By Marc Guggenheim, Ardian Syaf, Jay Leisten, and Frank Martin
If we’re being honest with ourselves, Marvel has been putting the X-Men in the back seat for quite some time. There have been rumors in the comics community that it was an issue with rights to the films, which could be entirely possible, but Marvel has never confirmed this fan speculation. There is no secret that Marvel is at its best when the X-line thrives. This week, X-Men Gold debuted, which is a throwback to when the X-Men ruled Marvel’s sales chart.
Who would be a good fit for the resurging X-Men? How about Marc Guggenheim. As a writer and producer on many current DC Universe properties, it’s pretty clear that Guggenheim knows how to give a voice to popular comic characters. Despite a couple of different characters, this has all the feelings of classic X-Men titles. Guggenheim focuses on Kitty Pryde as she takes over as leader of the Gold team. Her internal monologue allows us to see how stressed she is as she contemplates if she’s made the right decision. It’s very clear throughout the issue that Guggenheim has a strong grasp on writing Kitty. He writes her as a cautious but strong character that refuses to back down. We see this as she leads the team in a fight against Terrax and then immediately calls out the mutant phobic crowd of onlookers. If there is one gripe with this issue, it’s Rachel’s new name. While it’s explained in the book, Prestige will probably always be a secondary name to readers.
The pencils this issue are handled by Ardian Syaf with inks by Jay Leisten and colors by Frank Martin. For as crucial as a good story is to this series, solid art is also a must. Ardian Syaf turns in an excellent issue on the pencils. Helped by the smoothing lines of Jay Leisten, Syaf’s characters leap off the page at you, especially Logan at Terrax. The issue is crisp and clean, and literally sharp as Leisten’s inks cover the lines laid down by Syaf. The characters really look very similar to the Jim Lee pencils laid down in X-Men #1. Facial expressions also look great in this issue. As Kitty receives an invoice for her stay in Central Park, we see a nice range of emotion up until her eyes explode when she sees the number. The colors by Frank Martin are excellent. Pages are usually bright and glowing, but there are a couple of pages where they are dark and dank. Kurt’s talk with Storm in an ill lit room is colored to perfection as the television illuminates them. The art really shines in this introductory issue and hopefully the shipment schedule won’t decline the quality.
X-Men Gold is a book that might have given some fans a bit of hesitation initially, but those fears should be put to rest after this first issue. Guggenheim has brought the X-Men back to their classic storytelling roots and done away with all the dreary circumstance. The art couldn’t have been better and the entire crew knocked it out of the park. X-Men Gold has the potential to be a juggernaut.