“Battle of the Atom” trudges on towards its climax, and we may have even finally reached the titular battle! Will heroes die? Will lives be changed forever? Probably not since this is only the third-to-last issue. Read on for our review!
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Chris Bachalo
X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM, PART 8!
• Wolverine, who just lost his healing factor, takes a mortal hit!
• And a surprise ending that changes everything in the X-Men Event of 2013!
I try really hard to be a “fun nerd.” I don’t get upset over continuity, I’ve never watched Star Trek, and the only comic book website I’ve written for is the raddest one on the information super high-way. Still, as someone who saw Looper twice, I cannot morally condone Battle of the Atom, and it’s murder of how time travel works, especially when it comes to the last page revelation. In fact, said last page just made me sort of stare at the comic, trying to apply any sort of linear logic to the twist in events. Then, I learned to just let it go and accept that most of this will be hand-waved away in a few months time. Because, while “Battle of the Atom” is hardly a literary masterpiece of tight plotting and concise characterization, it’s still an incredibly fun X-Men crossover, and “Uncanny X-Men” #13 follows suit.
This issue focuses primarily on the Uncanny X-Men and probably spoiler material companions fighting the Future X-Men who turned out to be sort-of evil because of course they did. It’s almost a shame, really. Sure, they have evil motivations that have merely yet to be revealed because those motivations are so heinous, but they kind of did have a point that was utterly invalidated by them doing a heel-turn and becoming villains. Granted, they were set up as untrustworthy since the first issue, so it’s not like they were always presented as a completely heroic faction, but it would have been nice to see their point (that the All-New X-Men should go back to their home era) have a little validation.
The thesis here is that I feel temporally uncomfortable with the All-New X-Men and I find it insane that a group of heroes who have dealt with at twenty dystopian timelines at the very least can condone keeping teenage versions of their founders around so they frolic around, nearly get killed at every occasion, or put their mouths on people who should not be mouthed.
Personal chronal bias aside, Brian Michael Bendis has done a ton with the concept to make it more than a gimmick. His work on the teenaged First Class has brought a whole new depth to an era of X-Men history that had previously been considered “completely passable.” Though said First Class is absent here, the future X-Men (all of them) still serve as an interesting contrast to the original members and show just how far the X-Mythos has come since the Lee/Kirby days. The motivation is still a bit muddled here, though I’m not sure if a revelation from a past issue was meant to be the actual motivation for their evilness. Actually, overall I’m still confused by what these Future X-Men want, but they’re still interesting enough foes that are far different enough from your typical “Future Evil” characters to make “Battle of the Atom” a dynamic story.
Bachalo is also responsible for making this issue of “Uncanny X-Men” as kinetic as it is. There’s still some definite confusion in his work (a flaming skull shows up somewhere toward the end and I still cannot tell you where it came from,) but Bachalo’s more exaggerated style suits the fightin’ style of the comic, especially in any stand-offs between the half a dozen teams flinging themselves around. Sometimes significant moments get lost in the cartoonishly gritty aesthetic employed here. It took me a few minutes to register that someone actually died and wasn’t just sort of hit. Still, for the most part Bachalo’s art does well to distinct “Uncanny X-Men” out of its Battle of the Atom brethren. The designs for all of the future X-Men are cool as well, except for Raze who has the stupidest costume possible.Continued below
Spoilers: Raze is the Blue Wolverine Jr. of the future and he’s also Mystique’s kid, meaning he has traits from both his mom and dad. He has Wolverine’s claws, Mystique’s blue skin and shapeshifting abilities, but the most despicable things genetics gave him was the lower half of Mystique’s costume. Even though he wears long pants, he has an actual slip like Mystique wears as part of her dress going between his legs. I don’t know if he was designed like that to ensure that we all got he was Mystique’s kid too. Maybe they thought giving him blue skin would still leave room open for Raze being the son of Wolverine and Nightcrawler? Did I just spoil the second issue of Amazing X-Men for myself?
All kidding aside though, even though the art is occasionally sloppy and the plot nonsensical, Battle of the Atom is still a very fun crossover and this issue of “Uncanny X-Men” is no exception, and if you’re a die-hard X-Men fan, one definitely worth your time. If you’re tired of crossover bloating though, you might want to just wait until this all blows over and you can return to your regular scheduled programming.
Final Verdict: 7.8 – Buy if you’re already digging the crossover, browse otherwise.