‘Battle Of The Atom’ continues to kick a whole lot of ass, and whilst I don’t think Chris Bachalo’s style is particularly suited to a story with so many characters to follow in big action scenes (I do like Bachalo, but at times this issue was confusing), the story from Bendis here was very well-written, and big, big stuff happened here.
We open with Cyclops’ team (the newbies were left behind) and the good future X-Men about to attack the Jean Grey school, only for the bad future X-Men to attack them, and for Raze, the Wolverine/Mystique hybrid to take off with OG Iceman and Beast. I do like how subtle the writers have been in this story about naming who the future X-Men are, we only find out their names when it’s necessary, like when we find out that the Sorcerer Supreme of the future is Wiccan from the Young Avengers. I fucking hate Wiccan as a character, but the fact that these details come up organically means that every issue of this crossover has a nice surprising moment of discovery at least, in amongst the other madness.
The battle begins in earnest, with Phoenix-Quire taking on the Ice Giant, and Magik and Colossus teaming up to fight Deadpool and Molly Hayes. I wonder what it was that caused Molly to go evil? Her role in this dystopian future is fascinating to me, perhaps it’s caused by Avengers Arena? Anywas, the Rasputins win, with Magik gutting Molly with her sword and teleporting Deadpool to a great height. Cyclops’ team come face to face with Evil Xavier, and he mind-controls Krakoa to eat them, whilst Jean-Xorn mind-controls Magik to try and make her kill herself. Colossus kills Xavier, freeing the Uncanny team, but then, the issue takes a very surprising turn.
The evil future X-Men have all of the original team together, and are about to send them back… but it doesn’t work. Raze goes back in disguise, and it works for him, but for some reason the Original Five can’t. The time-stream has been changed too much for them to safely return. It’s a great ending, and whilst the rules of time-travel make my brain hurt, it seems to make sense, as well as giving a good explanation for why these characters are sticking around after the crossover. The issue ends with the good X-Men confronting the bad X-Men, and oh man, it is on for the last 2 issues.
Bendis and Wood have done good work on this story, but now it’s time for Jason Aaron to wrap things up, I can’t wait. This was a decent issue, mainly because of how much happened in the fight and the deaths of some of the villains, but also in how it continued to drop little hints about the future. This is just a great story, and even Bachalo’s art being an awkward fit can’t derail that.