Even though Kitty and Colossus’ wedding is set to occur in only two more issues, the Gold team’s problems aren’t any closer to being solved. By the end of X-MEN GOLD #28, Colossus is still captured, Alpha is still at large, and the X-Men are dangerously far from saving the day. The third installment in “Til’ Death Do Us Part” unfortunately falls victim to what many mid-arc issues suffer from: the filler-issue dilemma.

Writer Marc Guggenheim and artists Michele Bandini, Arif Prianto, David Marquez, and Matthew Wilson keep the story of the new Legacy virus alive in this issue, but they don’t do much beyond that. While there are a few rare moments of quality characterization, Guggenheim sets the pace of X-MEN GOLD #28 a few notches too slow. Because of that, it feels less like a complete issue and more like an interlude between X-MEN GOLD #27 and #29.

x-men gold #28
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Space is a Dangerous Place in X-MEN GOLD #28

The issue begins how the past couple issues have begun: with a flashback to a different moment in Kitty and Colossus’ relationship. In X-MEN GOLD #28, that moment is from ASTONISHING X-MEN, when Kitty rescues Colossus from an underground alien torture chamber.

Jump forward a decade and Kitty’s attempting a similar rescue mission. Colossus and the nano-tech sentinel Alpha are in space — which means Kitty and her team are also in space. Alpha takes Colossus to an abandoned oil space station in order to use his DNA to create a new Legacy virus. As in all comics, the oil rig has surprisingly intense defenses that nearly take the Gold’s space ship down. After some smart maneuvering on Kitty’s part, the team is able to make it inside the space station. But before they can find Colossus, the issue ends.

X-MEN GOLD #27 Reveals Plans for a New Legacy Virus

Mid-Arc Issues

Creating a successful arc in comics isn’t easy. Nowadays, where few issues are self-contained stories, the art of the arc is an important one for writers to learn. Since readers have to buy each separate issue, no issue should be full of “filler” content. A good comic has maximum characterization, exposition, and action. Relying too much on one of those elements in an issue leads to noticeable imbalance.

X-MEN GOLD #28 doesn’t have bad characterization or a boring overall storyline. It has the capacity to be a great issue. The problem is it lacks balance. The issue has action (the team spends a couple of pages dodging space missiles) but it has very little exposition and only a few scenes with valid characterization. Guggenheim easily could’ve made this arc one issue shorter and placed the very few events that happen in X-MEN GOLD #28 into either #27 or #29. That way, there wouldn’t be an entire issue dedicated solely to the Gold team’s move from Earth to space.

Another way Guggenheim could’ve made this a more successful issue is the addition of more characterization. We get a very brief flashback in the beginning, but its presence is never directly explained by Kitty or Colossus. If it’s important enough to be the opening page, it definitely needs to be acknowledged by both of them. I like the fact that Guggenheim is adding these flashbacks because they add a sense of depth to Kitty and Colossus’ relationship and they mirror their current situation, but I don’t think he’s using them to their maximum potential.

x-men gold #28

Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Enter Stormcaster

I doubt I’m alone when I say that Storm should have her own “Stormcaster” miniseries. It should already be on the shelves and, better yet, in my hands. That’s how interesting this character could be. I love Kitty and Colossus as much as the next person, but X-MEN GOLD is about a team. Throughout the series, Guggenheim frequently ignores Storm in order to focus more on Kitty, which, in some ways, I understand. Kitty is a popular character and Storm has frequently been in the spotlight in the past…but then again, so has Kitty.

I didn’t really mind Storm’s lowkey characterization until she got the Stormcaster again in X-MEN GOLD #25. Giving her so much power is a big move on Guggenheim’s part. It could mean a drastic change of Storm’s character. Kitty hints at that in this issue in one brief panel, but that’s just not enough. If this series is about the Gold team, and not just Kitty and Colossus’ romance, Guggenheim has got to give Storm (and Rachel, while we’re at it) a little more panel time. If X-MEN GOLD #28 had, say, three to five more panels showing Storm’s new powers and recent transformation, it would’ve drastically changed the issue for the better.

x-men gold #28
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Artistic Victories and Losses

Artistically, the best scene in X-MEN GOLD #28 is the single-page flashback, illustrated by David Marquez and Matthew Wilson. I honestly think it’s some of the best art X-MEN GOLD has seen thus far. Marquez’s lines are beautifully realistic but also very expressive. The panel where Kitty sees Colossus conveys so many emotions: fear, relief, sadness, joy. Wilson’s colors only heighten the drama and make the scene that much more powerful. Overall, it’s a perfect scene.

Unfortunately, the rest of the issue struggles to keep up. Penciller Michele Bandini’s work is fairly stylized, but not overly so. His work on action scenes — particularly explosions — is impressive and is one of my favorite aspects of the issue. Bandini’s lines rarely have the expressive power that Marquez’s art brings, but Bandini is working on a larger scale, illustrating a lot more pages than Marquez. The difference is understandable.

Laura Kinney Faces Her Final Mission in ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #35

What I don’t understand is colorist Prianto’s palette. Issue after issue, Prianto struggles with accurate skin tones and interesting palettes. He frequently uses a palette known, not fondly, as the “Orange/Teal Contrast Trope.” A lot of movies (or just anything made by Michael Bay) use this palette because the contrasting colors are naturally pleasing to the eye. Sadly, over usage of this color scheme has made it a trope that is more aesthetically offensive than pleasing. In future issues, I hope Prianto changes up his colors and gives us something that looks less like an on-screen adaption and more like a grade-A comic book.

x-men gold #28
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Final Thoughts

If you’re a huge Kitty and Colossus fan, you definitely need X-MEN GOLD #28 in your collection. The opening flashback scene at the beginning is enough to warrant a buy. But if you’re not, I personally wouldn’t reccommend this issue. Guggenheim doesn’t give a lot of needed exposition in this issue, and it wouldn’t be very hard to skip X-MEN GOLD #28 and jump right into X-MEN GOLD #29.

Still, I encourage you to read X-MEN GOLD #28 and leave your opinions down below. While it wasn’t my favorite issue in the series so far, that doesn’t mean it can’t be yours.

The penultimate issue in the “Til’ Death Do Us Part” Arc — X-MEN GOLD #29 — comes out on June 6th!

X-MEN GOLD #28 by Marc Guggenheim, Michele Bandini, Arif Prianto, David Marquez, and Matthew Wilson
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Plot
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Summary
X-MEN GOLD #28 lacks the exciting climatic and expositional moments a mid-arc issue needs to succeed. Writer Marc Guggenheim has a great cast of characters and an interesting storyline, but he doesn't give this issue enough room for growth. Because of that, it feels a bit like a filler issue instead of an independent comic.
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