Review: Battle of the Atom #2
When a comic event ends, the publisher would like the reader to have a renewed/further interest in the characters, and hope that they want to see more of them. After Battle of the Atom, I want to throw the book against a wall in frustration instead of read more X-Men books.
Let’s start off with something that has been plaguing this event like crazy. The credits on the front don’t 100% match what goes on in the book. Jason Aaron’s name is not on the cover, but he writes roughly 65% of the book. Frank Cho is listed on art, but his pencils are nowhere to be found. The only thing Marte Garcia does in this issue is color the cover. Wow.
The story is an absolute mess, with Aaron trying to find a reason for this event to have taken place. Eventually, he brings up homage to Uncanny X-Men #1, the original X-Men issue. It feels tacked on and shoehorned into the story to somehow justify that Battle of the Atom is a celebration of the X-Men franchise. This event ends up being everything that can go wrong with the X-Men as a franchise. Crazy time traveling stories that have little to no effect on the ongoing story point, and waste the reader’s time and money. The plethoras of epilogues scramble to find some lasting effects for this, but they end up being out of left field and leave a bitter taste in their mouth. And I already have a few bitter tastes from this event’s previous issues. The epilogues also act as a road with four forks in it, directing readers towards each of the main X-books. But since only one of the epilogues deals with any plot development in a book, they feel superfluous and unnecessary.
Jason Aaron does do a few things right though. There are a few points of brevity, and most of the characters keep their distinctive voices throughout the battle. Emma Frost ends up becoming a complete bitch to Storm, when she has been on a small road of redemption in Uncanny X-Men. It seems out of place and completely unrelated to what is going on during a battle. Brian Wood’s few pages are the best written of the bunch. Jubilee talking to her son is heartfelt, tender, and finds a tiny reason for this event to exist.
The artwork is all over the place. Esad Ribic and Giuseppe Camuncoli pencil the main part of the book, while Andrew Currie and Tom Palmer complete the images on finishes. While Ribic’s pencils largely look the same, Camuncoli’s look beyond rushed. What’s worse, the two artists’ styles don’t mesh well. They feel like two halves of two completely different wholes. Stranger, the artwork goes from Ribic, to Camuncoli, and back to Ribic for a page. This creates a crazy change in feel of the book, making them wonder what mess happened at Marvel while this issue was being made. The inks on Camuncoli’s pencils give his characters an ugly look. He needs light inks, with thin lines for his pencils to shine (see this week’s Superior Spider-Man #20). Chris Bachalo and Stuart Immonen pencil the best looking pages of the book. Sadly they are the final few. If Marvel had picked artists that had the free time to devote the effort needed to cap off an event, the art might have been a saving grace. Instead, it’s just adding insult to injury.
Bottom line, Battle of the Atom didn’t need to happen. It crashed into the ongoing plot points that were a blast to read, and derailed them in some cases. With Marvel doing a bang up job on Infinity, it’s frustrating to see them butchering an event like Battle of the Atom.
Battle of the Atom #2 gets 1.5/5.