Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: X-Men - Battle of the Atom Part 4

Battle of the Atom isn’t exactly the most exciting comic book I’ve reviewed on this blog so far but it’s also not the worst one either. It’s sort of just there; it’s not great but it’s not bad. Having now read up to part five and I can say that things will pick up. However part four, which we are reviewing now, is very much so a transitional issue, which means even less will happen here than it did in the previous three parts. Oh joy. So this will probably be a shorter review. The last three reviews: Part 1, Part 2, part 3

For the record this is a review of Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 3) #12 which was written by Brian Michael Bendis with art from Chris Bachalo (pencils), Tim Townsend, Mark Irwin, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba and Al Vey (inks) and Marte Gracia (colors).

Full review after the jump.

Cyclops: "My God....I am a handsome fellow."
Teen Cyclops and Marvel Girl, in an act of desperation, have turned to present day Cyclops and his renegade team of X-Men for help despite the fact that both young X-Men do not trust him. While most of the team is against giving them aide Cyclops isn’t so quick to dismiss the idea. Meanwhile Wolverine, his team and the future X-Men debate whether or not sending the kids back is the best course of action.

I really wish there was more to talk about in this issue but the fact is this is the issue where everything slows down to set up for the explosive next issue. The last page is pretty interesting as it tells us we’re going to see a psychic showdown between Xorn and Emma Frost/The Stepford Cukoos, which is a pretty cool concept. Aside from that there’s a lot of talk but not a lot of new information provided.

Does it bother anyone else that we still know NOTHING about the future these time traveling X-Men are from? I mean they keep saying “Shit is going to be awful” but they explain precisely dick about it. Oh they imply it could mess up the future but even so as a reader I really wish we could be given a little information. Like some vague clue or something. Even if it were a lie I’d still enjoy something like “Oh, the sentinels take over and everything sucks.” To make this point worse it’s a bit odd that they have been told to take so much on faith and most of the X-Men, a team that used to be notorious for trusting absolutely no one at face value, seem okay with playing ball on these guys’ say so. I still think that any character who argues for keeping the teen X-Men in the present is an idiot who apparently doesn’t care if reality collapses around them (it happened in Part One; I’m not just making this shit up!) but following along blindly just because Xavier Jr., Jean Grey dressed as the guy who killed her and a guy who looks like Beast took a nap in mutagen from TMNT told you to is not so much better.

Anytime Magik does anything it looks like she's starting Armageddon
Speaking of people who don’t care about the timeline this book doesn’t make Cyclops look super great as he decides to help the teens (dammit, Scott!) and then is accused by the rest of his team of being obsessed with the idea of teen Jean and teen Scott. Isn’t Uncanny X-Men supposed to be the one comic that’s Cyclops-friendly? He doesn’t ever explicitly say any deeper reason for helping them (and the reason he gives is extremely weak) but the whole scene makes him look selfish and I‘d be surprised if this plot point continues too long once we get to Part Six.

Art wise…it’s Chris Bachalo so the style is very decisive. The colors seem a bit…cleaner, I guess, than I recall from this series previously. There are some are continuity problems here, The main one I noticed was about halfway through the book Magneto Magneto the White’s helmet disappears and re-appears from panel to panel, and it is shocking that none of the arts or editors caught and fixed. It really bugged me.

There was an aspect of this book that I really loved and that was Teen Angel being the seemingly only sane man in the damn series so far. He flat out says “Look, jerks, we shouldn’t be in this era anyway. Now someone from the future says us being here messes up the timeline? Then why the f**k are we still talking about this?! Let’s go the f**k home!” Thank you, Teen Warren Worthington III. The real theme of this miniseries has been how awesome the time displaced teenage X-Men are and how great they’ve been characterized. If nothing else I feel like I’m realizing I did myself a huge disservice by not sticking with All-New X-Men past the first issue.

"Checkmate, motherf@#$ers!"
I feel a little bad about this but this book will not be getting a decent score, even though it’s not a bad book. Bottom line is that this series has been a bit slow so far and this should have been the issue where they pull the trigger. Actually they should have pulled the trigger last issue but I feel like the sotry is officially dragging now. In the words of Wolverine during Joss Whedon’s legendary run on Astonishing X-Men “Standing around talking feels a lot like standing around talking.” This is especially true here since we don’t really get anything new or insightful from it. It’s just filler and if there’s one thing I cannot stand its adding pointless filler and padding to a story.

I gotta give Uncanny X-Men #12 2 Adorable Pandas out of 5


-Teen Angel’s speech


-Problems with the art’s conintunity

-A pretty dull read

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