After a slow chapter 3 and 4, Chapter 5 of the big X-men event Battle of the Atom brings back the action!!
We start off with a psychic battle for the record books. On one side, we have Emma Frost and the Cuckoos with Jean Grey from the past. And on the other, future Jean Grey. Seems kind of one-sided at first. But then the Cuckoos start dropping like… cuckoos.
In the meantime, Scott (both the original one and the present day version) have a real ringer on their hands: The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning team, led by Wolverine himself. Cyclops is my favorite X-men. So, seeing two of him take on a whole group of other X-men was exciting.
Although, it’s a little more convoluted than that. You see, even the X-men among the Jean Grey school are conflicted about attacking the the younger version of Scott and Jean.
Young Scott does the one common sense thing I have been waiting to see in a comic: why not blast a psychic when their engaged in a psychic battle? C’mon, they can’t fight an intense battle on the mental plane while defending real-world attacks. Oh wait! Future Jean Grey can, and does.
Frosty-naut (or Future Iceman, whichever you prefer) clubs the younger Scott hard enough to make him see red. Then Wolverine jumps on his back and shouts for present day Iceman to help him.
The lines for the psychic battle are more clear. Especially after Emma goes down, proving (yet again) that she is no match for Jean Grey. In fact, no one is… except for Jean Grey.
The younger Jean outlasts the older Jean and teaches her mind to absorb knowledge about the future. Despite the warnings, she’s dying to know what could possibly be so bad about the future.
You know who else wants to know? Illyana. She shows up at the Jean Grey School and takes young Beast and young Iceman to the future so they can see for themselves.
Back in the present, Deadpool gives an amazing speech.
“[The Future] is so screwed up they made ME an X-man.”
Even Wolverine tells him so, to which Deadpool replies it was all lies (c’mon, this is Deadpool).
Now that younger Jean Grey has seen the future, she tells younger Scott that it’s time for them to go.
But just when we think the situation is finally settled, Illyana appears in the future with the two younger X-men and they make a startling discovery…
The writing for this issue was superb. Easily a step above the last two issues. Kudos to Jason Aaron.
And I’m very glad the story is finally moving forward, but I still have some reservations. For the past three issues, the Future X-men have made a big deal out the mysterious catastrophe that occurred because the past X-men stayed in the present.
I think Henry McCoy may be at the center of this problem. He and Iceman are the only X-men to have a Past/Present/Future version. It was present day McCoy who had the GREAT idea to bring the past X-men to the present. Also, we know from an earlier issue that SHIELD think Henry McCoy is a problem because he does whatever he wants (foreshadowing?).
Still, this big catastrophe has been hyped up over several issues. Marvel has a mixed record of delivering on the hype. Hopefully this talented cast of writers won’t let us down.
“Took you long enough to post this, Patterson…” you say.
This is the review I’ve been putting off. Reading this issue reminds me of why I stopped reading comics weekly. Because, some weeks/issues, NOTHING HAPPENS!
Let me explain myself:
The crew has to retrieve original Scott Summers and Jean Grey, who took off shortly after the arrival of the Future X-Men team. Our original pair took the X-Men’s token Blackbird Jet, leaving this present day team stranded (Scott and co. have Illyana Rasputin to transport them everywhere).
Oh, but wait! Turns out Future Beast knows that Present Beast has been up to something. Cue the next-present-generation of X-Men vehicle- the Dove. Which looks a bluish-white Blackbird. Forgive me for not being astounded…
Anyway, the future X-Men and Storm and others (she tells Rachel and Kitty to stay behind) go after the pair. Rachel and Kitty oblige at first, but after talking Ororo’s decision over, they decide to help retrieve Scott and Jean anyway.
COOL PART: Xavier pops a pill called a Cerebro Spike, which brings up a hologram projection of the globe. He and Future Jean work together to locate our teenage runaways.
And of course they find them…
It’s Future Beast who grabs original Scott and Jean. Then Scott hits him with an optic blast.
NOW HERE’S WHERE THIS ISSUE GOES DOWN HILL…
Rachel and Kitty crash past Future Ice Man in their own futuristic cruiser vehicle (called the Hummingbird, although it looks straight from a Star Wars film). Witnessing the X-men’s “harsh” methods of retrieving Scott and Jean (methods which came short of physical violence), Kitty has some words with Ororo and shares her feelings about being “ordered around.”
Great timing Kitty because SCOTT AND JEAN ESCAPE AGAIN! Oh, and during Kitty and Ororo’s talk, Rachel taught Jean how to conceal herself better. Because finding them doesn’t put the world in jeopardy or anything.
I find this especially frustrating because Kitty and Rachel are supposed to be responsible adults. I can understand their reluctance to follow Ororo’s demands—after all, they’ve been in countless battles, too (And it’s not like Ororo’s the former queen of Wakanda or anything). But, jokes aside, you work with children. I’m sure you’ve had to instruct those children not to rush in but to analyze the situation first. But you did just that and you let them escape. Way to be a role model.
Next, Our runaways meet up with the only people they can turn to: Present Scott and his team of X-men.
Scott and co. use the Cuckoos to get info on the Future X-men team.
COOL PART: In a blaze of hellfire and demonic glory, Illyana leaves after learning that Xavier’s grandson from the future is here (I’m still asking: who’s dat baby’s daddy?). When asked if they picked up anything, the cuckoos respond: “You do not go into her head ever. It’s like Wolverine scary. But more demonic.”
After several panels of thinking it over, Scott decides to help his younger self and younger love, following his long-standing ideal “we help mutants that need help.”
Emma and Magneto act appropriately and tell Scott to stop letting his emotions get in the way of his decision. Even original Warren shouts its time for the originals to leave.
Being the adult, Emma Frost telepathically contacts Future Jean and Xavier and they arrive at Utopia. Future Jean Grey freezes everyone where they are and knocks her younger self out. With her mind (I think I’ve used up my allotments of COOL PART). But after discovering her identity, Emma challenges JEAN GREY. FROM. THE. FUTURE.
I’m currently accepting bets. Although I see these two power houses getting so distracted from their scuffle that they forget about original Jean and she escapes with Scott. AGAIN.