This is the first of the RessurXion X-Men titles to begin, and it’s meant to be the flagship X-Men book. Starring a team led by Kitty Pryde, the new head of the X-Men, this series is mean to bring the X-Men back to their roots as heroes. It’s a great idea in context, and it’s something we haven’t seen enough of lately, even since Avengers vs. X-Men in 2012.
Written by Marc Guggenheim, X-Men Gold 1 takes place not too long after the X-Men moved to Central Park. It’s an interesting idea, although there are negative financial consequences that are explored in a kind of amusing moment. There’s also a quick baseball scene, an X-Men tradition, even if it feels like it doesn’t last long enough. There are also hints here and there of anti-mutant prejudice, both from a citizen and from some sort of big company director who’s on TV. I’m sure we’ll see more of the latter at some point.
There’s a big action scene at the start of the comic, involving Terrax attacking New York. It’s a decent enough action scene, although it focuses maybe a bit too much on Kitty Pryde phasing a falling building so that it doesn’t knock any other buildings down, and we don’t see exactly how some of the other X-Men beat Terrax. That leads to what is simultaneously this issue’s biggest strength and its biggest weakness. In terms of character, this issue focuses almost entirely on Kitty Pryde. Most of the other team members get their little moments, like Old Man Logan getting sentimental during the baseball scene, Storm talking voicing her concerns and Rachel showing off a bit in the danger room. Even with all that, it still focuses more on Kitty Pryde than the rest of the team combined, when last week’s X-Men Prime also focused mostly on Kitty. Don’t get me wrong, I like Kitty Pryde and her characterization in this issue is fine, but it kind of makes me worried that this series will be more of a Kitty and friends book than an actual team book.
The art by Ardian Syaf is good. It’s a simple, kind of classic look. There aren’t a whole bunch of fine details in most panels. You’ve still got all of Old Man Logan’s wrinkles, debris flying around in the Terrex fight, some good shadow work, and an appropriate amount of smoke and dust when the building falls down. The crowd of people standing around are well varied with a mix of facial expressions, outfits and signs on the buildings in the background. Frank Martin’s colouring is also good. It matches the simple feel of the art, it’s bright and colourful during the day, while there’s good use of shadows and glowing from the TV light during the night scenes.
This comic also includes several pages worth of summing up the history of the X-Men, focusing mainly on the characters on the team. It’s good for people who aren’t that familiar with the characters, especially when a couple lines of dialogue here and there refer to these events.
As much as this is a good issue, and the series shows promise, I am a bit concerned. Writer Guggenheim wrote one of the more mixed X-Men runs from a while back, Young X-Men. A quick glance at his writing credits shows that he’s written a variety of stuff. Some of it I’ve heard good things about, like the Arrow show, or are things I’ve experienced that are good, like the Singularity game, an underappreciated shooter that’s quite fun, and the X-Men Origins: Wolverine video game that makes as many improvements on the movie as possible. At the same time, he was one of the writers behind the Green Lantern movie, he wrote Perfect Dark Zero (a mediocre game, although I’d sooner blame Rareware’s downhill spiral than the writer) and other mediocre works. This series does have potential and I really like the team lineup, but I’m a bit nervous.
X-Men Gold 1 is a good comic for the most part. In terms of mood, it’s very much like the early 80’s X-Men, and that’s a huge step in the right direction. My only complaint, and this is one that could easily be solved in future issues, is that there’s a bit too much focus on Kitty Pryde. The mood of the comic feels like a classic X-Men book, and the art suits that perfectly. I would cautiously recommend this series to X-Men fans. There is a lot of potential for this series to be good, and it’s certainly off to a better start than Extraordinary X-men, but I’m not sold on it yet.