With the help of Rachel Grey and present-Kitty Pryde, past-Jean Grey and Scott Summers have made their way to the former island nation of Utopia. Where present-Cyclops and his Uncanny X-Men await. The runaway youngsters have come to them for help only to find that even the renegade mutants would be conflicted with what to do. Meanwhile, Rachel and present-Kitty plead their case to the others that past-Jean and Scott should stay if they want and continue to meet resistance. As all of this is happening, S.H.I.E.L.D. has caught wind of the continued disruption in the space-time continuum.
This is one of those issues where I think how Brian Michael Bendis writes dialogue is at its finest. There are very few writers who are able to evoke drama and suspense with a full issue of talking heads and virtually no action except with maybe a panel or two near the end. Yes this issue does essentially rehash a great deal of what has already been said in the previous three chapters of Battle of the Atom, which is essentially whether or not the original five should go back to their time. But there are some nice spins here and there that keep the argument from being one-sided. Kitty’s impassioned plea is a fine example as is Emma and Magneto’s reasoning against siding with Cyclops on his decision.
This issue sees Chris Bachalo rotating back into illustrating the book after a couple issues with Frazer Irving. On the one hand, I’m glad it’s not Irving illustrating as his style would have clashed heavily with how Battle of the Atom as a whole has been drawn thus far. However, Bachalo’s style also causes a little conflict. Yes, his artwork is very good and there’s some great panels that showcase the characters displaying emotion wonderfully, like Kitty’s plea and even S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Hill about to pop a vein at what she believes is Hank McCoy being Hank McCoy again. However, his style doesn’t flow consistently with the previous three chapters in large part to the designs of the characters. Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen, and David Lopez manage to keep things about as close together as possible and Bachalo doesn’t quite fit in with the bunch. Then again, it’s like I said. At least it’s not Irving, whose style would have been nowhere as consistent.
Battle of the Atom continues to shape up into being a fine X-Men event. Brian Michael Bendis puts forth one of the best talking heads issues all year, even if some of what is being said is essentially repeating the previous three chapters. Nevertheless, the emotion is running higher than ever, aided by some fine illustrations by Chris Bachalo, despite it not quite working consistently with the other chapters. As such, this issue comes highly recommended.
Who argues better, Kitty Pryde or Emma Frost and Magneto? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.