I don’t love “Battle for the Atom” — in part because I am really burned out on event crossovers and the painfully tired idea of heroes fighting heroes. However I cannot deny that I enjoyed the hell out of Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen’s “All New X-Men” #17. It’s a good comic that’s wildly creative and stunningly gorgeous, with tasty glimpses into the future good enough to make me wish for more stories in that setting.
Judging “All New X-Men” #17 on its own merit is easy enough. It’s absolutely beautiful, it’s funny and it ends on an intriguing cliffhanger — all while depicting a fascinating look into a potential future unlike any I’ve seen before from an X-book. Bendis manipulates the past, present and future characters well, and though his signature sense of humor is present, he dials it back for the more serious scenes where it doesn’t quite work.
In other words, without thinking too much about it, without trying to strip it down and examine it, “All-New X-Men” #17 is truly a fun and interesting book. However, some of the logic (beyond the general use of time travel) is a bit wobbly. It was tough to believe that this “new” X-Men team really would journey to the future with Magik, especially after the fuss they put up. It’s also a great argument for a superhero team to not be a democracy. The nuttiness of having four different generations and/or timelines of X-Men all converging in one spot is great fun, but again, only if it’s not put under intense scrutiny.
I’m not sure Stuart Immonen’s art, with inker Wade Von Grawbadger, has ever looked better than it does in this comic. The clothing on future Dazzler alone is worth the price of admission. The fact that the book is also stacked with legendary double page spreads of powerful action, emotional reunions, sublime character design and brutally awesome world building is just the icing on the already cool cake. As always, Immonen is effortlessly consistent in his work, characters are easily distinguishable from one another (even with all the blonde and the similar costumes), and the character acting is second to none. Bendis writes some truly epic moments for Immonen to draw in this issue and he executes them with an enthusiasm and power that is simply perfect. The colors by Marte Garcia are similarly pitch perfect, whether bathing a crowd in moody nighttime blues, or lighting up the night in the reds, oranges and golds necessary for a fiery death worthy of the big screen.
For readers that can manage the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy “Battle of the Atom” in general and “All New X-Men” #17 specifically, there’s a great time waiting in this latest stunningly beautiful piece.