I won’t lie, the X-Men: Gold #31 under Marvel Comics had a lot to live up to. Stakes were high after the last issue and I had hoped this week would tackle the obvious elephant (elephants?) in the room. And it does. Kind of.
The biggest of these moments is, arguably, the most short lived in the book. Peter quits. But if this moment alone is meant to address the issues of the wedding it feels rather lacking. The dialogue exchanged could be copy pastes onto almost any other couple in the Marvel Universe, about loving each other, but it not being enough. And it adds Peter to Kitty’s long list of X-Boyfriends, again, while dashing hopes of salvaging the relationship into something good.
Touching Moments Are Short Lived
The X-Men have always been at least one third soap opera (the other two thirds being subject to the opinion of the various writers). At its best, this issue gives the reader a couple of touching character moments. Rachel and Kurt enjoy a lazy morning. Peter leaves the X-Men and Kitty behind.
These moments, while charming in the art and layout, do read a bit close to soap opera dialogue. But in the X-Men that’s not always a bad thing. And credit where credit is due, following issue 30s art is hard and Perez and the team had some solid moments when depicting the more gentle scenes this issue.
But ultimately the moments can’t last, and no amount of pretty art will assuage that basic instinct.
The Days Of Future Past Again
The rest of the story is enjoyable, if nothing new. Literally. The story takes a hard turn straight into Days of Future Past territory. Alternate bad futures can be fun. But, this has been done to death enough times in the X-Men to stir an “oh yes, this again reaction.”
Even the slight twist that this world does not exist and is an illusion cast in Rachel’s head by Mesmero, is somewhat blunted by the fact the imagery is, by this point, overly familiar and therefore lacking in shock or theatrics. The fact that it’s another Grey clone/child/phoenix being mentally manipulated becomes, once more, just another call back to the original story line in which Jean is mentally manipulated by Mastermind.
No real resolutions are reached this issue, and the plot is mostly recycled. Any seasoned reader will pick up on the fact they can’t keep Colossus down and out forever and that the “bad future” in the issue is slightly off.
Highlights of X-Men: Gold #31
That said, notable and worth mentioning is Cyclops being cool. It’s brief, but at this point I’m happy to see anything resembling the old leader of the X-Men being handled right. Also he has an eye patch, which, fun.
Rachel centric. As much as I gripe about a recycled plot, I love a good Rachel moment. This issue sets us up for a lot of angst with Rachel and her hound days being dragged right to the surface. I think Perez does a great job with her here.
Finally, while I don’t always like hooks for the next issue, the ending here where Rachel is shown to have attacked her own friends — while unsurprising — is also undeniably a good hook that will make me read on. I look forward to Marc Guggenheim giving her some room to grow and shine a little in the upcoming story. Overall, a fun issue, and very typically X-Men. And I am unsurprised to see the wedding has not made much of an impact.