X-Men Gold #13 from Marvel by Marc Guggenheim and Mike Mayhew is the first part of both the first crossover between X-Men Gold and X-Men Blue, Mojo Worldwide, and also of X-Men Gold's new story arc as part of Marvel Legacy.
And like all classic X-Men stories, it starts with a softball game — which is really a fun little link, given that this whole story arc is about nostalgia.
Mojo is invading Earth, with a plan to entrap the X-Men in various historical big X-Men events (such as Days of Future Past, Inferno and The Asgardian Wars) to entertain the masses and try and draw bigger viewer figures to his shows again.
The allegory is not lost on me, and I'm amazed it went ahead quite as much as it did. It seems a little shady of Guggenheim to make such scathing commentary on the idea of using nostalgia in such a superficial and shallow way to try and improve audience numbers. Then again, his work in television and other media has probably given him all kinds of insight into this method of audience courting.
It certainly makes for an intriguingly twisted story, and it will be fun to see how this plays out — and whether the commentary becomes even more linked to the modus operandi of Marvel Legacy as a whole.
What does let this first issue in the crossover down, however, is the art. Mayhew is a stunning artist, particularly with his cover work, and there are certainly a number of panels throughout this issue which look great (his artwork of Mojo in particular is fantastic). However, a lot of other panels look rushed and notably not Mayhew's finest work, looking either static or with characters looking disturbingly like awkwardly positioned dolls. Another instance is a few panels which feature Rockslide, but instead of Rockslide looking like an imposing rock golem like usual, he's instead a weird grey, blobby mass in purple pants.
It is a shame, as it does detract from the issue a bit, especially when one of the fantastic looking panels comes along and it looks really jarring having something so detailed and intricate next to something more simple and off-looking.
Ultimately, though, it's the story and the weirdly compelling nature of that stories seeming metatextual commentary carries X-Men Gold #13, and sets up a good start to the crossover. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
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