Uncanny X-Men #12

by Tori B. on September 18, 2013

Chapter 4 of Battle of the Atom gets a little intense as everyone continues to argue with each other; past Jean Grey has called upon the help of present Cyclops’ current team of X-Men, but even as a team they’re not entirely cohesive it seems.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis | Artists: Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, & Marte Gracia
Cover: Arthur Adams & Peter Steigerwald | Publisher: Marvel
At the end of chapter 3, young Jean called on the Uncanny X-Men team for help as she ran away from her future self, whether or not that turned out to be a good idea is still up in the air.
It’s an event and it’s been planned out to last for a total of 10 issues. Some of those issues aren’t going to move the plot forward in an attempt to drag the event out, that’s how events are, and this issue is one of them. We start with a look at S.H.I.E.L.D. and how they’re coming to term with what’s happening, and what we get is Maria Hill complaining for two pages about how much she hates Dr. Henry McCoy.  Then there’s a recap on essentially everything that has happened up to this point as Scott’s group of ragtag mutants need to play catch-up with what’s going on. It fills up a couple more pages, and there’s a couple good moments for Emma and Stepford Triplet fans as they return to being their sassy selves. Through all this, the most spectacular moment happens as Illyana ollies out in a rather dramatic fashion, which is to say it’s one of the most exciting things that happens this issue.
 The rest of the issue continues as everyone (from every timeline) bickers as to whether the X-Men from the past should be going home or not. It’s almost as if the last chapter of Battle of the Atom didn’t happen. Admittedly for someone who never picks up the X-Men run and only Uncanny X-Men, it’s a good way for them to catch up, but given the premise of the event, it’d be fair to assume that most are following along for all ten issues as they happen. We’ve already seen Kitty argue with Storm and Wolverine, future Jean and Xavier have made it clear what their mission is, we know past Angel wants to go back, and it’s not like we haven’t seen Emma or Magneto admonish Scott before. It’s a lot of the same thing we’ve seen, and really the whole point of this issue feels like filler to get us toward the last (maybe last two) page(s) in which it’s finally built up into something exciting and worthy of X-Men event caliber.
Bachalo’s art is on top form though, and every page looks like a beautiful spread. In collaboration with Townsend who seems to ink in a way that brings out the best of Bachalo’s compositions—which are stunning, that bit with Illyana is really gorgeous, alright. There’s a lot of character focus with closeups as opposed to action panels and it gives shine to his ability to actually draw faces and expressions, each character is distinct from one another (when Uncanny first started Illyana and Emma were nearly indistinguishable now it’s easy to tell them apart). And of course to top it all off, Gracia’s vibrant and saturated colouring makes it a pleasure to look at as well.
This issue doesn’t really bring anything new to Battle of the Atom, but a personal attachment to the characters from any X-Men fan will make it a entertaining enough read.

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