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April 21, 2014 / Jett

X-Men: Battle of the Atom Review

Following the X-Men universe across hundreds of characters, dozens of comic lines and a continuity that is frequently muddled with through time travel and other weird plot twists has never been easy. Even with the recent Marvel Now relaunches of most of the X-Men comics, things quickly got messy after Beast brought the original X-Men from the past to talk some sense into the present day X-Men who have gone off the reservation. This revelation has been a major plot point for many of the X-Men series’ in play, which all come to ahead in X-Men: Battle of the Atom.

This 10-issue crossover event spans across All New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men. You can try and track down all of the issues separately, though I grabbed the hardcover book that conveniently holds them all in one place. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, the paperback version is coming out in the near future. As a potential starting point, there are a few pages of exposition, though things get into the weeds very quickly. I highly recommend getting up to speed on at least All New X-Men prior to reading this, as it largely assumes that you’re all caught up on the madness that has led to this point. The others are great, but All New X-Men serves as the focal point of the franchise and the crux of Battle of the Atom.

Leading up to this point, a conflict between warring X-Men factions has caused Beast to bring the original X-Men of yesteryear into the present to help stop present-day Cyclops and his group of rebel X-Men from completely destroying Charles Xavier’s dream. As it turns out, noodling with the space time continuum like that has its consequences, which the X-Men of the future are painfully aware of. In hopes of trying to stop the madness, future Beast and Kitty Pride travel back to the present with the rest of the future X-Men to tell the X-Men of the past to go back to their time. Wait, what?

This is the catalyst for the events that take place in Battle of the Atom. Between all factions of past, present and future characters, there’s conflicting views on how to handle the situation at hand, which leads to no shortage of fireworks and exposed dirty laundry. The pace at which this series of issues moves while doling out a plethora of plot twists makes this an awesome, if somewhat dizzying read. There’s so many different characters, plots and subplots at play here that it can be a bit much to process. However, if you’ve invested the time to read all of the related comics that lead up to this point, you’re definitely rewarded in kind for your efforts.

Stuart Immomen’s artwork on All New X-Men has been some of my favourite work in the comic books I’ve read to-date and he continues his hit streak here. What caught me most off guard was how good the art is for the other issues in this set. I’ve felt that the work on X-Men and Uncanny X-Men hasn’t been as good, but everyone knocks it out of the park on this one. Most impressive is how consistent everything looks across the set, even though there were many artists involved in creating this.

If you’ve been reading any of the modern X-Men comics, you’ll have to read at least a little bit of Battle of the Atom to continue the plot. However, taken in as a whole, it’s a spectacular explosion of X-Men awesomeness that is only made better by reading all of the stories that led to this merging point. Having them compiled in this 10-issue book makes it much easier to get the full Battle of the Atom experience without having to track down all of the individual comics across multiple series’. Of the modern X-Men comics I’ve read to date, Battle of the Atom represents the high point for all of them.

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One Comment

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  1. jjmahoney007 / Jul 28 2014 10:51 AM

    I finally got around to reading this over the weekend in a mostly single 3 hour block (during the kids’ naps). I liked it a lot, but have to admit feeling a little let down at the end. You go through 10 issues of tense situations from the X-Men (from all time periods) fighting each other, and S.H.I.E.L.D. doing whatever it is they do, and where you end up seems rather simple. It’s like they could have gotten there faster and saved us a lot of time. 🙂

    I agree with the art too. The All-New X-Men artist has been amazing, and it seems a little bit disjointed when getting to the other comics and artists. But it wasn’t horrible. I definitely prefer All New X-Men though. Looking forward to starting Vol. 4, then the Trial of Jean Grey, and finally catching up!

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