If you thought that the flop that was the ‘Battle of the Atom’ was the only event that we had for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the X-Men, you would be wrong true believers! Instead of looking towards the future (or the present or the past depending which set of X-Men you’re following) we’re going to look into a past that should be more familiar to long time readers of our favorite mutants.
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is an anthology issue that collects different viewpoints of past events mixed in with a couple of new stories for you to enjoy. As much as I felt like I was buying into a cash grab when I picked up this book, I have to say that unlike the ending of ‘Battle of the Atom’, this nostalgia fully worked and I feel they should have done a multiple issue run instead of the crossover that I loved up to the bitter end.
Okay, enough ragging on the event that I clearly disliked due to the lack of closure and let’s talk about what you’ll find here instead!
First up we have the longest tale in the issue and it’s by Chris Claremont who’s had, overall, the longest run on the ‘X-Men’ to date. The entire episode is seen through the eyes of Kitty Pryde while she is still just a student of the X-Men instead of the head instructor to the originals that she is today. I’m not sure if this parallel was pointed out so blatantly to reference the role reversal or if it was just because that’s what she was at the time.
Next up is a short by Stan Lee himself! It’s a fitting tale about the young men from the X-Men who are working to win a date with Jean Grey. Another fitting tale considering how much the recently developed Jean / Scott / Hank love triangle that was featured so prominently in this week’s ‘All-New X-Men’ #18. It felt like it was poking fun at the current situation indirectly.
Roy Thomas, who was in charge of the ‘X-Men’ after Stan Lee, wrote a team up piece with Banshee and Sunfire where they settled their differences through their love of rock music. Yes. Okay. We’ll pretend this one wasn’t here. Moving on to my favorite of the series.
Len Wein, co-creator of ‘Wolverine’, brings out a story that is very fitting for the Wolverine of old and not the grumpy but lovable teacher he is these days. It’s from when Wolverine is first introduced to the X-Men and brought in to help rescue the original team (sans Cyclops) from being captured. It shows Wolverine sizing up the entire team and how he would take each one of them out. It’s a colder and more calculating Wolverine that really hearkens back to a time when he was the best at what he did.
Finally, there is a five page story that takes place almost between frames from an older tale from the 90’s from the ‘Fatal Attraction’ story line that celebrated the 30th anniversary of the ‘X-Men’ so it’s fitting that this one was here. Fabian Nicieza’s writing fit perfectly with his older tale and in it, Xavier gives into anger for one of the first times after Magneto uses his powers to strip the adamantium from Wolverine’s skeleton (which is an entire story arc on his own). Through his anger, Prof X wipes away all of the memories within Magneto’s brain. He does so by creating a perfect Utopia that they made together to keep him preoccupied. If I had any complaint, if is that this could have used another couple of pages.
All in all, if you are a long term ‘X-Men’ reader (or have picked up all of the trades known to mankind), this is an issue you want to pickup. If you’ve only been following the X-Men since the late 90’s this probably won’t have quite the nostalgia feeling for you. It was a fun read and brought back memories of quite a few key moments and feelings from the X-Men’s history.
Here’s to another 50 years of our favorite mutants!
“X-MEN GOLD’ #1
Writer: Chris Claremont, Stan Lee, Len Wein, Fabian Nicieza, Roy Thomas
Artist: Walter Simonson, Bob McLeod