Marvel Promises More Excitement From Month Two of X-Men: Battle of the Atom

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2 Variant Cover

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2 Variant Cover

X-Men #5 Second Printing Cover

X-Men #5 Second Printing Cover

by Aaron Einhorn
If you’ve been reading my Weekly Comic Round-Ups, you know that I’m an absolute convert to the X-Men with “Battle of the Atom.” I was one of those fans who had burned by too many “event” crossovers, too many time-traveling Messiah figures, and far too many pouches and trench coats. Despite being an avid reader of the X-Men through the eighties and the first part of the nineties, by the time I graduated High School in 1995, I was done with the X-Men.

I occasionally dipped my toe back in, of course. X-characters would show up in other titles I read. I purchased the issue where Scott and Jean finally got married, and when Joss Whedon took over Astonishing, I stuck with that title as long as Joss did – even while being confused at the relationship between Scott and Emma. And of course, then there were the Ultimate titles.

But I still stayed away from the X-Men as much as I could. Because each time I had dipped my toe in, I felt like the battered half of an abusive relationship. “Come back, baby, it’ll be better this time.” And it would be for a few months. Then the pain would start again.

Wolverine and the X-Men #37

Wolverine and the X-Men #37

Wolverine and the X-Men #37 Variant Cover

Wolverine and the X-Men #37 Variant Cover

(And my sincerest apologies to anyone who has actually endured an abusive relationship for this metaphor.)

Still, after reading A vs. X, I was kind of hooked again. And the aftermath made me determined to pick up at least the all new Uncanny X-Men title, just to see what happened with Scott and Emma and Magneto. Then it was an easy sell to buy All-New X-Men with the original team back. And being a strong advocate for seeing more titles with women and minority leads, how could I refuse Brian Wood’s X-Men?

(But I’m still not buying X-Force, X-Men Legacy or Wolverine and the X-Men. Not yet, anyhow.)

And “Battle of the Atom” has exceeded all of my expectations. I’ve loved it.

So, when Marvel sent me the following press release, I was overjoyed. More twists and turns with the X-Men of the future? A possible return of the Phoenix Force? (Personally, I’m betting on seeing some version of Jean get taken once more, complete with her fresh-from-the-Marvel-Avengers-Alliance-Facebook-game Phoenix Five armor.)

All-New X-Men #17 Variant Cover

All-New X-Men #17 Variant Cover

All New X-Men #16 2nd Printing Variant

All New X-Men #16 2nd Printing Variant

Sign. Me. Up.

The press release follows.

EXCITING TWISTS AND TURNS AS MONTH TWO OF X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM BEGINS!

If you thought the first month was exciting – you ain’t seen nothing yet! They’ve come from the past. They’ve come from the future. They’ve come from….the future again? Who are the REAL Future X-Men?! Find out this October as X-Men: Battle of the Atom heads into its second exciting month full of even more twists and turns!

“We have been waiting to reveal these images since the day we planned this event,” says Senior Editor Nick Lowe. “Who are these characters who claim to the be the X-Men of the future? And if they’re not lying, WHO ARE THE OTHER GUYS?!?!?!”

Chaos at the Jean Grey School! The return of the Phoenix Force! And more! Plus a game-changing conclusion that will shake the X-Men to their very core! Don’t miss out on the exciting second half of the blockbuster X-Men event of the year, X-Men: Battle of the Atom!

Marvel is also proud to announce that due to overwhelming demand, All-New X-Men #16 and X-Men #5 will be returning for second printings! That’s right, chapters 2 and 3 of X-Men: Battle of the Atom have sold out at the distributor level, and will be going back to press immediately. Retailers are strongly encouraged to increase orders of the final chapters, Wolverine & The X-Men #37 and X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2 in anticipation of future demand.

All-New X-Men #16 2nd Printing Variant
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen
Cover by David Lopez
On-Sale October 23, 2013

X-Men #5 2nd Printing Variant
Written by Brian Wood
Art by David Lopez
Cover by Phil Noto
On-Sale October 23, 2013

Wolverine and the X-Men #37
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Cover by Ed McGuinness
Variant Cover by Kris Anka
On-Sale October 23, 2013

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Esad Ribic
Cover by Ed McGuinness
Variant Cover by Esad Ribic
On-Sale October 30, 2013

Weekly Comic Round-Up, September 25, 2013 Edition

by Aaron Einhorn
Welcome back! If you’ve followed me here from Comic Hero News, or going even farther back to Underneath My Mask, than you probably remember that one of the regular features I had was a review of the comics I’m reading that week. Full disclosure: This is not everything I read, and it’s not everything that hit the stands this week. It is, however, the books I feel merit being talked about, either because they were awesome or because there was something really, really wrong with them.

So, here we go. What came home with me from The Laughing Ogre? Read on.

ax12_c01A+X #12
Do you remember a time when comics were fun? I mean, really, seriously, fun? If you’re a younger comic reader, the answer may be “No,” but I assure you that it existed. A+X has consistently been a throwback to those days, and this particular issue shows how you can keep comics fun, but at the same time, let serious storylines still matter.

The first part brings The Beast and Wonder Man together. These two were incredible friends in the 80s era of the Avengers, when both were light-hearted, somewhat silly characters. These same two characters have now gone on to become the Mutant Messiah and is responsible for all sorts of time-travelling insanity, and a “pacifist” super-strong character who assembled a team to destroy the Avengers as recently as a year ago.

But they used to be friends, and this story gives them a night together to bring that friendship back to the forefront. And it is glorious.

The second story pairs Captain America with the now-vampirized Jubilee, as they go to find an undersea U-Boat filled with Nazi vampires.

Nazi. Vampires.

There’s a bit of meta story here as Jubilee wonders if Cap brought her along to serve as an example to the former Reich soldiers, or if he brought her along so they could serve as an example to her. But the real truth is that it’s a story about two heroes fighting Nazi Vampires, and what on Earth could be bad about that?

Ultimate_Comics_Spider-Man_Vol_2_27Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #27
So, the Ultimate Comics version of Taskmaster sure seems a lot more like Bishop or Sebastian Shaw, which means that Spider-Woman and Spider-Man are a little bit out of their depth in this battle – at least until Bombshell comes back, and Cloak and Dagger come in to help out.

Ok. That’s the entire comic.

No, seriously. That’s it. And it really disappoints me.

Look, I really like Miles. I like the Ultimate version of Jessica Drew for all of the issues in her head. I even think I like the Ultimate version of Cloak and Dagger. So, this is a team that I find interesting – in theory. But this issue is almost completely devoid of Bendis’ trademark dialogue and wit. It’s a big slugfest, and one that was not terribly compellingly illustrated (despite my overall love for Pichelli’s art.)

So, this one here is really not my favorite issue of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. It’s far from the worst comic on the market, but considering how much I usually enjoy this title, I’m awfully disappointed.

Wolverine_and_the_X-Men_Vol_1_36Wolverine and the X-Men #36 “Battle of the Atom Chapter 5”
At risk of sounding like a broken record, “Battle of the Atom” remains poised to become one of the three best story arcs in X-Men history.

Ever.

I don’t generally read Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men, but I decided I would buy both issues that tied in to this storyline, and I am glad I did (although I still didn’t care for the art in this issue). As things have gone along with my prediction, the future X-Men are now quite as trustworthy as we might have wanted to believe, and the original team kids are finding themselves in over their heads as their older incarnations (both of them) scheme to get them sent back to the past.

There isn’t a lot more I can say without seriously revealing spoilers, but I will say that the psychic battle between Jean/Xorn and Jean, Emma and the Cuckoos is a lot of fun, and seeing the tension between the Jean Grey School X-Men and Scott’s merry band of mutant misfits remains great. The barbs that are traded between Ororo and present-Scott are particularly nice, and the contempt that future-Beast has for present-Beast is awesome.

I would also like to say that I still hate Deadpool.

There’s only one thing that really bothers me about this issue is Wolverine’s line about “wondering why they aren’t still friends.” I’ll confess that I avoided the X-Men for pretty much everything from 1995 until 2012, but was there ever a time that Logan and Scott were friends? Allies? Sure. Family even? Maybe. But friends? Logan, or Scott, would easily take a bullet for the other. (Or death beam. Or whatever.) But I don’t think the two men have ever been something that could be described as friends.

Meanwhile, Avengers #20 continues the “Infinity” storyline with Captain America preparing to surrender and a revelation about Ex Nilho and Void that would have mattered more if I had ever cared about these characters, Green Lantern #23.4: Sinestro #1 provides a totally unneeded rehash of Sinestro’s origin and makes me wish I’d stuck by my promise not to buy any more of the Villains Month titles, Guardians of the Galaxy #6 effectively Mary Sue’s Angela as she fights most of the Guardians to a standstill and the Watcher tells us that we’re screwed, Uncanny Avengers #12 has the Apocalypse Twins outwit Kang and convince Wanda to use Wonder Man’s power to move the mutants off of Earth, and Young Avengers #10 gives us some witty repartee between Mother and Loki and sets Teddy up to be completely decimated.

Thoughts? Disagreements? Want to offer up ideas on what books you’re reading this week? Let us know in the comments!