X-MEN: GOLD #7
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Penciller: Ken Lashley
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: 07/05/17
Plot: Part of HYDRA’s masterplan involves trapping New York City in the Darkforce Dimension. While some of the X-Men Gold team patrol the city, the rest stay and guard the school. However an anti-mutant serial killer breaks in and kills off students one by one.
Story: Marc Guggenheim does a fantastic job dealing with character developments from the last story arc. Two characters that get the spotlight are Colosssus and Rachel Grey (Prestige). Due to his injuries, Colossus can no longer change into his steel form but he still has access to his powers. This sets up an interesting scenario given the character’s previous injuries that left him in his steel form. Also at first it sounds like Colossus would not be as strong but the final page shows him taking a headshot point-blank. While there is no surprise that he would live, there’s still some shock value seeing him taking the shot without his steel form.
Like Colossus, Rachel Grey’s powers have also changed. However, Rachel’s actions in the last arc strengthened her telepathic powers to the point that she was connected to every mind in New York City. During this connection, Rachel learns that Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) has feelings for her. At the start of this issue Rachel reciprocates Kurt’s feelings but covers up her fears of this new power level. Rachel’s fears stem from her time (against her will) as a mutant hunting hound for the character Ahab. These are some nice developments for Rachel that could also set up some future story arcs.
Not all the developments come from the X-Men, we also learn some information about, Creepy New Guy, the unknown Brotherhood member from the series’s first arc. Since New York is trapped in the Darkforce Dimension, demons are attacking the city. These demons speak an unreadable language but if you look at the style of text this is the same language spoken by C.N.G. I enjoyed how this is something the reader can figure out before the characters.
The only problem I had with this issue was it’s antagonist, the X-Cutioner. We learn via flashback the X-Cutioner’s son died during one of Magneto’s attacks on New York City. This caused him to hate mutants and attempt to kill them all. This character feels very generic and uninteresting. Once this arc ends, I doubt this character would return.
Art: Ken Lashley and Frank Martin do an excellent job on the artwork. The scene where an angry mob attacks Nightcrawler reminded me of the character’s first appearance in Giant Size X-Men #1. Also the idea of Kurt being mistaken for a Darkforce demon did not cross my mind until this scene. This and Colossus being shot in the head are my favorite scenes in this issue.
Speaking of Colossus, I enjoyed the character’s design in this issue. The visible battle damage reminds the reader that he’s still healing from the last story arc. Plus the damage could be a side effect of Colossus loosing his steel form. This presents an idea for future issues. Without his steel form, Colossus could be showing more visible damage after every fight.
Verdict: While not new reader friendly, this issue is still an enjoyable read. Guggenheim uses the Darkforce trap of Secret Empire as a setting for some of his characters’ development. Fans of Colossus and Rachel Gray may find this story entertaining. This issue’s only flaw is a generic mutant hating villain. Nevertheless, X-Men: Gold #7 is an amazing issue.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars