Battle of the Atom Review: X-Men Battle of the Atom #1 by Brian Bendis and Frank Cho


X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Marte Gracia


The short of it:

Illyana Rasputin breaks a cardinal rule and travels to the future to see how the world winds up…and it is not pleasant. X-Men and Sentinels in full blown war. Back in the now the All-New X-Men are sitting around the cafeteria, Iceman wants a food fight, Scott and Jean don’t, and hey look, Professor K gets a warning from Cerebro. There’s a new mutant in Arizona and she is an angry psycho on a rampage! Here come the X-Men! They have to fight all sorts of monsters before Jean just digs into her head and broadcasts the girls origin to everyone and we find out that little Ms. Psycho was already in jail when she manifested! Anyway, in come the Sentinels! And these X-Men are way outclassed in terms of power, which means they go to the one thing they practiced….holding on to Kitty so she can phase them and keep them safe! Foolproof! Well, no, because it doesn’t take into account that Scott has a hero complex and wants to save people, and that Sentinels will blow the crap out of him for trying. Anyway, that’s when backup arrived.

The Uncanny X-Men. Scott, his team, their new mutants, Angel; the whole lot of them. Time for a good old fashioned team up to break the murderous robots and save the day! And how glorious it is, with everybody shining and kicking ass, and Eva shares a panel with Jean! Anyway, mutants win, robots lose, and Little Scott is all smiles before getting blasted in the back by a Sentinel. He dies. Straight up, dead, no breathing, future self vanishing, everything getting super shaky. They have no idea how fortunate they are that they picked up a healer, and that Christopher is able to bring Scott back which makes future Scott reappear as well. That’s when it all really settles in, the real ramifications of the Young X-Men hanging around in the present.

The X-Men at the Jean Grey School don’t even want to put it to a vote, they just want to ship the kids back in time and let past Xavier mind wipe the hell out of them. The kids aren’t happy, they want to make their own destinies and not be married to predetermined fates. They really fail to grasp that everything has already happened and that they don’t get a choice in the matter. So the time cube starts up, and all of the sudden a bunch of people step out.

The X-Men from the future…here to stop them from making a terrible mistake!


What I liked:

  • Maybe it’s because I just don’t notice Easter Eggs typically, but seeing Frank Cho slip in a girl reading Liberty Meadows was probably the best part of the issue. I mean, not the total best, but you know what I mean. Fan service that I understand for the win!

  • Scott Summers definitely knows how to make an entrance.

  • There was no reference at all made to Jean trying to get it on with Beast.

  • The shaky effects of time completely shattering around them when Little Scott almost died. Really cool visual effect, very nice touch.

  • I really like the designs for Future Hank and Bobby. Bobby is a super giant ice beast, and Hank is like, every kind of beast rolled into one. He’s got a horn!

  • I always give a lot of credit with the art choices on All-New X-Men for having a very similar style regardless of which artist is tasked with that issue. This issue credits Frank Cho and Stuart Immonen, and for the life of me, I can’t tell you who did which pages, just that the whole book is gorgeous and seamless. I want to guess Immonen did the last few pages?

  • Kitty is amazing. That is all.


What I didn’t like:

  • Kitty’s great master plan that she has taught her students is to have Jean make them all get into a pile with TK so she can phase them and not get hurt. Yep, that’s the best offensive game plan ever.

  • So the X-Kids just saw time start to shatter around them because Scott got killed, got LUCKY that Uncanny Scott has a super healer handy, and still think that they’re better off staying put in the future? Really?

  • And they manage to convince Wolverine that they’re right? WOLVERINE JUST SHATTERED TIME LAST MONTH! Ban his Canadian ass from messing with the time stream again.

  • Another Xorn? Nothing good ever happens when Xorn shows up! It’s the kiss of death for stories!


Final thoughts:

To be honest, across both of the big two, nobody does better crossovers than the X-Office. Book end one shots with the event itself spilling across every title in the line, with every creative team working towards one coherent narrative across multiple books. X-Tinction Agenda, X-Cutioner’s Song, Fatal Attractions, Onslaught, Messiah Complex, Second Coming. There is a proud history of successful crossovers within the X-Men family of books, and after one issue I feel like I’m reading one that is worthy of being on the list.

Magneto’s new look is still….not right, but at least he wound up with sleeves here. The look only works at all when he’s not bare armed old man Magneto.

I want to see the Jean Grey School food fight.

Animax, the new mutant on the rampage, was kinda lame, but it was refreshing to see someone already bad get powers and be bad, as opposed to someone just being completely overcome and turning out of nowhere. I mean, yes, this is the classic formula, but they really avoid that these days.

How many close calls does Kid Scott need to have before he realizes that Sentinels are going to kill him?

Man, I thought Eva was the most powerful one of Scott’s new mutants, but then Christopher goes and brings Kid Scott back to life? I think we’ve got a competition!

Where the hell was Gold Balls?! It’s not the Uncanny X-Men without GOLD BALLS!

Alright, finished! Now I can go read All-New X-Men!

Overall: 8.5/10

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