New Comics on Pause: X-Men Week Edition – X-MEN GOLD Volume 1 Review
X-Men Gold Volume 1 – Back to Basics
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Pencils: Ardian Syaf (1-3) & R.B. Silva (4-6)
Inkers: Jay Leisten (1-2), Craig Yeung (3), Adriano Di Benedetto (4-6)
Colors: Frank Martin (1-5) & Andrew Crossley (6)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Read X-Men Gold volume 1 on comiXology
It’s X-Men week here at Outright Geekery. We’re teaming up with our friends over at CBI to celebrate Marvel’s famous team of Mutants. In addition, its currently been nearly two weeks since new comics have been published as a result of the current worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Many of us have been rationing our dwindling supplies of new comic books, trying to make them last until the nationwide stay-at-home orders have been lifted and comic shops open to the public once again.
All the new titles remaining in my stack were published by DC, and none of them really lend themselves to a coherent single issue review. Plus it’s X-Men week, so I thought I’d better do a Marvel comic, preferably one starring a Mutant. Dandy Don the Valiant recommended Marvel’s most current X-Men comic as he was preparing to review Issue #9. Inspired by my colleague, I searched Hoopla for the newest available X-series and found I had 3 choices. War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men was part of a line-wide crossover, so I decided to pass over it. Next, I was intrigued by X-Men: Blue because I’m a big fan of Cullen Bunn. Yet time travel and an age-reversed core team just didn’t peak my interest. That left X-Men Gold. I might have limited experience with the X-Men, but as far as I’m concerned this comic is exactly what you want out of an X-Men comic.
In X-Men Gold, Kitty Pryde has reformed the X-Men in an effort to spread a positive image of Mutantkind by using their powers for good. The events in this comic follow the X-Men vs. Inhumans cross-over and the X-Men: Prime story arc, but you don’t need to know anything about those to enjoy this story. Necessary background details are filled in as the narrative progresses. Up until this week, I’ve known very little about X-Men comics. That is, except for most of the characters’ names and powers. In X-Men Gold, Kitty Pryde has assembled all of my favorites. It’s a freaking all-star team! Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Storm; along with Old Man Logan and Prestige. Plus an all new (or at least new to me) group of villains calling themselves the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
This series is everything I want out of team based comic book. Kitty Pryde is an amazing leader. So often in team up books, the leader gives direction but then the other heroes set about following those orders as they see fit. The superhero team I’m most familiar with is the Justice League. They tend to formulate a plan first and then head into action. No matter which version of the League you’re thinking of, they’re all stacked with heroes who can adapt to nearly any situation. There’s always at least two characters with some sort of super speed, at least two characters who are master strategists, and no less than three heavy hitters. Considering the varied and individual nature of their powers, most X-Men teams don’t have the luxury of total versatility. The Gold iteration of the X-Men are a tactical unit, working in complete cohesion. Kitty Pryde makes perfect use of every member of the team’s skills, regardless of the threat they find themselves facing. Even though she has powers, Pryde is a very relatable character. Even if this story is all the reader has to go on, it’s obvious throughout the narrative why the rest of the X-Men respect her as the team leader.
I don’t have much to say about the art team’s work other than it’s solid all around. Both artists have similar styles, so the two arcs featured in this trade paperback match up well. R.B. Silva’s pencils are less detailed than Ardian Syaf’s, especially when a panel is drawn from a wider perspective. However, both artist’s line work fit the stories they are drawing. Syaf’s harder lines and use of shading plays well for the settings and more serious tone of the first arc. Meanwhile, Silva’s lighter pencils and wider perspective works great for the larger scale fights seen in the second arc. Frank Martin also makes very intelligent color choices over the course of the first five issues. He does a great job of coloring the panels so that their lightness or darkness fits the setting of each scene.
I’ve read several X-Men series this week, but X-Men Gold is the first one that really got me interested in seeking out more X-Men titles and story lines. It’s a really fun read and an action packed team book. Humor and impactful character moments keep the story grounded, providing a nice counter-point to the large scale action sequences. If you’re new to the X-Men, or just missed this series when it came out a couple years ago, it’s a great book to start/catch up with. Then, if you’re like me and want to read more, you have the option of going backward or forward through the X-Men’s history. Check back to Outright Geekery all this week for more reviews, articles, and podcast featuring Marvel’s team of Mutant heroes.
X-Men Gold Volume 1