X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM
Writers: Brian Bendis, Brian Wood & Jason Aaron
Artists: Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger
Pencilers: Stuart Immonen, David López, Chris Bachalo, Giuseppe Camuncoli & Esad Ribic
Colorists: Marte Gracia, Laura Martin, Matt Milla, Edgar Delgado, Ive Svorcina, Andres Mossa & Guru-EFX
Inkers: Wade Von Grawbadger, Cam Smith, Terry Pallot, Tim Townsend, Mark Irwin, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba & Al Vey
Finishers: Andrew Currie & Tom Palmer
Letterers: VC’s Joe Caramagna, VC’s Cory Petit & VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Arthur Adams, Peter Steigerwald, Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, Marte Gracia & Israel Silva
Rating: 7.5/10 Time Anomalies
Marvel has been on fire with the buzz around Jonathan Hickman’s House and Powers of X series going on right. New and exciting changes are revealed almost every issue as they prepare us for the coming Dawn of X. Though just around the corner, I couldn’t wait to get more X-Men in for reading and who better to visit then my favorite time-displaced X-Men. Sometimes with all this excitement for the future, it’s important to look to the past as well. This week I’ll be covering X-Men: Battle Of The Atom which came out in 2013. To me my spoilers!
Giant-Sized Plot Summary
So we’ve got the original five X-Men in the current day. Current day Beast brought them to today to remind everyone what they are fighting for. The logic behind it is... questionable and it also doesn’t help that Hank McCoy didn’t account for these time-displaced youngsters to get a glimpse of their future and freak. They don’t want any of this. While some are ready to go home, others in the group are not so much. But that doesn’t matter when all the adults are deciding what's best for them. If time travel and the X-Men weren’t confusing enough all ready for them, the X-Men of the future show up to reaffirm that those kids gotta go. What’s a couple of youngsters being told what to do but run away.
Young Scott (referred to as Scotty the rest of this review) and Jean are on the run and even though Wolverine and his X-Men think they’ve caught them, the X-Men are their own worst enemy as they screw each other over and let the kids escape. But where they could have gone? Who will aid them? How about Cyclops (old Scott) and his group of mutant revolutionaries? After some much-deserved shade thrown Scott’s way by Scotty, Jean, Emma, Magneto, etc. (basically, everyone gets a good shot in on him) We get some physic battles between Emma, the Cuckoos, Jean against well Jean from the future. Because time travel. Just as things start ramping up, Jean decides that going back to the past is for the best and everyone is friends again. For now.
Well, easy peasy wrap for the X-Men as they assemble the young X-Men to be sent home. Only problem, young Beast and Iceman are missing. The Future X-Men don’t like that and decide the ruse is over revealing themselves to be the Brotherhood of Mutants from the future. This is good timing as the real X-Men of the future show up to stop the baddies from doing whatever it is they are trying to do. After a brief moment to collect themselves and throw more shade Old Scott’s way, everyone heads out to find and stop the Brotherhood. Our climactic final battle takes place at the site where the X-Men truly began, in their first battle against Magneto. It’s young versus old. Future versus past. Past versus present. Future versus future. It is a chaotic mess that ends the mad plans of Old Jean from the future and the escape of the surviving members of the Brotherhood. While it was good to see Scott and Wolverine come together in a time of crisis, it’s back to being against one another. This time, however, Scotty, Jean and the rest of the young X-Men are going with Old Scott to have a chance of independence while being trapped in this time.
This was a fully packed ten issues of stuff going on. With writers Brian Bendis, Brian Wood, and Jason Aaron all on as writers during this event, there was what felt like I had to be a good amount of coordinating to get the same type of feel reading through all the issues. Of the writers, however, Bendis’ writing stood out the most to me. His writing style for me always stands out in two different ways. One is that his background characters serve as fun reactive responses to the situations they are witnessing. We see this with Cyclops’ students watching Wolverine and him hash it out while they make comments in the back. It can also be seen with Maria Hill’s fun little moments where her agents have to hear her go on about bad dreams and what X-Men she dislikes. The other more obvious stand out is that most of his dialogue is almost as if I’m reading a Marvel comic straight from the movies. Bendis does well at creating big action-packed moments with high stakes, while also being able to throw in witty banter or a sassy remark amongst friends and allies.
Most of the event books I’ve read I feel have had at least two artists to keep things consistent on them. This book was a very interesting experience in that there were a lot of artists on it. Frank Cho and Bachalo for me were the two I have the most familiarity with but happened to find myself appreciating the shift in style for each series this event was tied to. While not really standing out as having colors match to any specific tone, this whole book's art fit perfectly to that of a big event. Bright colors, with big action scenes in almost every issue in this book, I can’t say it enough how much this felt like I was reading a blockbuster movie. The biggest shoutout goes to Esad Ribic and Giuseppe Camuncoli in the final issue for recreating the scene of the original five X-Men against Magneto but with Old Jean in here.
The biggest takeaway I got from this story were primarily focused on the time-displaced X-Men and their choices. I don’t feel like this event does a good job of exploring the entire team on how their trip to the current day has impacted them but it shows the most on Scotty and Jean in this story. It’s kind of hard for Scotty, seeing himself become the murderer of his mentor and extremist, as well as young Jean, discovering she kills a planet and dies, to be down with being told to go back to their time. This event to me was exploring choice, free will and basically the X-Men not having much regard for the problems they create in this instance. “Hey sorry your gonna turn into an evil person. Wish there was something we could do but you gotta get mind-wiped and go back to the past.”
I found this to be super interesting when I first read it, seeing the X-Men of the current time kind of all be a little hypocritical and awful. Yeah, there was Avengers vs X-Men but I never expected to see Iceman, or Kitty or honestly even Storm go about things the way they did. It was a crazy whole new side to the characters I’d never seen before. Above all else though, this book contained the one page that of equal parts great minimal dialogue as well as expressions that made me a fan of Quentin Quire!
House Of End
No more thoughts. Just kidding. I have a lot of thoughts on this book but that would extend the stay on this article to longer than time-displaced X-Men in the modern era. The original five X-Men serve as a great comparison to where Charles Xavier’s dream began with them, unified and for equal rights to the current state of the X-Men being divided and for different mutant roles in society. The dialogue has a pretty consistent rhythm of not being too much to read while providing enough plot while taking a beat here and there for humor. The wide variety of art styles featured in this book kept things different and interesting. My only wish is that future X-Men books would have continued drawing Cyclops’ crazy curvy optic blasts. If you are looking for one of the most time traveling shenanigans the X-Men could ever do in an event then this is the book for you.