Battle of the Atom #2

by Tori B. on October 30, 2013

X-Men have been around for 50 years and with Battle of the Atom coming to an end, here’s to another 50 years of drama, action, and laughs. The final chapter is action packed and sets up the next journey for mutant kind.
Writer: Jason Aaron, Brian Wood, & Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Esad Ribic,  Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrew Currie, Tom Palmer, Ive Svorcina, Andres Mossa, Matt Milla, Kristohper Anka, Chris Bachalo, Mark Irwin, Victor Olazba, Stuart Immonen & Wade von Grawbadger
Cover: Ed McGuinness & Marte Gracia
Publisher: Marvel

Here’s the magic of the final chapter of Battle of the Atom, it encompasses pretty much every emotion that an X-Men fan will have gone through throughout however long they’ve been a fan and it jams all that into one issue. It’s gimmick-y in an effective way to have everything fall apart at the very same place everything was built together.
50 years ago, five young teens teamed up with another because they were born with special abilities. Using their abilities, they defeated a man who was like them but used his powers in a destructive way. All throughout the way their wise Professor who preached peace mentored them. Now, in the same place where this uncanny team dubbed the X-Men had formed itself and became the base foundation for many variations of X-Men teams to come, everything fell apart. Talk about legacy.
Opening to just the first page felt amazing. The astonishment on every character’s face leapt from the pages and it hits you that this is the end. Not the end of the X-Men, but the end of an era, and this immediate sense of alarm hits when you realize that everything’s about to change. It’s both terrifying and thrilling.
It’s all the X-Men past, present, and some future against the Brotherhood—classic X-Men story telling at its best. While SHIELD is indeed there, and shooting at the X-Men, it’s revealed that Maria Hill has little ill intentions towards actually harming the X-Men though through Xavier’s manipulation certain aspects of SHIELD towards mutants are revealed and definitely need to be dealt with later on. It’s not all fun and games on this battlefield, lives are lost and some have close calls with losing their grip on reality. It get’s pretty intense, but thanks to Bobby’s presence it’s not overwhelming and still littered with laughs.
A perfect conflict of feelings between all variations on our original 5, it’s easy to revile the Brotherhood and what these characters may become (I found myself shouting that I knew all along that Jean Grey was crazy and no one should have ever trusted her) but then we have these young and bright X-Men back when they were a little bit more naïve and it’s hard to be optimistic that maybe these kids will turn out alright. There are some things the Brotherhood got right though. Jean’s rant at Scott and Logan has been a long time coming and accurately summarizes that last few years of the X-Men, whether this realization over the toxicity of the Schism changes things or not is a whole other matter. For another contrast, to see mini Xavier shout “To me, my Brotherhood!” gets at ones nerves and rubs at you uncomfortably, but sends the point across perfectly that this isn’t the same X-Men story anymore.
We’re beyond the days of 5 young teens sparring with Magneto and into something far more complex, as we see with some big reveals and twists that occur in the epilogues.
The main story itself is incredibly action-packed with a lot of things happening and a lot of shouting and it’s fairly fast paced. It’s a constant page turner and readers may find themselves holding their breath at some points. With Esad Ribic and Giuseppe Camuncoli holding up the art, the story telling is never confusing and flows perfectly. This also chalks up to Jason Aaron who writes with impeccable pacing.
To add to the major story that Battle of the Atom has already presented us, there are also 4 mini epilogues that follow to set up what happens next for all the X-Men titles. Each of the epilogues has a unique touch to them, reminiscent of their respective titles. It's also an impressive display of the amalgamation of talent that the X-Books have with writers like Aaron, Wood, and Bendis, as well as artists like Camuncoli, Anka, Bachalo, and Immonen. It looks like “Professor Wolverine” isn’t stopping anytime soon (nor is he about to make amends with Cyclops anytime soon either), Jubilee has a bright light in her future, one that won’t harm her, and certainly something Amazing to be coming up.
Battle of the Atom left a lot of unanswered questions, (I’m still struggling with wrapping my head around what exactly happened to get Hank and Jean especially, of the future to turn into the Brotherhood. And whatever happened to Molly?!?) but it was a story told well enough to entertain and appease any X-Men fan and get them excited for what’s to come.

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