Monday, September 9, 2013

X-Men: Battle of the Atom (Parts 1 & 2)

Honestly, the whole world is upside down. Things have gone truly mad when I’m more into the X-Men than I am into the Avengers. I never thought I’d see the day.

I’m honestly a little shocked at how much I’m enjoying this comic. Bendis’ work on the X-titles has been extremely uneven, with some fantastic issues of All-New X-Men followed up a week later by average issues of Uncanny X-Men. He seems to clearly dig the young X-Men, so basing an event on their presence is a good move. This is “Good Bendis” through and through.

These opening issues have everything I look for. There is a big fight with a new mutant (who can create fantastic-looking Frank Cho dragons). It is worth mentioning that this new mutant is a hot girl that young Iceman would very much like to date, again playing to Cho’s strengths. This is the strongest that Bendis has written the Uncanny team, with Cyclops and company looking very confident. Plus, they actually interact with the All-New team with some maturity, a much easier process when Wolverine is absent.

So right off the bat, this book is juggling two casts of characters, a new villain, and some violence. Good start. Then, with the arrival of the FUTURE X-Men, we’ve got three teams all interacting with each other. The future team is easily recognizable (with one or two exceptions), but man, Lady Xorn’s reveal adds a whole other level to the proceedings. It gives me hope that this story could have some big repercussions. Of course, Wolverine’s team ends up fighting the future team, so again, action in a Bendis book is much appreciated.

One risk when doing these alternate future storylines is that the creators might have too big a hit on their hands. I find myself instantly loving the future version of Molly Hayes, Princess Power. She only gets a line or two of dialogue, but how can you not love her? It’s her kid personality all grown up, with some fantastic additions to her childhood costume. I’m ready for a limited series!

Bendis accomplishes a lot with his young team, too. Jean Grey spends pages trying to convince her current beau Beast into fleeing the future team and their unreadable minds. Of course, Cyclops agrees with no debate or discussion. He’s all in for Ms. Grey. Powerful, clear characterization.

I can’t understate the importance of the art. The threat of the future X-Men is clear in Stuart Immonen’s nuanced pencils. The old-time costumes look like clothe under Cho’s pencils. These are two of the top artists in the game, and these issues make it easy to see why. I will say, Cyclops’ odd new costume looks a lot better on Immonen’s bulky Scott Summers than it does on Cho’s “slim” version.  

I’m all in with the X-Men these days. You guys can keep Infinity; I want Battle of the Atom! This storyline looks GOOD!

1 comment:

John McCubbin said...

Great review. Although I've been enjoying Infinity this is the crossover I've been more excited about, and I can't wait for more.

I've also reviewed the Battle of the Atom crossover so far at my site if you want to check them out here: