Comic Book Review: X-Men Gold #4
The last issue of X-Men Gold brought us to the close of the first story for this new team and adventure. The X-Men are now rejoining the rest of the world, which meant bringing back a lot of nostalgic moments on top of the new. There are new enemies, new struggles, and this new team composition comes with fresh interactions that we weren’t seen from the books before. Overall a great sense of balance to pull in both old and new readers.
Seeing Gambit this early I do admit was a surprising twist to this story. After saying what I did above, you do wonder where a lone wolf like him fits into the big picture. If anything he tends to be an obstacle due to his habit of bringing trouble with him that doesn’t help anyone. With that said, part of the appeal for Gambit is his attraction to danger and risk taking. It was hard to say what Gambit was up to rather than doing what he does best, but it was a rather interesting situation he got himself into. There was some talk of a new Sentinel threat, and seeing now where that stems from added a whole lot of appeal to where this reunion is taking us.
With Kitty and the rest of the team, I liked how this issue they continue pushing them in the direction of trying to be heroes again. It’s easy to get caught up in mutant situation, but this here is what makes the story fresh transitioning with all the extinction level madness we’ve been caught up in before X-Men Gold. The writing is lighter and it shakes things up to see everyone being happy with this new role they are tackling. Since the first issue they have been consistent with emphasizing that these have been pretty dark times for the mutants. Even if for now they are able to side-table the other drama, this is a step in the right direction.
None of this is to say that there still isn’t a mutant problem out there to deal with. Most should be able to appreciate that the world still isn’t safe for them, and address this problem accordingly with a situation that does require their attention. The two they put in the direction of this new problem made sense considering their skillset, experience, and approach to getting answers.
I’ve missed doing a review for X-Men Gold for quite some time since the first issue. It meant that I never got to say what I wanted to say about Adrian Syaf, and how he betrayed our trust in him as the artist. Truthfully I would have never noticed what he slipped into his art if someone else didn’t manage to point it out. At this point I’m going to assume that this book was coming out so frequently before so they could rush out the issues he drew and make way for a new art team. R.B. Silva and Adriano Di Benedetto made for a great replacement. My biggest worry is that while Adrian was a quality artist, we were now at risk for losing that area where the book was strong. Fortunately that was not the case, that as well as the fear of losing Frank Martin as our colorist. It would have been horrible if he got the short end of the stick because of someone else.
Getting back to the artwork. Where Adrian had thinner pencils and a grittier touch to the style of art for the book, R.B. Silva and Adriano Di Benedetto come in with a cleaner interior. There’s more form to the art which I would say is thanks to Benedetto’s inks which add both shading and an outline to characters and structures. Personally I was blown away with what they delivered in creativity. Some faces and expressions were a bit spotty at the start, but they quickly found their footing. The action sequences transitioned very nicely bringing every action to a start and finish. The work on layouts also helped in this area. If anything caught my attention most, it had to be the design of this new Sentinel. It was a beautiful thing compared to any other we have seen so far. This Sentinel looked as advanced and dangerous as they should be when questioning what the next step in evolution for these things would be.
The way Frank Martin handles a lot of powers in a unique way made this very lively. I enjoyed the way he adds flare to Rachel’s powers, the explosiveness of Gambit’s, and more than anything else the depth he puts into making this new Sentinel look like a beast of a creation.
X-Men Gold #4 takes us into a whole new set of problems, along with a familiar face. There’s a lot going on here, but Marc Guggenheim finds a solid balance between it all making sure that most of it connects in some way. Better than anything else this issue is the assurance that we shouldn’t have much to worry about in terms of artwork.