Who remembers the nineties? The variant covers? The foil embossed covers? The special holograms? The overproduction? The overvaluing? The devaluing? The collapse? The Bankruptcy? Well DC sure as Heck doesn’t remember because they’re bringing the whole shebang back for a redo. That’s why I’m not gonna talk about all the “Villain” issues DC is putting out for the next month because I feel like the special variant 3-D covers will speak for themselves. So instead I’m gonna talk about a different mistake but a mistake the writers are endeavoring to resolve, the mistakes that led to “X-Men: Battle of the Atom”.
But first, a little step backward in time. Back in November of 2012, Beast from the X-Men had the brilliant idea to use time travel to bring the first X-Men team to the present. And then everything was fine and nothing bad happened because time travel always works out hunky-dory. Just kidding, shit went bananas. That’s why I really like this issue. For the first time in the series, something horrendous happens that almost unmakes time: one of the original X-Men is injured so badly they go into cardiac arrest. So what happens to the adult version when the teenager version dies? You guessed it, they’re both dead. For some odd reason this hadn’t crossed anyone’s’ minds until now. If my younger self tumbled into this world, I would lock him in a basement and feed him baby food until I figured out a way to send him back. The X-Men seemed to have a different philosophy on this and instead sent them out into harm’s way. And what happens when a bunch of mutants from the sixties get together in public? That’s right, Sentinels!
So one of my favorite things to see in X-Men comics, as I’m sure is true with most X-Men fans, is Sentinel fights. There’s something cathartic about Wolverine cutting a giant “X” into a robot chest, like watching Captain America punch Nazis. It’s easy to jeer the giant murder-bot. “Boo, F%$# you stupid laser beam on legs.” This issue has an even better treat in that it is the original X-Men’s first time fighting a Sentinel, never mind the entire death squad that converges on them. So it’s no wonder that things go tits up and somebody nearly dies, really this should have happened a lot sooner. It’s a real treat to see Kitty lead the team with her expertise and yet see the original X-Men building confidence in their own abilities. They’re still young enough that they get super excited when they do something right and quite frankly it is adorable. And it has to be because this book is a bit bi-polar. On the one hand it deals with the team consequences of time travel and on the other hand it brings in more time travel.
This may be new information to most of you but I’m not a plumber (bear with me). However, if my toilet gets clogged I don’t pump more fecal matter into the toilet because usually you end up in a shittier situation than you started (ba-dum tishh). That’s what this reeks of, creating a problem and fixing it with more problem. Plus, the secondary time travel only happens because Magic goes to the future to look at the state of things. When have the X-Men ever gone to a future and found everything was all right, tea and cookies all around? In fact “Wolverine and the X-Men” took three different hops into the future and all were bad. Strangely enough they were all different too. At this point they should put together a council on “Messed up Future Stuff” and give updates every month:
“Everyone’s a Deathlok and Galactus is hungry. You?”
“Phalanx again. Also? Werewolves.”
“All right, good meet. See you guys next month.”
I’ll admit, a team from the future showed up in the pages and I immediately started speculating. And I enjoyed it! Who doesn’t love seeing their X-Men cast all grown up and war weary. It’s part of the fun of these characters, to meet new incarnations and find out where they diverged from the present. I know I am really excited for the back story on all of these characters. But does that mean this is a good book?
Regrettably, yes. All of the action in this book is epic and Frank Cho does some of the most beautiful battle scenes I have ever read. The book is even addressing problems I had with the original concept. But, this book only exists because of that flawed concept.