Avid comic readers know there’s one undeniable truth to any crossover or event featuring Marvel’s merry mutants: prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best. For every Age of Apocalypse there’s a Utopia, Necrosha or Schism just waiting to drag you down. Tentatively, I dove into last year’s X-Men: Battle of the Atom crossover to see which side of the fence I fell on; the initial fan feedback was divisive, to say the least.
A 10-chapter arc weaving through X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine and the X-Men and All-New X-Men and bookended by two one-shots; Battle of the Atom starts with the original, time-displaced team of X-Men deciding (arguing) whether or not they should leave the present day and return to their era. But why settle on past and present when you can have not one but two different X-Men teams from the future join in?
Sound a little daunting? Not to worry, as the writing team of Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Wood and Jason Aaron do a fairly good job of not delving too much into the different incarnations of mutants we grew up on. Instead they give the reader just enough information to know who’s who on the playing field while focusing on the central characters (the originals). Various artists lend their talents to these issues; but I found it was Stuart Immonen and Chris Bachalo’s work behind most of my favorite scenes, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.
In typical fashion, once the dust settled and the event concluded not much happened to the overall status quo; but that’s not the only way to judge whether or not something like this is worth your time. Aside from the expected teenage angst the original team displays, this story was pretty good; and I was quite surprised – and pleased – at the amount of humor used to keep things balanced. I get the sense that this would read better in one sitting as opposed to waiting for the next installment to hit the shelves, so if the hardcover collected edition is not for you, a trade paperback is undoubtedly on its way. Regardless of how you receive it, this story will lead to some interesting conversations; that, I’m sure of. Enjoy.