X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM PREVIEW

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September will bring us the onslaught of the latest X-family crossover, Battle of the Atom. It’s been about a year since Avengers Vs. X-Men, and we’ve had X-Terminated, Age of Ultron, Enemy Within, and concurrently, Infinity. Are you currently suffering from Chronic Crossover Fatigue Syndrome? Symptoms include:

  • Bored instead of excited when Wolverine shows up.
  • Fits of extreme violent anger when a character time travels.
  • Throwing the final issue of a crossover event across the room, because you can’t believe that you read all this stuff and THAT was the conclusion they came to.
  • Buying a long box and labeling it “Crap I bought that does not need to be reread,” and then actually filling it.

If you exhibit three or more of these symptoms, you may likely have CCFS. However, I do have good news. Battle of the Atom is actually going to be a game-changer, it’s going to be necessary reading, and it looks like a lot of fun.

September will bring us the launch book, X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1. The tale will cycle through All-New X-Men, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, and Wolverine & The X-Men through October, and then close with a second BOTA issue. That’s only ten issues, folks. I know I’m not the only one who can fill a shoebox with Avengers Vs. X-Men-related titles, and you Infinity fans are going to need an individualized container as well. BOTA’s story is going to have to move pretty quickly, considering all the character geography that those various books cover.  There won’t be time or space for filler issues.

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The main focus of Battle of the Atom seems to be realigning the central problem created by Hank “Beast” McCoy in All-New X-Men #1 when he time-jacked the original five X-Men early on in their careers and brought them to the present 616 universe. All-New X-Men was a scary jump for me as a fan, and a risky move for the writers, but it’s gone far beyond “The Way We Were” and has challenged the present-day team to face the reality and consequences of their decisions. Bendis and Immonen have made this the main title of the X-family. We also got Jean Grey back without having to bring her back from the dead again. Again. Kitty Pryde’s been mentoring the team, and Wolverine has done a marvelous job of not stabbing Scott Summers despite really thinking it over.  But with the Prime X-Men stuck in the present day, what was Beast’s exit strategy?  Well, he didn’t get around to that yet.

BOTA will bring new players to the table to solve this problem. A team from the future will arrive to make sure the displaced X-Men are sent back to the past where they belong.  There’s been much speculation online regarding the members of that team, and some fantastic Arthur Adams artwork, but nothing official yet about the roster. The remainder of the X-books will deal with the ramifications of having 2 (two) time-travel teams running around the 616 off leash.

X-Men is the youngest series and thus the least established.  This book focuses on the female members of the Jean Grey School, so I would infer that this title will stay focused on the events spinning out of that setting.  I still haven’t quite put my finger on what Wood and Coipel are aiming for with this title, but Coipel has my undivided attention after his work on AVX last year, specifically the splash page of issue #11. Having this book tie in to the other titles in a crossover will help cement its role in the X-family.

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Uncanny X-Men focuses on modern-day Cyclops’ post-Phoenix Force support group, letting us see how Magik, Emma Frost, and Magneto are doing now that the world hates and fears them again.  Most interestingly, young Prime Angel has defected to Cyclops’ team, so whatever efforts are undertaken to return the youngsters to the back issue bin will have to swing through Cyke’s Weapon X facility-turned-Professor X Memorial school and pick him up. Considering how open Scott has been to constructive criticism and directorial input lately, this is going to be a challenge.  Expect a throw down between Cyclops and the future team.  Here’s hoping more glorious paint work from Frazier Irving.

Lastly, the pleasantly schizophrenic Wolverine & The X-Men (What is “schizophrenic? Wolverine or the series, Wolverine & The X-Men?) will also focus on the events at the Jean Grey School, but include the perspective and exploits of everyone’s favorite Canadian (besides Geddy Lee). Wolverine has begrudgingly hosted the Prime team for the past few months, but he will likely be thrilled to get some help to get those damn kids off his lawn. The only variable is how Wolverine‘s “Killable” and Wolverine & The X-Men’s “Hellfire Saga” stories, running currently, will change the landscape before BOTA launches.  I’m happiest when Bachalo is providing the art for this series.

I’m very excited because of the fact  it’s been such a tumultuous time for the Children of the Atom, it’ll be nice to get some closure on these loops and see what results of so much buildup. You don’t need to save your pennies for this one, folks, just get to your shop September 4th and enjoy the show.

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About Author

Dana Gustafson

Dana Gustafson loves his wife and children, who tolerate him during moments leading up to writing articles like these. He has an unhealthy infatuation, despite proper medication, with horror movies, Marvel comics, and Westerns. He wishes you well.