So here it is, the end of the 10-part weekly X-Men event that has consumed the X-Men books all autumn long. Centring on X-Men from the past, present and future coming together to beat the living shit out of each other, the event was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the X-Men. You can find my reviews of the first eight chapters here. Spoilers for the whole series will follow.
Wolverine and the X-Men #37 (Part 9)
Battle for the Atom has shown significant lag in several chapters before, there have been a few high points but you really have to wonder if ten parts were really necessary for the event as a whole?
With the reveal that the X-Men from the past can’t be sent back for some reason, the brotherhood move onto their plan B, taking them to the site of the X-Men’s first battle with Magneto right back in the first ever X-Men comic. The combined might of all the X-Men teams from the past, present and future come together to take down the six members of the brotherhood, although there is little evidence to suggest that the odds of six to one are necessary. There isn’t much plot to be had here beyond some hints at the future and lots of fighting. Then S.H.I.E.L.D. arrive and everything goes to shit in a spectacular fashion, setting up the final chapter.
Giuseppe Camuncoli does a reasonably good job on art duties, keeping the characters true to form and distinctive enough that you can easily tell who is who in a crowd, even with multiple versions of the same character on display. The fight scenes are quite dynamic, with a genuine flow to them. Some scenes are stronger than overs however, with many panels lacking the detail he gives at other times. A bit of consistency in the detail could have helped to make this a stronger comic overall.
For the penultimate chapter of a big event, this issue doesn’t give much hope for the conclusion, feeling like filler as a whole.
X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2 (Part 10)
This issue picks up right from the end of chapter 9, with future Jean/Xorn unleashing all of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s missiles on their heads. The battle between all the teams still carries on amongst the missiles and sentinels, showings the same fights we’ve seen for this entire event, which now feel tired. The addition of sentinels does at first seem to spice things up a little but they only exist to take out a few of the future X-Men, as obviously the present ones aren’t going to get hurt in the slightest.
The conflict eventually boils down to just Xorn, with first Cyclops and Wolverine teaming up to take her on. I thought this might be the beginning of the end for their silly little split, with Xorn herself making it clear that their arguing is doing irreparable damage to the X-Men. The power of Xorn is well represented through her tearing through these two very powerful mutants. These leads to her fighting the original X-Men, with one panel being a great parallel of the first X-Men issue’s cover, with Xorn standing in for Magneto.
I can’t quite figure out what they were going for with Xorn’s powers however. Its made clear that she isn’t carrying the Phoenix, yet her powers mirror those of the Phoenix greatly with devastating fire coming with her telekinetic powers. There is clearly something wrong with her powers and from what I can gather the reason we have never seen this before is that being Jean Grey doesn’t exactly give you a long rich life.
The artwork moves between being excellent and a bit shoddy. Unfortunately it starts with shoddy with many of the characters looking off, making it very hard to figure out who is who. There is a scene on the fourth page where I honestly couldn’t figure out who a character was meant to be, a later scene makes it clear that it is Kitty but you wouldn’t know from looking. On the other hand the battle of Xorn versus Cyclops and Wolverine looks spectacular. The full page of Xorn exploding is a powerful image and had we been given any reason to care about this version of Jean it could have been quite touching, as it is it’s pretty but doesn’t carry the weight it’s meant to.
In the aftermath of the battle we are presented with a series of epilogues seemingly designed to set up each X-book for the months coming forward. Essentially Scott and Logan still hate each other (really just kiss and make up already boys!) and Storm’s daughter from the future is sticking around to try and track down the remaining brotherhood members. The biggest development to come out of the whole event is that Kitty Pryde is leaving with the past X-men to join Cyclop’s faction, over one disagreement that she has epicly blown out of proportion even breaking up with Iceman over it.
Taking the event as a whole you really have to wonder why it needed to exist at all, for its ten chapters we definitely haven’t got ten comic’s worth of content and it has really changed very little. It was advertised as bringing an end to the time-travelling original X-Men storyline but that is still very much going on, hell apparently they can’t leave even if they wanted to. All we really gained is knowing that the X-Men are on the path to a very bad future and honestly when aren’t they?