There have been some unfortunate controversies that have hung over the new relaunch for the X-Men franchise. That controversy aside, from a story standpoint the relaunch headlined by X-Men: Blue and Gold has thus far been good. The two teams have been able bring the X-Men back into a position that puts the franchise in a position to be superheroes rather than just fighting to survive. That return to being a team of superheroes has done wonders for the X-Men franchise. Now with the first arc out of the way Marc Guggenheim now can further cement the direction for X-Men: Gold by adding to what has been established. With Gambit on the cover of this issue it looks like that is exactly what is going to happen. Let’s find out with X-Men: Gold #4.
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: R.B. Silva
Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto
Colorist: Frank Martin
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Gambit breaks into Nadstorm, Inc. headquarters. Just when he evades some of the building’s security system some Nadstorm guards tell Gambit to get on the ground. Gambit says he can’t do that and takes out the guards with some cards.
Gambit makes his way into a weapons room and located a special container inside a case. Gambit uses his powers to get the container out and takes out a vial that was inside.
In another part of New York City, the X-Men find the Serpent Society stealing some money. Kitty Pryde makes a joke how quickly they’ll be able to take care of the D-List villain group, pissing the Serpent Society off. The X-Men proceed to make quick work of the Serpent Society and Prestige calls the NYPD to arrest the villain group.
Over at a morgue Storm uses her old XSE badge to get information on the cause of death for a mutant. Detective Mahoney reveals that the mutant was shot off a building by military-grade ammo, which is similar how three other victims in Jackson Heights, Brooklyn and the Bronx died.
At a penthouse on the Upper West Side, Gambit meets the buyer who hired him, who ends up being Olivia Trask, the granddaughter of Bolivar Trask, inventor of the sentinels. Gambit hands over what he thinks is an empty vial to Olivia. Olivia reveals the vial is not empty and it actually holds nanites that self-replicate and have the ability to “smart swarm.”
Gambit wonders if this means Olivia is looking to to create new sentinels. Olivia says there is no money to be made in killing mutants and she is only looking to apply the nanites for military purposes, calling Gambit an idiot for thinking otherwise.
Gambit doesn’t take kindly to being called an “idiot” and attacks Olivia and her guards. Gambit steals the vial from Olivia but it quickly gets shot out of his hand. The vial breaks and the nanites enter one of Olivia’s computers that contains Sentinel AI. The computer explodes and the nanites hover over the room Gambit is in.
At the Xavier Institute’s medical facility, Dr. Reyes reveals to Colossus that the member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants the X-Men captured is actually an alien.
At the Danger Room, Kitty asks Magma if she knows anything about the alien who was part of the Brotherhood. Magma says the only thing she remembers is Mesmero inside her head.
Rachel calls Kitty to let her know Gambit is in trouble. Rachel is able to connect her and Kitty’s mind with Gambit, who informs the two X-Men that he is in Manhattan and he is a troublesome spot. As he is thrown around the room he is in, Rachel gets the information of the nanites from Gambit and gives it the info to the rest of the team.
Kitty, Prestige, Nightcrawler and Colossus fly to Gambit’s location in the Blackbird, while Logan and Storm go to meet them since they are close by. Prestige goes over the information on the nanites and how they have merged with Sentinels technology.
Over at Gambit’s location the nanites have mutated and taken the form of a new version of the Sentinels. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men: Gold #4 continues the momentum created by the first story arc of the series by reintroducing us to a new form of the Sentinels. In reviving the mutant hunting Sentinels, Marc Guggenheim is able to continue to modernize classic X-Men characters. In doing Guggenheim is able to bring back the fun that has been missing from the franchise.
Bringing Gambit in the fold without forcing the character go through some sort of recruitment was a great move. Keeping him separate from the rest of the X-Men allowed Guggenheim the opportunity to reintroduce Gambit in a way that makes sense of the character. In the short opening scene we were able to get a glimpse at all of the skills that make Gambit unique within the X-Men.
Gambit’s solo introduction was also a good way to bring in a new member of the Trask family into play with Olivia. Guggenheim did a good job immediately quashing Olivia Trask being just female version of her grandfather. Having her aim be much broader by taking advantage of the tech her grandfather created to enter the military arms market. This in a way makes her possibly more dangerous to the Marvel Universe, especially with the Inhumans’ rise, if Guggenheim and Marvel allow her to develop more.
On the other side of things, Guggenheim did a good job continuing to put the X-Men back on the superhero team route. Having Kitty lead Prestige and Nightcrawler against the Serpent Society was a nice way to quickly show that she wasn’t making it up that the X-Men are heroes again. Little segments like this help strengthen the new direction of the X-Men. It also added some light hearted scenes for Kitty and the others to be involved in, especially with how serious things quickly got in the first arc.
At the same time we are able to see that there is an even bigger mystery around mutants that is being built with now several mutants dying around New York City. The mystery around the mutant deaths is a good sub-plot for X-Men: Gold to continue in the background. Hopefully this is something that continues to build in the background and leads to a bigger story down the line. For now I’ll be happy to see Storm and Logan leading the charge in the investigation, especially if this means we are going to see the old XSE group within the X-Men being brought back.
R.B. Silva provided X-Men: Gold #4 some solid artwork. It isn’t something that will blow anyone out of the water but Silva’s artwork kept a consistent flow to the issue as we dealt with several different types of scenes and characters throughout the issue. That consistency allowed the character work Guggenheim was aiming for to shine more as the issue progressed.
The Bad: The one thing that did damper this issue is the fact that we did just see the X-Men: Blue team also deal with the Sentinels in their opening arc. This is something that the X-Men franchise will need to address more with so many team books in the franchise right now. Each title will need to deal with more different types of threats to the X-Men, which includes digging deeper into the pool of X-Men villains. One may even be returning some of the sci-fi aspects of the franchise like the Shi’ar Empire.
Overall: X-Men: Gold #4 was a solid way to start the second story arc of the series. It isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind but Marc Guggenheim and R.B. Silva’s story is just good comic book fun. And for an a franchise that was devoid of that for so long, it is exactly what the X-Men need to get back to and X-Men: Gold #4 does just that.