Battle of the Atom is the latest X-Men crossover that ended this past week. The story itself lasted 10 issues and encompassed the 4 major X related books currently being put out by Marvel. Although it wasn’t a perfect story it was a very fun read and one of the better crossovers involving the X-Men that I’ve read in recent years. It manages to handle several different teams of X-Teams rather well without having the story feel too cluttered which could have happened rather easily given the amount of characters and time traveling present. I’ll start with the good and then jump into the bad. Please know that there will be spoilers ahead! I will try to keep it to a minimum but to truly discuss the story I can’t avoid it.
– Each chapter in the crossover takes place in a different book and the transition from book to book was done very well. The story naturally switched perspectives from each team and you could tell the writers worked rather well to seamlessly weave everything together.
– Seeing some current mutants future counterparts as both X-Men and the Brotherhood was a total trip in the best way possible. A few standout characters among the cast of future mutants were adult versions of Shogo and Molly Hayes. I however will admit that seeing the latter as an evil mutant kind of broke my heart. I would like to see more of present day Molly in future story arcs though, evil future decisions or not.
– There were plenty of surprises and twists in the story to keep me interested and engaged. To find out that who we thought were the X-Men of the future were actually the Brotherhood was not expected at all.
– The quick turn around time between issues was fantastic. Plain and simple. I hate waiting 2-4 weeks to get a new issue in a crossover story and to be able to get a new chapter every week over the course of 10 weeks was amazing. The X-Men do this fairly often in their crossovers and I am surprised that Marvel hasn’t done this with all their crossovers.
– Throughout the entire story the writers were able to handle comedic moments extremely well given the seriousness of the events at hand. At one point Beast even acknowledges that the X-Men should stop time traveling which I definitely agree with.
– There were some continuity problems here and there, the biggest one being Cyclops’ team of X-Men. Weren’t they having roblems using their powers? Other than Emma obviously being weaker than previous power levels it was as if this little fact was tossed aside. I mean at one point in the first issue Cyclops is doing crazy stunts with his optic blasts that I’ve never seen him do before and yet he’s somewhat handicapped right now? Yeah, I’m not sure how that works.
– We were teased deaths before the crossover even began and the only people who ended up dying were all mutants from the future. Now I’m not saying that I wanted to see anyone from the present dying but don’t tease deaths in a crossover when the people dying are all characters we won’t see outside of said crossover.
– The artwork was a less than stellar at some points, mainly the two book ends to the crossover. It wasn’t too bad though, just thought it brought the story down a tiny bit.
– Something that annoyed me greatly was that in the future Dazzler becomes the first mutant president ever in the U.S. and is assassinated. This act is what drives several X-Men in the future to form their incarnation of the Brotherhood but at no point is it ever revealed who was behind actual assassination. Now this could be something that is revealed down the line as a ew members of the Brotherhood are still in the present but i would have rather found out now. Maybe it’s just some random fringe group that doesn’t matter, who knows!?
– “The Brotherhood took control of our weapons and caused them to fire on you to try and make us look bad. All your actions were in self defense but we are going to come in guns blazing anyway” I mean I love comics and all but it seems like in these big crossovers people lose the ability to sit down and discuss things. Though I will say the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. was building sentinels is a bit troubling on their behalf. Definitely doesn’t help their case.
This doesn’t encompass all of my pros and cons for the story but these were some of the standout things that came to mind. Overall the story is pretty straight forward and uses time travel in a way that isn’t too confusing to the reader. It’s an entertaining story arc, and quite possibly one of the better stories from the X-Men camp in recent years that sets up a change in the status quo for story lines to come. Even with it’s few flaws It’s worth checking out once it’s in trade or hardcover depending on your tastes.