Battle of the Atom is one step away from its conclusion, and the fight has gone from a battle to all out war among the past, current and future X-Men. This chapter kicks off with Xorn controlling present day Cyclops and using his emotions for Jean Grey against him, which goes a long way to show her true power. Now that all the different factions have been fully exposed as to who are the “true” future X-men and who are future Brotherhood of Evil mutants, lines in the sand are drawn and teams are assembled.
Slowly more and more lingering questions are getting answered but confusion is still at a fever pitch. It’s difficult to process all the information, so instead, let’s get to some fighting and sort the rest out later. What is of note is that the evil mutants consisting of Xorn, Raze, Beast, Charles Jr. (paralyzed by Colossus), Ice Hulk and a now very dead Deadpool have control of the original X-men and have to resort to plan B. Plan A, sending back the originals back in time, failed, but why it failed is still a mystery.
The Brotherhood now plan to recreate the original X-Men’s first battle with Magneto at the Cape Citadel - hoping to draw in S.H.I.E.L.D. - effectively having all hell break loose. The battle is massive and the chaos is on full blast, which is what we have all been waiting to happen, and we finally get it in the form of massive splashes and full page spreads, and it’s glorious. It’s still difficult keeping track of who’s who as we now have, in many instances, three different versions of the same character fighting themselves. The one caveat: Back in part three of this arc, young Scott almost died, which would have wiped present day Cyclops out of existence, but now no one seems to give that theory a second thought while punching a past or future version of themselves!
I like Jason Aaron’s writing, and he’s perfect for this issue as he seems to get to the action much faster than other Marvel writers. The time to fight is now, and that’s why Aaron gets this issue. Artist Giuseppe Camuncoli works wonders with such a mass of characters while total havoc is being wrought, and he seems to be having a blast with all the posturing and fists flying. It looks cool, too. While I’m thrilled that the punches are being thrown and sides have been taken, I still find it incredibly tedious when big arching questions, which litter this crossover, are met with such vague answers and statements. I find it even more frustrating when the characters in the story acknowledge how lame it is in their dialogue. I don’t fault Aaron for this as this entire series has been plagued by this.
In the end, the final chapter is setting up to be even larger in scale as the war continues when S.H.I.E.L.D. gets involved and Xorn manipulates the outcome to skew in the Brotherhood’s favor. I’ve been in all the way for Battle of the Atom and one can hope that there is a big payoff when all is said and done, but if some of the biggest questions are still met with vague generalizations it very well could fall flat on its face.