Things are ramping up and we get the Uncanny X-Men taking more of a center stage in part 4 of Battle of the Atom. Again, we give you our double take review of this new installment of the X-Men’s 50th Anniversary event. Please comment if you think we missed something. Spoilers below. Be warned.
OK, BotA is actually starting to go slower than I’d like. We’re into chapter 4 now, and so far we can sum the chapters up as:
- Chapter 1: ANXM Cyclops is injured and nearly kicks off a temporal disaster.
- Chapter 2: The future X-Men insist that the ANXM go back in time, but Scott and Jean run.
- Chapter 3: Scott and Jean run to Utopia, calling up the Uncanny team.
- Chapter 4: Cyclops decides to help, but Emma disagrees and calls in the future X-Men.
Considering this series is called ‘Battle of the Atom’, we’re actually yet to see much action. In fact, this issue is very much light in action, and that’s become a trend. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t feel like it has much character development or hints of the future X-Men. It does give a hint of some good things to come – a psychic battle between Emma and future Jean that really better materialise, and the involvement of Mystique-as-Dazzler. But this issue just felt like a bit of a non-entity to me.
To be sure, there are some fun lines; the banter between Emma and the Cuckoos is, frankly, superb. But there are also some weird moments (such as Hill’s strange confession that her animosity towards the X-Men is based on a dream that they blew up the Moon?). I’m vaguely hoping that BotA involves the X-Men blowing up the Moon and Hill’s weirdness being that she’s becoming a mutant with precognitive powers, otherwise this really does suggest Hill as the weirdest SHIELD commander in history.
What’s the deal with Magik? It’s pleasing to see that the Magik-based intro to BotA wasn’t just a ‘cute’ scene, but is actually going to be significant in plotting terms. And I did love the interesting nod towards the movies, where a telepath ‘freezes’ everybody around them. Still, those positive comments don’t raise this above a bit of a stop-gap issue, giving lots of hints as to where the story may well go but not progressing it significantly. The quality of the dialogue improves the score, but this was a thoroughly missable issue.
Mixed feelings with this issue. I liked it but I have my reservations, as did Tom on page 1. Here are the bullets:
- Did we just witness the off-screen defeat of the present day X-Men by Xavier (or lil X as he’ll now be known)?
- We definitely know somethings off by now. And I have to congratulate Tom for calling out Magik and a possible deception with her on the future X-Men’s fault.
- I have to clarify my comment in the intro that things are ramping up. I feel things are ramping up more with our Uncanny X-kids and Emma than they are with the crossover as a whole. Anyone who has been reading Uncanny is going to continue to enjoy the hell out of this issue. My one complaint is below:
- Give me more Benjamin Deeds. Stop having him say one line and someone giving him exposition just to say they have included him. I swear, theres something to this character we haven’t seen yet. I bet Bendis is itching to give us more. Why? because as a writer you live for these moments, you give it a slow burn you avert peoples attention elsewhere (Hello Hijack) and then you let rip with the cool moments. Maybe I’m reading too much into this. Hopefully not.
- Jean Grey envy. Snigger.
- Fabio’s silent and ignored raised hand as Emma asks if anyone has a problem with being in each other’s heads for a minute. It’s the little moments. like:
- “Yeah, uh, you do NOT go into her head. Ever.” and:
- “You need to think with your head and not your, you-know-what, is what he’s trying to say.”
- Again, Emma seems to be Kitty’s counterpart in this team. She, and Magneto, seem to be the voices of reason on this side of the X. I find it so fascinating that Scott seems to be completely out of his depth when faced with Magneto and Emma. They have some serious chops. Which leads me to some questions.
- Not sure if Benjamin is frozen. He seems to be in motion. Is this his small moment?
- Magneto seems to be frozen but doesn’t he have his patented TP blocking helmet on?
- Where are Kitty and Rachel. It looked like both of them were under someones control or at least fighting off a telepathic presence.
- All in all a slow but interesting read. there is some progression but not any big moments like the Jean reveal. I think Bendis was concerned about raising the question of what has happened to the Uncanny X-Kiddies, and giving them a voice in this big crossover. Not sure they’ll get much more
BotA part 4, I give you a three out of 5 atoms. I’m still waiting for those big moments of action to make this worthy of the name, “Battle of the Atom” but I still love these small moments. That said, Emma, you are completely right. The message boards are going to love this.
P.S. I loved this call back to X-past and I’m team Emma all the way.