Before I get into this review, just know that I won’t be talking about the controversy about the first issue, nor will I allow that to affect my rating. There’s more than enough information online about the controversy if you want to know about it, and how Marvel dealt with it. All I’ll say is that I agree with how Marvel handled it. I just wanted to make that clear.
X-Men Gold 2, written by Marc Guggenheim, kicks off right where the last issue left off. Kitty Pryde’s X-Men team is taking on the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The opening fight scene is intense and takes up almost half of the comic, with the new team showing their capabilities against an underprepared team. The brotherhood also has a nice mix of powers with them, making for a tough and potentially very destructive enemy.
The rest of the issue focuses on the fight’s aftermath. There’s a political aftermath, with a racist on the TV talking about deporting mutants to prevent a species war, and there’s the team recovering from the fight while trying to figure out where Nightcrawler and Old Man Logan ended up. The writing here is mostly good. Old Man Logan gets a moment to shine toward the end, showing that this new Brotherhood might be a bunch of amateurs, but that also increases the mystery surrounding them on another level. Going into this issue, my biggest concern was that there’s too much focus on Kitty Pryde in the point one issue and the first issue. She seems to be the central character in this issue as well, with Old Man Logan’s moment being the only significant scene that doesn’t involve Kitty Pryde. I’m still concerned, but this is a bit of an improvement.
Ardian Syaf’s art is good but nothing special. The action flows well from panel to panel in the opening fight with good use of motion blurs and all the loose rocks on the ground. Colossus’s torn shirt after the fight is a nice touch. Facial expressions convey emotion well, like Old Man Logan’s rage before he makes his move, Kitty Pryde’s focus when she’s studying the new Brotherhood and the concerned looks in the X-kid’s eyes when they’re watching the TV. That said, looking worried is very out of character for Kid Gladiator, yet he’s one of them. Frank Martin’s colouring is great. There’s good use of glows from TVs in dark rooms, the fight scene is bright and colourful and there’s great work with shadows in darker scenes.
This series has a lot of potential, but there’s something that feels dry about this issue. While there are a number of scenes that are supposed to be dramatic, they’re all rushed to make room for the storytelling. The story itself is intriguing but it’s not complex enough to say there isn’t more room for more dramatic focus. This series is worth checking out for X-Men fans, but read it before you buy it.