Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: X-Men: Battle of the Atom

X-Men: Battle of the Atom is the kind of time-travel mess you can only get in comic books. Hank McCoy has brought the past X-Men forward to meet the current group and encourage them to regain their idealism. Unfortunately for him, instead of inspiring their older selves and going home, the group promptly split up, with Angel going to join Evil Cyclops and others opting to stay in the current school. Now, the X-Men from the future come back and claim that their younger selves have to go home at once. Current X-Men argue about whether or not the past folk should have a say in matters, past X-Men doing some more splitting up, and Future X-Men chasing everyone. Marie Hill gets to rant about Hank McCoy being the real loose canon among the mutants, all sorts of chaos and mayhem ensues, and there is great confusion amidst the ranks. It's crazy, it's fun, and this kind of merry mayhem one of the reasons I read comic books.

It's not perfect, but it is great fun, with tons of chronal chaos, misunderstandings, and mix-ups going on. Watching three Beasts interact, or seeing younger Iceman face not one, but ultimately three, versions of his future self makes for some fun character moments. And did I mention Hill's tirade? Just the sheer, unadulterated ridiculousness of the situation alone is worth reading for.

The various artists and writers between them do an excellent job of keeping the individuals distinctive. There were a lot of people to track, but they were easy to track: I never found myself stopping and wondering "Now who was that again?" Ok, I did, but only for some of the really, really minor bystanders in the back--and one of them asks the same question, so that's ok.

The not perfect part? I am afraid I'm getting a little tired of "the-world-that-hates-and-fears-them," which is pretty much the X-Men's primary characteristic, and while that was not the central point of the issue, which focused primarily on the aforementioned chronal troubles, it did come up more than once. Unfortunately, this means I may have to bow out of the X-books entirely fairly soon, which would be sad. I may be intermittent in my following now, but the X-books were my first entry into comic books. Also, I'm still not really buying Evil Cyclops, especially because I've read the whole story, which involved more contrivances than I can swallow. Still and all, I enjoyed the volume, and I'm glad Beast brought the past people forward, even if Maria Hill is not.

The book will primarily appeal to people who already have some working knowledge of the X-verse, I think. There are a few to many versions of a few too many people running around for it to be an easy entry point.

Publication Information
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Wood, Jason Aaaron
Artists: Frank Cho ,Stuart Immonen , David López , Chris Bachalo, Esad Ribic, Giuseppe Camuncoli , Arthur Adams
Published: January 21st 2014 by Marvel
ISBN: 0785189068 (ISBN13: 9780785189060)

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