Writer: Marc Guggenheim / Artists: Ardian Syaf, Jay Leisten, Frank Martin / Marvel Comics
Issue #1 of X-Men Gold starts in classic style: with a bigot and a fist fight. The bigot being the ever-present anti-mutant talk show guest from the Heritage Initiative who speaks of Homo Superior as “human beings of mass destruction,” the fist fight being Kitty Pride and team standing among a pile of rubble. The juxtaposition is striking and just goes to show that despite and through all the fighting, infighting, and overfighting that has been done in the X-Men universe over the years, no one knocks down a building like a team of 6 superhumans supposedly trying to save NYC from ruin.
The whole opening sequence ends with Kitty really showing off by phasing an entire skyscraper *through another skyscraper* so as not to destroy more stuff. (Not that we’re privy to what happens when the fallen building re-materializes inside the other, but whatever, this is X-Men land and you’re not going to burden me with your reality.) She then, looking very Captain Marvel and sounding very Professor X, gives the “I’m a mutant and I’m here to help” speech to a crowd of skeptical survivors. It all feels so throw-back — easy, fun, predictable. And I say that without a touch of bitterness or cynicism (yet). Maybe when the other half of the house is busily turning Captain America into a Nazi, throwback heroism is what we need in a mainstream comic.
Each scene builds on this theme — Kitty and Old Man Logan have the most Logan conversation ever, including him threatening to claw a bureaucrat who serves the X-Mansion with a property tax bill. Ororo and Kurt quote Shakespeare/Magneto at each other with the ease of two people who could finish each other’s sentences. We’re re-introduced to Rachel Summers, codename Prestige, who pointedly says “[Kitty] wants me looking forward.”
At the end of it all, Guggenheim does a good, straight ahead comic set up with established characters, making them sound and act just like you want them to. That’s hard to do and I tip my hat to him. The artistic team craft good action scenes, full page spreads, and small panels full of detail. There’s nothing amaze-balls or out of the ordinary here, but it all fits the bill and does it well.
My only critique of the issue is that it plays it very safe. Punch bad guy, talk to survivors, do a Danger Room scene, set up for more bad guy punching — it is a formula. How long can Guggenheim and crew keep that formula fun and worth going to my Local Comic Book Store for? We’ll see. Especially as this comic will be shipping twice monthly, so wherever it’s going, it is going to go there fast.
This is a on-ramp issue for what will probably be an on-ramp story arc. You know these characters and their powers, but maybe you’ve never had the guts to take the plunge and read a comic with decades of history. Believe me, I feel your pain. This issue is for you. If you’ve been wanting to start reading X-Men, buy this comic and jump into the deep end of the pool. If you’ve been reading all along, this is more of the same.
Mutant Super Power Question of the Issue:
No really, let’s go back to that whole phased building thing… how does that work once she’s let go?
Reading X-Men? Find BNP’s other reviews here.