We’re on Part 5 of Battle Of The Atom already, and man, things are heating up, especially as this is the first issue of the story written by Jason Aaron. I’m a huge fan of Aaron and was interested to see how well he would mesh the comedic tone of this book with the serious nature of this epic crossover. The answer is of course that he nailed it.
I loved the opening of this issue, we were going into it expecting an epic cosmic battle between Jean-Xorn and Emma Frost, and we do get that, only to our eyes, they are just standing still. I loved this depiction of a psychic battle, because it’s all in the mind, we can’t see it. We do eventually get to see it, but I probably would have preferred it if the psychic characters had just spent the whole issue stood there in silence. But I suppose the final stages of the fight needed us to have some visual. In the end, Young Jean wins the fight against her future self, but she also loses, as she gets a vision of the future, and realises that, yep, the future is horrible and that they really should go back. Throw in a surprisingly impassioned speech from Future Deadpool, where he almost commits suicide, and it looks like everything’s sorted right? Nope, because Deadpool’s speech was all a lie, and the future doesn’t seem to be anything like what the Future X-Men told us.
Magik takes Young Iceman and Beast on a trip to the future, and what they find is very interesting indeed. It doesn’t seem very dystopian at all, in fact, the Jean Grey School is going strong as ever, and the X-Men even have the Sentinels on their side. They then run in to another team of future X-Men, who seem to be lead by a guy in an Iron Man costume, and also contain a Phoenixed-up Quentin Quire, what looks like a cross between X-23 and Jubilee, what is either Cloak or The Hood, a girl riding a Black Cat (is it the little Wakandan girl from the FF?), some kind of Ice-Gandalf (has Iceman split in half?) anf best of all, Colossus with an awesome handlebar moustache. So what’s the deal here? Has there been yet another ‘schism’ in the future? Are the people who have been claiming to be the future X-Men actually the future Brotherhood? What is the deal? Aargh, so many questions!
I love how hooked I am by this story, and how I’m just reverted to wanting more and more. Giuseppe Camuncoli stepped in on the art here, and did a good job, I’ve been a fan of his ever since he and Joe Casey did The Intimates (it’s where the username ‘Punchy’ comes from FYI) and he manages, like Aaron to do good, classic superhero stuff, but also with a comedic side to it. As I said, this issue did find space for some of that traditional W&XM humour, like Future-Deadpool recognising Goldballs as a legend and Iceman and Beast leaving Baby Shogo in the hands of Broo. Just all around great stuff, this crossover is so much fun, and it’s always keeping me guessing. Back over to you Bendis!