Monday, April 2, 2018

X-Men Gold Vol. 4: The Negative Zone War Review - Marvel Monday


Gold! Always believe in your soul

Written by: Marc Guggenheim
Art by: Various (see bottom of review)
Publisher: Marvel
Release date: 28 March 2018
Reviewed by: Andrew McAvoy

What a mixed bag these new X-Men titles are, you never really know what you are going to get. My favorite X-title turns over more that a rotisserie chicken at Rotisserie Georgette, just a short trip away from the X-Men Gold team's new residence in Central Park. I hear good things. Gonna send my man Reggie and his pal Tony from Coney Island to check out their menu. Now, where were we, oh yes, Volume 4 - let's see how it was.

Essentially this is the perfect X-Men volume for the casual reader. It consists of a completely self-contained story by Guggenheim, takes us from New York to outer space (an entirely new dimension to be concise), gives us some laughs (mostly courtesy of Old Man Logan who is hilariously morphing into Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino), some pain and anguish (can't say - spoilers man!), some romance, and a satisfactory ending which essentially place all our characters back in exactly the same situation as they started, only a bit tireder. It is a well paced, well-written book. If there is one fault it is that despite being really enjoyable it remains imminently miss-able without impacting on the enjoyment of the wider pretzel-like continuity.



This misses the point though, and perhaps the highlight of this book for me was the art. Excluding cover artists, there are 14 artists working on this book between pencils, inks, and colors (Luke Ross got to practice his blue-skinned aliens in advance of his work on Thrawn for issue 12). Despite this, it maintains a very high level of coherence and theme, and I had to double check that it wasn't all the work of one artist. The style is welcome, despite the controversy surrounding Ardian Syaf (who opened the art on this X-Men series way back on issue 1) his art was of a very high standard and was very "X-Men in tone". This book gives us a return to that high standard. 



Another point about the art, this is a book that comes out every two weeks, yet is consistent in style. DC comics could learn a few tricks from how Marvel has handled this schedule - these books don't have as much padding as DC titles in the writing and they have a consistency of look across a team of artists. One point I would make is that the skin tones in the coloring were fine, but any deeper in tone and they would have had a strange dark pink/orange look about them. As it stands the color fell on the right side of a fine line. 

Bits and Pieces

This book was fun, would be great as a one-off purchase for any X-Men fans that have fallen away from the books over recent years. It may not have a lasting significance in terms of the story with the exception of one plot point, a little engagement in a long-term on-off romance. Don't ask me who the love-birds are - I don't kiss and tell. 

7.6/10

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