Saturday, September 28, 2013

Review: X-Men - Battle of the Atom Part 3

So far behind…I don’t know what it is? I just can’t seem to sit down and review this stuff. Check out the reviews of Part One and Two

Anyway we’re now at part 3 of X-Men: Battle of the Atom. Last time we got the huge reveal of the new female Xorn actually being an adult Jean Grey, who look far too young to be from the future. Oh and also she’s alive, which is only odd when you remember in the present she’s supposed to be dead.

 Actually Jean Grey is not dead in the present, despite what her fellow X-Men believe. She was indeed killed by Xorn Pretending to Be Magneto Pretending to be Xorn in the storyline Planet X however she immediately was resurrected in the following storyline, Here Comes Tomorrow, in the future (time travel again?!) where she fully merges with the Phoenix Force becoming the White Phoenix of the Crown and eventually evolving to a higher plane of existence. I think somewhere in there she came back to the present.

No, I don’t know what the f**k I just wrote either.

We’ve seen the Phoenix since then; in Avengers vs. X-Men obviously the Phoenix Force was central to the plot but never once did Jean Grey as the White Phoenix come up. Furthermore the Phoenix was destroyed at the end of the storyline which is very confusing considering what we know about Jean Grey. As of this writing I have only read up to part four of Battle of the Atom so right now I don’t know if they’ve explained exactly what’s going on with this version of Jean or her connection to the Phoenix, so any confusing aspects of all this might be expertly explained in the future. For now I don’t know what the shit is going on.

...and yet Marvel won't ever bring Gwen Stacy back to life
I will make a bold prediction: the Jean Grey posing as Xorn will turn out not to be the one who died during Planet X but instead turn out to be the time displaced teenage Marvel Girl as an adult and she’s essentially trying to keep herself from making a horrifying mistake in the present. It’s just a guess and I can, and probably will, easily be wrong here.

Full review after the jump.

Pictured (Right to Left): Rogue, Bumbles, Storm, Old Man Beast, and 
"Kill 'Em All" McGillicutty

For the record this is a review of X-Men (Vol. 3) #5 which was written by Brian Wood with art by David López (pencils), Cam Smith (inks), and Laura Martin (colors).

Marvel Girl and Teen Cyclops are the run, intent on finding a way to stay in the present rather than be sent back to their own time. The modern X-Men and the future X-Men decide to join forces to bring the two back in order to avoid potential catastrophic damage to the timeline. However it turns out that not all of the present day X-Men feel like the teenage time travelers should be sent back against their will. The friction between the X-Men is starting to boil…

Okay. So. Time travel is pretty messed up. If you can time travel you’re supposed to be super careful about what you do since you could potentially destroy the present. Hell, even in a comedy like Back to the Future the main character basically wipes out his entire timeline…it’s a better timeline than the previous one but still everything he knew and the people he loved basically no longer exist. So when I read a comic where anyone whole is a reasonable adult says “I don’t think it’s that big a deal that the younger versions of the founding X-Men kidnapped from the past live out their lives in the present” I want to beat the shit out of them. I’m bringing this up in such detail today because this is the issue where I decide that Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers are dumb as f**k.

Kitty and Rachel have the nerve to imply that it’s some violation of the rights of the teen X-Men to force them to back home against their will. Like, it has to be their decision. But it doesn’t. Every second they’re in the present they’re risking the timeline. Didn’t anyone remember the Age of Apocalypse storyline (time travel again?!)? Teen Iceman might chip his tooth on a damn candy apple in modern time and suddenly the present turns into an alternate reality where Magneto and Mister Fantastic fell in love and accidently blew up the Earth…or something. It’s pathetically stupid for any character to argue this point and every time Marvel writes someone that way it kind of makes me hate the character.

Rachel: "Okay, we got some OJ, some purple stuff...hey, Sunny D! Alright!"
I’m rambling a bit. So this, like I said, is X-Men #5 and this features the all-female X-Men team that I was reviewing a few months back. I didn’t get around to reviewing the other issues but I gotta say: it’s pretty damn good. I love what they’ve been doing with Jubilee as she’s had more charter development in four issues than she had in probably well over a decade (that “Vampire” garbage is just that: garbage). However the book is greatly sidetracked by this storyline. Now I understand the idea of crossover including all the major books but I really think they should have excused this one from it. All the other titles have been around for a while but this one has been in publication less than six months. There has not been enough time for the cast to really mesh as a team before suddenly they’re thrown into this mess. Hell, the regular cast mostly does nothing of importance. Pyslocke and Rogue barely have any lines and Jubilee just sort of sits in the background making the occasional snarky remark. Obviously Kitty and Rachel do something…but it’s really dumb. It just sucks that this really awesome book suddenly feels like it’s stopping so I can see what has so far been a fairly mundane storyline. This is by far the worst issue of this new volume of X-Men in no small part because the squad plays backseat to a greater storyline. It’s not the worst example of this I’ve seen but if I were a new reader following this storyline and not this book I doubt I’d keep buying this title after the crossover ended.

Going back to Jean Grey…did anyone else think it was odd that the X-Men don’t lose their goddamn minds that she suddenly appeared. There was some initial shock and then pretty much nothing. I mean Rachel Summers seems more concerned about the civil liberties of time travelers than the fact that her mother, who she knows is dead, is alive in the future. Wolverine barely says anything to her. SO MUCH FOR HER BEING HIS F**KIGN TRUE LOVE! Seriously, if my loved one died right in front of me and was dead for years then one day they appear to be alive and well and claiming to be from the future my first thought would be “Holy shit, you’re alive” followed soon by “Wait, you say that you’re from the future. So does that mean you’ll be turning up alive here soon?”. Even if I know she can’t tell me I’d still ask on instinct. The only thing I can think of is that the writers just didn’t want to write a bunch of “Oh my God, Jean is alive” dialogue since they probably just wrote bunch of that for All-new X-Men when they had Marvel Girl interacting with everyone last year. Still if nothing else you’d think that would be the main topic of conversation for Rachel (but it shouldn’t just be her, for Christ sakes) but that it is not really feels like missed opportunity.

I think this may be Jubilee's entire contribution to this crossover
[Update: JOSSED]
So a lot of the writing in this book is kind of weak for the reason I said above but I really loved the interaction between Teen Cyclops and Marvel Girl. Unlike the adults it makes total sense for the young, inexperienced (and kidnapped) Jean and Scott not wanting to go back to the past, especially since they now know their future will essentially be horrible. But more than that I just like seeing them together. I loved the scene where they’re changing clothes about they both end up getting a peak at each other. Teen Jean taking that long look at a shirtless Teen Cyclops was adorable. So while the writing for much of this book was lousy I thought the writing for these too was expertly done. Weird.

The art is solid, probably the most solid of the series so far, but I’m not really an art guy so I don’t have a lot to say about it. I do know that I read the book and I didn’t have any probably with how it was drawn so I call it a win.

So far Battle of the Atom hasn’t been doing it for me. I will admit I’m extremely interested in what explanation they’ll have for Xorn/Jean Grey and that I’m still not extremely convinced that the future X-Men don’t have the best intentions in mind. Aside from that feel like I’m just muddling through this book. I suspect things might pick up with Part 5 but for this blog that’s still a little way away. For now I’m kind of bored but not offended.

It's still a bit early but I'm ready to name Xavier one of the 2010s worst new characters
 I give X-Men #5 3 Adorable Pandas out of 5


-Great stuff from Marvel Girl and Teen Cyclops 

-Good art 


-Confusing characterization from most of the cast 

-Jean Grey’s return made underwhelming by low key reception from her ex-teammates

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