The Story: The bad X-Men from the future tries to send the past X-Men to their own time as the real X-Men from the future tries to prevent their plans from working.
The Review: There are things we kind of take for granted when it comes to serial storytelling. We always think that character development, story progression and genuine moments of entertainment shall be given to us with each issue. It is something that all issue and writers should strive to give, but sometimes some issues are more miss than hit, which can bring forward frustrating books.
This issue of Uncanny X-Men is unfortunately one of those issues, where a lot of what could make it worthwhile is simply absent. It is a mindless issue that seems to want to give us as many ”awesome” moments as it can, delivering plenty of action but little else, resulting in a read that doesn’t advance the themes or the plot in any significant way whatsoever. It wouldn’t be so bad if the action delivered on said amazing moments, with clever use of powers or perhaps some worthwhile boast from one character that shines in this issue, yet it never really reach a level that could univocally satisfy all readers. The action seems to succeed more with slowing down the progression than anything else, as the characters trying to stop the antagonists from doing anything are constantly stopped by said bad guys. The constant use of tactics to slow down or stop the others in their tracks seems to be a fitting metaphor for this issue as not only does the characters gets affected by their strategy, but the crossover as well.
All this slowing down makes for a rather poor pacing as well, with this issue accomplishing close to nothing. There are jumps from Cyclops team to the antagonists to Magik’s own shenanigans, showing what each team and characters are doing or succumbing to as action peppers the whole thing up. The number of jumps is perhaps a bit too high, as not all characters or groups receive particularly notable moments in the process, with each scene seemingly being cut without much to show for it each time.
Not everything is bad here, mind you, as the characterization is sometime entertaining, with some of the more enigmatic characters as well as some of the regular ones being interesting a couple of times. Magik and Colossus share some pretty fun moments during the action, while some like the future Beast and Jean Grey come close to being rather intriguing. However, most of the other characters either serve as window-dressing or simply talk about future development that may or may not come to fruition. Hearing Molly Hayes say to the future Colossus that she hates him would be much more fun if we had a better context in which readers could enjoy the irony or the meanings behind those words, yet this issue fails to deliver on that front and not just with these characters.
Where the issue also fails a bit in terms of delivering is in the art, as Chris Bachalo is backed up with an army of inkers for this issue. The trademark style of Bachalo is on display here, with some of the exaggerated traits along with the cartoony style, yet there is a certain lack of consistency here. With such a huge number of inkers at work, some of the traits look a bit rushed or at least incompatible with each others, creating an inconsistent quality throughout the issue. There are also some panels that are bit too busy for their own good, creating a sense of chaos that doesn’t really service the scenes they are featured in. For all these negative traits, there are occasional moments of brightness, with some of the character’s expression being fun in some panels along with some of the bigger action being well-presented. It’s just a shame that it’s a bit too messy for its own good most of the time.
The colorization is a bit more sound, though, as Marte Gracia does a competent job at bringing diversity and a sense of focus in some panels with his choice of palette. He isn’t helped by the chaotic artwork, yet he does seem to do his best in some scenes as he is able to create a good sense of contrast within the same panel along with most of the pages, creating a consistency in his technique. It sometimes go everywhere at once as the jumping around between each teams and sets of characters doesn’t help with consistency in terms of colorization as well, yet the use of cold colors along with warmer ones with shadows and lights is apt nonetheless. The Conclusion: With no real development to its plot thanks to non-stop action along with some confusing and inconsistent artwork, Battle of the Atom delivers its worst chapter yet. A disappointing read.