Wolverine and the X-Men #36 is part 5 of Marvel’s latest event, "Battle of the Atom," and so far we have had several twists and turns, but much to my chagrin less action and fighting. What is interesting in this chapter is the battle going on telepathically between future (old) Jean Grey versus Emma Frost, original (young) Jean Grey and the Stepford triplets, all of which isn’t revealed until a short time later in the issue. Writer Jason Aaron brings some more action to the pages with Wolverine taking on both versions of Scott Summers (well, mainly a young and pissed off young Cyclops). The last three chapters of this crossover featured a lot of talking heads and debates, or at least it seems that way, and Aaron does maintain a lot of humor that flows through the dialogue, which keeps the pace of this issue brisk.
What Aaron brings to the "Battle of the Atom" is shifting the focus from the long running question on whether or not the originals should deal with what has gone so horribly wrong in the future causing that timeline's X-Men to show up and join the fight. Majik is the key to the answer, and her abilities to time jump will shed some light on the horrors these future X-Men claim exists. We get sucked into believing it because of Jean’s willingness to fight herself, and Deadpool finally finding a way to end his misery for good. Something has got to be off-the-charts-evil to cause those actions, right?
If anyone is capable of jumping into the fray of these multiple timelines it’s Aaron as he demonstrates so well in his other title, Thor: God of Thunder. We get a glimpse and a hint that things are as bad as they seem when young Jean Grey forces future Jean to show her what the future holds. Within a split second, Jean’s eyes are opened to some sort of horror that changes her entire thought process. Majik ends up physically transporting young Hank and Bobby to the future, and they get to see first hand what is going on. Without spoiling the issue, all I can say is that there is some very conflicting and confusing information coming from all sides of this fight, and I am no closer to understanding what the future exactly is for these X-Men.
I don’t read Wolverine and the X-Men on a regular basis, so I am unfamiliar with artist Giuseppe Camuncoli, but he does nice work here. While not as cartoony as say a Chris Bachalo, Camuncoli's style fits nicely within the other X-books I do read regularly and the other titles involved in this crossover, All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men. Camuncoli's action sequences are some of the best with a tremendous amount of dynamic feel to them.
Wolverine and The X-Men #36 is a turning point for the "Battle of the Atom" storyline, and if you have been reading the other titles and chapters then you cannot afford to miss this issue. Aaron does a huge amount with the dialogue and action to propel this story forward as his moves are seamless through the present and the future time. This book gets high marks from me because it kicks off a new direction for "Battle of the Atom," and it came at just the right time.