Part 4 of ‘Battle Of The Atom’, and whilst this issue was mostly just talking, it was Bendis-talk, which I love, and hey, when you think about it, it’s actually a refreshing change of pace for characters in a superhero crossover to just stop and talk about what’s going on. I imagine both Civil War and AvX could all have been sorted if Iron Man, Captain America and later Cyclops had just stopped to chat!
This issue opens with a very funny scene where Maria Hill is once again exasperated by the actions of the X-Men, and Beast in particular. I loved seeing Hill get all pissed off, and how both Dazzler and Agent Coulson reacted to her. Now imagine if the X-Men somehow do blow up the Moon in this story, how great would that be?
We then get back into the meat of things, with OG Cyclops and Jean Grey looking for asylum with Present-Day Cyclops and his team. This was all a bit recap-tacular, but it was necessary, and since it’s Bendis, all of the dialogue shone. I especially liked the reactions of the newer characters in the margins, those characters are obviously not major parts of this story, but they are still cool. I also liked the increasingly disturbing Magik’s role here, she is one messed-up lady.
We then go back to the other X-Men and the Future dudes, as Kitty and Rachel Grey are taken to task for allowing Scott and Jean to escape. Its looking increasingly likely that the Future X-Men are up to some seriously shady mental manipulation here, and the writers of this story are being subtle about it, but it’s there, notice that both Storm and Magneto tell someone that they are ‘still greaving the loss of Xavier’, pretty much the exact same words, that, in my mind, were definitely planted there by either Xavier Jr or Jean-Xorn. Present-Day Cyclops decides to help his younger self, and whilst there most definitely are some creepy undertones to that decision, I think he’s right to, the Future X-Men are up to no good. Of course, at the end, they show up, and it looks like next issue will feature a showdown between Emma Frost and Jean-Xorn. Emma said the message boards will love this, and guess what… she’s right!
This story has continued to be very enjoyable, even with more slower-paced issues like this one, as I’ve said before, so much of what has made the X-Titles good for the past year is that the conflicts are not just physical, but philosophical, about who says what, and this issue continued that, only on a larger scale.
Chris Bachalo’s art was great as usual, the only problem with it was the plethora of inkers, which did give the book a bit of a mish-mashed feel, but his pencils are strong enough and distinctive enough to avoid that problem. We’ve now seen what Bendis and Wood are bringing to this story, next week sees Jason Aaron’s turn, I can’t wait to see what he and his glorious beard do.