Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, and Rachel Grey of the X-Men have been invited to visit Captain Britain and Meggan's new baby. The five of them have a connection thanks to their Excalibur days, and the three X-Men are eager to see Brian and Meggan's child.
Meanwhile, Starhammer, an alien whose species was wiped out by the Dark Phoenix, has an axe to grind with Rachel, current Prestige and former Phoenix.
In a back-up story, a girl and her aunt venture to see Storm in New York City.
I know, I just went on a tear about the current state of X-Men comics during my review of Astonishing X-Men #7, but I had to give this one a look because of the Excalibur connection. That was always a quirky and cool team, and Captain Britain has always had a place in my heart. I'll probably be revisiting X-Men: Blue thanks to yet another Venom crossover event.
To make this more awkward, I actually really liked the X-Men Gold Annual. It's weird and has a lot of heart to it.
Brian and Meggan's daughter is a super-smart baby. Before you begin having Baby Geniuses nightmares, this one is actually cute and endearing. It doesn't spout off adora-one-liners. It's actually a curious and charming infant trying to understand the world in which it lives.
The only drawback is a weirdly selfish breakdown Meggan has over the baby. She wanted to raise a normally developing child, but Rachel and Kitty are able to calm her down. It's not a good or relatable moment because it makes Meggan appear to despise who her crazy intelligent baby is.
The Starhammer plot turns into a fight, of course, but the ending to it is actually kind of sweet and clever. Guggenheim and Williams pull some good moves on this one.
The back-up story is actually quite good, too. It's an endearing and optimistic tale of a young girl trying to meet her hero while navigating the prejudices people hold against mutants and the X-Men. It discusses the importance of heroes, optimism, and looking out for one another. It also ends in a delightfully satisfying manner.
Its main flaws are the cheesy dialogue like, "Stormazing," and some of the random pop culture drops that shallowly make the kid seem modern (Flo Rida, Harry Styles).
Alitha E. Martinez gives the art for the first portion of the book, and, with the exception of the occasionally odd face, it is quite good. Captain Britain's costume looks especially good, and Starhammer looks pretty neat too. Jay David Ramos and Dono Sanchez-Almara's color work is quite good, too, and the first portion is overall bright and appealing.
Djibril Morissette-Phan's artwork in the short backstory looks quite good too, and Michael Garland's color art matches it in style and quality.
X-Men: Gold Annual #1 still gives me some hope for the current run of X-Men comics. It's still flawed, and I by no means think this is some kind of turning point. However, it is quite enjoyable as a standalone story, and the team does a very good job of turning in an emotional and upbeat tale. I recommend this one. Check it out.
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