X-Men Gold Annual #1


There’s nothing like a baby to get old friends together. News of a new addition to the UK superhero scene is delivered to New York-based X-Men leader Kitty Pryde in a decidedly unconventional - but rather wonderful - manner. 


Soon she and former Excalibur pals Kurt and Rachel are making their way across the Atlantic for a reunion with Meggan and Brian Braddock, and a meeting with new baby Maggie. It turns out she’s even more precocious than a certain other cartoon Maggie. 


Meggan is perturbed by the development. Rachel and Kitty do their best to cheer her up. 


As it turns out, Maggie may be their best bet when trouble comes calling. 

First off, I dislike the super-intelligent, talking-too-soon kiddie trope. I didn’t like it with Marvelman’s baby, Winter. I liked it less with Reed and Sue’s daughter, Valeria, who had all the arrogance of her father along with the super-arrogance of godfather Dr Doom. 

I do, though, like the way writers Mark Guggenheim and Leah Williams have Meggan react, it rings so true. And Kitty and Rachel’s glass-half-full routine is the most unfortunate piece of superhero ‘there there’ since Beast koochie-koochied over Carol Danver’s newborn. At the very least Maggie is creepy as heck; hopefully a follow-up to this story will explain her development - surely it’s not just a mutant/fairy thing? Whatever the case, I say blast her with Reed Richards’ old lobotomising gizmo - she should be drooling, not patronising her parents  

I like that despite it being a long time since they were in a team, the old Excalibur members are hugely comfortable in one another’s company. I say we make a reunion an annual event, and next time invite along Pete Wisdom, Colossus, Cerise, Widget... heck, anyone this side of Feron. 

There’s no great tension in the fight with an old enemy out for revenge, but there is that old Excalibur whimsy, and I’m glad to see it again. The respect for character histories is also much appreciated. The only off-note is Meggan and Brian not having Kurt teleport out with Maggie once trouble arrives - she may think she’s 26, but she’s just beyond being a newborn. 

The story is pencilled by Alitha E Martinez, who shares the inking with Craig Yeung and the result, as coloured by Jay David Ramos and Dono Sánchez-Almara, is really rather nice. The characters are pleasingly expressive and the page layouts serve the story. I especially like Kurt’s bamf effect. 


But when did Brian become a hipster? He looks rather raffish but I’ve been with Brian Braddock since Captain Britain Weekly number one and never in a million years would he be such a shameless trendbag. And while he looks pretty darn handsome in civvies, once the mask is on he looks ridiculous. 


There’s a second story, one of those shorts that lets us see the X-Men through the eyes of ordinary folk, fans and haters alike. 


It’s a fun, sweet, touching piece by (the surely pseudonymous) writer Monty Nero, artist Djibril Morissette-Phan and colourist Michael Garland, but I wish it was appearing somewhere else and the extra pages had gone to the Excalibur reunion. 

Oh, and we get a superb homage cover - that’s proving a bit of a thing this week - by classic creator Alan Davis to his Excalibur #1 image. Inked by Mark Farmer and coloured by Chris Sotomayor, it’s a real treat. 

All in all, X-Men Gold Annual #1 - aka The Cross-Atlantic Caper, a nod to a fan-favourite story - is a delightful read for the team’s 30th anniversary. In the (almost) words of Father Ted, More of This Kind of Thing, please, Marvel. 

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X-Men Gold Annual #1 review, Mark Guggenheim, Leah Williams, Alitha E Martinez, Craig Yeung, Jay David Ramos, Dono Sánchez-Almara, Monty Nero, Djibril Morissette-Phan, Michael Garland, Mark Farmer, Chris Sotomayor

Comments

  1. The beard might be to make Brian look more dad like, but yes, it's...not very good and gets in the way of the costume.

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    1. I suppose it’s a phase! Wonder what Betsy would say.

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    2. "Dear god, you look like granddad. Get rid of it."

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    3. It surprised me that no one commented! Hair like that should be teased...

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  2. Huh. It's funny because I liked Brian with a beard in Earth X, but yeah, he does look a bit redonkulous with it with the mask on like this. As for him being a hipster, I don't know about that, but the dad look is just about complete. All he's missing is a gut and a flying mini-van. THEN he'll truly be daddy Braddock.

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    1. Ha, it’d be a nice change to see a superhero temporarily out of shape. There was Blue Beetle, and, er...

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