So Part 3 of Battle of the Atom hit yesterday. What new events, moments and scenes were hit and what were miss. Here’s Loz and Tom’s reviews for part 3 of the X-Men’s 50th Anniversary event. Please comment if you think we missed something. Spoilers below. Be warned, future knowledge may be comforting but not in regards to comics you haven’t read yet.
If Battle of the Atom has had any criticism, it’s been for the slow pace; when you consider it, this is another issue that can be summed up in a couple of sentences. Personally, though, I don’t mind that; in reality, BotA is more of a character study at the moment. And that’s the way it should be, if we’re celebrating fifty years of the X-Men. It’s the characters who stand out, and it’s when we’re emotionally invested in those characters that the epic scenes become so powerful.
The undoubted stars of Chapter 3 are Young Scott and Young Jean, an energetic duo to say the least. I’ve made it clear that I think too many of Jean’s plots are centred around the men in her life, but even I have to admit that’s sometimes effective (and here it’s played as nakedly as, say, Bella’s fixation with Edward in Twilight). Jean is a wonderfully complex character, with the confusion well-depicted here; she’s very much attracted to Young Scott, and his belief in her (when Hank didn’t show the same) has endeared him to her all the more. Yes, we’re well on track for my predictions.
Brian Wood is excellent, ensuring his regulars all get a few key moments and even advancing the ‘Storm is a *****’ arc he’s working on. It’s actually a really interesting portrayal of Ororo. Remember, she was a warrior queen, and her husband dispensed lethal justice in Doomwar; she’s not mild-mannered Ororo Munroe anymore. Now, her married life has been shattered, and she’s bitter and angry. That’s manifesting as ‘control freak’ and ‘alpha female’. I think it’s a logical development for Storm, and it sets up some entertaining clashes in this issue. Love when Logan gets a piece of Kitty’s mind too–! And Jubilee and Shogo made me laugh.
The future X-Men are fascinating, with nods to such depth; I simply don’t trust them one bit. I’m beginning to suspect that some of them have their own agendas, and I’m most particularly wary of Xavier. He fascinates me. I do not believe that this is Xavier’s grandson, not when he referred to Hank as ‘Henry’ and calls Jean ‘my dear’. No, this is feeling more like a darker Charles Xavier himself to me, and when he popped the Cerebro Spike I had flashbacks of the Morrison era, suddenly wondering if it’s Cassandra Nova. Thinking about it, I feel as though I’m beginning to join the dots; if the ANXM go back to their own time now, there is one person who will retain knowledge of the future. Charles Xavier, the man they’re expecting to wipe their memories.
And then there was a subtle clue to the whole storyline, in the form of the Dove – a plane made by Past and Present Hank McCoys, and thought fondly of by Future McCoy. What the Dove means, is that the ANXM coming to our present-day is an established part of the future X-Men’s timeline. They aren’t changing the future; rather, there’s something these five mutants are going to do in the present day that at least some of the future X-Men (possibly not all) want to avert. They’re not trying to protect their timeline at all – they’re trying to change it. That’s the only idea that makes sense of the puzzle pieces so far.
All in all, it’s a fun comic, with a faster pace and a lot of ‘moments’ that made me smile. It also sets things up very nicely indeed for the next issue, and this arc as a whole seems to me to be shining.
Good job, Brian.