Now reserved to going back to the past, the original X-Men sans Beast and Iceman, head back to the Jean Grey School for Time Cube transport. When the future X-Men are notified of where the missing classic X-Men have gone, things get very twisted as the future X-Men are revealed for who they really are.
X-Men #6 takes the second act of the Battle of the Atom crossover into overdrive, and it’s looking possible that one of these issues will feature the most X-Men characters in one book. Inside the school, two generations of X-Men duke it out for control, and on the outskirts — Cyclops and the real future X-Men gauge the situation, looking for a tactical edge.
Brian Wood capitalizes on the uptick of action featured in the previous chapters of the crossover, and there’s plenty of swift and violent measures written in for the future X-Men to use in their takeover of the school. Even allies aren’t immune — Jean Grey’s sudden attack incapacitates almost everyone in her vicinity and leaves her ally future-Beast with a wicked headache and nosebleed. Daken, disguised as future-Kitty Pryde, attacks Logan, leaving the healing-factorless Wolverine down and out.
There’s also plenty of other plot points thrown into the mix with Bling, Jubilee, Shogo, and … Shogo appearing this issue. It’s pertinent that the Iron Man look-alike reveals himself to be Jubilee’s adopted son this issue, and the reveal is a welcome one. It now gives Jubilee a future to look forward to, and if there’s anything the Battle of the Atom crossover needs to make it great, it’s emotional resonance.
There are other interesting scenes, including the battle between Psylocke and Deadpool, Jubilee in vampire mode, and Xavier stating he is the actual Xavier. There’s plenty to read into the situations, and by the time this crossover is finished, readers will have a nice long checklist to look over.
And while the plotting is pretty solid — as is much of the issue — when it comes to the details, there are some pretty glaring flaws. The scripting in X-Men #6 could have used another once over by the editing staff. Dialogue is clunky, some lines take multiple reads to understand what’s actually being said, and narration by dialogue feels forced and uninspired. Bling and Armor’s new invention for Shogo is an obvious and predictable setup, and while it is necessary to cover all the bases, it could have been done a little more subtly.
There’s also a few jarring sequences, like Xavier’s response to Bling after she tells him where Iceman and Beast have gone. The plot shift is reasonable at first, but then it seems counterintuitive. Yes, the jig is up, but the heavyhanded response and sudden rush to conflict makes it seem like these future X-Men didn’t really have a solid plan to begin with besides going back in time and lying to everyone.
On the art side, David Lopez’s pencils get the job done. Lines are clean, and the finished product by the creative team of Lopez, inkers Cam Smith and Terry Pallot, and colorists Laura Martin with Matt Milla, delivers the necessities. There’s an action-figure look to it all that makes X-Men look a little sterile, but the panels show what they need to, and the finished product doesn’t lose sight of the end goal which will come in just a few more issues.
Next issue looks like it will deliver in the action department. The X-Men are in code red, and it’s up to Cyclops to save the day. Is Battle of the Atom the redemption that Cyclops wants, or is it the truce that he needs? Readers will have to wait another week for the next chapter.
X-Men #7 (2013)
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Words: Brian Wood
Pencils: David Lopez
Inks: Cam Smith and Terry Pallot
Colors: Laura Martin and Matt Milla
Letters: Joe Caramagna