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X-Men Gold #1

Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Ardian Syaf
Publisher: Marvel

As writer Marc Guggenheim explains in the afterward of this book, X-Men: Gold is all about getting the mutants back to basics. After years of having our heroes cross alternate timelines, deal with interdimensional and intergalactic conflicts, and most recently engage in a war with the Inhumans, the folks at Marvel sought to create an X-Men comic which was more in sync with the classic Uncanny X-Men series by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.

Fortunately, the debut issue succeeds in keeping the story concise and in reminding readers why we love these characters and this universe. Some will argue that it relies too heavily on nostalgia and recycling familiar territory, but there’s enough new material to make it fresh. As expected, the focus is on Kitty Pryde, and how she juggles both her new status as team leader with her own personal struggles. Now that she and her teammates are back to Earth, they’re back to a world that still sees them as something less than human. Moreover, the fact that they’ve moved their headquarters to Central Park only puts them more in the thrust of government scrutiny.

Yet whatever your feelings are toward this book and to the new lineup of X-Men titles, it’ll be hard-pressed to find a reader who’s opposed to the roster of Gold. Joining Kitty are the best of the best: Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Prestige and Old Man Logan. For the most part, Guggenheim does a good job of giving each character something substantial to do, and there will of course be more development as the series progresses. The issue does address what the future holds for Kitty and Colossus, given their romantic history; as well as Kitty’s struggle with whether or not to stay and fill the Professor X role, or abandon the team altogether. And for good measure, there are a few memorable one-liners from Logan thrown in there.

The art is also very serviceable, with Ardian Syaf’s pencils combining the style of a classic superhero team book with a modernized aesthetic. A few splash pages stick out well, and Frank Martin’a colors in particular capture the spirit and scope of this comic. All in all, the creators have succeeded in producing a reader-friendly X-Men title which brings the essence of these characters into a modern context. Also, a feature at the end of the book which highlights all of the major events of the franchise over the last few decades is especially helpful. Whether you’re a veteran X-Men reader or a newer fan, there’s something in this book for you.

-Kevin Schaefer for Ultimate Comics