X-MEN: GOLD #9
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Penciler: Ken Lashley
Colorists: Andrew Crossley & Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Release Date: 8/2/17
After receiving a summons to testify in front of a congressional subcommittee for the Mutant Deportation Act, Kitty Pryde must head to Washington and face prejudice head on.
Plot: Kitty asks Peter to be her muscled escort to Washington, even though he can’t currently turn to steel, and proceeds to deliver an impassioned speech advocating for mutant rights. Meanwhile Rachel and Kurt go out to dinner, and both couples appear to take a step forward.
Also apparently taking a step forward? The Mutant Deportation bill, regardless of the good that individual mutants may achieve.
Story: X-Men: Gold #9 contains much less action than one might expect, but it’s a very important issue speaking from the perspective of character development and relationships. Fans who have long awaited the return of Kitty and Peter’s dynamic should be pleased with the honest conversations they have together, in addition to how they actually function as a team. Meanwhile, Guggenheim continues to show a different side of Kurt and Rachel – and while the pairing is certainly unexpected, it has its sweet moments. However, the best part about the romance of the issue is how well the parallels worked out. The dual date sequence was a triumph both in terms of dialogue and visual structure, and it was a clever way to connect the two couples even when the X-Men were geographically separated.
The political plot remains uncomfortably relevant to current events, but I mean that in the best way. The most relatable fiction reflects reality, even if it’s frustrating as it may be to see the same real life prejudices play out in different ways when it comes to the X-Men. Kitty’s speech is stirring, and more importantly her actions are in line with her words. The fact that her efforts may not be enough is sadly realistic, and merely ups the stakes for the next issue.
While there wasn’t really a place for them, I very much missed Ororo and Logan. The only other part of the comic that left me a little underwhelmed was the secret activities of Russians at the start. But fans of 1990s X-Men will be thrilled by the reveal at the end, which makes any momentary confusion worth it and certainly ramps up anticipation for the following arc.
Art: Given that X-Men: Gold #9 revolves primarily around emotions, whether they be romantic or humanitarian, it’s fitting that the art was primarily focused on close-ups and facial expressions. Ken Lashley does an excellent job of rendering a wide range of feelings, and helps draw the reader into every scene. He also does an admirable job with the few fight scenes he’s given, creating a sense of claustrophobia amidst the action that’s perfect for the chaotic nature of the battle and its unlikely location.
The colors in the book are warm and inviting, belying the heavier material contained in the pages. But that’s not to say Crossley and Martin’s palette was a poor choice, rather the softer tones balance the more depressing scenes and provide the right kind of glow for the coupley ones.
Verdict: A timely and necessary issue of X-Men: Gold that deals with both the characters’ personal lives and the very realistic challenges they’re facing. And if emotional build-up isn’t for you, then the next villain just might be.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5