Review: Battle of the Atom #1
It’s a packed time in the Marvel Universe. With Infinity blowing everything up, you’d think Marvel would want to focus on that. But they start another event this week, with Battle of the Atom. It’s not the best start to an event, but it looks to be fun.
Time traveling has been a common plot point in the X-Men universe, and it’s used here again. Naturally, the displaced X-Men are the main focus. While the sense of immediacy is there, especially with Cyclops, the entire event feels forced. Without going too much into spoilers, didn’t anyone think of this problem before? Especially when you have a certifiable genius in Beast, and his younger self working on the problem? Training them is one thing, but you can’t develop them to come into the field and then have one little scratch keep them from ever doing it again. The entire situation crates a nice homage to the Dark Phoenix Saga, but that is one of the few good things in this forced set up. But it seems like Battle of the Atom is going to be a fun event overall. It creates a bit of a continuity problem, as where does this take place in compared to Paul Cornell’s Wolverine title, and Infinity. We’ve seen the X-Men fighting in Infinity.
Brian Michael Bendis’ seems to have shaken the problem of making everyone’s voices sound the same. Every character, even where there are multiple versions of almost everyone in the panel. It can get confusing, but the slight changes in the dialogue keep it from being boring. The character work is fantastic. Bendis has been killing it on All-New X-Men, so it’s no surprise that the plethora of X-Men in one place worked out well for him. There is plenty of humor, and most of the jokes land. Bendis’ humor seems to have improved since leaving the Avengers titles. The last page reveal isn’t as surprising as Marvel was hoping for, but it brings up plenty of questions for the X-Men to figure out.
Frank Cho takes scare of most of the pencils, and they are detailed as always. Leave it to Bendis to create a mutant who has the ability to make dinosaurs (a specialty for Cho). Characters are expressive, and the action flows well. Yes, every woman has double Ds for boobs, but that’s par for the course for him. Cyclops lives up to his nickname “Slim” with Cho. Although Cho adds some muscle definition to Cyclops, which makes him more imposing. Stuart Immonen fills in for the last few pages, which seems surprising. Cho hasn’t released anything in the past few months, so why couldn’t he finish a normal sized issue? Immonen’s work seems slightly rushed, but thankfully doesn’t impact All-New X-Men. Wade Von Grawbadger is his usual awesomeness on colors.
Battle of the Atom isn’t the worse way to start an event. It may be forced, but Bendis and crew (Brian Wood, Jason Aaron, and Paul Cornell) have a lot of room to have some fun with what happens.
Battle of the Atom #1 gets 3.5/5.
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