Wolverine And The X-Men #36 (X-Men: Battle of the Atom Chapter 5)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Finisher: Andrew Currie
Colorists: Matt Milla w/ Edgar Delgado
Review by Joey Braccino
Not to knock Brian Michael Bendis and his work on Battle of the X-Men so far, but when you’ve got three chapters in as many weeks by the same writer, things can slow down quite a bit. Though Brian Wood’s X-Men was released in the between, but Bendis was behind the first, second, and fourth chapter. As a result, voices started to blend and action started to get repetitive. This week, Jason Aaron’s Wolverine & The X-men joins Battle of the Atom, and the momentum ramps up. Aaron maintains the wit and humor of the ongoing series, but shifts his chapter more toward the action and explosiveness sorely lacking in the initial four.
At this point in the story, the Future X-Men, Wolverine’s Jean Grey School, and the Cyclops’ Uncanny X-Men are all at odds over what to do with the time-displaced Original X-Men. Young Jean Grey and Young Scott Summers have turned to Cyclops and Emma Frost for help, but the other interested parties have landed on Utopia ready for a confrontation. The various X-Men factions do battle under Aaron’s kinetic direction, with the ultimate resolution being another “Is this what we do? Fight each other?” As the writer that ushered in the Regenesis era with X-Men: Schism, Jason Aaron knows just the right beats to hit to really drive point the home that the current X-Universe is riddled with betrayal, mistrust, and fear. The final spread confirms my suspicions that the Future X-Men aren’t exactly telling the whole story, and my interest in the series as a whole has grown as a result.
Most of the action in Wolverine & The X-Men #36 revolves in and around a psychic plane super battle between Future Jean Grey, Young Jean Grey, and Emma Frost and her Cuckoos. Giuseppe Camuncoli’s pulpy naturalism showcases the swirls and pop of the psychic plane, while Matt Milla’s vibrant blues and oranges fill out the lines well. There are a few long-lens panels in which the detail is muddied up by weak linework and finishes, but for the most part Camuncoli and Currie work together well.
Check it out! Wolverine & the X-Men #36 kicks the Battle of the Atom series into gear by finally eschewing recap exposition for high-octane comics action. Jason Aaron’s scripting handles the time-travelly dialogue with self-aware humor, making for an enjoyable and engaging read. We’re half-way through Battle of the Atom, and I’m excited to see where Bendis, Wood, and Aaron take us for the last few issues!