X-Men: Battle Of The Atom #2 (Battle of the Atom #10 - Finale) Review

3409446 02a Past, present and future X-Men have converged on Cape Citadel, the site where the X-Men originated, for the final showdown. SHIELD's helicarriers have launched their entire missile payload - along with SHIELD Sentinels! - at the mass of X-Men. Meanwhile Xorn, aka future Jean Grey, makes a desperate last stand against the original X-Men, aka the past X-Men - who will live, who will die, and what will it all mean? Alex Alonso has done a great job of setting out this Event series with its own yellow border colours so despite the issues being spread across multiple X-titles those wanting to read only this Event could easily find them on the shelves. That said, this is a really confusing issue, numbering-wise. This is technically X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2 but Chapter 10 in the series hence the weird title of this review where #2 is also #10 - bad titling, Marvel! The other confusing aspect is Bendis, Cho and Gracia's names on the cover despite none of them contributing to the main story which is in fact written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Esad Ribic and Giuseppe Camuncoli! Let's talk about pluses - this 10-issue Event has been released at a ridiculously accelerated schedule of an issue per week (2 in the first week!) but Marvel successfully pulled it off. And maybe it's because other writers were involved in the process, but Bendis' usual meandering storyline this time actually had a resolution to it. Too often these days have we reached the final issue in an Event only to find an inconclusive ending and the words "To be continued in (insert next Event)", but when we get to the final page - past the multiple epilogues that arbitrarily must follow every Marvel Event - we are given a sense of an ending, that within this 10-issue series there was a contained story, and that can't be faulted. I was fully expecting another open-ended finale and was pleasantly surprised that there was at least some attempt at closure, something missing far too often from Event comics these days. And let's not forget that this was a celebration Event too for the X-Men's 50th Anniversary and this Event was about as X-Men as they come. The series wasn't just filled with past, present, and future X-Men but it also riffed on the X-Men's most famous storyline, Days of Future Past; it included Sentinels - and nothing says X-Men more than mutants fighting Sentinels!; there was a wheelchair-bound Xavier AND a Phoenix; and numerous famous panels were referenced throughout the series. This was about the X-Men-iest series Marvel could put out, well suited for the Anniversary. Xmbatatom2013002 Int Lr2 00001 2 But the story itself was all over the place - time travel AGAIN played a huge part in the story despite supposedly being broken after Marvel's last Event, Age of Ultron, and conveniently worked for some groups of mutants but not for others. The series centred around the urgency in sending back the original X-Men back to their own time - a storyline I feel has been overstretched beyond belief at this point. I mean, how can the original X-Men justify staying in the present day when their very existence is changing history in all kinds of ways? It's never made any sense. And right at the end they can't time travel because... because the plot says so. It's so stupid. Unfortunately, like a lot of X-Men stories, this one ended up being one tiresome fight scene after another - the last three issues felt like they were identical - though you could argue that this being a celebration of all things X-Men, it's fitting to be like every other X-Men story in this regard. But let's be honest: this Event didn't need to be 10 issues long. This was a story that was streeeeeeetched because Marvel wanted to make money, not tell a good story. Remember how Days of Future Past was literally 2 issues long? But if it were written today it would be 10 issues like Battle of the Atom, plus a ton of pointless tie-ins. Also in terms of story quality, when you have numerous epilogues it's because the story lacked focus and the creators had to hurriedly fill in the blanks at the last minute for it to make any sense - again, too much time spent pointlessly fighting! When you look more closely at the story of the future X-Men it remains unsatisfying to say the least, despite it being a huge part of this Event. In the future, Dazzler is elected President (I know) and then killed. By who? Not sure - we just see a load of dragons! DRAGONS! And this sends the evil future X-Men into doing whatever they do because apparently they don't want Dazzler to be assassinated or something. I never fully understood these characters' motivations despite their being ample space to explore them. Instead of delving deeper into these mysterious characters' past we just got tedious fight scene after tedious fight scene. Which is also all you get with this final issue. X-Men fight missiles, Sentinels, each other, the end. Some characters die, some don't, some switch allegiances - it's pretty underwhelming to be honest. That's largely due to the enormous cast of 30-some characters, most of whom have had barely any time on the page in this series, so when they start dying it's a lot less emotional than I think the creators hoped it would be. Plus they're characters who were only intended to appear in this Event - the characters who appear in regular X-titles are largely untouched, making this Event feel even less significant. Image32 This leads me to the next question most readers ask about a big superhero Event - did it have any significance? In superhero comics, I'm more or less resigned to the fact that nothing really matters. Characters die and come back to life all the time (just look at the cover of next week's Amazing X-Men #1!) and seemingly universe-shattering Events like the time rips at the end of Age of Ultron are conveniently sidestepped when they get in the way of a story. So no, this Event has no significance really but I didn't really expect it to - all superhero comics are middle story and Battle of the Atom is no different. However there's an argument to be made that the X-Men comics aren't really about story, they're more about the characters. A good X-Men comic to some fans is simply the characters interacting with one another รก la superhero soap opera - if there's some story to be had, that's a bonus. Which is fine if you're that kind of reader - Battle of Atom would be catnip to you. For everyone else, you're left with a very uneven story that had some good moments amidst plenty of dross, and when viewed as a whole, doesn't really amount to a particularly interesting story that's just middle-of-the-road at best - I'm firmly with the latter. I liked parts of Battle of the Atom but felt that this was more aimed at the fanbase than a more general audience and devoted X-Men fans will have gotten more out of this Event than more casual readers looking for a good superhero story. Battle of the Atom is too muddled with too many flaws to be considered a good comic but then so few Event comics are any good at telling coherent stories. X-Men: Battle of the Atom - a meaningless title full of X-Men references for the fans and a completely uneven, pointless and bizarre storyline. In other words, an X-Men comic. Happy 50th, you whacky mutants! Published by Marvel, X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2 by Jason Aaron et al. is out now
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