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So many mutants!

So many mutants!

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Frank Cho with Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger

Colorist: Marte Gracia

Review by Joey Braccino

I love X-Men crossovers. The stories always blend hard sci-fi with high stakes, nigh-operatic drama. The franchise demands careful, on-point attention for a wide cast of characters, most of whom are easily recognizable and already well-developed. X-Men crossovers take the four “primary” X-titles and weave them together into one grand epic with huge ramifications for their little corner of the Marvel Universe.

From the stellar Messiah Complex and Second Coming to the game-changing Age of Apocalypse, the X-Men have experienced (and endured) some of the most innovative and engaging stories ever to come out of the House of Ideas.

If X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 is any indication, we’ve got another classic on our hands.

Time-travel, paradoxes, sentinels, and optic blasts abound in this action-packed introductory issue. After a strange prologue featuring Magik and the future, X-Men: Battle of the Atom kicks into gear with the original five X-Men responding to a Cerebra hit. As the new mutant wreaks havoc on Phoenix, Arizona, young Jean Grey, Scott Summers, Hank McCoy, and their professor, Kitty Pryde, literally swoop in to save the day. When things get tough for this fledgling team of time-displaced mutants, a surprise visit from the present-day Cyclops and his rogue Uncanny X-Men swoop in to save the saving of the day. No spoilers, but let’s just say there’s some good old fashioned X-Men Vs. The Sentinels in this issue!

Brian Michael Bendis quickly acclimates readers to this new status quo, both with a concise recap page (which is also brilliantly illustrated by Frank Cho) as well as quick character beats between the plethora of mutants he introduces. Though these teams are “at odds” in their current books, Bendis puts them up against a threat no single hero could withstand, resulting in a refreshing team-up for long-time readers and an thrilling, explosion-laced introduction for newbies. In fact, most–if not all–of this issue is quite accessible to new readers.

Frank Cho’s dynamic linework synthesizes three current X-artists’ styles into one thrilling, cinematic aesthetic: Nick Bradshaw’s slightly exaggerated figures, Olivier Coipel’s scope and lay-outs, and Stuart Immonen’s kinesthetic grit. As such, Cho’s artwork in X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 is the perfect introduction to the look and feel of the X-Universe. At some point, Stuart Immonen fills in some sequences, but the changeover is barely noticeable precisely because of the similarity between the two styles. From exquisite character designs to exhilarating action sequences, Frank Cho delivers in the art department for this debut issue.

Verdict

Buy. X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 is just the beginning of what promises to be a dramatic and exciting crossover. By issue’s end, the stakes are established and the scope of the conflict transcends time and space. Multiple teams, multiple characters, multiple timelines, all juggled expertly by Brian Bendis and an incredible team of artists.

Oh, and the best part of X-crossovers? Weekly shipping. Get ready!

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