as she seems regretful and says that they haven’t seen much of each other since she got back from Genosha.

Lorna says that one could say she is more open about life now, as she has experienced things in the last year that have really opened her eyes to the world around her. Lorna raises up her glass and says that it wouldn’t really take much to open her eyes up, as her life had always been so…”chaste”. Lorna grins and tells everyone that before last year, Alex was the only man she had ever really known. Jean-Paul looks shocked and asks her if what she is saying that when she was with Bobby they never…Lorna’s radiant eyes gleam and says ‘No Jean-Paul. Never’. She tells everyone that Bobby is immature and inexperienced, and one does not sleep with Bobby, but endure him.

Polaris adds that Alex is not much better, and as the women all look around awkwardly, Lorna tells Jean that she especially should know what she means, as she married the more repressed Summers brother. But one does not marry for physical gratification, one marries for stability and good parenting skills. ‘You marry for genes’ she adds wickedly. The women all look up behind Lorna and someone standing on a small stage behind her says ‘Excuse me, but is someone here making the mistake of getting married tomorrow?’

Lorna jumps up, turns around and stares at the man before her – a stripper who is a dead-ringer for Gambit. Lorna exclaims ‘My own little Gambit?’ turns to her friend and tells Jean that this is all so perfect, she adds that she should have known, what withJean being a mind reader and all, and adds that she was sure that she was going to get one that looked like Xavier. Phoenix just smirks back at Lorna.

Across the other side of the bar, Annie stands clutching her purse and looking somewhat amused, somewhat bewildered at Bobby’s request for her to join him. He tells her he just asked her to sit down and join him. Annie pulls out a chair and sits down, at the same time asking ‘why’. She asks Bobby what he plans to do to her, and he tells her to relax, adding that he can be nice. He tells Annie that he had known the wedding was coming ever since Alex came back, add to that the fact that he is turning into solid ice, he tells Annie he has been on edge a little lately. He tries to reassure her and tells her that he doesn’t really dislike her, in fact he actually admires the quickness of her wit. He says that not many people aside from Kurt can keep up with him.

Annie leans across the table and tells Bobby that he isn’t that bad himself, she adds that he seems to have lost his wit tonight however. She tells him that she cannot blame him however, based on who the bride is. She tells Bobby it is quite the talk of the school. Bobby puts a hand to his head and says ‘Man, you just can’t keep a secret around Xavier’s can you?’ Annie sits back up straight and says ‘Lets see…’ she goes through a list of things that have happened to her since she arrived at the mansion – everyone knowing that she does not like mutants, and knowing she has a thing for Alex. Adding to that she reminds Bobby that everyone knows he used to date Lorna, while everyone thinks that at the moment Annie is dating Northstar, even though he is openly gay!

Bobby Drake’s jaw almost falls from his face and his eyes look as if they will jump from his socket when he hears this. Genuinely surprised, he says ‘Northstar is gay?’ Annie smiles and asks Bobby if he really didn’t know, and how he could not know! Iceman looks away sheepishly and smiles before saying ‘Well I – how should I know? It’s not like we’re – I mean – oh my God, that’s so funny –’ Annie cuts him off and looking at him hard she tells Iceman that he is a homophobe. Bobby gets defensive and tells her that he is not. Annie tells him he is a homophobe and a racist.

Bobby gets upset and raising his voice he asks her where that idea came from, as he is not now, or has ever been a racist. He lowers the tone of his voice and asks Annie how she could even say something like that to him, after all, he is a mutant living in a world that hates and fears mutants. He tells her that no one understands oppression more than he does. Annie cuts him off before he can go on by telling him he is full of it and she stands up from the table.

Annie tells Bobby that something the waitress said when she came in all makes sense now. She tells him that when she heard the word “Low-genes” she thought it meant “fad pants”, but she now realizes it is a term for non-mutants. She tells him that he didn’t want her – a “Low-gene” stitching her up in the infirmary the day she arrived and that he is hiding the secondary mutation that he is developing because there are three kinds of evolution. Annie Ghazikhanian stands her ground and sternly tells him that there are “Low-genes”, twenty-four-seven mutants like Kurt and people in between like he is. Annie turns her back and as she walks away tells Bobby that he doesn’t want to be a twenty-four-seven or a “Low-gene”, only a mutant who can pass as a “Low-gene” when he needs to. She tells him that she has some place else to be and leaves Bobby, mouth agape, just sitting at the table.

Back at Xaviers, that same evening, sitting around a table, Havok, Wolverine, Beast, Nightcrawler, Archangel and others are gathered for the bachelor party. Leaning against a wall, Juggernaut keeps his distance from the others, while Cyclops is standing, preparing to make a speech. He raises his glass and tells everyone that he has never been very good at public speaking, so just says ‘To my brother, Alex!’ The other men raise their glass and say ‘To Alex!’ Havok thanks everyone, old friends, and implying Juggernaut, adds ‘new friends’. Against the wall, Cain almost smiles.

Scott tells his brother that he missed him while he was gone, and is glad to have him back. He puts on his best humorous voice and says ‘But as nice as you are to look at, Kurt, if you please?’ Nightcrawler teleports away ‘There are other things I’d rather be watching’, Scott continues. Nightcrawler teleports in with someone else, who coughs and splutters amidst the brimstone, and directing his speech at Alex, says ‘In the grand sexiest tradition of American prenuptial parties all across this great land – I present you – just what the doctor ordered!’ Nightcrawler moves away, revealing Annie dressed in a skimpy nurse uniform – which she has already started to take off.

In the testosterone filled room, with the usual male vigor, the men begin to applaud Annie and shout out loud. Someone says ‘I need medical care’ before Alex, whose mouth is open wide enough to match Iceman’s back at the bar, asks what this is, and tells them that it isn’t funny. He gets up onto the table and makes his way for Annie. He tells her that he cannot believe she did this and tells her to put some clothes on. Taking to his friends he asks them what the hell is wrong with them. As Alex starts to lift Annie up to carry her away, she asks him what he is doing.

Annie tells Alex to put her down and asks what his problem is - before her features begin to fade, revealing red skin, sharp teeth and horns – the mutant shape-shifting waitress from the bar! Still in Alex’s arms she tells him they all said he would laugh. Nightcrawler tells Alex that they are sorry, and asks him to calm down. He tells him that it was meant to be funny, that no one thought he would believe it was really Annie. Kurt asks Scott to confirm, and Alex puts the stripper/waitress down and asks Scott if it was his idea.

Scott just looks up at his younger brother and says nothing, though he’s smiling from inside. Alex tells him to get outside – now! They walk out of the room and the door slams behind them. The men all turn their attention back to the bewildered stripper, who is still on the table, and Logan, pointing at Kurt, asks her to do a nun for him. Getting his own back, Kurt tells her to be anything with red hair for the man on his left, or something underage for his friend with the wings! All this while, Beast is calling out for her to be Tigra! The stripper says ‘All right, all right, one at a time!’

In the hallway outside, Scott stands with his back to Alex, who is asking him what that was all about. He gets no answer, and asks him again if he though it was funny, making a mockery out of someone as sweet as Annie because she is a little caught up in an ex-patient. He asks Scott how he thinks Annie would feel if she found out about it. Scott turns to Alex and tells him that it would probably upset her. Then adds ‘Almost as much as you getting marries to Lorna’. Alex doesn’t know what to say for a moment and seems slightly in shock. Scott says ‘Almost as much’ and Alex asks him what he is trying to make him say – that he should be with Annie? He asks him if he thinks he wants Annie, and tells Scott that he doesn’t even know her! Scott tells him that he got up on the table to protect her honor though.

Outside The Robin Annie is getting into her car. Bobby runs out of the bar, calling after her, telling her to wait, and when he gets up to her he grabs her by the arm and tells her that he is not a racist – that he is just unhappy. He tells Annie that he was never happier than back when the school was new – when it was just him, Warren, Scott and Hank and they were all alone in their “little boys club” with Xavier. Annie and Bobby are close, and they look into each other’s eyes. He continues with his story, telling Annie that after Jean came, and then Lorna. That he fell in love with her - but she fell in love with Alex, and now she is marrying him.

He reminds Annie that she too loves Alex, and everything changes – that you can never go back, never get happier…Bobby’s words start to jumble and he stutters…his words seem caught up in his throat as he says ‘You become a block of ice that no one will ever want to kiss because kissing is about warmth and kissing is about –about warmth, and I want someone who will – I want…’ Bobby leans into Annie and kisses her lips. She doesn’t react to begin with, her eyes remain still, until she closes them and opens her mouth to Bobby’s, and human woman and mutant man embrace.

Xavier’s, the next day…the front lawn is filled o over flowing with wedding guests all dressed up in tux’s and fancy dresses, from all around, former X-Men, allies and otherwise. The mansion itself is decorated perfectly. Seated near the front of one of the rows, Husk whispers to Jubilee that Lorna went back with the stripper and they never saw her for the rest of the night. Jubilee asks if she is sure, and when she understands Paige is she says in typical Jubilee fashion ‘you have got to be joking’.

Up at the altar, surrounded by his groomsmen, Alex asks Scott if he is going to say anything, or just let him stew? Cyclops says nothing, and Alex understands that he is just going to let him stew. He asks Scott if he noticed Bobby and Annie sitting together. He tells her that she found someone, and that he was wrong, that she obviously doesn’t love him. Alex adds that he doesn’t love her, and how could he? He doesn’t even know her he says, no matter what anyone says, he was just floating in a black void, with no hope…and no dreams…Cyclops tells Havok that his bride approaches.

Alex tells him that he sees her, and asks him if he thinks he can’t. He asks where the music is, and says that there should be music, he comments on how hot it is. Lorna Dane accompanied by her father, walks down the aisle, looking amazing in her traditional wedding gown, but with a modern twist, no shoulders or back, and a rose-red floral trim. Alex asks what it is about him and Bobby – first with Lorna, now Annie. Kurt asks him what he means by “first Lorna, now Annie”. Alex tells him that Bobby was in love with Lorna for a while, and then – he starts to stutter and realization hits him when he cannot bring himself to say “not in love with Annie”.

Alex turns to his brother and asks him what he is saying. Scott says nothing and just looks at his brother, his face as emotionless as ever. Alex walks off the altar and raising his arms yells out ‘Stop the wedding!’ A wave of bewilderment spreads among the guests, and Lorna runs from her father, dropping her bouquet on the way, asking Alex what the matter is. He tells her that he cannot do this – Lorna cuts him off and says ‘No, Alex, NO!’ She rips off her veil and tells him that whatever he heard was a lie. She tells him that she loves him that he has to believe that!

Alex says ‘But I – I don’t love you Lorna. Not anymore.’ The guests continue to show their shock, Annie and Bobby especially. Alex turns his back to Lorna and walks down the aisle, away from the altar. He says that he is sorry, and that he should have stopped this a long time ago. Lorna turns around to face the crowd and tells Alex that he cannot walk away like that, not when all of their friends and her parents are here. She tells him they can still make it work.

The silverware on the catering tables begins to twinge and Alex says that he is so very sorry. The metal begins to clatter more furiously and in a mocking tone the dumped bride says ‘Yes Alex…you are soooo verrry sorry’. The faces of everyone present at the wedding ceremony seem to react in unison as the silverware and metal all begins to melt together and form a shape. Annie’s relief is soon overcome with fear, Phoenix concerned more for the well being of one of her best friends, Cyclops worried over how disastrous this that he helped instigate has become and Iceman out of fear for what Lorna has become.

The metal formed an armor around the Mistress of Magnetism, and now wearing a helmet, boots and body armor resembling that of the late Magneto, with her dress still attached and flowing from the waist down, Polaris takes to the air, magnetic energy crackling all around, her eyes a brilliant platinum and she says ‘But not as sorry as you are going to be’ while Havok looks to the ground….

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Havok, Husk, Iceman, Juggernaut, Nightcrawler, Northstar, Phoenix IV, Polaris, Wolverine, Xorn, Professor Xavier (All X-Men)

Annie Ghazikhanian

Carter Ghazikhanian

Cable, Corsair, Domino, Forge, Gambit, Hulk, Jubilee, Mam’selle Hepzibah, Moonstar, Multiple Man, Quicksilver, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Wolfsbane and other unnamed/unidentifiable guests at wedding and parties

Polaris’ parents

Male stripper dressed like Gambit

Female stripper/waitress appearing as Annie

Catering staff at wedding

Patrons at ‘The Robin’ bar

In Havok’s dream


Annie Ghazikhanian

Story Notes: 

Alex and Lorna had been lovers most of the time they were together, and stood by each through several possession, abductions and brainwashings. While they eventually broke up, they were on the way back to becoming an item again before he was tragically killed [X-Factor #149] following his death, Lorna was the only person who had faith that he was still alive. Havok was revealed to be alive in Uncanny X-Men #411, in #413 Annie and he moved to the mansion, in #419 he was woken from his coma. In #421 Polaris proposed to him. Annie has had a crush on Alex since she had been taking care of him at a private institute.

Squidboy/Sammy Pare was removed from the Xavier Institute when he agreed to leave so that the other students were not taken by force. [Uncanny X-Men #422]

The guests at the Polaris’ bachelorette party are hard to recognize, as only Phoenix, Northstar and Jubilee are named, while Husk confirms later to being there. As for the others, some are easier to make out than others, the Scarlet Witch, and Dani Moonstar being the most obvious. The second blonde might possibly Emma Frost or Magma (both currently at the mansion) Though Dr. Valerie Cooper who worked a with Lorna in X-Factor for a long time is also a very likely choice.
The woman with straight light brown or strawberry blonde hair could be Kitty Pryde. Siryn or Amanda Sefton might be likelier candidates though as they spent a lot of time with Polaris when they were part of the Muir Island X-Men.

The men at the Havok’s bachelor party are more easy to recognize – Cyclops, Beast, Nightcrawler, Archangel, Wolverine, Quicksilver and Juggernaut are easily identifiable, while the other two men would seem to be Forge and Multiple Man, as they were teammates of Havok’s on X-Factor. Which beggars the question: where is Strong Guy aka Guido Carosella?

Iceman is probably semi-at Lorna’s party as opposed to Havok’s because he still has feelings for Lorna and, as a consequence, isn’t too fond of Alex.

Cyclops has suspected Annie has a thing for Havok almost from when she arrived at the mansion, but these thoughts were confirmed when he saw her reaction to Lorna’s proposal to Alex. [Uncanny X-Men #421]

Bobby revealed to Annie that his body is becoming solid ice in Uncanny X-Men #413.

Northstar has had a crush on Iceman since he arrived at the Institute and joined the X-Men, despite Bobby not returning the feelings, Northstar still has them. [Uncanny X-Men #415, #419].

Lorna became part of Magneto’s court after X-Factor disbanded and she thought she could make a change in Genosha. It is still unclear whether she is actually one of the very few survivors of the Sentinel massacre of the country, or was drawn back to the place later. She was found in Genosha in New X-Men #132, and returned to the Institute in Uncanny X-Men #418.

The requests of the men to the shape-shifting are jokes - a nun for Nightcrawler, who used to be a priest (well, sort of), a redhead for Wolverine (reminiscent of his love for Phoenix, Vindicator and Rose) someone underage for Archangel (his current girlfriend Husk is rather young, but not underage) and Tigra, of the Avengers, a cat-like werewoman for Beast.

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