Get your Union Jacks and mystical swords, because it’s time to revisit everyone’s favorite British X-Men team, Excalibur! Yes, Kitty Pryde, Kurt Wagner, Rachel Grey, Meggan and Brian Braddock are back together for an adventure, so sit back, get some sort of beverage, and have fun with this nice little reunion story.
A stork turns up to the X-Mansion with a message...Captain Britain (Brian Braddock) and his wife Meggan had a baby! Along with that, the stork’s message also invites the couple’s former Excalibur teammates Nightcrawler, Rachel Grey, and Kitty Pryde, to come visit them, leading to a delightful page of the comic where the three fly coach because fuel for the Blackbird is expensive and the artist here (Alitha Martinez) draws some characters for pure cameos like Warlock from the New Mutants or … Vincent Vega who we can only assume is coming back from his French vacation and a Royale with cheese.
Anyway, the three mutants arrive at the Braddock lighthouse and see the new kiddo, Maggie, who’s an adorable little spot of sunshine. Since nothing can be normal for any of the X-Men and their fam, there’s a problem; her intelligence is growing at an exponential rate while she physically ages at a normal rate. Meggan, takes this problem to heart because she is not as educated as her child, her husband, or her peers due to her upbringing, and fears not being able to be a parent to her child. Kitty and Rachel give Meggan a small pep talk, reassuring her that she’ll still see her daughter grow and help her along the way.
Meggan is able to calm down and sit with her family and friends and enjoy the day … until an alien among the last of his race crashes the party looking to avenge the D’Bari. You might remember them from being virtually annihilated by the Dark Phoenix a while back. He plans on not only punishing Rachel Grey but also the human race by trapping all the heroes in a different universe so that the villains of the earth can destroy them. Luckily for our heroes, this D’Bari isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and loses his remote to Meggan. Meggan is able to give it to her baby daughter who reverses the polarity of it and shows the D’Bari a universe where his race still exists and he’s able to bring the remnants of his race back and live there. The story ends with the Excalibur gang heading home where the Braddocks ask the three X-Men to be Maggie’s Godparents, to which they agree.
But just wait one minute true believers, this an extended 30th anniversary edition, so we’ve got one more story here. This one’s about a little girl who’s in New York for the day with her aunt and before she leaves she has one last thing to do, meet the X-Men, more specifically Storm. She’s able to get her aunt to let her go find them, leading them around the city trying to catch the X-Men at every corner and missing by just seconds. Eventually they decide to go to grand central station to catch their train back home, which was delayed due to a random supervillain attack. Lucky for them, it was an X-Men battle so Storm is there to accompany the clean-up. The two are able to talk to Ororo and the little girl tells her how the hero has impacted her life and how much she loves Storm and the X-Men no matter what people say. The two also ask Ms. Monroe for a picture but she does them one better and flies them around the city. This story ends with Storm posting the picture on a wall to remind her of the good the X-Men do.
X-Men Gold Annual #1 is a fun story. Nothing too extravagant or important, but it was also nothing too overly engrossed with nostalgia or relying on pure flashbacks as some anniversary editions do. Marc Guggenheim and Alitha Martinez do a great job on this one giving us a simple story with some nice, subtle call backs to the old Excalibur days, as well as giving these characters a story not super reliant on the past. It’s awesome to see the Excalibur team back, although I’m not crazy about Captain Britain’s design. It’s not bad, the costume is still similar to, if not the same as, the classic one from the 80s, but the costume isn’t the issue...it’s his hair. He’s got the hipster lumberjack thing going on and he looks kinda weird. Like, why the hell does he look like that? It’s not important, just strange.
The backup story is also pretty good but has nothing to do with Excalibur. I understand that the title is X-Men Gold but when you market this as an Excalibur issue, I was expecting an Excalibur back up story. Nothing is wrong with the story itself, just my two cents.
X-Men Gold Annual #1 gets 7/10 Captain Britain Corps Members, an awesome issue for any X-Men & Excalibur fans.