Review: Battle of the Atom Chapter 9

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Omega PheonixNow Battle of the Atom lives up to the Battle portion of it’s title. With only the final chapter left, scroll down for Tom and Loz’s thoughts on this issue. Let’s get this over with. Spoilers ahead.

Loz’s Review

Ares would be proud. Gimme my bullets:

  • Pro: Omega Pheonix I think you are fantastic. Don’t worry Kid, I think you are just as fantastic. What does Omega Pheonix know that he can’t tell everyone. It has something to do with why the ANXM couldn’t be sent home.
  • Con: Bruiser and Xavier are still alive. And why isn’t Bruiser crippled but Xavier is. Does it have something to do with future Piotr’s strength rather than just a soul sword through the back.
  • Pro: I am never having sex again. After the Red Right Hand Wolverine, that’s probably for the best, right?
  • Con: Still not feeling Camuncoli’s art. However it gets better by the end of the issue with some nice full page panels.
  • Pro: “I want you to send someone back through time to murder whoever invented the time machine.”
  • Con: I was wrong about Sir Robert. He just explained the whole Ice-Hulk thing. Which leads to some nifty foreshadowing:
  • Pro: “Be wary when creating free-roaming doubles of yourself my young friends.”
  • Con: too many questions. Chapter 10 has a lot of answering to do. Motives and motivations are sometimes hazy within this issue. What is the end game Really? Does Xorna even know?
  • Pro: “In case I haven’t mentioned it… you grow up to be Awesome big brother.”

I enjoyed this issue way more than the last one. We got some answers but not a lot, but at least we got to some serious conflict and Battle which is a good thing. It’s Battle of the Atom for a reason. I really can’t imagine what will happen in the last issue. I only know that the ANXM are not going anywhere after this crossover ends.

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Tom’s Review

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OK, time for Chapter 9 – with just next week’s installment to go, BotA is about to come to an end. And this latest chapter, while better in my view than the last, also has its oddities.

First, the bad points.

Continuity between BotA writers is poor to nonexistent. You get the feeling that the whole psychic projection thing was a way of Aaron getting out of the pickle Bendis had left him in, so that he could get on with his own chapter. And why’s Jubilee back in the action, when Bendis so carefully and deliberately wrote her out?  Are we really getting rid of a major plot-point from Chapter 7 – Wolverine being near-death – off-panel?!?  Bad enough that Chapter 8 just ignored it…

It took me far too long to work out that present-day Bobby was one of the prisoners, which led to a whole load of unnecessary confusion with the scene that followed.  In actual fact, it took Loz’s not getting my confusion at all for me to finally join the dots!  I think the problem with it was that the two differently-aged Bobbys (Bobbies?) look identical when de-iced, y’know?

How is Xavier crippled by the Soulsword-strike, while Bruiser is back on her feet and Deadpool the only fatality the Brotherhood have taken?  And seriously, Xavier’s grandson who looks just like Xavier is now also a cripple?  I’m sure it was meant to be funny, but it actually slightly annoyed me.

What the blazes does Xorn think she’s doing at the end there? If she’s so worried about the possibility of one of the ANXM dying earlier in the same chapter, why so cavalier now? (Particularly when this is obviously her endgame?) In fact, how does she do what she does? Telekinesis on its own doesn’t quite make sense of the scene Aaron writes. Telepathy would’ve been easier to use to the same effect, but that clearly isn’t what Aaron was intending.

The battle, though, is superb. There’s a double-page spread that truly deserves it, filled with so much action that I almost cheered. The fight scenes that follow are excellent. Aaron’s humour strengthens the story on various occasions, especially with Maria Hill: “God, when did Wolverine become the reasonable one? These X-Men get crazier every year.” For a fiftieth anniversary issue, that comment feels entertainingly metatextual.

But what’s keeping the ANXM in the present-day? I have theories of my own. I think Jean’s power-boosts in ANXM have been linked to the Phoenix Force (which we know has survived ANXM, or else future Quire wouldn’t be the Phoenix Host of his time). I think that the Phoenix Force, as a guardian of reality (see my Phoenix Force 101) is about to get seriously important – perhaps even in terms of fixing the damage from Age of Ultron. Oh, and I’m ever more confident that BotA will be the end of the Schism…

For those who are spoiler-wary, please DO NOT READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH.

We know that one of the first plotlines to follow BotA is an ANXM crossover with Guards of the Galaxy, as Jean is put on trial for the crimes of the Phoenix. I’d vaguely wondered about that, but wouldn’t the trial make way more sense if she were currently wielding the power of the Phoenix Force? So I think #10 is going to feature Jean developing Phoenix power.

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So what did you think? What did you like in this issue? What did you hate? let us know in the comments.

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