Uncanny X-Men #13

by Tori B. on October 17, 2013

Wolverine was right, Psylocke is conceding to the fact that they just might not be okay, and future Jean Grey looks like she’s getting exactly what she wants. Things aren’t looking too good as we head into Uncanny X-Men #13, Part 8 of Battle of the Atom.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis | Artists: Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, & Marte Gracia
Cover: Ed McGuinness & Marte Gracia | Publisher: Marvel
It’s the eighth installation of Battle of the Atom, and as we get closer to the end, it’s picking up in both confusion and intensity. So far Battle of the Atom’s pacing seems better and compared to recent events has done the best to keep a reader engaged despite it’s potentially lackluster plot. Not to say that the plot is certainly lackluster, but time travelling and X-Men is something many of us have seen before so it certainly has the potential at any moment to fall flat. The shared authorship between Bendis, Aaron, and Wood has certainly prevented the flow of the storytelling from becoming too dry so now that we’re back to Bendis on Uncanny, it still tells the same story, but still unique from the X-Men title from the previous week.
It’s confusing, certainly that’s what Bendis intended as he decided to do yet another time traveling story, but it’s better executed this time around, and has a reader struggling to decide who’s right and who are the good guys—and if future Jean Grey and Beast aren’t the good guys, what the hell happened to them. It opens a lot of questions and leaves a reader craving to know more, which is a brilliant strategy in hopes that it opens doors for future X-Men comics and plot lines (we’ll see). But it’s effective in pulling all sorts of X-Men characters into the fold so we’ll see readers on both sides, whether they’re classic fans and want to see Jean and Beast and Xavier succeed or we’ll have newer fans who are rooting for Jubilee, Phoenix (Quentin Quire), Colossus, and Wiccan be the ones to take Jean and company down.
There’s certainly more than what meets the eye in this issue and there are layers of intrigue being built up, in hopes that by the time we reach issue ten, it’ll be a huge surprise (once again, we’ll see).
It’s not a perfect curtain of mystery around all these future characters and some get lost in the confusion, like Molly Hayes for example. We haven’t seen much of her since the beginning of the event and she returns only to kick the crap out of Colossus, which is awkward to see because the Molly we know from the Runaways idolizes the X-Men and while it looks like she’s clearly been through a lot, we haven’t had enough exposure to this future Molly, to truly grasp where she’s coming from and as much as I adore her character, she feels wholly unnecessary to the plot and any other character could have easily been thrown in.
Bendis seems to struggle a bit with dialogue, with Jean in particular, having her swear and usual casual slang when under duress, which seems off and breaks the reader out of the moment temporarily, but his build up in story makes up for it and by the end it’s easy to just want the next issue already.
Though there are criticisms for Bendis’ writing, there are none for the art. Bachalo is on top form, especially with Townsend on inks (as they continue to draw my favourite rendition of Quentin), and Gracia’s colours make each page pop beautifully.
Part 8 is a fairly solid issue of Battle of the Atom, and hopefully they can continue to hold onto this momentum as we get to the final two issues.

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