Battle of the Atom #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
Charles Xavier is dead, and with his death a schism in his dream has formed between two of his closest pupils, Wolverine and Cyclops. Both with apposing philosophies of how best to train the newest batch of mutants that have popped up all over planet, the Uncanny X-Men and the All-New X-Men (housing the original X-Men brought to current time to witness this dark turn of events) are at odds as they continue to fight for what they believe is the core of Xavier’s tenants. The severity of the arrival of the past X-Men on the time continuum is vast and cemented when the X-Men of the future arrive on the doorstep of both tribes of mutants with a warning. One stating that their species is in danger and a decision made during this already tumultuous time line is responsible.
Time travel is to Marvel Now as multiple Earths is to DC. Featured heavily in Thor: God of Thunder, All-New X-Men, Age of Ultron, FF, Captain America and playing a crucial role in the new crossover event of the X titles, Battle of the Atom, the new line of Marvel books have found their favorite toy and it involves time streams overlapping, travellers from the past and the future arriving unannounced and dimension pockets where time travels differently altogether. Brian Michael Bendis, Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger mash all these concepts together in the first issue of the ten part event as the X-men of the past, present and future all clash together to stop themselves from mistakes they have already made or are about to make or are making right now or something… It’s all very messy but don’t worry because the X-men will clean up after themselves right now. Or later… Or before?
Brian Michael Bendis scripts the main title that will envelop his other X titles, All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men as well as the Brian Wood piloted title X-Men. Bendis’ most recent event, Age of Ultron, played with a lot of the same devices, that being heroes travelling to the future then to the past to stop their present selves from ruining the future… Do you feel dizzy? Well you can take a breath because despite the ridiculousness of these convoluted events, Bendis is a strong enough writer that while reading his current run, everything is perfectly understandable. Nothing is really that confusing and his career over at house X has been a success and a great joy thus far in Marvel Now. As a fan of all of his current X titles I can say that if you are in the same boat as me then Battle for the Atom will be a lot of fun to pick up. His voice (particularly channelled through a young Iceman) is a perfect fit for the mutants and their snarky banter is always entertaining, all the while his excellent action and constant brawling has made both of his X books invigorating and electric. This first issue of Battle of the Atom is simply an extension of everything he has done well so far under the X umbrella.
Splitting art duties, Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger compliment each other and provide an excellent backdrop for the madcap adventures inside this first issue. Excellent character designs (especially a fresh mutant who conjures up dinosaurs at a whim) ignite a child like glee in the reader as the X-Men battle with three-headed dragons and demons from a scattered imagination as well as the fan favorite sentinels. An image of the X-Men of the future has a great shot of Xorn (a personal favorite from New X-men fame) and a one horned Beast wielding a jet-pack and rail-gun, a highlight of the issue that completely made up for the laugh that an image of a girl tattooing her own face caused. A panel that was just in service of establishing how troubled and hard this character was but more so just made me laugh. Some really inspired page layouts work perfectly alongside Bendis’ manic scripts and these three artists blend styles together seamlessly. Artwork at Marvel Now has been an incredible powerhouse over on the X books.
Battle of the Atom is a high-energy ride spanning across four different titles and having a new installment each week that will definitely satiate all mutant fans of the past, present, future, future past and wibbly wobbly time of the present past future…. Ok I’m finished. Or at least I will be… Or I was… Or something.
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior
Dear Ghost Factory. What Should I Read? Comic Reviews & Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast at www.Geekstampede.com