Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review - X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1

Review by Paul Steven Brown

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Frank Cho w/ Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Garcia
Lettering: Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Art Adams

Another year... another X-Men crossover event. To be fair, last year's Avengers vs. X-Men was considered a company-wide crossover, but it certainly leaned heavy on mutant mythos and had rather large implications for the X-Men franchise. While that event and 2011's Schism shook things up for the mutant universe, Battle of the Atom seems, at least at the beginning, a far more subtle approach.

Though Battle of the Atom continues the tradition of linking chapters through four different ongoing series (plus two book end issues), Marvel has dialed the exercise down to a two month program; fairly digestible and quick, comparably. This could help avoid those place-holding second month of the event issues that usually kill the momentum of some recent event such as Second Coming.

For the most part, X-Men: Battle for the Atom #1 reads like a regular issue of All New X-Men. This is understandable, given that Brian Bendis, the writer of that series (as well as Uncanny X-Men) is steering the script here. This isn't a problem for me, given that I have been mostly pleased (in some cases very pleased) with his work on All New and Uncanny. If you've enjoyed his recent work with the mutants, you will more than likely continue to with this opening chapter.

I don't want to get to heavy into plot points - not that any huge moments happen; however, there is one moment that may garner some attention. Particularly, if you have your own set beliefs on how time travel works. We're talking Butterfly Effect vs. Hugh Everett III territory. Personally, I'm in the camp with E's dad and Schrodinger's Cat, but your mileage may vary. I bring this up because Marvel's handling of the implications of time travel has been wonky as of late (especially given the fact there should be two Logans and Sue Storms running around given the unfolding of Age of Ultron). I'll just have to see how this one plays out.

The art is supplied mostly by Frank Cho (Stuart Immonen is called in to finish the last four or so pages, but their styles aren't too dissimilar and will probably go unnoticed by most readers). As per usual, Cho draws facial expressions superbly and handles the action sequences reasonably well. Now we get to look forward to new artist per chapter, but that usually doesn't bother me, if kept contained to one artist per issue.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 doesn't kick open the door with dynamic flash. It certainly doesn't seem geared at attracting new readers. This just feels like the start of an interesting X-Men story that just happens to be crossing over through four separate series. I just hope that my interest will be sustained through the remaining nine chapters.

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