The Past Is Prologue: X-Men Gold #1 Review
Last week may have been the primer, but this week the ResurrXion truly begins. ResurrXion is definitely an apt title, given this issues preoccupation about old being new again, and not to mention what seems to be several literal character resurrections in the issue (possibly).
But as the series writer Marc Guggenheim has promised for a while in the run to the release of X-Men Gold #1, Gold is all about bringing back classic superheroism and classic X-Men storytelling to the comics again, with the help of a classic feeling and looking team too.
And it does exactly that, and does it well to boot.
I'll be honest, X-Men Gold was not high on my list of books in this X-Men relaunch. Not because of the creative team, each member is interesting in their own way and have done stellar work in the past (Guggenheim in fact wrote one of my favourite X-books, Young X-Men). It was more because the line-up felt not as diverse as it could have been and was made up largely of characters who are mainstays of X-books in the last decade. After so long of fans craving something new in the X-Men line, this didn't look to be that. And the fact that some statements suggesting moving away from the X-Men as allegory for minority communities in favour of straight superhero stories had me worried.
I'm glad to say that I was wrong. Whilst it is still arguable that this is a very white team, the comic does not shy away from the team as minority allegories. In fact, it literally opens with it, with an update of how the mutant allegory can work now in the modern day – with a character having a very classic 'I'm not a racist, but…' style line and way of thinking.
This could see the team set up for not just big superheroics (and this issue does have one really big moment of superheroics in it which was particularly awesome) but also able to face a more insidious form of racism/homophobia/bigotry that is just as rife and scary in the real world today.
The art handled by Ardian Syaf and Jay Leisten also adds to this nostalgic feel for the book too, in a way. As much as it serves no one to compare one artist to another in terms of their own work and style, it nevertheless brings to mind classic X-Men artists like Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio. They're work in terms of story-telling is spot on, with some wonderful little character moments and quirks in there too. A few panels feel less detailed than others, but overall the book looks great. The colours from Frank Martin sparkle too, adding greater depth to the characters and making materials flow, and with some great special effects in there too.
X-Men Gold is a fantastic leap in the right direction. For so long, the X-Men books have been about survival, which has not worked well with the core allegory of mutants and what the X-Men are. Finally, this book is less about survival, and more about living.
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