Don’t let the amazing cover (above) and shiny new #1 label confuse you folks, X-MEN GOLD #1 is kind of a confusing mess. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge X-Men fan, but this issue is not the new ongoing series it looks to be. What we get here is a collection of stories written by some of the most recognized X-writers around in what ends up being more of an anniversary issue rather than a new series. In my opinion, this issue should not have had a #1 attached to it, but instead just have been called a “5oth Anniversary Special” or something and been done with it. Besides the collection of stories inside, we also get a lengthy sneak peak at AMAZING X-MEN #1 and ALL-NEW X-MEN #18. This was likely included to justify a hefty $5.99 price tag for the book. Gross.
The first, and most lengthy tale, comes from classic X-writer Chris Claremont with art by Bob McLeod. If there is anything apparent about this story, it’s that not everything Claremont writes is…gold. Too easy. Anyway, this first story centers around a young Kitty Pride talking about why she is glad to be an X-man (X-woman?). It is full of a bunch of the front-line X-Men team introducing them self and talking about their powers out loud whilst fighting Sentinels. Overall, it’s a pretty boring read that had me slogging through the pages. It read more like a children’s book rather than a lot of the more mature X-MEN book I’ve been reading lately. It just wasn’t that fun to me…
Up next there is a super short story called “The Sorrow Beneath the Sport” scipted by non other than Stan Lee himself with art by Louise and Walter Simonson. Both the story and art here harken back to the glory days of X-MEN and we are treated to a short but sweet look at our heroes from a long time ago. It’s campy, it’s goofy, and it’s pretty fun besides the wierd and slightly depressing finale.
Then we have a weird story by Roy Thomas set right before the events of GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 with Pat Olliffe on art duty in a tale about Banshee and Sunfire butting heads. It really makes little sense and makes me wonder if Marvel has something in store for these two characters in the near future.
Following is a short and fun tale by Len Wein about the first days of Wolverine being an X-Man and how he would take down each member if need be. The art here by Jorge Molina is simply stellar and had me glad I picked up this book just to be introduced to the talent. His style is so crisp and clean. I can see him doing some killer animation work if he was ever so inclined. This story was by far my favorite part about this whole book.
Finally we have Fabian Nicieza writing the story “Dreams Brighten” with one of my favorite Marvel artists Salvador Larroca. It sees Professor X and Magneto in what appears to be a nice Utopian society in an idealistic future. It’s a bit foggy, has a few twits, and is possibly a set up for an upcoming event.
So at the end of the day when you are walking the isle of your local comic book shop, should you pick up X-MEN: GOLD #1? Probably not considering it’s hefty $5.99 price tag, but then again, it all depends on how big an X-fan you are. If you are the type that needs to gobble up every #1, anniversary issue, or collection then by all means you could do worse. It does have a few worthy stories by some top-tier talents, but it’s most definitely a book you could skip if money was tight.
Final Score: 5 out of 10