Battle of the Atom Review: Uncanny X-Men #12 by Brian Bendis and Chris Bachalo


Uncanny X-Men #12

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Mark Irwin, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba, Al Vey, and Marte Gracia


The short of it:

S.H.I.E.L.D. is just finding out that there are even more time travelers at the Jean Grey School and Maria Hill is PISSED! Entirely at Beast! Because he just does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and isn’t even Wolverine about it. He’s breaking time-space and she’s supposed to be in charge of the law, and she hates that man for the things he puts her through. Anyway, that’s enough about her, when we last saw any X characters Kid Scott and Kid Jean had run to Utopia to meet up with the Uncanny X-Men! There are all kinds of questions from the new kids, and the Cuckoo’s pick up where they left off several issues ago with the mocking of Jean, but Emma makes a suggestion and they go with it, and telepathy gives everyone an info dump to get caught up on everything but the true identity of Xorn.

Yana reveals that she’s met them all before, and then promptly bails. Scott and Jean explain that they want to stay and build a new future, and it’s up to Adult Scott and company to decide. A few miles away it’s also up to Kitty and Rachel to bitch out the X-Men. See, they want the kids to be allowed to make their own decisions because it’s hypocritical to spend so much time and effort fighting for freedom and peoples rights to be who they want to be, but to throw them back and doom them to their fates. Storm shoots this down by saying that they’re obviously just grieving over Xavier and that they need to hurry up and fix the past so they can stop grieving. Or something. Wolverine is with Storm on this, though he adds in “Blame Hank” and then Storm reaffirms that Kitty is obviously grieving, because you can’t forget that. But then Future Xavier hears something.

Back at Utopia Scott is making his choice about the kid versions of him and his dead wife, and the kids are explaining it to each other/the reader before finally deciding….he’s going to help them. For the same reasons Kitty rationalized, actually, but Emma gets catty. She attacks Scott’s ego and his love for his dead wife and says that those are the real reasons for this. Then Magneto jumps in and tells Scott that he’s still grieving over Xavier, and Emma agrees with him, and then Angel agrees! Don’t forget, he wanted to go home from the start but was forced to stay, so he’s all about send them back with mindwipes and call it a day. Unfortunately, he gets shut up too. The X-Men are here, and Xorn has shut down everyone so that she can capture Jean.

Unfortunately for her, Emma Frost knows exactly who is behind that metal Xorn mask, and she’s been looking for a way to beat down Jean ever since they buried her.

The message boards will love this.


What I liked:

  • Maria’s rant was the perfect way to start the issue. Hank McCoy has done horrible awful things in the name of science and the only true outcome is that she has a gigantic headache. He keeps abusing the space-time continuum, and she keeps having to try and clean up, and she HATES him for it, and it’s awesome. He’s driving her insane.

  • The Cuckoo’s on what it’s like in Magik’s mind. “Yeah, uh, you do not go into her head. Ever.” “It is dark and scary. Like Wolverine scary.” “But more demonic.”

  • Actually, the Cuckoo’s as a whole. Bendis has completely reinvented Emma’s girls for the better. They’ve gone from being the creepy deus ex plot device telepaths of the X-Men to actually being three worthwhile characters on their own merit. I still can’t tell two of them apart, but the combination has managed to bring the funny on a consistent basis ever since they stopped just finishing each other’s sentences.

  • Emma’s psychoanalysis of Scott was spot on. It’s all ego with him right now, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s nice to see someone point it out without calling him a terrorist.

  • Bendis always tries to bring the funny when he writes, this is news to nobody. The biggest difference between his X-Men work and, say, his Avengers work, is that the jokes don’t feel forced on X-Men. With Avengers it was a bunch of square pegs trying to go through the round joke holes (wow, that’s an awful way to put it), but with X-Men…it just works. Even Maria Hill pulls off being funny in the context of the X-Men when the stick in her ass during Bendis’s run on Avengers was immeasurable.

  • X-Men crossover style event. So good. Expectations more than exceeded.

  • You can never go wrong with Chris Bachalo, even if the army of inkers he brought along for the ride indicates that this book was behind schedule. Five different people inked this book and it at no point feels rushed. Doug Mahnke is the same way. Awesome artists.


What I didn’t like:

  • Wow, it’s like the theme of this issue was “Tell someone that they’re still grieving for Xavier”. I’ve seen nobody mention it yet, and then we have this issue where anyone that supports the Kid X-Men hanging out must obviously not be coping well with the Professor’s death. Really? I’d blame this grandson of Xavier and telepathy, but Magneto gets in on it too and his helmet is supposed to block him from it.

  • Magneto’s helmet vanishes and reappears a few times between panels. It’s kinda weird.

  • I hate Storm. Not even just in this book, where she is horrible, but I’ve hated her for a bit now. She’s awful here, awful in All-New, awful in Wolverine and the X-Men, and awful in X-(Wo)Men). Oh, and Uncanny X-Force which I just couldn’t tolerate anymore, one part writing, most parts the hideous art. And this mohawk is even worse! She’s rocking a counter culture haircut while also happening to be the face of the establishment. Does nobody else see how backwards that is?


Final thoughts:

It’s really, REALLY, easy to forget that Emma doesn’t have control over her telepathy.


Of course Warren, who I complained about not being used enough early and often, finally gets a moment in this issue only to get mind frozen in the middle of it.

Xean is a bitch, and it’s confusing. Why beat your younger self senseless? We’ve already seen Scott vanish when his younger self got axed, so isn’t she literally just hurting herself? Also, how sketchy is that?

Grandson Xavier is the most obvious wolf in sheep’s clothing I’ve seen in ages, so watch me be wrong about that.

Eva had a few good lines, but not nearly enough exposure. Obviously there was too much going on to really dig in on the New X-Men Scott has recruited, but I feel the need to mention my favorite member of the team just because.

The ending is just great. Emma signals the X-Men so they can get rid of Scott and Jean, which is perfectly Emma, but then she realizes that Xorn is Jean (Xean) and just wants to beat the piss out of her. Of course, this fight is going to be most intriguing because it’s a battle of the psychics with Jean against….the Stepford Sisters. Again, already said this, but Emma doesn’t have the control to hold her own against any version of Jean right now, but with her girls supplying everything she can’t? The next issue can not come out soon enough.

In the battle of fall events, Battle of the Atom is the clear winner. This is what X-Men crossovers are all about, you take the ongoing books, have them flow into each other, and let the entire creative line up tell their share. There’s no lead writer bringing their singular voice to the story that was already decided as being too big for just one book, so the end result is that you get a variety of tones that just make the final product that much better. I’ve read Bendis events, and I’ve not liked many of them, but taking part in an X-Men crossover lets him do exactly what he does best and just tell his story without telling everyone’s story. Go back in time, look at the big list, the only bad X-Men events are the ones that wound up in mini-series form, like Schism.

Damnit, why can’t Marvel give me two issues in one week again! I need my fix!


Overall: 9/10

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