The X-Men are going back to basics in this exciting opening issue to a new yet nostalgic series for Marvel’s mutant family…
It’s fair to say that the X-Men haven’t had a great time of it in the comics in recent years. With their on-screen rights resting with 20th Century Fox, Marvel have been neglecting what was once their premier property in favour of characters they still have the rights to (Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Inhumans…). Thankfully, that is now being rectified with ‘ResurrXtion’ – the event that is bringing the X-Men back to the fore of Marvel comics where they belong.
After last week’s X-Men: Prime set the scene, things properly kick off in X-Men Gold #1. After their war with the Inhumans, the children of the atom are once again running Xavier’s school for mutants while trying to protect a world that hates them. This time, though, the team is led by Kitty Pryde, who is joined by Storm, Old Man Logan, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Rachel Grey.
Firstly, it’s important to get the team roster right on a book like this and X-Men Gold‘s line-up will definitely please old-school fans, as it heavily draws on the characters of the iconic Chris Claremont run on the comic from the 1970s/80s. In particular, Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler are all fan favourites, and mixing Old Man Logan into the group is a brilliant move, as it allows this slightly different take on Wolverine to interact with his old friends.
The real stroke of genius, however, is putting Kitty at their head. What makes Kitty such a great character is that readers have followed her from adolescence into adulthood in a way that doesn’t happen with most comic book heroes. Having her in the Cyclops position is a big development for the character and shows how far she has come over the years. It should be fascinating to see how she handles the pressures and responsibility of leadership.
Writer Mark Guggenheim (known for his Arrowverse TV work for DC) is well aware of the X-Men’s crazy comic book history, and there is a strong – yet not overwhelming – streak of meta-humour running through the book. For instance, the scene where various characters mention that they have all come back from the dead or where Kitty reflects on her weird and wonderful past. Guggenheim is ably supported in the art department by Ardian Syaf who provides some gorgeous splash pages in particular. Visually, the team together might need some work, as some of their costumes’ colours clash or are too similar, but that can be fixed over time.
As an ode to classic X-Men comics, with lots of character and humour, X-Me: Gold is very reminiscent of Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men (which any X-Men or Whedon fan needs to read). The over-reliance on the tropes of the franchise might wear thin in future issues but, for now, we are loving that the X-Men are coming full circle and getting back to why we love them in the first place.